Thursday, June 16, 2005

The College Bakery, one of my favorite places to get baked goods in my neighborhood, has cracked down on copyright images:


Some excellent commentary on why this is ultimately a load of horseshit can be found here. An excerpt:

How cool would it be to do a drawing with your kid and have it show up as a cake the next day? Well forget it. What College Bakery is saying with that sign is "The risk of being sued is so high that we'll give up on helping paying customers create their own cakes." Creativity, in this world, is for Trained Professionals, whose work is owned by BigCos. Loss of amateur creativity is a small price to pay for protecting commercial IP holders. Finally, and perhaps most revealingly, the industries fighting for encumbrance of digital IP have often raised the 'restoring analog balance' argument, which is, roughly: "The natural difficulty and generational loss in analog copying made cassette tapes and VCRs bearable. We just want to bring those checks to digital copying." And yet this case -- printing a digital image on a cake -- has exactly those checks, _since the image is designed to be eaten by children within hours of its creation_. No risk of unlimited copies. No longevity issues. No easy transition to other media. And what happens? The same grab for total control, and the same weak regard for side-effects on non-commercial creativity. The 'analog balance' argument is, of course, a lie. Those industries have fought for total control wherever they have been able to, questioning the very existence of core public rights such as fair use or limited copyright terms, and the magic-markered sign at College Bakery is yet another example.