"Kind of Screwed"

Andy Baio's copyright run-in is an all-too-familiar story.

My friend Andy Baio just posted Kind of Screwed, a telling of his legal travails around Kind of Bloop, his 8-bit tribute album to Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.”

Andy went to great lengths to license the music involved in the project, and believed that the cover art was a fair use modification of the “Kind of Blue” cover art. The photographer for the original cover, though, disagreed, and threatened Andy with a lawsuit.

I’ve posted on Radar before about how much I admire Andy’s blog for the online form of journalism he often practices. He talks in his post about how the lawsuit threat has made him hesitant to publish anything at all. Despite that, though, Andy negotiated the right to post the full story to his blog. That in itself is a huge accomplishment and service — almost always, DMCA claims that end in settlement include a ban on speaking publicly about it. You should read the story, and when you do, consider that this happens all the time and we usually never hear about it.

Andy was involved in the launch of Kickstarter, which he also used to fund development of Kind of Bloop. I’d love to see Kickstarter offer insurance against this kind of claim to the artists who work through their site — maybe with a commitment to publish settlement stories, as Andy has. An “Insure Me!” backer category would be an awesome feature to let artists make art.

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