Saturday, April 4, 2009

Transformation, Intention, Distribution, Attribution, Limitation

Transformation, Intention, Distribution, Attribution, Limitation
These are the words that came to me as I sat down to do my blog post about Copyright and Fair Use. Each of these words are important in their own way but transformation is the one that leaves me with a couple of questions:

What actually constitutes "transformation"? Can you just change the color, font, size, and/or layout of an original piece of work and it has been transformed? Like I did with these Wordles that I created all using the same original words.

(A side note - I think this is one of the coolest websites ever. If you haven't tried it you should! Also you can create them and use them in blogs as long as you attribute the images to So all of the images in this blog post are from Wordle and are licensed under Creative Commons.)

What if someone takes a piece that you created, be it text, graphics, or pictures, and uses it to create an amazing product for all to enjoy and benefit from? That would be great and extremely flattering.

BUT . . . . . .

What if someone takes a piece that you created and uses it to promote or represent something that is offensive to you? Much like the use of the picture of the teenager by Virgin Mobile in one of their ad campaigns. Or if someone used it to favorably promote an idea like racism? It might be o.k. under Fair Use - the purpose of the piece has changed - but now how to you feel about being a part of the transformed work?

So, is Fair Use fair to original creators and transformer?

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