August 17th is a momentous day in the Kanaan household for two reasons. The first and most important: it's the anniversary of my first date with my wife. Thirteen years ago I went on my last first date with a woman who would later marry me and encourage me to follow that crazy idea I had one day to go to law school. I love you Steph!
The second is that today is the two year anniversary of the beginning of this blog. That's right! The [Legal] Artist™ is now a toddler: running around shrieking, smacking pots and pans together, drawing on the walls, and putting its finger into electrical sockets. I am shocked the blog made it this far. When I started it back in 2012, I had just taken the bar exam and was looking for something to kill time until I got a *real* job. I fully expected that my blog would bounce around within my peer group, never to be read by outsiders. Boy was I wrong. The longevity of this blog has everything to do with you, dear readers. You read my musings. You commented on them. You argued with me about my conclusions. You passed these posts around to other artists who really need the information. If it wasn't for you, I doubt I'd still be writing. So for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I've reprinted below my favorite fourteen posts from the last year in no particular order (because I couldn't limit it to just ten). Feel free to take a spin through these and help me rack up some more page views!
- What My Wife’s Pregnancy And Derivative Works Have In Common. Steph and I are expecting our first child (we're two weeks away now!), and on top of using this forum to brag about our kick-ass pregnancy announcement, I was able to shoehorn in a discuss about derivative works... an issue that many artists face, but few know how to deal with.
- Illegal Graffiti Gets Copyright Protection Because It Is Still Art. Few people read it, but I think it's one of my favorite pieces.
- How American Copyright Law Made Kim Jong-un Look Like A Fool: A Beginner’s Guide to the DMCA. Do you remember back in April how it looked like we were on the brink of war with North Korea? Neither do I. But this piece discusses that very issue in the context of a hilarious anti-American propaganda video that was thwarted by a DMCA takedown letter. Anyone legitimately concerned about Kim Jong-Un's regime should read this if you want a reality check about how incompetent it is.
- Star Wars, George Lucas, and How Copyright Term Limits Can Affect The Death of The Author. This was the equivalent of hunting pheasant and then shooting an elephant. By far the most read piece I wrote this year, which is strange because most of it deals with my conflicting opinions on the length of copyright terms. Proof positive that if you mention Star Wars, they will come.
- John Oliver Might Save Net Neutrality. Saving net neutrality is a big issue for me this year, and this post represents the best of my ability to get the word out there. Quick take-away: the FCC is trying to screw you over in favor of large telecoms. Don't stand for it.
- When The Movie(Maker)s Get It Right: How Colin Trevorrow Turned a Huge Plot Leak For Jurassic World Into a Major Branding Coup For Universal. This was fun to write and was also one of my most read articles. A truly inspiring bit of spin on the part of the makers of the next Jurassic Park film.
- My Take On The Great Monkey-Selfie Copyright Controversy. A monkey took a selfie. No wonder you all read this one. I also felt, weirdly, that this is the post where I finally found my voice as a writer. Better keep it up!
- Here’s My Take On the Tarantino v. Gawker Lawsuit Battle. This post took me over a month to write because every time I started, I ended up feeling differently about the situation. Ultimately, I think my final conclusion is a bit wishy-washy, but that's where I stand today. Eight months later and Tarantino has now fast-tracked the film. I wonder if it means he'll drop the lawsuit.
- When Rowling Met Galbraith: How An English Lawyer Broke The One Unbreakable Rule All Lawyers Must Follow. I always enjoy being able to cloak an important issue in something entertaining. Plus, it's an issue that not a lot of people know about.
- On Being Nice. This was the most important article I wrote all year and probably the most widely read and shared behind the Star Wars one. This is also a piece I reread often myself to remind myself just how awful we can be and how rarely it's necessary to be like that. The events of the last few days in Ferguson, MO have made me revisit this piece a few times.
- Reading Contracts Sucks But You Should Do It Anyway Or MTV Will Broadcast Your Address To A Million People. Just a fun piece that I consider one of my best written.
- Vince Gilligan Thinks Piracy Helped Breaking Bad, Turns Out He Might Be Right. It's important to remember that piracy is never justified, but it may also not be as big a deal as we all think. If Vince Gilligan doesn't sweat it, maybe we shouldn't either.
- Off With Their Heads! Graphic Content On Facebook Is Judged By A Disturbingly Uneven System. Facebook is never short for controversy and this piece I wrote last October highlights that. Yet another example of institutional misogyny at its finest. One of my favorite pieces all year and I think one that had the best response from all of you.
- When The Movies Get It Right: A Great Artist Makes A Bad Business Decision In A Great Film, a.k.a. The Curse Of Llewyn Davis. The closest I'll ever come to doing a straight-up movie review. Eight months later, this film still sticks with me because it perfectly illustrates what it's like to be an artist in our society. A great film with a tough message.
I look forward to making year three great, and I hope you continue reading and giving me your feedback to make this blog even better.