The Australian Women’s Weekly and the violation of TUX the penguin
The Women’s Weekly has a book on shelves at the moment called “Party Animals: Birthday Cakes for Kids”. On the front cover you can see one of the cakes that in the book is listed as “The Penguin Prince” (or a name to that effect, I’m not paying for the damn thing).
Walk past the magazine rack in a supermarket right now and you’ll probably see it. If you have an eye for open source mascots, the thing will friggin’ leap out at you.
The Australian Women’s Weekly has of course copyrighted the above image, so you would think that I’d have to abide by fair usage provisions in the act. Only the relevant portion/no more than needed and such. Like, I couldn’t say… do this;
(Sauce: Jack Thompson’s Old Smokey BBQ Sauce*)
Now it’s not time to crank up Judas Priest’s ‘Breakin’ The Law’. I haven’t done anything wrong. The simple fact is that ACP’s claim to this piece of intellectual property is fraudulent.
ACP has its own gimps “create” (ahem) “The Penguin Prince” by blatantly lifting Larry Ewing’s TUX. What are the conditions on the use of Larry Ewing’s intellectual property?
(Larry Ewing, 1996)
I had a read of the book this evening while at the supermarket (as having used the likeness before I knew of the above clause). Larry Ewing isn’t cited.
So why is this important? Two reasons; the cultural significance of TUX and secondly the philosophy TUX represents.
TUX ((T)orvalds Uni(X)) isn’t a small phenomena. Go to Google Image Search and perform a search on “Tux”. You’ll find a lot more penguins than tuxedos. This is because TUX is the official mascot of the Linux open source operating system.
Linux isn’t just a popular operating system; it’s a cultural phenomena. It embodies an entirely different philosophy to the distribution and ownership of software.
This is where the violation of TUX becomes both ironic and moronic. Linux is distributed under a GPL license, not a copyright license. The various Linux installation disks I have here at home; I can copy and distribute them to my heart’s content without fear of prosecution simply because I am allowed to do so.
TUX embodies software freedom** and a philosophy of intellectual property in opposition to copyright. ACP nab TUX and copyright him, all without citing Larry Ewing.
* Actually very good if you like sauce with a kick (a portion of all sales go to Landcare).
** Software Freedom Day is coming up this September the 15th.