In a mashup culture all manner of digital and graphic goodies get mashed. Mashup artists run along a tightrope that is pinned at one end by copyright law and the other by fair use doctrines. There is no safety net not even under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA]. If a copyright holder feels her work has been infringed then out go the takedown letters followed by legal action if the perp doesn’t roll over and submit. See the news about Muxtape being taken down by the RIAA.
Given the RIAA’s jackboot tactics it is heartening to hear that Jim Davis the creator of the popular comic strip Garfield did not automatically send out cease and desist letters to Dan Walsh who created a knock off of the strip called Garfield Minus Garfield. As Walsh has posted in his site’s header “Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.”
So what did Jim Davis of Garfield fame do? Not only did he embrace the spirit of Garfield Minus Garfield but he reached out to Dan Walsh and together they have signed a book deal.
Epic. RIAA, record labels and artists please wise up.