Used Without Permission
An Annotated Improprietography

improprietography n. A tabulation of misdeeds; a register of offenses against the Good and Proper. Confessional annotations optional.

The Nature of the Beast

Used Without Permission is the annotated bibliography, or more broadly mediography, for DJ JD, my remix project for WRA417, Fall 2009.

Along with digressions concerning the original sources of these pieces (noted with the icon [authorship]) and speculations on my right, or more likely lack thereof, to use them (marked with [rights]), the annotations chiefly serve to answer the questions: Are any of these pieces indispensible? Could I make this work if I needed, and failed to secure, permissions for some of them? (Annotations for this last labelled with [workaround].)

Clearly collectively they, or near equivalents, are necessary for the work to exist in anything like its current form. I couldn't show Lessig without Lessig footage of some sort (though I could use a proxy)—and obviously I wanted him speaking on certain topics. Had I not been able to use the songs I've taken passages from, that element would have been lost and all I'd have would be a lot of video scenes. And so on.

But what of individual pieces? Is there any one existing work I had to take from in order to make what I wanted? I don't believe there is; I think any one, or any handful, of individual components could have been removed from my stock and I'd have been able to fill in with others.

By some aesthetics that's likely a failure of this remix. DJ Ezra Pound would be disappointed—and he mixed a few in his day (though not as many as the great Scotts poet Hugh MacDiarmid). Everything in the poem, he'd say, must be necessary for the image of the poem. And much of what I have here is merely conveniently accommodating to the moment of its appearance.

Nonetheless, I think it's more in the broader spirit of remix to find sources that are only contingently relevant to the wider work. Sing the songs of the day, Sousa tells us; it's the singing that really matters, not which tunes you choose.

Not all entries are annotated, and some have only one or two of the three annotations. In many cases there's nothing new to say on that topic for that piece. For example, most YouTube videos don't include any original authorship or rights-holder information, so I haven't noted that on every single clip taken from YouTube.

Some Notes on Its Spawning

The Improprietography slouches toward your browser courtesy of another classic Michael Wojcik hack. This time it's a collection of Windows cmd shell scripts and gawk scripts, plus some hand-written HTML header and footer fragments and a CSS stylesheet.

The gawk scripts create most of the document. They read my notes on the sources I used, which are marked up with a simple plain-text tagging system—short and sweet for easy typing. They sort the entries, then write them out as HTML with the appropriate markup for the document. The CSS takes care of the final formatting.

The pull-quotes and images that decorate the right side of the page help identify the entries (and serve as a visual index), and add a bit of visual interest. The images are mostly stills captured from video clips with Windows Movie Maker, then resized using ImageMagick. The pull quotes are just regular styled text. Both are listed in the entry source files with tags, and the gawk scripts create the appropriate HTML markup.

The annotations also appear with each entry in the source files, between start and end tags. The tables they're arranged in are generated automatically by the gawk scripts, if the source file contains annotations for that entry.

The output isn't bad, for a one-off script-generated document. It's all conforming HTML 4.01 Strict and CSS 2.1 (at least the last I checked), and doesn't require scripting or any special rendering capabilities.

Its main drawback is that it's not very sustainable. If I thought I'd be using it again, I'd be inclined to reimplement it as an output format for one of the better Open Source bibliographic management systems. The most promient of those is probably the LaTeX-based BibTeX, which is very popular in the sciences, but supporting an annotated multimedia bibliography like this one in it might be difficult. A better route might be the Firefox plug-in Zotero, which I already use for some citation management; adding output formats to it is a fairly straightforward process, or I could post-process its XML output with XSLT. I might even use my own MultiBib system, though that project is still very much in the experimental stage.


After The Fire. “Der Kommissar”. 100% New Wave. Compass, 2001. “der Kommissar's in town”
Bruce Springsteen. “No Surrender”. Born in the U.S.A.. Columbia, 1984. “no surrender”
[authorship] Discuss amongst yourselves: was Born in the U.S.A. the greatest rock album of all time, or does it transcend such ordinary distinctions? A Bruce Springsteen classic.
[rights] This is a tough one. The snippet used here is short and might fall under fair use, except it's significant—it's the title of the song, and the most recognizable lyric phrase from it. The original work was very prominent. If I used this clip in a commercial work, I'd expect the label to pursue royalties.
[workaround] Fortunately, it's not very important to my remix, just a bit of ear candy. (Now that's an unpleasant metaphor for ya.)
Carbon Leaf. “The Boxer”. Echo Echo. Constant Ivy, 2001. “to the ring, to the right point of view”
[workaround] To be honest, I introduced the "argument" section of the remix partly to use a clip from this song from the underappreciated Carbon Leaf. (If I'd thought of a way to use part of their "Desperation Song" that'd be in here too. Damn conceptual consistency!) So an assertion of control by the rights-holders would probably mean a remix shorter by half a minute. See? Copyright isn't all bad.
Cyndi Lauper. “Money Changes Everything”. She's So Unusual. CBS, 1983. “I said money...”
Ennio Morricone / Cinema Sound Stage Orchestra. “La Marche de Sacco et Vanzetti”. How Big is Your Woofer: The Ultimate Bachelor Pad's Hifi Showoff Album. Delta, 1996 [1971]. “dum, dum-dum, dum dum da da dum...”
[authorship] Ennio Morricone wrote this march; Cinema Sound Stage Orchestra performed it; I ripped it from a fine CD called How Big is Your Woofer, one of those "chick trap" compilations for bachelor pads that I received as a gift many years ago.
[rights] All rights are reserved. Used completely without permission. Well, fair use ought to apply; I'm using a small portion of the entire work (:20 of 2:44) in a new, transformative context; the original work is published; my use is more likely to inspire new sales (don't you want to own that piece yourself after hearing it?) than to discourage them. But I am no doubt technically in violation of my shrink-wrap CD "private home use only" license. Of course this is fitting, since it's a march for Sacco and Vanzetti. I like to think they'd be moderately pleased, though not being executed would probably have pleased them even more.
[workaround] This is the perfect music for this clip (L. walking to the desk), but if I had to live without it, I'm sure I could find something in the public domain to substitute. Perhaps a Sousa march.
Jane's Addiction. “Been Caught Stealing”. Ritual De Lo Habitual. Warner, 1990. “been caught stealing”
[workaround] This is so perfect as the BGM for the crowd-suppression clips, I might actually drop the latter if I couldn't use this snippet.
“claps2”. Partners In Rhyme. 8 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] I found this on Partners In Rhyme, a site that collects royalty-free music and SFX. PIR do not label the original sources of their clips. Quoth they:

The applause sounds in this column are collected from the web and are generally available to everyone for personal use.

PIR did not create these applause sounds and cannot grant absolute permission for any use other than personal.

[rights] Again, here's what PIR have to say: "We cannot grant or deny use for the sounds that are in the 'for personal use' categories as they were not created by us." My right to use this audio clip is unclear.
[workaround] Oh, I think I could manage to record some applause of my own, if need be. But it's clearly extremely unlikely that anyone would challenge my use of this clip.
Men Without Hats. “O Sole Mio”. Pop Goes the World. Polygram, 1987. “O sole mio”
Men Without Hats. “Pop Goes the World”. Pop Goes the World. Polygram, 1987. “pop goes the world!”
[authorship] Montreal trio Men Without Hats, who gave us the '80s classic "Safety Dance", here with another charting hit. (You'll note my eclectic musical selections include both relatively well-known pieces like this one and more obscure items. Draw the audience in and then smack 'em upside the head—that's my motto.)
MGMT. “Kids”. Oracular Spectacular. Sony, 2008. “take only what you need”
Naked Eyes. “Always Something There to Remind Me”. 100% New Wave. Compass, 2001. “something there to remind me”
Ooklah the Moc. “Curb Your Dogma”. Smell No Evil. Ooklah the Moc, 2001. “Curb your dogma!”
[authorship] Of course you recognize the musical stylings of alt-rock ensemble Ooklah the Moc (the most prominent of bands named for characters from Thundar the Barbarian). This is from their mad-scientist-rock-opera concept album Smell No Evil. Most of the tracks are about monkeys, but not this one. I think.
[rights] Monkey see, monkey steal. Or hear and steal, anyway. I did get this from a legally-purchased CD, but I exceed my rights in using the piece in my remix. This is a short fragment of the entire song, but it's arguably the most significant fragment (as with the "Satisfaction" precedent), so a court might reject a fair-use claim.
[workaround] While not critical to the conceptual force of the piece, "Curb Your Dogma" is pretty darn funny. It's one of the audio fragments I'd particularly like to keep; I don't know of a substitute with quite the same rhetorical effect.
Ooklah the Moc. “Fascist Couplet”. Smell No Evil. Ooklah the Moc, 2001. “put on a happy face until you die”
[rights] I have essentially this entire track here, so I can't even plead fair use in this case.
[workaround] Probably no single piece of BGM is really indispensible to DJ JD. If I couldn't use this one, though, I'd probably run the Copyright clip silent, as I don't know of anything else quite so fitting.
Queen. “The Show Must Go On”. Classic Queen. Elektra, 1992. “the show must go on...”
Regina Spektor. “Edit”. Begin to Hope. Sire, 2006. “you can't edit”
[rights] This is another entry in the short-but-significant category; fair use might not apply because the selection is integral to and reminiscent of the original work. And since the album is a recent and popular one, the label might be inclined to pursue copyright violations more aggressively.
[workaround] This is one of the pieces that fits particularly well thematically, since the lyric "you can write, but you can't edit" (albeit lifted from the context of Spektor's song) resonates with Lessig's complaint. It'd be a shame to have to exclude it.
Son Volt. “Live Free”. Trace. Warner, 1995. “live free, or die”
[authorship] Alt-country-rock band Son Volt, the successor to Uncle Tupolo, recorded this track for their Trace album. The title and fragment I'm using are misleading—this isn't some bit of jingoistic nonsense but a meditation on the complexities of human relations, or some such thing.
Suzanne Vega. “(If You Were) In My Movie”. 99.9 F°. A&M, 1992. “you could be the priest”
[rights] The piece I've cut from this is relatively long, even if it's only one of three or four similar verses. A court might be dubious about a fair-use claim.
Tears for Fears. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. 100% New Wave. Compass, 2001. “everybody wants to rule the world”
The Jam. “That's Entertainment”. Greatest Hits. Polydor, 1991. “that's entertainment”
The Refreshments. “Banditos”. Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. Polygram, 1996. “and that seems fair”
They Might Be Giants. “You'll Miss Me”. Lincoln. Restless, 1993 [1988]. “my body walks and my genius talks”
[authorship] An obscure track off a classic album from the Two Johns. (More people know Lincoln for "Ana Ng", one of TMBG's charting hits.)
[rights] This is copyrighted material, and no doubt ASCAP would be on me like drosophilia on dross if my remix were a for-profit work. In a world of sweet reason, though, fair use ought to apply, as all the standard tests are met. (On the other hand, I wouldn't mind throwing a crumb to the boys in exchange for the use of their innovative work.)
[workaround] On the other hand, I wouldn't mind throwing a crumb to the boys in exchange for the use of their innovative work. This is one of the sources I'd be willing to consider paying for rather than removing.
Think Tree. “Hire a Bird”. eight/thirteen. SineAppleSap, 1990. “wire the words (yeah yeah)”
Tom Lehrer. “Lobachevsky”. Songs & More Songs by Tom Lehrer. Rhino, 1997 [1953]. “Plagiarize! Let no one's work evade your eyes”
[authorship] Tom Lehrer, mathematician and poet for the people, offering us some poetry about another mathematician. I spared you the bit about Reimannian manifolds.


“10 Minutes to Announce Two Ideas”. Posted 2008. YouTube. 5 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] Posted by lessig (Larry Lessig himself, presumably, though that's difficult to verify) to YouTube.
[rights] Well, I'll be damned if I can find a license indication anywhere on this work, either in it or on YouTube. (YouTube does have a generic statement that posters retain ownership of their original content.) Where's your CC label, Mr Creative Commons? Fortunately, Fair Use likely applies, since I've only used a couple of very short bits, in a significantly transformative way.
[workaround] The couple of clips I have from this piece are actually taken out of context—in this piece, L. is talking about government, not remixing or IP law. I could likely find similar bits elsewhere in the vast realm of Lessig-related footage on YouTube and the like.
TEDtalksDirector. “Larry Lessig: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law”. Posted 15 November 2007. YouTube. 4 October 2009 <>. [still]
ACLU of Northern California. “Operation Correction (Part II)”. 1961. Internet Archive / Prelinger Archives. 13 October 2009 <>. [still]
“Authors@Google: Lawrence Lessig”. 2006. Posted 27 March 2007. YouTube. 5 October 2009 <>. “make sense of insane legal doctrine”
[authorship] Posted to YouTube by AtGoogleTalks. The creator appears to be a Google representative; the video is a recording of Lessig's talk at Google's New York office for the Authors@Google series.
[rights] As is typical with YouTube, there doesn't seem to be any license information available for the piece. My use of it satisfies standard Fair Use tests (short, non-critical excerpts used transformatively in a new original work, with no encumbrance on the market for the original, which is available free of charge).
[workaround] No need to worry about a workaround for this piece. And in any case, as with my other L. materials, I can find other videos where he makes similar claims.
“Big Thinkers - Lawrence Lessig [Law Professor] (1 of 3)”. 2002. Posted 2008. YouTube. 4 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] This clip is from a series of videos uploaded to YouTube by onetirednumbers. According to the description, the original source is an episode of the Big Thinkers television show on ZDTV / TechTV.
[rights] Presumably copyright is still held by TechTV. The clips I'm using are a small portion of the total work, used to create original content, of moderate significance, and unlikely to affect the market for the original; so fair use likely applies. But my source was onetirednumber's upload, which definitely exceeds the bounds of fair use, so under a completely effective regime of copyright control I wouldn't have been able to find this material in the first place.
[workaround] As with all my Lessig footage, the general "no one piece is critical" rule applies here. That said, I did get a good clip of L. walking and sitting at a desk for my remix from this piece, which I'd be sorry to lose.
“Colbert Dance Remix Interview”. Posted 10 January 2009. YouTube. 4 October 2009 <>. [still]
[workaround] There are many remixes of this scene from the Colbert Show (as Colbert obviously intended), so had I not been able to harvest my clips from this remix, I'd've had plenty of alternatives. The potential obstacle would be the unavailability of any of the remixes or the original footage—which would have suited my purposes, though it would lose the slight frisson of remixing a remix. This clip is a fun bit for the end of the work and I'd be sorry to lose it.
Federal Communications Commission. “FCC Copyright Warning”. Posted 2008. YouTube. 5 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] The Federal Communications Commission created this memorable bit of video, widely seen across the land by people who haven't hacked their DVD player's firmware to let them skip past it. I grabbed this copy of it from YouTube, where it was helpfully posted by Commack08.
[rights] Commack08 says we should feel free to download this clip and use it in our own videos. I suspect Commack08 is not the actual rights holder, though that does sound like the kind of username Michael Powell might concoct.

A quick search did not turn up any official statement from the FCC about copying their copyright warning.

[workaround] It would be sad to lose this, but I would somehow persevere.
geekentertainmenttv. “Lawrence Lessig, Just a Lawyer”. Posted 11 December 2008. YouTube. 5 October 2009 <>. [still]
“[Lincoln Highway Dedication]”. 1915. Internet Archive / Prelinger Archives. 8 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] The creator of this footage is unknown. I found it in the Prelinger Archives.
[rights] The materials in the Prelinger Archives are in the public domain and are freely available for any use, according to the rights summary at Internet Archive.
[workaround] There's no need to find a workaround for this content—I can use it in any project, regardless of disposition.
psutlt [Pennsylvania SU Teaching and Learning with Technology]. “Lawrence Lessig Keynote at 2008 TLT Symposium”. Posted 27 May 2008. YouTube. 4 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] The psutlt YouTube account appears to be officially associated with the TLT series at PSU, which suggests that the uploading of this video was authorized by the rights holder.
Sid Davis. “Gang Boy”. 1954. Internet Archive / Prelinger Archives. 6 October 2009 <>. [still]
vladnik. “Crash course in the &lquo;read-write&rquo; internet by Lawrence Lessig”. 2006. Posted 15 August 2006. YouTube. 4 October 2009 <>. “creativity these technologies beg for”
[authorship] vladnik, the YouTube user who posted this, describes it as an excerpt from L.'s keynote at Linuxworld 2006. The video contains a "fly" from (now, a tech-news website owned by Incisive Media Ltd. It seems reasonable to guess that this piece was edited by vladnik from footage of Lessig distributed by vnunet / Incisive Media.
[rights] Incisive Media restricts copying of content from the site to personal non-commercial use, according to their current T&C. I don't know whether those were in effect when vladnik edited their Lessig footage; if so, his use likely violates them, since posting to YouTube probably exceeds "personal use". That would in turn likely encumber my use of his YouTube posting, even if fair use would otherwise have attached.
William J. Ganz for RCA Victor. “Command Performance”. 1942. Internet Archive / Prelinger Archives. 8 October 2009 <>. [still]

Still Images

“57634095 [Clapping Hands]”. Fotosearch / Publitek. 11 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] Photographer unknown. My source was, which lists it as a stock photo. I found it using Google Image Search.
[rights] The image itself is royalty-free. However, charge between $90 and $340 for its use, and somehow I neglected to pay.
[workaround] Easily replaced with any old clapping-hands image.
“eulaXXL [License Certificate]”. Graphics Factory. 11 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] I stole this image from Graphics Factory.
[rights] Most of the artwork at is available royalty-free with purchase of a membership. That implies (Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis) no license is granted to their artwork without such a membership—and I don't have one. And in any case it's not clear that they include their EULA logo in the artwork they license. Since I'm using the whole thing (or more precisely a derived work, as I've resized it and converted it to a different format), fair use doesn't apply.
[workaround] It'd be easy to avoid using this asset. I took the first clip-art license certificate image I found. There's likely a free-for-use one available; if not, I could draw (or otherwise render) my own. And like the other annotation logos, its only function is to be a fancy bullet point; it's essentially decorative.
“Popping Champagne Cork”. 2009. Dwight Johnston. 13 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] I found this on Dwight Johnston's blog, via Google Image Search. There's no author information; I don't know if Johnston created it, or simply found it somewhere and decided to use it, just as I did. (There's no author information in the exif metadata, either.)
[rights] Copyright status and license unknown. Fair use does not apply.
[workaround] I put this in on a whim, so losing it would be inconsequential.
“Stop-Hand Symbol”. 2007. Wikimedia Foundation. 11 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] Taken from the Wikimedia Commons.
[rights] Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0. That requires attribution, which this document provides. It also requires redistribution under an identical license, which I explicitly grant (for this image) here and as part of my Ideoplast license exceptions.
[workaround] I can use this image in this project regardless of its disposition, provided I continue to supply attribution.
“Writer, author, bard, poet”. Clip Project (U. Palavikou). 11 October 2009 <>. [still]
[authorship] Artist unknown. Original source is; their Terms of Use say that works on the site "blong to their own respective owners", which is as uninformative a tautology as one could wish for; they do not appear to identify said authors anywhere.
[rights] claims copyright (though not ownership, per above). They grant a license to use the work in non-commercial products, with attribution; this entry constitutes that attribution, so I'm within my rights to use this image.
[workaround] No need for a workaround here, but if there were that wouldn't be a problem. This image is just a decorative feature of the bibliography.