Remember my 2010 prediction that brand holders should beware of clowns? I called it the Coulrophobia Epidemic of 2010.
Logorama did it with trademarks, and won an Oscar.
Girl Talk did it with music, gaining top rankings from Rolling Stone, Blender and Time magazine.
And now Eric Faden uses the most copyrighted video anywhere, Disney® cartoons, both to explain and to demonstrate the reality of “fair use” in documentary film making. It takes the works of “the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms” and uses them to argue against longer copyrights and attacks on fair use.
To paraphrase Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “They are using their power of Free Speech, simply to demonstrate it exists.“
Be sure to read the opening copyright un-warning; this is provocation, parody and education from the very start.
McDonald’s® must be smarting from Logorama‘s use of Ronald McDonald as a Pulp Fiction-like gunman. Now Disney has its cartoon catalog used to speak against it in a creative and highly defensible way.
Faden’s work A Fair(y) Use Tale is educational, utterly transformative in its use of source material, and in no way replaces the entertainment use of the original works. Like Disney’s works, A Fair(y) Use Tale is protected by copyright law, but in this case it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
I believe we’re seeing a pattern of backlash against rights holders who over claim the legal protection afforded to their brand, characters, or recording. After all, there is a value in protecting civic dialog, and this requires access to creative and corporate symbols, not for theft, but for creating richer, more effective options of expression.
And yes, in a world where Ashton Kutcher is considered a brand, these “backlash clowns” may have a wind of discontent filling their sails.