Similarly, a comic book graphically demonstrates the seemingly endless circles and mazes in which an artist or writer can be led trying to sort out these questions. Bound by Law? also frequently relies on a montage or mix approach that displays how material which may or may not be in the public domain or may or may not be copyrighted plays a role in the expression of ideas. The latter is used to particular effect. As might be expected from strong advocates of the fair use doctrine, the book is replete with undoubtedly copyrighted and trademarked images, logos and symbols. Thus, the comic book not only illustrates but makes a point far better than a traditional written work.
The problem today is at least two-fold. First, Congress has repeatedly changed and extended the length of time before copyrighted work falls into the public domain. These actions have effectively resulted in most of 20th century culture being protected for almost 100 years. Likewise, much of the material published today likely will be protected into the 22nd century.
The problem with fair use stems not only from a lack of clear rules but also the fact some copyright holders have taken a very tough — some might say extortionate — stance. Bound by Law? points out a variety of situations in which works had to be cut or modified because of the money the copyright holder demanded in exchange for using a few seconds or snippet of their material.
Bound by Law? brings these complex issues across in a simple, enjoyable style. Not only does it show the firsthand impact of the issues, it also educates about a variety of relevant court decisions. It is also a commentary on trying to make intellectual property law a benefit rather than a hindrance to modern creative work. Some of its references in this regard are subtle, others more straightforward.