Dear Rich: I have been trying to come up with some craft ideas to make and sell. I thought about using CDs or DVDs as clocks by adding the mechanisms and putting numbers on the faces of them. Is this illegal? Can I get in trouble for copyright infringement? No, you won't get in trouble if you're using existing CDs. As we discussed in another post, lawyers may argue as to whether the first sale doctrine covers this repurposing -- is it a derivative work? -- but we feel your CD clocks will go unhassled. You might run into problems if you were to print a celebrity's image on the CD yourself and then sell the CD. (Of course, like everything else in life, there are videos and how-to websites explaining the CD-to-clock process.)
Speaking of craft artists, it's time to drag out the FTC disclaimers because another one of our books just dropped. That's right, more words, more paper, and even an unrecyclable plastic disk. If we weren't so obsessed with getting higher Bookscan numbers, we'd be drowning in environmental self-hate. Well, maybe, we'll figure out XML, learn ePub basics and solve that issue someday. And for you crafters with an iPod, check out our podcast on the subject.