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I'm not one to dwell on something, to pine and to wallow. I am a positive person and I like to move forward and upward from difficult situations. But, I am a completist, I like to finish what I start, and I like to be thorough. I like to help others through my own experience, and to share information that may benefit others. We artists (and friends!) need to stick together... and speaking of which, I so greatly appreciate all of the support that's been shown to me over the past couple days!
Here is my letter to S6, their response, and my reply to it. If it helps someone, I'm happy.
My email to S6 (email #1)
February 25, 7:27pm
Dear Society 6,
I recently discovered an Instagram "shop" selling my Society 6 art as well as MANY designs from MANY other Society 6 artists. When first I discovered the post (yesterday), it was 22 weeks old. I am 100% certain that the stolen art was art that I specifically designed and prepared exclusively for products in my S6 shop. I just wanted to let you know that those designs have been stolen and are now floating around Indonesia on products I never approved and will never receive any income from. And the "seller" has now disappeared from social media, at least under their former name.
My own case of infringement is not the first that I've heard about from former S6 shopkeepers, and sadly, it probably won't be the last. I don't know how the international illegal art market is obtaining the art— whether you have a hole in your servers, or a bad apple in your bunch. That's for you to know and handle. But, however you deal with it, please deal with it. This IS happening. Ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away. And there will only be more and more people like me that voice our own stories about copyright infringement of the work that we prepared and posted exclusively to our S6 shops.
When we join S6, we understand and acknowledge that you take no responsibility for copyright infringement. But (and I think I can speak for everyone on S6 here) we go in with a certain expectation that S6 will take, at the very least, reasonable measures to protect our work from getting ripped off. Moreover, S6 is more than just a shopping site. It is also a community. In order to keep your community healthy, thriving and undivided long-term, there has to be a certain level of goodwill coming from you toward the individuals within the community whose art is taken from S6 and infringed.
A healthy community helps it's members out as best it can within it's own set of guidelines, though limited they may be. There is a humanity and helpfulness there built in the system. After reading comments and stories of other former S6 artists being shut out (and shut off from their accounts) after voicing the international infringement of their intellectual property which they directly connected to their involvement on S6, I see that there is a serious, fundamental problem. If you are part-shop/part-community, you need to step up to the plate a little. Not asking for a lot here. Acknowledgement and some support, in a seemingly small way, would go a long way in the goodwill department. (How about a community forum for users, with this issue as one of the discussion boards where people can share, unite, and call out infringers?)
Anyway, I am a fan of your site, and I truly hope you will make this issue a top priority to fix.
(attached to message: screenshot from Instagram providing infringing sellers' name)
REPLY from S6 (email #2)
February 25, 7:37pm
Thank you for contacting Society6 Support.
We don't know what "shop" you are referring to, but we'd sure like to see it if you can report it?
(Note: the following portion of the email, in grey, is content lifted directly from Society6's Copyright page)
Please allow us to share some very important information regarding your Copyrights.
First, please be aware that when you post your work to the Internet, no matter the size or resolution of your images, no website (and we mean NO website, not a one) can make it impossible to prevent it from being copied.
It is also incredibly important to us that you understand that while we do everything in our power to maintain your trust as an artist, we are not charged with enforcing the laws that we are required to follow.
Copyright infringement is generally a civil matter, which only the copyright owner can pursue - this means it is your responsibility to make sure that you are upholding your legal interests in your work, we are not authorized to do it for you. We are prohibited from giving specific legal advice on your rights, whether in connection with particular uses of copyrighted works, cases of alleged domestic or foreign copyright infringement, or other matters of a similar nature. You may wish to seek professional legal advice from a copyright attorney and to discuss your legal options.
Please remember, finding your artwork on another site is usually a good thing! In fact we encourage and support the sharing of your artwork as long as it is done correctly and with respect to you as the artist. So if you find your work on another website, please make sure the website is actually unlawfully infringing your copyright and not making "fair use" of your content, or reselling your products (buying them from you and reselling them for a profit). You won't make any friends if you're issuing unwarranted DMCA takedown notices to someone trying to give your work more exposure because they admire it!
If you're still not comfortable with your work showing-up on another site, always start by simply asking the website owner to remove the infringing content. Our experience shows that a polite email to the website admin requesting the image be removed is usually all it takes to resolve the situation.
In cases where your works appear for sale or where someone is claiming the work as their own, contact the individual asking that the works be removed immediately. The next step is to contact the company hosting the site containing the infringing work and ask them to disable the content or the account. When Society6 members have contacted sites like Etsy or Facebook in the past, these companies have typically responded in a reasonable time frame and suspended the content or the user. Please remember that most sites have systems, or specific processes (i.e. DMCA requirements) in place that you must follow in order to handle these matters.
If your desire is to sell your products, please know that we take every action to both protect your images, but also make them compelling for customers to purchase as products, and easy to promote thru social media, blogs, and other websites on the Internet.
Society6 secures your hi-resolution files and only ever provides a low resolution preview of your work on our site. Our product previews are presented at 600px, even though a larger 800px image is now the industry acceptable standard for product previews. It has been determined that at this size (and at screen resolution) there is no way to reproduce a printed product fit for sale.
We do not enable watermarks over your images as research shows it deters people from purchasing your products. There is no other successful online retailer that uses watermarking technology. You may find another site that offers watermarks, but you will quickly discover that all youâ€™ll end up with is watermarked images and dismal sales.
We enable right clicks because this is a great way to allow members and other people to link to your work and give you additional exposure. We believe that disabling right clicks is not a true protection and does more harm than good - anyone that is stealing images understands how you can still copy right click disabled images. Furthermore, even if you disable the click, you can always take a screenshot.
We recommend that you research the relevant copyright laws and their application to your work on the Internet (links below), or consult legal counsel if you are unsure about copyright law.
We recommend that you research the relevant copyright laws and their application to your work on the Internet (links below), or consult legal counsel if you are unsure about copyright law.
Maddening, disappointing, unsettling, frustrating news this morning: I discovered my art has been infringed upon.
At first, I thought this was a fan-based post. But then I quickly realized that I'd come across a social media vulture-stealer-infringer-seller who is selling my designs and many, many others, through their social media outlets.
Of course once they got called out by me, most of their accounts are suddenly private... Guilty!!!
(As of this writing, their Twitter is still public - so feel free to tweet them...
Beaumont Stuffs Facebook account - Now Private!
The ONLY place that had access to these exact same designs other than myself is Society 6, so I'm going to be contacting them as well. Really, REALLY disappointing. I joined S6 last summer and actively had a shop/presence there for about a month or so, until I decided to go indie with Case-Mate Aug./Sept. 2012.. Of course, I *trusted* Society 6.. But my designs leaked out into the underground illegal art trade. So, nice. Now that's a sad state of affairs. When you join Society 6 and sell through there, you are in business with them and entrusting them with your work. It's such a violating discovery to find that the designs I made specifically for my Society 6 shop were leaked. I do not think Society 6 is *directly* to blame for this. But I *DO* think they need to take some responsibility. It is clear that they have a security leak (or more than one?) and they need to get to the bottom of how this happened and figure something out so that it does not happen again. They have GOT to treat this SERIOUSLY. I have read about this happening in the past with Society 6 and I have heard that they were unresponsive to infringement claims such as this. Well, now I am about to find out for myself.
I'll be contacting every social media outlet and every avenue I can to stop this. Please comment if you know of any resources that might help me, if you can spare any advice, or if you just want to offer support!! I truly appreciate it ALL.
Oh... and also: feel free to "friend" them and screenshot any pages you gain access to, and send them along to me. THAT would REALLY help a lot!!
In 2010, Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer programmer and founder of Reddit, downloaded thousands of scholarly articles from the online journal archive JSTOR. He had legal access to the database through his research fellowship at Harvard University; he also, however, had a history of dramatic activism against pay-for-content online services, having previously downloaded and released roughly 100,000,000 documents from the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database, which charges eight cents per page to access public files. Given his status as a prominent “hacktivist” and the sheer quantity of files involved, law enforcement agents concluded that Swartz planned to distribute the cache of articles and indicted him on multiple felony counts carrying a possible sentence of $1 million in fines and 35 years in prison.
Swartz was slated to go to trial this year but committed suicide in early January, prompting a public outcry against the prosecution in his case. Swartz was a prominent voice in the heated debate surrounding modern copyright law and public access and use (see his 2008 “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto”). New York’s current issue contains a great feature from Wesley Yang discussing Swartz’s activism, his life, and the controversy in which he was embroiled.
In the ongoing debate over Swartz’s prosecution, we’ve pulled together a brief reading list on the issues surrounding American copyright in the digital age from OUP’s stable:
A Senior Copyright Counsel at Google takes a look at the changing economic realities of the globalizing, digitizing world and concludes that our government must “remake our copyright laws to fit our times.”
An overview of music piracy stretching back to the advent of recorded sound. The RIAA made headlines throughout the last decade by litigating against users who shared music online, but musicians, record companies, songwriters, and fans were navigating this territory for nearly a century before the Internet became a factor.
The story of one early 20th century musician who spent decades conducting high-profile lawsuits against the leading pop icons of the day. Though he never won a single case, Ira Arnstein managed to have a significant impact on the shape of music copyright through the decisions in his numerous cases.
Spoo homes in on the contested publication of Ulysses to reveal the impact on copyright of literary modernism (and vice versa). Characters such as Ezra Pound, the infamous publisher Samuel Roth, and of course James Joyce flesh out a revealing story about artists grappling with free speech and authorship.
Oxford University Press is committed to developing outstanding resources to support students, scholars, and practitioners in all areas of the law. Our practitioner programme continues to grow, with key texts in commercial law, arbitration and private international law, plus the innovative new ebook version of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice. We are also delighted to announce the new edition of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, one of the most trusted reference resources in international law. In addition to the books you can find on this page, OUP publishes a wide range of law journals and online products.
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Tweet Yesterday’s summary judgment filings confirm that settlement talks have been ongoing–and the Siegel side is in disarray.The motion filed yesterday was as expected as a player trotting to first base after ball 4. When an appeals court sends a case back down saying that the case is all but over but the filing, the [...]
Tweet News reports are circulating that the Siegel and Shuster heirs have asked the lower court to dismiss DC’s copyright lawsuits. What actually happened is rather different. The Siegel and Shuster heirs’ attorney, Marc Toberoff, appears to have conceded that the Superman copyright dispute is over and the heirs have lost. Here’s what happened in [...]
From the 1920s to the 1950s, Ira B. Arnstein was the unrivaled king of music copyright litigants. He spent the better part of those 30 years trying to prove that many of the biggest hits of the Golden Age of American Popular Song were plagiarized from his turn-of-the-century parlor piano pieces and Yiddish songs. “I suppose we have to take the bad with the good in our system which gives everyone their day in court,” Irving Berlin once said, but “Arnstein is stretching his day into a lifetime.”
Arnstein never won a case, but he left an enduring imprint on copyright law merely by getting his days in court and establishing precedents that later led to copyright infringement judgments against such notables as George Harrison and Michael Bolton. Though his claims often strained judicial credulity, Arnstein had a gift for posing conundrums that engaged some of the finest legal minds of his era, forcing them to refine and sharpen their doctrines.
Over the years, Arnstein laid claim to more than a hundred standards of the Great American Songbook. This playlist of 15 songs — from Irving Berlin’s “A Russian Lullaby” of 1927 to Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” of 1952 — is representative, and we have selected recordings that illustrate performance styles from the 20s to today. “No one,” as one lawyer wrote and you will agree, “can accuse Arnstein of courting feeble opposition.”
There has been a lot of great writing about copyright and access to our cultural and intellectual history in the weeks since Aaron Swartz’s death. I have been retreading some of my old favorite haunts to see if there was stuff I didn’t know about the status of access to online information especially in the public domain (pre-1923 in the US) era.
I talk like a broken record about how I think the best thing that libraries can do, academic libraries in particular, is to make sure that their public domain content is as freely accessible as possible. This is an affirmative decision that Cornell University made in 2009 and I think it was the right decision at the right time and that more libraries should do this. Some backstory on this.
So, if I wanted to share an image from a book that Cornell has made available, I have to check the guidelines link above and then I can link to the image, you can go see it and then you can link to the image and do whatever you want with it, including sell it. This is public domain. The time and money that went into making a digital copy of this image have been borne by the Internet Archive and Cornell University. The rights page on the item itself (which I can download in a variety of formats) is clear and easy to understand.
Compare and contrast JSTOR. Now let me be clear, I am aware that JSTOR is a (non-profit) business and Cornell is a university and I am not saying that JSTOR should just make all of their public domain things free for everyone (though that would be nice), I am just outlining the differences as I see them in accessing content there. I had heard that there were a lot of journals on JSTOR that were freely available even to unaffiliated people like myself. I decided to go looking for them. I found two different programs, the Register and Read program (where registered users can access a certain number of JSTOR documents for free) and the Early Journal Content program. There’s no front door, that I saw, to the EJC program you have to search JSTOR first and then limit your search to “only content I can access” Not super-intuitive, but okay. And I’m not trying to be a pill, but doing a search on the about.jstor.org site for “public domain” gets you zero results though the same is true when searching for “early journal content” and also for “librarian.” Actually, I get the same results when I search their site for JSTOR. Something is broken, I have written them an email.
So I go to JSTOR and do a similar search, looking for only “content I can access” and pick up the first thing that’s pre-1923 which is an article about Aboriginal fire making from American Anthropologist in 1890. I click through and agree to the Terms of Service which is almost 9000 words long. Only the last 260 words really apply to EJC. Basically I’ve agreed to use it non-commercially (librarian.net accepts no advertising, I an in the clear) and not scrape their content with bots or other devices. I’ve also seemingly acquiesced to credit them and to use the stable URL, though that doesn’t let me deep-link to the page with the image on it, so I’ve crossed my fingers and deep-linked anyhow. I’m still not sure what I would do, contact JSTOR I guess, if I wanted to use this document in a for-profit project. Being curious, I poked around to see if I could find this public domain document elsewhere and sure enough, I could.
Google Books has it both available and not-available depending how you look for it. Readable online, downloadable if you really fish around for it. Google has nearly identical language to JSTOR: use this non-commercially, don’t scrape content or use bots, leave Google’s watermark intact. Hathi Trust has a discovery layer for this material as well and they provide this concise explanation of how “public domain, Google digitized” is different from the public domain. Seventeen different types of rights, whoo-wee!
The Internet Archive has a copy, though it was a little tough to find, and it’s an OCRed version of the Google Books document that’s been ported to their interface, though this one says NO_KNOWN_COPYRIGHT (all caps not mine).
At that point, I quit looking. I found a copy that was free to use. This, however, meant that I had to be good at searching, quite persistent and not willing to take “Maybe” as an answer to “Can I use this content?” I know that when I was writing my book my publishers would not have taken maybe for an answer, they were not even that thrilled to take Wikimedia Commons’ public domain assertions.
As librarians, I feel we have to be prepared to find content that is freely usable for our patrons, not just content that is mostly freely usable or content where people are unlikely to come after you. As much as I’m personally okay being a test case for some sort of “Yeah I didn’t read all 9000 words on the JSTOR terms and conditions, please feel free to take me to jail” case, realistically that will not happen. Realistically the real threat of jail is scary and terrible and expensive. Realistically people bend and decide it’s not so bad because they think it’s the best they can do. I think we can probably do better than that.
“It was brand new, it was relatively unregulated, and it posed a mortal threat to the music business as it existed at that time, because it was making the product available for free to the public.” That sounds like a discussion of digital music, but it’s a comment on the introduction of radio in the early 20th century.
In this video, Gary A. Rosen, an intellectual property lawyer, explains that the radio industry made the same arguments as digital music providers in their similar battles with the music industry, nearly 100 years apart. The long and tortured career of Ira B. Arnstein, “the unrivaled king of copyright infringement plaintiffs,” opens a curious window into the evolution of copyright law in the United States and the balance of power in Tin Pan Alley. Although Arnstein never won a case, author Gary A. Rosen shows that the decisions rendered ultimately defined some of the basic parameters of copyright law. Arnstein’s most consequential case, against a dumbfounded Cole Porter, established precedents that have provided the foundation for successful suits against George Harrison, Michael Bolton, and many others.
The music industry, radio in the 1920s, and the Internet today
Way back in March, I wrote a post about Pinterest. At that time, I had been contemplating using it to save images to use in my research. Given potential copyright issues, I decided it just wasn’t worth the bother.
That was then. This is now.
I still don’t use Pinterest to save images found while researching various writing projects. Instead, I use it to pick new topics. After these projects are published, I use Pinterest to attract new readers.
If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, members visit this site to do image searches on anything that interests them. There are categories for Animals, History and Science and Nature. You can also do keyword searches.
When I am researching new topics, I click on “Popular.” Granted, this isn’t as focused as a search on Photography or Weddings, but it does tell me what people are Pinning (this is the Pinterest term for copying an image to your own page, called a Board).
One of my primary writing gigs is for Education.com. If I click on Popular and see numerous pins that involve initials or various words or blocks of text used in craft activities, I brainstorm something along these lines for grader school students. The same goes for string art, polymer clay and food served in ice cream cones.
Pinning Down New Readers
Once Education.com publishes my activities, I Pin the images back to my own boards. I have a board for Activities and Crafts and another for Science Projects. Because I took the photos and link back to Education.com, with their permission, there aren’t any issues with who owns what and thus no copyright hang ups. And, if someone repins an image to their own board, that’s more traffic driven our way.
I don’t stop there. I’ve been taking a lot of nature photos to use in my blog posts about writing. A board labeled, obviously enough, Nature Photos links back to my personal blog. Another board, What I’ve Been Reading, links back to either my book review blog or my personal writing blog. On days someone repins one of my photos, I see a bump up in traffic.
What if you don’t write book reviews or crafts? Then think about what you do write. If you write fiction, where is your novel set? If it is a real place, and it is someplace that you visited and took research photos, then put up a board.
Maybe you took scads of photos of clothing and furniture so that you’d be certain to get period details right. Create a board.
Food. Animals. Health and Fitness. Geek. All of these and more are categories on Pinterest. Not that this has to limit you in any way. After all, people can find you with a keyword search.
Get out your camera. Brainstorm about your book and start promoting yourself.
A while ago, I was tidying up after a school event. The librarian had already started her next class, which, I quickly surmised, was the annual “tell them about copyright and plagiarism” lesson for new senior school pupils. Hooray! So, I listened in.
After explaining something about copyright and plagiarism, she gave the reasons why they shouldn’t break the laws. Well, she gave two reasons.
You might get caught plagiarizing in an exam or coursework and then you could be disqualified.
You are committing a crime and if you get caught you could get a criminal record and/or pay other penalties.
These reasons, though true, are neither the whole truth, nor the most important truths, nor the arguments most likely to convince. We (people in general) are not very good at risk analysis. These risks seem far off and unlikely and once we observe that in fact it’s very possible to break copyright over and over again and not get caught, the argument loses all power.
Here are some better reasons (which she may have given after I'd left):
If you break copyright laws, you are stealing; in doing so you are directly hurting individual, real people, most often people who really can’t afford to be victims of your theft. (When people hear specific stories of hardship, this is powerful, and most young people care deeply about such things. In fact, it’s my belief that most people of any age care, and those who don’t are perhaps unreachable anyway. Some people will steal and hurt whatever we do or say.)
If you download illegally, you are also putting money into the rapacious pockets of large corporations. (Most people don’t particularly like the thought of benefiting huge companies while harming individuals.)
If you wrote something and discovered that, although you were making no money from it, someone else was, how would you feel? How would you feel if that happened over and over again, and you remained poor while the people stealing it grew richer and lazier? (The “imagine if it were you” argument is a strong one.)
I’ve been thinking (and talking!) about copyright and its effects recently, and I’d like to draw your attention to some things.
1. ALCS have produced some wonderful classroom resources for primary and secondary pupils, which outline the issues in useful and clear ways. Consider pointing teachers in their direction?
2. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27, para 2: “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author." Just in case anyone thinks we don't have any moral authority to protect our work.
3. You might be interested in the story in Der Spiegel of what happened when Julia Schramm, of Germany's Pirate Party, which campaigns on an anti-copyright platform, discovered that her book was available on an illegal download site. When she sold publishing rights to Random House, what did she think that meant, if she doesn't agree with copyright anyway and allegedly regards Intellectual Property as "disgusting"? Surely a better course of action for her would have been to self-publish or crowd-fund the project, then assigning a Creative Commons Licence?
4. What about TrafficPaymaster, the "scraping" software sold by HowToCorp? Do read this Guardian article. It makes the point that HowToCorp was founded by Grant Shapps, now chairman of the Tory party. He handed the company over to his wife, but I'm guessing there's one member of the Government who just may not be on our side in the copyright argument. I do hope I'm wrong.
5. And companies that profit from illegal download sites? Danuta Kean explains it brilliantly here. Please read her full piece but these were some points that stuck out for me:
That the illegal filesharing sites iFile.it and Library.nu are alleged to have made $11m from ebook downloads.
That "BitTorrent –the technology of choice for illegal filesharing – is estimated to account for 18% of global Internet traffic."
That when the FBI indicted seven executives of the file-sharing site Megaupload, those executives, including Kim Dotcom (!), had allegedly earned $175m from the site. In 2010 Dotcom took home $42m.
(Quoted with Danuta's permission...)
6. Here is another online article, the Trichordist’s Letter to Emily White, including a personal story of the negative effect on a writer. As Danuta and the Trichordist both argue, it’s not just the file-sharing sites but the companies that sell the hardware to both parties in the transaction; the sites that profit from advertising (Google, ebay, Facebook etc); and the finance companies that provide the money-handling facilities when people sign up for premium subscriptions, for example. It seems as if everyone benefits except the creator.
That’s the point: I don’t believe I have a right to earn a living from my writing. What I do believe is that if anyone is going to earn anything from my writing, that person should be me. Not only me, but me foremost, me in control. That's what copyright means. It doesn't mean greedy, rapacious miserliness. It means being able to share in the results of our own creativity, talent and hard work.
And this is important for young people to realise because they, too, are creators. One day, many of them will try to make a career in a creative industry, not only to pay their bills but to contribute to the culture of their time. What will that be like if in the meantime they and we have allowed the Cult of Free to hold sway so that paying the bills is not only difficult but impossible? Creative people must eat, too.
Some people disagree with the whole idea of copyright protection. Fine. Disagree away. I'm telling you why I support it. And why I want young people to know the score. Then they can decide.
The fact that the Internet is so hard to police — and that no single authority is in a position to dictate what it should and should not contain — should be cause for celebration for anyone with an interest in the freedom of speech, expression, and the sharing of ideas. But the Internet has two faces. For every positive exercise of those and other freedoms, there’s an act of fraud, counterfeiting, and copyright infringement. How is the law — in particular the English legal system — attempting to stem the tide of the last problem (online infringement) and take pirates down?
Attacks are being made on two main fronts in the UK. The first is via section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This permits a court to order a service provider — which could be an ISP, a search engine, or a social networking website — to block its users from accessing infringing material. To take ISPs as an example: when there are perhaps millions of infringing users in the UK using the internet access services of only six major ISPs, it’s going to be much easier to pursue those intermediaries than it is the individuals.
Although section 97A has been around since 2003, the first real attempt to use it wasn’t until 2011. The film industry brought a test case against the UK’s largest ISP, BT, seeking a court-ordered block of an infringing service called NewzBin2. BT heavily resisted the attempt, but every ground it raised was dismissed by the High Court and a block was ordered. This year it was the turn of the music industry, which sought blocks from BT and the remaining five major UK ISPs against the celebrity poster-boy of internet piracy: The Pirate Bay (TPB). With none of the ISPs willing to defend such an obviously dubious service, the High Court easily found TPB to be infringing copyright in February of this year. With little to distinguish TPB from NewzBin2, the ISPs then largely gave up the fight and dropped any opposition to a block. This was then ordered in May.
While section 97A has been making waves since its first appearance last year, the second front has been bobbing along in calm waters. Key provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010 impose obligations upon ISPs to notify their subscribers, once those ISPs have been informed by copyright owners that those subscribers are suspected of infringing copyright, mostly likely via peer-to-peer file sharing (via sites such as TPB). Repeat offenders are put on what is effectively a “naughty list” and copyright owners can use those lists to pick juicy targets for taking further action. Two major ISPs tried to knock the Act out by launching judicial review proceedings, complaining that it offended European and human rights laws. They failed overall, but their actions have delayed the introduction of the Act’s notification regime. A final draft of the Initial Obligations Code (the Code), which sets out the details of the regime’s operation, has now been prepared by Ofcom (the UK’s communications regulator) and was put out for a consultation which ended in July. But there is a lot of work to be done before the regime begins. For example, an independent appeals body is to be created to deal with subscribers who wish to appeal an allegation of infringement. Accordingly, the Government does not expect the first notification letter to be sent until 2014. In the immediate term the Code will not provide for any real sanctions against subscribers beyond receipt of the letter, and accordingly can be criticised as lacking teeth.
While introducing the Digital Economy Act is probably better than doing nothing, the Newzbin2 and TPB cases suggest that section 97A is the far more effective weapon against piracy. Service providers may now be more motivated to assist copyright owners to police their services, if the alternative is to face the cost and bother of a section 97A application that the odds are they’ll lose. There is no direct connection, but in response to industry pressure Google (which may be the next target for a section 97A application) has recently agreed to demote websites from its search results where it has repeatedly received reports of those sites hosting infringing material. It’s a start, but it won’t remove them from its listings altogether.
The UK can’t, of course, solve this problem alone. A number of jurisdictions now have bespoke anti-file-sharing laws in place. These include France (HADOPI); Spain (Ley Sinde); South Korea and New Zealand. Others are in development. As well as being legally challenging, these sorts of measures are also proving politically controversial. Proposed legislation in the USA — SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act) — met with huge public opposition earlier this year and are being reconsidered, but may still come to pass in some form. Before leaving power, President Sarkozy of France hailed HADOPI as hugely successful. The new government in France is reported to be less enthusiastic about the law and its multi-million Euro yearly cost.
It’s worth finishing with a note on circumvention. Very few, if any, of the measures discussed above are foolproof. Many (website blocks for example) are fairly straightforward to get around. Although a large proportion of casually infringing Internet users may not know how, a Google search for “How do I get around The Pirate Bay block?” reveals plenty of results, including several videos on Google’s own YouTube. Ironically, when I clicked on the first video in the list, I was presented with an advert for one of 20th Century Fox’s soon to be released (and no doubt, pirated) movies. Evidently, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Darren Meale is a Senior Associate and Solicitor-Advocate at SNR Denton, specialising in intellectual property litigation and advice. He has particular expertise and interest in digital rights issues, including the way in which the Internet and new digital technologies interact with and potentially infringe intellectual property rights. His recent paper, ‘Avast, ye file sharers! The Pirate Bay is sunk’, has been made freely available for a limited time by the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice.
JIPLP is a peer-reviewed monthly journal. It is specifically designed for IP lawyers, patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys both in private practice and working in industry. It is also an essential source of reference for academics specialising in IP, members of the judiciary, officials in IP registries and regulatory bodies, and institutional libraries. Subject-matter covered is of global interest, with a particular focus upon IP law and practice in Europe and the US.
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A group of independent font designers have teamed up to create a service which will track the unauthorized use and distribution of font files online. They’re trying to raise $4,000 to make this happen:
TypeSnitch is a community-funded service that helps you keep tabs on where your font files are being publicly shared online. It will monitor popular sources and help you request file takedowns and other tedium related to inappropriate sharing of your files.
Recently, the Guardian reported the story of author Terry Goodkind, who "turned to Facebook to name and shame a fan who pirated a digital version of his latest novel". As usual when a case of theft is revealed, there were arguments on both sides, regarding whether words should be free or authors should be entitled to protect their work and earn from it. Paulo Coelho is quoted as calling on "pirates of the world" to "unite and pirate everything I've ever written". Coelho has every right to say this of his own work - he is exercising the degree of control (or lack of) that he chooses. However, I do not recall him calling on pirates of the world to pirate steal everything that anyone else has ever written.
And this is what the proponents of the "words should be free" argument so often forget. Surely the choice should be made by the creator of the content? Otherwise it's theft.
Whether or not illegal downloading increases sales is utterly beside the point. It may well do so. All my self-published ebooks are DRM-free, not because I want them to be stolen but because I want my readers to be able to read them on any device in as many places as they wish, and if the price I must pay is that some people will steal, that's a price I'll pay. That does not mean that I am happy with anyone stealing it, or that I can afford to be stolen from. But frankly, even that misses the point: theft is still theft however much the victim can absorb the loss.
Taking something without the owner's permission is theft and theft is wrong. I grant that if you'd die without the stolen item, it's forgivable. But it's still theft. And last thing I heard, books may be important but you don't generally die for the lack of one.
It really is that simple.
Recently, I downloaded the remarkably wonderful Adblock program, a piece of free software which instantly removes all adverts from my internet experience, including those dreaded "belly-fat" ads on Facebook. After I'd downloaded, I was given the option of paying a contribution, if I wished. I paid $5.
A few days later, I received this email (my bold):
A legal case ruling that an internet service provider (ISP) must block access to a copyright-infringing website has been hailed by the Publishers Association as setting a legal precent to protect copyright.
If you’re out to make a great app or better hammer, there will be copy cats galore. As for nice artists looking to do something with your own characters… what I really must warn you about are crafters who rip IP. Boy do I hate them. I’ll take giant corporate entities ripping on us over crafters any day.
See, when it’s the giant companies, it’s always some young new in-house designer getting lazy and throwing existing IP into the mix, figuring nobody will know. It’s an easy fix, they pay your legal fees and remove the product, done deal.
But crafters? They don’t have the $ to pay legal fees. But you will always have to pay yours, and you will always always have to stop every single one of them.
It makes tremendous sense, but it’s not something most of us would think about until we were in that position. The image here are a crafter’s copies of his work. Copying is not always the “highest form of flattery” you can pay someone.
The Publishers Association has told MPs that economic analysis contained in the Hargreaves Review was "fundamentally flawed" and that the review's proposals to weaken copyright with new exceptions are not supported by strong economic analysis.
The trade body has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which is taking evidence from a range of bodies affected by the intellectual property review.
I think one of the many many things that is exacerbated by the digital divide is the gap in understanding about digital content. That is, the difference between what digital content is innately, what it becomes when it becomes a transactional item (i.e. with checkoutability), and what aspects of both of these “states of being” are created by whom.
So, it’s one thing to say “We have ebooks!” and quite another to represent the “ecosystem” of ebooks (to quote a recent talk I heard from a representative of the American Publishers’ Association) as being analogous to the one that paper books inhabit. This is just a long lead-up to linking to this article about bittorenting and using it to access copyrighted works and what you might find there. The author, Jeff Duntemann, is a friend of a friend and wrote a piece looking at which Dummies books are actually available on The Pirate Bay in the light of Wiley filing a copyright lawsuit against people pirating their books using Bittorent. For people familiar with the world of underground ebooking, this will be nothing new. For people who aren’t quite sure exactly how people get and/or redistribute digital content, this post should be helpful for you. Duntemann notes that the bulk of ebook swapping likely isn’t even taking place on big public torrent tracking sites like The Pirate Bay because ebook files are smaller and can be distributed in any number of different ways. He notes:
Video rules the torrent world because video is big, and the BitTorrent protocol is the most effective way to get video downloaded quickly. Small files like ebooks are elsewhere, unless they’re gathered into massive collections the size of Blu-Ray rips. Ebook piracy seems to be a minor issue today because ebook piracy is mostly invisible. It’s out there, and for all that I’ve pondered the problem, I return to the conclusion that the problem has no solution other than to sell the goods easily and cheaply, and to stop teaching people to be pirates by making the media experience complicated with DRM.
In the meantime, I’m considering purchasing this book for my local library. I think we as librarians need to understand these systems if we’re going to be working within and around them.
You have probably noticed that Pinterest is getting a lot of attention from teen librarians lately. If you have not seen this site for yourself, Pinterest is a social network/curation site based on the concept of a pinboard. Users share images by “pinning” them. Followers can see each other’s boards and “repin” images they like. It’s a great way to share programming ideas, with a clean, pleasant look and an easy-to-use interface. YALSA recently used Pinterest to share ideas for Teen Tech Week.
There has been plenty of chatter on the ya-yaac listserv about Pinterest as well, mostly singing its praises, but a thread titled ”Pinterest is awesome, but are we risking a lawsuit” gave me pause. In this thread, people linked to a couple of blog posts that expressed serious concerns with the copyright implications of “repinning” content and some conflicting messages between Pinterest’s terms of service and suggested use of the site.
The concerns stem in particular from a blog post by Kirsten Kowalski: a photographer and lawyer, who deleted content she had repinned from other websites after determining that doing so was violating copyright. The interesting thing about her post is that Kowalski loves Pinterest. Instead of saying we should avoid the site because of it’s potential for copyright violations she’s started a conversation and Pinterest is listening.
Other blogs and news sources have also expressed concerns with Pinterest and copyright. And still others have written to say that we shouldn’t worry so much, pinning images may in many cases fall under fair use, and the current copyright worries have more to do with the need for copyright laws to change.
Two posts that stood out in my mind as providing sane advice for navigating copyright concerns while continuing to love Pinterest were Amy Lynn Andrews of Blogging With Amy’s post “Pinterest and Copyright: What I’m Doing,” which suggests thinking before we pin, and Nancy Sims post “Pinterest, copyright and Terms of Service“ on her blog Copyright Librarian which reminds us to regard fair use as a tool we can use rather than something to fear.
The bottom line is, there is copyright confusion when it comes to Pinterest, but that shouldn’t stop us from using the site. What can we do? We can pin smart and pin safe. Here are my suggestions:
6 tips for smarter, safer, pinning:
Pin your own content with the intent to share. Sharing our ideas is one of the strengths of the YALSA community. We can confidently repin each other’s images if we post them with sharing in mind.
Pin images when creators have attached a “Pin Me” button. They are inviting you to share as well.
Pin original posts and include links with your pins. Pinterest suggests doing so on their etiquette page. Attribution does not necessarily make copies legal under fair use, but it is always a good idea to give credit to creators. And it can help you find the s
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Interesting backstory about the timing of the National Library of Ireland’s decision to publish rare James Joyce manuscripts online. Controversial Joyce scholar, Danis Rose is claiming that EU copyright gives one “economic rights” if they are the first to publish public domain materials and is publishing these manuscripts via a US publishing house called House of Breathings. And maybe all libraries with digitized online manuscripts have these sort of warnings, but this collection seems more heavily warned than most, see below.
Have you had your copyright violated, your work reprinted without your permission? Writer/blogger Duane Lester did–a Missouri newspaper reprinted one of his blog posts from All American Blogger without his permission. Watch the video below to see what he did about it.
I love that Duane Lester stood up for his rights as a writer. What do you think?
The issue of copyright has risen again in a controversy from The New Yorker blogger, Jonah Lehrer. The basic story is that Lehrer, who just moved his blogging to The New Yorker’s site, has been copying sentences, paragraphs and passages from previously published work and using them in new posts. Is this plagiarism?
Copyright and Rights
This accusation sent me to my dictionary. Plagiarism is “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.” (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd edition. New York: Random House, 1983. P. 1479.)
How can this be plagiarism, when he is quoting himself and not another author? Let’s get our terms right. Lehrer misrepresented the rights available for his work. By definition (see above), he can’t plagiarize himself.
That is incorrect. Instead, the victim was The New Yorker, who thought they were buying an original article, and instead got a partial reprint.
Copyright is the legal protection of a creative work. The rights to use a creative work can legally be licensed, sold or assigned, and can be sub-divided in many ways. Some traditional rights are First North American serial rights (first time an article/story appears in a magazine), or book rights (often the territory for the rights may be restricted). In other words, the venue for the publication, the geographic location for the publication and almost anything else is negotiable. If both parties agree, it's a deal. If Jonah Lehrer told The New Yorker that his blog posts were part reprint and part original, there would have been no problem. Instead, he misrepresented his material and sold rights that he no longer had. But he did not plagiarize himself.
The General Conversation about Who Owns What
Photo copyright Darcy Pattison, 2012. All rights reserved. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. 2012.
This situation with Lehrer has sparked other conversations about copyrights. Kids and teachers freely copy music and text online. The addition of Creative Commons licenses makes it trickier.
But let’s be clear: the intent of the copyright laws are to protect the material created by authors, musicians, videographers, artists, etc.
This is necessary because without the ability to sell their work and make money, the level of creativity dies. Why should I work for three years on a novel that I just give away free? It makes no sense. Compensation for creative works is essential so we can live and eat and pay bills. The intent of copyright isn’t to deprive others of using something, it is to protect the possibility of creative people making a living from their creativity.
Depending on the source, researchers say that 1-5% of people actually create content online and the rest consume it. Those of us who create, spend our lives trying to be original, to entertain, to
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No poem this week. Sorry. I've got other issues on my mind. Please read this post as a PSA, not a rant or a finger-pointing accusation.
Earlier this week, I received this email from J. Patrick Lewis (used here with his permission):
Dear Mary Lee, Could you please answer a question for me? Suppose you wanted to post a poem on your blog that was written by say, Philip Larkin or Elizabeth Bishop (or any famous poet not in the public domain). Could you do so without securing permission and paying for rights? I see such poems all over the internet, and I always wonder if the poet's permission to post was secured.
Here's my answer (not exactly as I wrote it -- I edited it a bit for this post):
The short answer to that question is that no, a person should never publish a poem on one's own blog/site that's not in the public domain unless permission has been secured (and is included in the post).
The true answer is the one you've discovered for yourself -- people do it all the time.
The grey space between the short answer and the true answer is the digital citizenship that many Poetry Friday bloggers try to teach by example. If we can't get permission for the poem, we post part of it and link to the site where we found it. Or we link to the book it is from, so that our reproduction of the poem is a form of advertising for the author. The same is true for the images we use on our blog. I mostly use my own photos, but when either of us use a picture that's not our own, we take it from Flickr Creative Commons and cite attribution. We do use book cover images without asking for permission, but always in the context of a positive review of the book and a link for purchase as our form of attribution.
Thank you for your question. It pulled my mission as a teacher into sharper focus than ever: it is so essential, so necessary, so mandatory that at school, children are given the opportunity to live the creative life -- reading, writing, making stuff (actual and digital) and sharing their own creations. If they never live on the creative side (even just playing at it, practicing it at school), they will never understand the importance of securing permissions. Because they will fail to see why it matters until they have THEIR stuff out there and they want others not to steal/misuse THEIR creation.
Kate Messner wrote on this topic yesterday in a post that's a little closer to home -- how to share content from other blogs: "About Copyright and Sharing Content". Her bottom line is a good one to keep in mind:
"When in doubt, don’t copy and paste. Link to the original content on the site where it was originally published."
Thank you for your patience with this departure from the usual light fare of Poetry Friday. Go check out the other offerings on the Poetry Friday Roundup at A Teaching Life.
Re-posted with permission from original blog post here.
Sara, our lawyer,and I all helped Roni through the situation but here is the whole story below. You can no longer say that you haven't been warned!
Guest Blogger: RONI LOREN
So today I'm forgoing the usual Fill-Me-In Friday post to talk about something that I've been wanting to blog about for a while but couldn't until the situation was wrapped up.
For those of you who are super observant, you may have noticed some changes on my blog over the last few months. Tumblr posts went away. Fiction Groupie disappeared. I deleted most of my Pinterest boards. The Boyfriend of the Week has changed format. And all my previous posts from the past three years--all 700 of them--now have new photos on them. Why is that? What happened?
Well, you've probably figured it out from the title, but it's because I've been involved in a case regarding a photo I used on my blog. Like most of you, I'm a casual blogger and learned my way into blogging by watching others. And one of the things I learned early on was that a post with a photo always looked nicer than one with just text. So I looked at what other people were doing for pictures. And mostly it seemed that everyone was grabbing pics from Google Images and pasting them on their sites. Sometimes with attribution, most of the time without. And when I asked others (or looked at disclaimers on websites and Tumblrs), it seemed that everyone agreed using pics that way was okay under Fair Use standards.
Here is an example of a disclaimer I found on a bigger site (name of blog removed):
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.
And site after site had the same kind of thing. Just look on Tumblr, that same type of disclaimer is on a ton of them. And I'm thinking--well, that must mean it's okay because if that weren't true, sites like Tumblr and Pinterest couldn't even exist because reposting pics is the whole POINT of those sites. So off I went doing what everyone else does--using pics from Google Images, putting a disclaimer on my site, etc.
Well on one random post, I grabbed one random picture off of google and then a few weeks later I got contacted by the photographer who owned that photo. He sent me a takedown notice, which I responded to immediately because I felt awful that I had unknowingly used a copyrighted pic. The pic was down within minutes. But that wasn't going to cut it. He wanted compensation for the pic. A significant chunk of money that I couldn't afford. I'm not going to go into the details but know that it was a lot of stress, lawyers had to get involved, and I had to pay money that I didn't have for a use of a photo I didn't need.
It wasn't fun. But the fact of the matter is, I was in the wrong. Unknowingly. But that doesn't matter. And my guess is that many, many of you are doing the same thing I was doing without realizing it's a copyright violation. So I wanted to share my experience so that you can learn from my mistake. Here's what I learned about Fair Use:
It DOESN'T MATTER...
if you link back to the source and list the photographer's name if the picture is not full-sized (only thumbnail size is okay) if you did it innocently if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo if you didn't claim the photo was yours if you've added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post if the
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Whatever the merits of the latest summary judgment motion in the dispute over the Superman copyright, its supporting exhibits bring together a number of important documents in two accessible filings.
The first set brings collects key contracts and court filings in chronological order, from the sale of Superman to the current termination dispute. We’ve seen much of this before, but not in one place. Especially worth noting are full copies of the complaint, court opinions & settlement in the 1947 Siegel & Shuster lawsuit.
The other set of documents, focusing on the Shuster heirs, contains material pertaining to Shuster’s estate and the 1992 pension arrangement, including an unproduced screenplay for a Siegel and Shuster biopic.