If a reader were to photocopy an entire book, could the copy machine vendor be sued? Or, what if a graphics package was used to recreate an image pixel by pixel, could the software vendor be sued? Or, if any of us developers write code that someone then uses to steal or infringe on a copyright, could we be sued? Or for that matter, if a reader plagiarized a work by typing it word for word in Microsoft Word, could Microsoft be sued? The keyboard vendor? Intel for providing the chips that facilitated the piracy?
Ridiculous? Not according to Marvel Entertainment (the comic book giant) who has filed suit against NCsoft, creators of online gaming world “City of Heroes”. Players in this gaming world can create avatars, player icons, and some have created images that apparently look a whole lot like copyright Marvel characters.
Beyond free speech and fair use issues, this one is worrying because of its open-endedness. Talk about a slippery slope!
Story on Wired (http://www.wired.com/news/games/0,2101,65722,00.html) and elsewhere.
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