Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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copyright?

after sombody plastered their page with my - Hot! - .gif, and started up a Hot! page, I decided it was time to trademark or copyright my shit.

I got really riled up, and fired off this correspondence, after he sent me a press release about his page:

To: Chris Steele <csteele@interlog.com>
From: justin@cyborgasmic.com (Justin Hall)
Subject: balls

>I'm pleased to announce the presence of a new web site on the World Wide Web.
>NETLiNkS! is a new help resource offering web links for the beginner to
>experienced web surfer. It is my intention that this page will benefit those
>in the Internet community.
Balls - I'll tell you. you stole my motherfuckin' gif! My Hot! gif is all over your pages! That's infoway robbery!

Give me a bloody break dude.

Don't send me some hyped press release before asking my permission to use my shit!

And then you don't even list me under your hot page links lists. You would think that if you were going to take stuff from me, you would see fit to give me some props.

Screw off.

Learn some webiquette.

>Experienced users can check out our HOT! Page which is updated quite frequently,

Get original. That's my gif and my latest links page right there. Think of your own metaphor. or at least make your own picture. or at least ask me before you cop my shit.

Sincerely,
Justin Hall

he wrote me back and told me to go screw; he'd found the .gif in a public icon directory. he was writing for feedback. he was going to take down the .gif and use something else.

then i got to thinking that perhaps theft/imitation is the highest form of flattery. I wrote him back, letting him know that he can use my hot.gif as long as there is credit given. but it seems to me that i have to let go of my works, or else personalize them to the point of uselessness outside of justin's links context.

the best protection against the threat of someone stealing your intellectual property? keep on making stuff. if you wake up every day and keep doing your thing, some thief is gonna have to work mighty hard to keep up with you. hopefully they might end up putting that energy into their own thing.

i used to have this notice on the bottom of all my pages:

This page and all its contents Copyright 1994 Justin Hall. All rights reserved. Contact me with any questions you might think of, permissions you might want, or problems you may have.

but then i figured, well, most all of it is stories about my life. who's gonna steal that? and i got plenty more. that notice makes it look like i got some kinda special monied thing going on.

1995 copyright resources:

a good starting point, the Copyright FAQ.

Put together by a San Francisco bay area Intellectual property attorney, this copyright web site will bring you up to speed with succinct, easy to peruse copyright essentials.

He explores web copyright issues, but is not able to speak definitively on anything, because there has been so little legal work here.

This is the case with most of the site - a good survey, or introduction, but lacking in serious depth or conviction.

The Institute for Learning Technologies has an ILTguide to Copyright


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