Someone is selling my custom covers on Ebay...

This forum is for questions/discussions about the now sold out first DVD box set by BMG / AnotherUniverse.
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You're still using others' property

Post by Greybird » Oct 26th 2003, 9:23 am

Your covers are beautiful work, well designed ... and yet, I have to react to your outrage.

They aren't, in any legal sense, your property. You used others' work without authorization, and if copyrights and trademarks mean anything, they would not allow your including any of these items:

~ Images owned by Bedford Falls, ABC, and professional photographers. The only release for general use of these items involved their use for publicity for the original series.
~ BMG's cover descriptions.
~ The "MSCL" show logo, a trademark of a.k.a productions.
~ Corporate trademarks of BMG and AIX Media.
~ Even the "DVD" logo is a trademark, held by the DVD manufacturers' standards organization in Japan (Digital Versatile Disc, FLLC).

And is this exempted under "fair use"? No, it isn't, from everything I can see in quite plainly stated law. You're using these materials to make a new creation of your own design. The commercial impact is negligible, so a damage claim wouldn't get very far, but it's still infringement -- especially for the text descriptions, used in full, and for the trademarks.

And many such matters have still been litigated, if only to maintain the holders' claims on such property. Especially for trademarks, where no "fair use" exemptions exist.

With all of this being true, what is the point of being so bothered about something that was inevitable, the posting or offering of such materials elsewhere? You have no legal rights to enforce, and you never did have them.

And why should this occasion more anger on your part than would be appropriate for a host of other unauthorized items on this site?

~ The "MSCL" show logo, once again.
~ The episode transcripts use the property of a.k.a productions.
~ The individual and scene stills are not used solely for publicity or review purposes.
~ The fan fiction is even more an appropriation of trademarks (the characters created and owned by a.k.a productions) than your covers.
~ The audio and video items, those should be obvious.
~ Even "Breathless" is copied from elsewhere.

Almost the only item that escapes any such taint, in fact, is Bill Blais's "Angela's World." He wrote and authorized his commentary/review work specifically for Joyner's abortive "MSCL" book, and then published it here.

Does any of this, realistically, risk litigation? Probably not. If Bedford Falls, et al., haven't complained by now about such infringements -- all of them, as with your covers, of nearly nil commercial value -- they very likely never will. If "My So-Called Gothic Life" (most of which I gathered for the fan fiction section from elsewhere) isn't enough of a literally bloody parody to outrage them, nothing is.

What this means is that, although you have every reason to be pissed at others' bad manners in distributing these covers, you're still being unrealistic about it. "MSCL" material has been duped and distributed since before the show's original run ended. I obtained two such fan compilations in 1995 on CD-ROM, one from the U.S., one from Germany. Nearly every facet, whether images, sounds, or words, has been shared ad infinitum among the "MSCL" fan network.

With all of that, you're the only one brazen enough to make a copyright claim about your own unauthorized -- though entirely benign -- use of these materials. And to ask that others report violations of conditions, for use of these covers, that you had no legal right to insist upon in the first place.

You have every right to decide to not continue this project. What makes no sense is to pretend that the related matters of intellectual property don't even exist.

It would be more seemly to simply be glad that Zwick, Herskovitz, and the others don't choose (for now) to make a big deal about your infringements, or about a host of others on this site and elsewhere. And to not act as if you believe that this material, despite your rearrangement and redesign, is in any sense your legal property.

Well, somebody had to say it at least once.
Greybird of Starhaven
"MSCL" crazy since March 1995

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Post by GaryEA » Oct 26th 2003, 3:13 pm

I feel that something is being forgotten here.

I referred to the covers as "my custom covers", because, well, I made 'em. I hated what AU came up with so I took the one part of their design I liked and reworked the rest. It's hard not to feel like their own after you put that much time into making them and then hearing that so many people enjoyed them.

But I've never, ever claimed ownership of the images, titles, or text on the original covers, or forgotten the legal aspects of making custom covers.

My name is on them so that MSCL fans who have comments or might have problems with the covers can reach me. There are no UPC codes to prevent sales of bootlegs copies. And the only place you can get them is a not-for-profit fan site, for free.

The reason why I was so upset in the first post, and contacted Ebay, is because the one thing really I was really hoped would not happen, happened. Who knows if the discs he was selling were boots or not - would you want to help to sell them?

It's sleazy to pull the covers from the site, ignore the disclaimer and tack them onto an auction to boost a sale. That's not what they're there here for, and that's why I was so angry.

EDIT: One last thing; I keep hearing that I'm overreacting or burning the MSCL fans for not making a bonus disc cover. Whether or not that auction took place, it was MY decision to make it, or the inserts, based on whether or not I was enjoying making them.

Right now, it's not the case.

I hope that clarifies things.


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Post by Jason R » Oct 27th 2003, 10:43 pm

Find something you do enjoy. (I mean this in a good way).

GaryEA wrote: EDIT: One last thing; I keep hearing that I'm overreacting or burning the MSCL fans for not making a bonus disc cover. Whether or not that auction took place, it was MY decision to make it, or the inserts, based on whether or not I was enjoying making them.

Right now, it's not the case.

I hope that clarifies things.


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Post by Nothingman » Dec 16th 2003, 7:16 pm

Anyone know where Gary's been?
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 16th 2003, 7:18 pm

You can email him or PM him using the links in his profile.
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Post by ivtv » May 19th 2004, 9:17 pm

I haven't been around here in a while. I kinda gave up on getting the bonus stuff - but was happy to see the stuff is now being sent out.

Anyway, I realize the covers that were made have been taken down.

I never got a chance to print them out seeing as I didn't have a working printer until a few months ago.

If the person that made them wouldn't mind, would someone be able to email me the high-res. versions to print out?

Thanks ahead of time to anyone that can help.

my email address is !ivtv@! (minus the exclamation points)

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