1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Copyright and the Cut-up Technique

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Jul 15, 2013.

    Does anyone know how this writing technique gets away with copyright issues? Or doesnt? I've tried looking for some article that addresses
    it but I can't find anything.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Could be subject to copyright. How large a portion are you keeping intact from any given work? Are there any ornamental features or graphic elements from the cut-up document that could be subject to copyright. Those are two things to think about. Easy enough to do this with public domain materials if you're worried about copyright.

    There are potential fair use arguments that could provide some protection as well.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Well, that's the thing I mean if you could cut words from an article phrases that sound so generic whose to know where you got them from. Four words could
    be clipped - Chaos in the Banana ( omiting republic ) and you could add it to a poem. But it would be harder to say take four words from Shakespeare
    - darling buds of May and not have everyone know where you got it from.
    I'm wondering if the idea would be that if the words cannot be concretely connected to a work they're up for grabs.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you're cutting them into pieces that small, or otherwise rearranging segments that small, and rearranging them into entirely different sentences, you're distancing yourself quite a bit from the original work and the Fair Use factors start to swing more strongly in your favor. You'd have to look at it on a case by case basis.

    Shakespeare is in the public domain, of course, so there's no copyright issue there. The safest thing to do would be to use only public domain works.

    I've seen some articles talking about preserving larger portions of the cut-up work. Like maybe a series of sentences from one work rearranged with a series of sentences from another. In general, when you're dealing with a fair use argument, the less you use of the original work the better off you are.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Defintely - I've just looked at the How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, got wild and got a life and the author seemed to use whole passages - in order!
    only rearranging a few things. It's like instead of being inspired by the book and ideas she just cut whole passages like a Mad Libs template
    and inserted a few different words.

    I definitely don't want to fall into that category but I'd like to do a kindof word collage without stepping on any toes.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If your writing is lifted from someone else, it is a copyright violation regardless of how you rearrange or disguise it. Whether it can be enforced in a practical sense is another matter. This site does not condone attempts to "get away with" theft of intellectual property.

    A thief who isn't caught is still a thief. Don't do it.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It all depends on what sized segments of the original work are preserved, in my view. If you cut a book up into individual words and wrote your own story by pasting those words as a collage, it's pretty clear to me that's not infringement. Same probably holds true for two-word portions. On the other hand, if you're leaving entire pages intact and somehow arranging them to produce an intelligible end product, you probably are infringing absent some kind of Fair Use defense. Who knows where a court would draw the line. Three word segments? Ten?
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I asked this question because I'm reading Woman's World
    by Graham Rawle. So far it's an great book and an amazing piece of art.
     
  9. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    Cory Doctorow's Pirate Cinema is more or less about this issue. It's a young adult book, but I found it very informative. Doctorow himself writes a lot about copyright and fair use.

    In short it seems that you run a risk by creating cut-up works, but (with literature at least) the risk is relatively small, and you're unlikely to be challenged. It seems logical that the more cut up a cut-up is, the safer you are with it.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks for the tip on Cory Doctorow - I'll check him out.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you are interested in that sort of thing, you might also search YouTube for Doctorow's speeches on the subject. He does a nice job.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks!
     

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