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« How Does Your EULA Suck? | Main | Grokster Update: Time Out for the US Solicitor General? »

February 19, 2005

Notable + Quotable

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So many links on copyright and fair use, so little time. Here are few that caught my eye in the past week:

Via Frank Field via CoCo, Metallica frontman James "let's sue Napster dead" Hetfield, on Beatallica, the band that recently received a C&D [PDF] for offering remixed versions of Beatles and Metallica tunes: "'Yeah. I heard that. That was amazing. Someone put a lot of thought and talent into that man!...I heard it online. It was about a year ago, or more. It was pretty amazing. It was pretty well thought out so I'm glad there's people like that in the world to do that and it's very entertaining for us, for sure!'"

Ronald Coleman @ Likelihood of Confusion, commenting on the tattoo artist suing NBA star Rasheed Wallace for displaying his copyrighted work in Nike ads: "Rasheed is a money tree and this guy wants to snip off a branch because he fortuitously got to carve something in the bark. He is seeking rent. There's no right or wrong about it, really, but the rules we decide on probably should address the almost certain expectations of both sides that the deal was a tattoo for $450 -- not a one-time license for a 'graphic.'"

Copyright guru/prolific Sivacracy author Ann Bartow, commenting on WB's planned remix of the Looney Tunes characters, the "Loonatics": "Cripes, can't the copyright maximalists do something about this travesty? :>)"

Prankster/author/professor Kembrew McLeod, describing his adventures in trademarking the phrase, Freedom of Expression®: "When talking to reporters who responded to a press release I sent out, I played the quasi-corporate asshole to Brendan's indignant anarchist underdog, spouting poker-faced lines such as 'I didn't go to the trouble, the expense, and the time of trademarking freedom of expression® just to have someone else come along and think they can use it whenever they want.'"

EULA critic Ed Foster, commenting on EFF's defense of three programmers against a Blizzard Games EULA that forbids reverse-engineering even though that's a fair use under federal copyright law: "The only things that are at stake in the case are open source programming, the concept of fair use, competition and innovation. Hey, no pressure, guys."

Annalee Newitz, encouraging those fed up with EULAs to do something about it: "With consumer activism, as well as actions that push our legislatures and courts to change consumer protection laws, we can prevent corporations from taking away our rights one mouse click at a time. If you have been harmed by a EULA, or threatened with legal action because of one, EFF wants to hear your story. Email us at "

LawMeme blogger/Creative Commons & EFF alum/EULA critic James Grimmelmann, sharing the terms of the Best. Clickwrap. Evar: "'Incoherence Copyright (c) 2004-2005 Greg Hazel and Steven Hazel. All rights reserved. By installing this software, you agree that you have seen this copyright notice.' And that's it."

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Misc.


1. Branko Collin on February 19, 2005 10:52 PM writes...

How can reverse engineering be fair use? It is not an activity covered by copyright, is it? After all, the result is an expression that is explicitely not a copy of the original expression.

(IANAL, I am probably missing something obvious here.)

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2. Donna Wentworth on February 20, 2005 12:38 PM writes...

Here's an link that helps explain where reverse-engineering intersects with copyright:

Also see Chris Sprigman's Findlaw piece for a full discussion:

Short answer: yes, reverse-engineering is a protected fair use. But as Seth F. writes over at InfoThought (, "There's a difference between the idea that 'Reverse engineering itself, then, has been held to be fair use,' per se, intrinsically, and that certain instances of reverse engineering have been held to be fair-use...A reader of that article can easily get the impression that the courts have said reverse-engineering itself is always permitted as fair-use, whereas they've also said in other cases that it's not fair-use."

Just because reverse-engineering is a fair use, not every court has determined in every instance that it's fair use.

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3. Branko Collin on February 22, 2005 9:54 PM writes...

Thanks for the extensive reply. If I got this correctly, manufacturers are claiming that the copy from ROM to RAM, which they implicitely allow when it is done for running the software, is disallowed (by copyright law) for reverse-engineering the software? See, I told you I had missed the obvious. :-\

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