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At the recent HOPE conference in New York, my colleague Annalee Newitz spent some time behind the desk at the EFF booth, talking to people about the importance of preserving our traditional rights and freedoms in the digital age. One conference participant asked her to explain the slogan on my personal favorite EFF bumper sticker: "Fair Use Has a Posse." She proceeded to launch into an explanation of the always tricky fair use doctrine, but he stopped her midway.
No, no, he said, I understand fair use. What does "posse" mean?
There's a similar mind-bending transcultural translation going on over at BigBlogCompany.net, which evidently offers businesses eager to capitalize on the blog phenomenon a form of Cluetrain-awareness training. Writes David Carr,
Fisking is at the 'high end' of blogging spectrum skills. It is a term that has grown out of the blogosphere and, indeed, an art that has been crafted and honed by bloggers...[but all] original work (including online articles) is protected by the law of copyright, which means that only the owner can reproduce that work. Thus, a would-be fisker would find themselves in the position of wanting to criticize words they cannot reproduce. Very difficult.
Fortunately, a fisker can rely on the doctrine of 'fair use' which provides certain circumstances where copyright protected work can be reproduced without permission. One of these circumstances is if the reproduction is for the purposes of 'criticism or review' (and fisking is a compact combination of both disciplines).
"fair use" is a term of interest to geeks.
"posse" is a term of interest to inner-city dwellers and modern hipsters.
It is not surprising that at a techie conference, there's someone who knows the former term, but not the latter.
Though I suppose it's a workable joke.Permalink to Comment
And that was my point, really -- that culture is changing, and there's a spot of hope there (as well as humor).Permalink to Comment
Damn, I'd love to get a "fair use has a posse" bumper sticker and put it on my encrypted file sharing media server :)Permalink to Comment
So, what the hell *is* a "posse"? (And why don't you allow anonymous comments?)Permalink to Comment