Tuesday, March 09, 2004

But Cthulhu Didn't Die For Your Sins...

Just when I thought the classic Cthulhu/Chick parody was gone forever, it's back on the web, but only until Chick's lawyers are tipped off that it's still up. Why was it removed in the first place? See here for Howard Hallis's story. (Hallis was the artist who created the parody.)

I think Hallis should have stuck to his guns and defended his fair-use rights, but I don't blame him for deciding it wasn't worth it. Here's what happened to someone else who ran into trouble with Chickie lawyers.

I think it really comes down to several points, all of which Chick fails. One, it's not like this is so propriety that he's not putting it online. If that were the case, (like if this were artwork from an issue of "Sandman"), Chick might have been worried that someone would have enjoyed the artwork without buying his tract. That's kind of absurd in a case like this - if we want to "enjoy" his artwork, we can do so for free on his own website.

The other relevant question is, would Hallis have received financial benefits from publishing Chick's artwork? I don't see how. If this were like the sort of case that motivated the original copyright laws, like if he was selling his own pirated copies of Chick's original tract or one of his own with Chick's artwork appropriated for the task, then Chick would be well within his rights to demand Hallis stop. But Hallis's parody was only available on the web, and not for pay. I can't see how its existence in any way would have affected Chick's bottom line.

In short, no harm, no foul.

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