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Winnie-the-Pooh enters the public domain...

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January 09, 2022 | View Online | Sign Up | Shop
A couple holds hands in front of a sunset that resembles Covid-19

Anuj Shrestha

IN THIS ISSUE

Interior design tips

Can you be too good at your job?

Pooh enters the public domain

 
 

Editor's Note

 
 

Good morning. As first-string athletes and actors get sidelined due to Omicron, their replacements are being given a rare opportunity to step into the starting lineup.

The NBA has allowed teams to sign players to 10-day "hardship" contracts in order to minimize cancellations. That's led to hundreds of former and minor league players, like Isaiah Thomas, getting this kind of call while shopping for groceries: "Hey man, can you play for us tonight?" He swapped out his street clothes for a Dallas Mavericks jersey that evening.

On Broadway, understudies and even retired actors have proven to be critical in keeping performances going. Carla Stickler quit theater in 2015 to become a software engineer in Chicago. Last weekend, she flew to New York to star in Wicked as Elphaba.

And in a now-viral clip, Music Man actor Hugh Jackman paused the audience's wild cheers at the curtain call to highlight his co-star Kathy Voytko, who…was in fact not a star at all. As one of the show's "swings," she's typically offstage but could fill in for any one of eight roles on a given night. And that night, with lead Sutton Foster out due to Covid, she was the one kissing Wolverine.

So if you've been working on something that hasn't been recognized yet, keep plugging away, stay prepared. Like Voytko, you never know when you'll get your big break.

—Neal Freyman

 

CULTURE

 
 

Q&A

 

Icebreakers With...Dani Dazey

Dani Dazey holding a sledgehammer in front of a pink motel. Dani Dazey

After seeing Dani Dazey's TikTok, you'll shake your fists at your plain white apartment walls and curse the day you thought minimalist design was the correct choice. Dazey is a maximalist graphic/fashion/interior designer who runs the handmade apparel brand Dazey LA. And in 2022, she's joining the Joanna Gaines and Property Brothers of the world with a new TV show, Trixie Motel, on which she'll be helping famous drag queen Trixie Mattel renovate a rundown Palm Springs motel.

We asked Dazey for some home reno tips.

Right now you're renovating a motel for the first time. How did you find yourself involved with this project?

I've had a lot of casting directors randomly hit me up. And they've all said, "I found your account on TikTok." Which is just wild to me, because I've been doing Instagram for so many years and just this past year I started messing around on TikTok. My interiors are so out there and so bold and there's a big resurgence of maximal design. It's really crazy that a fun app like TikTok can directly change your life in such a profound way.

What's a simple project for someone to start with if they want to redecorate a room but they're a little nervous they'll ruin everything if they go too crazy?

Somewhere along the way, people became afraid of color and they didn't know what to do or how to use it. Something I like to do all the time is make a circle mural on a wall. It's just a big dot behind a bed or a couch or a credenza. That's a really fun and affordable way to bring a pop of color to your space that feels tasteful.

What piece of furniture would you recommend people splurge on?

Couches. You want something comfortable, you want something beautiful. There's so much wear and tear on them that they won't last as long unless you get something good.

What about an item you can spend less on without sacrificing quality?

I love seeing people flip cabinetry and credenzas. Switching out the hardware on an old cabinet is the easiest thing ever.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

     
 
Fuzzy
 

WORK LIFE

 

Help! I'm too Good at My Job.

Make it work image

Each week, our workplace whisperer Shane Loughnane answers a reader-submitted question about work in 2021. Anything bothering you at work? Ask Shane here.

How would you handle being passed up for a promotion because you're too strong at your current role?—Cameron, Los Angeles

You know, I was just thinking: If I weren't so dang valuable to this column, there's a decent chance I'd be responsible for the entire Sunday Edition by now.

But I digress.

It's unclear if you were given this feedback directly or have independently reached the conclusion that your stellar performance is what's holding you back from that promotion. I'm going to assume the latter—but if it turns out your employer did explain that you're just too good not to pass up, it might be time to consider taking your talents elsewhere (or at the very least, making that possibility known to your manager).

Here are a couple of things to consider:

Have you become too irreplaceable? Beyoncé didn't warn us about this, but it's easy to become a "one-person show" when you're really good at something. If you're not taking opportunities to delegate and teach (which, incidentally, are characteristics that might showcase your promotability), you may be setting up your own barriers to advancement. If nobody else can do your job and your work isn't well documented, then replacing you might not seem worth the headache it would create.

What skills are needed to be successful in a more senior position, and how are those different from the ones that have made you shine in your current role? It's entirely possible that the hiring team is simply prioritizing different factors than you realize. If you haven't already, ask the appropriate decision-maker, "What would make me a stronger candidate for the next promotion?" Their response will tell you a lot about how invested they are in your continued development and, in turn, how invested you ought to be in them going forward.

In the meantime, us "too strong" folk need to stick together. Here's a little soundtrack for your Sunday.

     
 

ANALYSIS

 

Welcome to the Public Domain, Pooh

Original black and white illustration of Winnie the Pooh E. H. Shephard

It turns out January 1 is more than about learning which friends have decided to start reading again: It's also Public Domain Day, a "holiday" that marks the date when historic books, movies, songs, and other creative works previously protected by copyright can be freely adapted and used by the public. This year, the public domain Santa gifted us 100-year-old Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway novels, 400,000 audio recordings, and the ultimate treats: the original stories of Winnie-the-Pooh and Bambi.

Each year, Public Domain Day brings countless pieces of old—and sometimes forgotten—works back to life. In 2022, that means marketers like Ryan Reynolds can legally use Pooh's likeness to promote his cell phone company. Or you could write a TV adaptation of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd set in the Hundred Acre Woods.

A few caveats for your gritty Piglet crime drama. Just the original 1926 story entered the public domain, so you can only use author A. A. Milne's version of Pooh, not the later, more cuddly interpretation beloved in Disney movies. And Tigger is still off limits for a few more years, since he didn't enter the cannon until 1928.

Where do these rules come from?

When the first US Copyright Law was passed in 1790, it allowed creators to hold the rights to their work for 14 years. The point? Intellectual property protection grants creators an effective monopoly of ownership over their work for a period of time, incentivizing that creator to keep on creating and spurring others to innovate as well.

Since then, additional IP laws have extended copyright protections to 100 or more years, long past the lifetimes of the original creators.

And it's mostly thanks to Disney. By 1909, copyright law offered 28 years of protection with an option to extend for another 28 years. But when Disney released Steamboat Willie, starring a certain cartoon rodent, it knew it wouldn't want to give up the rights to Mickey Mouse so soon. After Disney lobbied harder than Big Dairy could ever imagine, Congress passed the Copyright Act of 1976, which protected an author's work for their lifetime plus an additional 50 years after they died, and protected work owned by corporations for 75 years.

When the 2003 Mickey Mouse deadline started to get closer, the '90s Disney legal team rehashed the playbook of the '70s team, and in 1998, Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act, known to critics as "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act."

  • Whatever you want to call it, the law offered creators another 20 years of copyright protection after their death (from 50 to 70) and gave corporations up to 120 years of protection from the work's creation. So Mickey Mouse isn't slated to leave the magic castle until January 1, 2024.

Big picture: Critics argue that the intentions of traditional copyright protections were not to secure $80+ billion revenue for Disney with a pantsless bear, and that—by making popular stories and characters off-limits—they fundamentally ignore what makes great art possible in the first place: collaboration and reinterpretation. As legendary tech editor Kevin Kelly wrote, some of Disney's biggest successes are reworked fairy tales from…the public domain.—MM

     
 
TaxAct
 

REAL ESTATE

 

Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that was really rooting for you. We'll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

LA home of Tyra Banks views of front, living room, kitchen, pool and backyard at night, rooftop, and mountain view.Sotheby's

Today's property belonged to none other than the legendary supermodel, OG "beautytainer," and inventor of "smize," Tyra Banks. Her 6,160 square-foot home in Pacific Palisades, CA, is just big enough to gather 15 of the hottest people you've ever seen and make them all live in it while competing for money and fame. Other amenities include:

  • 5 beds, 6 baths
  • Subway tile kitchen walls
  • Panoramic views of the mountains and ocean
  • Rooftop hot tub (best place for that)

How much to be America's Next Top Homeowner?

     
 

RECS

 

Just Click It

1. The tenacious quest to find the world's best rice. (Taste)
2. Is Clubhouse dead? Not if you are in South Asia. (Rest of World)
3. Why scientists become spies. (The New Yorker)
4. Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions. (eurverus)
5. How and why Disney recycles its shots. (Cartoon Hangover)
6. The return of the urban firestorm. (Intelligencer)
7. Cryptoland is where satire and reality are indistinguishable. (Cryptoland)
8. What Americans think a workday in Finland is like. (Morning Brew)
9. How do you practice responsible astrology? (Wired)
10. A note of reassurance from your school district regarding our updated Omicron policies. (McSweeney's)

Looking for more? Check out our latest Markets 101 clip on how to find your investment strategy, presented by Yieldstreet.*

*This is sponsored advertising content

 

CONTEST

 

Meme Battle

Welcome back to Morning Brew's Meme Battle, where we crown a single memelord every Sunday.

Today's winner: Dalton Lamberth. You can hang out with us, Dalton.

Meme of Obama giving a medal to himself

This week's challenge: You can find the new template here for next Sunday. Once you're done making your meme, submit it at this link for consideration.

 

ANSWER

 

It just sold for $7.9 million.

         

Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, and Shane Loughnane

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