While reading Alan Moore’s graphic novel, Watchmen, last night, I came across a scene that was painfully familiar. One of the main characters, Dr. Manhattan, had left earth as an outcast because he feared his powers were harming those closest to him. Alone on the desolate deserts of Mars, he constructs a crystal palace, and I thought, “I’ve seen this before.” This is the exact same thing that happens in Frozen.
I pointed it out to Gabi, and she also saw the similarities. Then I had the idea to overlay the lyrics from the Frozen Song over the artwork from the comic, estimating it would take about two hours to do it well. And I wanted to get started right away! However, since it was already 11:30 at night, Gabi persuaded me to do a quick Google search to see if this was already a thing.
The internet didn’t let me down.
There was an article in Slate from back in March showing exactly what I imagined. Alex Wolinetz made the original, and it was just what I had in mind.
It is in the interest of culture to have a large and dynamic public domain. The greatest classics of Disney were all based on stories in the public domain, and Walt Disney showed how public domain ideas and characters could be leveraged by others to bring enjoyment and money. But ironically, after Walt died, the Disney corporation became the major backer of the extended copyright laws, in order to keep the very few original ideas they had — like Mickey Mouse — from going into the public domain. Also ironically, just as Disney was smothering the public domain, their own great fortunes waned because they were strangling the main source of their own creativity, which was public domain material. They were unable to generate their own new material, so they had to buy Pixar.
Just imagine the amazing things that could happen if the copyright on the Star Wars saga, Harry Potter, and the Chronicles or Narnia expired and those works entered the public domain. There are already imaginative remixes of all those works out there, but they ride the fine line between fair use and copyright infringement.
What could artists using modern mediums create without worrying about being sued?