14: Copyright

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Original title: Copyright Law
After reading Slashdot and BoingBoing, sometimes I have to go outside.Original caption: I posted this to a Slashdot thread about copyrights, and without any moderation, over 600 people clicked on it.
Title text: After reading Slashdot and BoingBoing, sometimes I have to go outside.

Original caption: I posted this to a Slashdot thread about copyrights, and without any moderation, over 600 people clicked on it.


This was the twelfth comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous was 10: Pi Equals, and the next one was 11: Barrel - Part 2. It was among the first thirteen comics posted to LiveJournal within 12 minutes on September 30, 2005, on the first day of the xkcd LiveJournal account.

For Cueball, following the copyright wars can be tiring and irritating, but faced with the beauty of nature, its importance fades away. Copyright is a monopoly granted by governments to artists or corporations to control the distribution of their creative works. Before the digital age, it allowed authors and publishers an opportunity to profit from their work without fear of someone making copies and selling them for their gain. In the digital age, when the cost and difficulty of copying has been reduced to near zero, it hasn't worked so well, especially for publishers of music and video. Via the idea of digital copyright, industry trade organizations like the RIAA and MPAA fought to preserve their old business models, lobbying for new laws to protect their income streams in an age where anyone can copy an MP3 file or a DVD quickly and cheaply.

This has involved ordering web sites to take down "infringing" material (and many times material that wasn't infringing), media campaigns comparing file copiers to folks who commit murder on the high seas, and suing artists and writers who have used samples of music or movies in their own work. The RIAA has claimed that rampant illegal copying hurts the artists whose work is copied, as it cuts into the artists' royalty payments; many artists, on the other hand, complain that the RIAA's accounting practices have denied them their fair royalties for decades anyway, and that increased copying leads to increased fans and money through direct sales and is actually better for them than the RIAA. It's a vicious war. An early casualty in the copyright wars was Napster; a later casualty was the concept of DRM (Digital Rights Management) on recorded music and/or elsewhere. The wars have been going on since the early 1990s and essentially ended with the advent of streaming service royalties (Apple Music, Pandora, etc.).

In the title text, Slashdot and Boing Boing are two news aggregation websites that cover (among other things) the copyright wars in detail, usually biased against the RIAA, MPAA, and similar organizations.


[A colored drawing of a hilly, grassy landscape. Cueball is leaning against a tree.]
Cueball: Sometimes I just can't get outraged over copyright law

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First world problems. Davidy22[talk] 14:09, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, definitely! :D A funny thing is that according to Know Your Meme Google statistics the "first world problems"-thing started in 2011, but in Sweden we've had jokes about "I-landsproblem" all since Hipphipp! (a hilarious Swedish humor show) ran back in 2001/2003. –St.nerol (talk) 17:28, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

does this mean i'm a criminal? i pirated minecraft and ksp An user who has no account yet (talk) 10:28, 7 September 2023 (UTC)