TED Conversations

Nigel Bamber

Head of Structural Analysis, Caterham F1 Team

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How did I harm a Beatle?

A short while ago, I started a TED conversation discussing the meaning behind John Lennons' song "Imagine" and it's relevance to our new internet connected world.
Starting the conversation took a couple of attempts as my first attempt was blocked by TED on infringement of copyright grounds. My "crime"? I copied out the words to "Imagine" in this explanation section to illustrate my conversation.
The original use of copyright was to protect artists and creators investment in their creations and safeguard their income from these endeavours.
I'm not sure how my original attempt at the conversation could have damaged either John, if he was still alive, or his estate.
So how much is copyright and IP stifling creativity in this generation. We're all standing on the shoulders of the previous generations of giants. What if the shoulders of giants become out of bounds? Does each successive generation have to start from scratch?

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      Jun 2 2012: Chris,

      That's an amazing bit of research on your part. I had no idea this case had been brought. Don't understand what Yoko's up to these days. :-)

      IP and copyright laws are very complex. These sorts of laws stifle activities not only when they apply, but also when someone doesn't have the specialised knowledge to know if they apply or not.

      They've become the tools of institutions with large enough budgets to have lawyers at their shoulders. Often when cases are brought, a defendent will settle out of court, even if they are technically in "the right" because they do not have the resources to argue the case to completion.

      Have you seen this TED talk by someone who fought back?

      http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/drew_curtis_how_i_beat_a_patent_troll.html
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    Jun 2 2012: Copyright and IP are the inventions of the greedy and controlling.

    The internet is for the consumer not the producers. Fight the good fight.

    John would have been disgusted.
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      Jun 2 2012: I thought it particularly ironic as the song says....
      "Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can" oops! Did I just infringe copyright?

      I find it bizarre that a combination of words or thoughts can belong to someone.
      Even Martin Luther Kings' "I have a dream" speech is subject to copyright.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_of_Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.,_Inc._v._CBS,_Inc.
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        Jun 2 2012: John had some interesting things to say about music vs the music industry.

        It was all about how music is for everyone, it was the industry that made it owned by this person or that person.

        Of course, he drew fire for being hypocritical in that he sang of having no possessions and yet made millions from his songs.

        Yoko runs the Lennon foundation and is pretty quick to jump on any unofficial use of name, image, etc. She probably defends it by saying it's important to control John's image/message so that it stays "pure" but it's just business.
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    Jun 27 2012: Try not to be offended - the TED people are just regular people who are trying to hold some undefined line. They are not lawyers or judges just people with all of the responsibilty and little control=-I guess and that is a recipe for STRESS!
  • Jun 6 2012: Sounds like fair use to me. That doesn't mean that you can make a recording of the song and use it for your profit.

    Best wishes,
    Doug Bell