In the digital age, copyright awareness has become an important issue and, so it seems, people become more and more educated on that topic. A favourable development, not only for the creator but, moreover, the copyright holder. This has, however, a dark side – usually in the form of copyright trolls. A species that’s specialized in “fighting for copyright owners” – without being asked to.
A further issue is the absence of a clear legal framework that lay people can rely on. Although one should be able to use “public domain” and “fair use” materials without permission or, in the case of “fair use”, under certain circumstances, copyright holders are still able trying to claim their rights. Which makes the legal doctrine of “fair use” less attractive. The problem now is that creatives – especially photographers and filmmakers – are faced with the thankless job of clearing rights just for the case that someone will go after them. In the worst case, this could even change the artwork.
Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins from the Duke Center for the Study of Public Domain have, in my opinion, created the best-ever work on that topic. Available for free and licensed under Creative Commons (another interesting topic.) And the best of all: it’s a comic!