Email conversation I’m having with Mark from Negativeland about BipCot



At 11:05 AM 1/30/2016, Mark / negativland wrote:
It’s an interesting gesture, though how would it apply in the real world, or what legal teeth ( so to speak) would it have?

I replied:
Hey Mark,

The BipCot license really doesn’t have a lot of legal teeth…..Other than maybe a preemptive defense against the artist being sued in civil court for slander / libel if the artist makes fun of and/or makes up things about the government person or entity violating the license. Probably no teeth though, because after all, we’re talking about governments. Governments can, by definition, lie, cheat, steal & murder and get away with it. Also, they run the courts, so they always have “home court advantage.”

However, part of the point of the BipCot NoGov license is pointing out that conventional copyright really has lost its teeth due to file sharing & people just not giving a hoot if they share some movie or song published by some giant corporation. Sure, the corporations can try to extract a few grand from the mother of some 12-year-old girl once in a while, but it backfires PR wise. And for every person they fine, about a million people get away with it. I like that.

Think how much damage Warners suing Negativeland over trademark did to Warners vs any “remedy” they received. Or how much damage Metallica did to their reputation by trying to sue their fans over Napster. Or how most people who know what a patent troll is would like to hunt them down and grind them into cat food to feed to feral cats.

The BipCot license is a natural extrapolation of GNU GPL license and the idea of Creative Commons. GNU’s GPL and CC are built over copyright, and have legal “teeth”, but how often is the copyright under CC or GPL actually used in court? Rarely to never. People do what they want with media these days, it’s a great thing. And Negativeland is an important part of why that shift occurred.

By the way, I live in Wyoming now, but I used to see y’all when I lived in the Lower Haight back when you were getting sued. I remember seeing you setting up a card table on the street and letting people copy your music and T-shirts. That was awesome.

I was singing and playing bass in the band Bomb back then. We were signed to Warner Brothers and Warner Chappell and were getting dropped and screwed by both at the the same time they were suing y’all. Us getting screwed over by Warner Brothers and Warner Chappell really informed me on being anti-IP before it was cool.

And Negativeland burning toast on stage at the Kennel Club was a hoot to me.

Mark / negativland wrote:
And, less important, but if they are trying to get this out there more, it’s a kinda off topic and very confusing logo they came up with. A wolf/vampire/monster about to bite you?…. I don’t get what it is supposed to convey.

I replied:
lol. I just told our art guy “Give me something that has TEETH.” And he did. He also added a tongue, as in “we’re sticking our tongue out at entities that violate our license.” It may not immediately convey that, but many logos don’t convey much, they just look bold and memorable. I mean, what the hell does the Starbucks logo convey? Some lady with horns and stars? What does that have to do with expensive coffee and lame neon jazz CDs?

The BipCot logo also sort of references the Rolling Stones’ tongue logo.

I also wanted the BipCot license logo to be reminiscent of the United Nations logo, our logo is the same color and shape. The UN because they make unenforceable rules all the time. And BipCot is pretty much all about unenforceable rules.

The BipCot license certainly has more legal “teeth” than a Copyleft logo. Copyleft has somewhere between no legal weight and a confusing legal weight. Same thing legally with putting “no copyright.” I’d argue that BipCot has as much de facto teeth as Creative Commons or even Copyright these days. Copyright is dead, corporations are just slow to get the memo. They are dinosaurs lumbering and thrashing in the tar pits as they go extinct.

A few dozen people are already using the BipCot license. (They’re listed on the website.)

I never owned any Negativeland official releases, only bootlegs, lol, so I don’t know what, if any, license you use. What do you use?

If you want to try using the BipCot license on a project, I’ll pay for an artist to make a Negativeland-specific variant of the logo that makes more sense to you.


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