Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Fox Vs. the Jayne Hat – 4/23/2013

Whether you’re interested in panoramic photography or crafts and copyright, this week’s show has something for you. The gang starts by discussing their techniques for shooting great panoramas, followed by a conversation about the complexities of copyright law and props.

Comments (18)

18 thoughts on “Fox Vs. the Jayne Hat – 4/23/2013

  1. Pretty sure its not a copyright issue at all, but a trademark issue, and its too bad that you are mixing the terms in this video because they are very different concepts (to be fair, everyone uses them as if they are the same thing even though they dont). Copyright law applies to intellectual property, trademark law applies to “trade dress”, i.e, unique logomarks and names (such as “Jayne Cobb” or “Firefly”).

    If the hat was in fact made for production by a propmaker, then there would be copyright involved. But in the articles I have seen there’s been no mention of that, which makes me think the take-down notices were related to the use of the “Jayne Cobb” (and perhaps “Firefly”) trademarks alone.

    Copyrights do not need defending to be valid, trademarks do or they risk becoming genericized or diluted, invalidating their status.

    From what I understand they began doing takedowns due to someone licensing the “Jayne Cobb” name from 20th Century Fox and selling an official replica.

    From a legal standpoint, the takedowns of items using the trademarked name is done to avoid confusion between the official product and the Etsy hats. I’m not saying this would actually happen, since the buyers are probably well aware of what they are buying, but that is the purpose of trademark laws and sadly they don’t account for varying degree of market awareness.

    People on Etsy are already selling the hats under names that could not in any way be mistaken for an official product and should be fine unless a new CND concerning the design itself is sent. 🙂 They are no longer using the show’s trademarks to sell their goods.

    You also mention fair-use, but if money is involved it only really applies to “one-off transformative works” (in practice, this essentially means “fine-art pieces” only). Anything that is replicated in multiples and commercialized to any degree at all falls outside fair-use.

    Now, personally I think fan-art needs its own category in fair-use law 🙂

    Also, it was fun coming here this morning and seeing both Adam and Jamie content on the top. 🙂

  2. Another example is that you can’t publish anything saying that you are having a “Super Bowl” party. Our church has had to start referring to it as a “Big Game” party.

  3. A legal professor I had in college had a term to describe when a product name becomes generic. He called it committing “genericide”. A good example of this would be a product like Q-tips or Kleenex. A lot of people don’t even know that those things are actually brand names and not what the actual product itself is called. Imagine if you went into a store and asked for a box of Kleenex and they handed you Puffs. You might not even care because all you really wanted was tissues. The Kleenex company would probably have a fit though.

    Imagine if Coca-cola had committed genericide. You could go into a restaurant and ask for a Coke but they give you a Pepsi instead without a second thought. It seems strange to think of it happening to other big products, even though most people wouldn’t care when it happens with something like tissues. I’m pretty sure that’s why restaurants always correct you and say something like, “we don’t have Coke but we do have Pepsi” rather than just giving you whichever brand of cola they happen to have. It helps prevent a brand from committing genericide.

  4. Thanks! You guys usually put up something to go along with the podcast, so I came here to check. My attempted spelling of the method… was not particularly close.

  5. That is the general rule for hotels.

    The cheaper the hotel, the cheaper all the amenities are (free internet, free breakfast, free parking, etc.), the more expensive, the more the charge you for every stupid thing ($20 per day internet, $10 breakfast, $15 parking, etc.).

  6. Guys, particularly will – please do not try and argue or talk about the law. It is very apparent that your knowledge of the field comes from Wikipedia, movies and conversations with your non-legal peers about ‘fictional laws’ (or what you imagine the law to be).

    If you have a subject heavy in a field such as law, physics, history or any others that you do not adequately understand you should invite an expert in the field onto the show. For this episode, an IP lawyer would have significantly improved and streamlined the conversation.

    Also will tends to babble, restate the points others have made and cut over the top of them with meaningless garbage. He also has the journalistic habit of making a question four sentences long as a way of interjecting his own point of view. I noticed this particularly in the recent Jamie segment.

    I also notice Adam was much more reticent on legal matters (such as naming fox, or talking about IP law) – probably because he understood the level of knowledge he had on the area.

    It would do well to treat other fields with the same respect you do a subject such as computing or tech where for the specials you’ve brought on people expert in that area. Stick to the enthusiasts understanding of gadgets/etc that you have, and think about when you’re pontificating on a subject you are ignorant in.

    The Podcast and other segments with Adam are consistently the strongest and most enjoyable part of the site – he is genuinely enthusiastic about building boxes or kit-models, etc and it’s highly enjoyable to watch.

  7. You guys honestly taught me something about myself in this video that I was never able to quantify. I have always had a thing about organization and setting things in order on tables to a degree that other people (and myself) didn’t understand. I wouldn’t really call it a compulsion because I don’t feel a “need” to do it, but there is always something satisfying about it. This was awesome to hear and quite enlightening.

    Thank you!

  8. Not to seem like a Fox apologist, or to defend Corporate America, but there is a good(?) reason that companies need to to protect their IP using copyright and trademarks. All of these intangible items form part of the assets of a company, adding some real value on the books. If a company doesn’t protect it’s assets, it can be liable to its shareholders for that erosion of value, amend given the activist culture in shareholders today, I’m pretty sure that’s me of the things at the top of the Legal department’s minds when someone appears to be doing something that makes their intangible assets less valuable.

    There’s a bigger picture here than Fox being, um, #*!holes — some companies certainly do go to extremes, no question — that has to do with the nature of the corporation model itself.

  9. Hey Fox, start selling versions of these crafts that are up to the quality of the Etsy stuff and maybe you’d have a point to shut down those Jayne hats.

  10. Hope they don’t realize that almost all (about 90%) of the “Mal pistols” (Serenity and firefly) sold at cons are made by one guy. Makes them, sends them to other companies and groups that mark up the price and sell them at cons.

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