Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My name is Pat and I’m a copyright infringer

Is there a support group for copyright infringers? If not, there ought to be.
Copyright holders are on the warpath lately issuing takedown notices to websites that allow consumers to share content such as videos and photos.
German studio Constantin Films recently ordered YouTube and other video sharing sites to take down a host of funny shorts that used a clip from its film “Downfall.” The scene with Hitler having a temper tantrum has been used in countless Internet memes where editors change the subtitles to reflect some current event. (For more information, check out these articles by TechCrunch and the Open Video Alliance as well as this video on Vimeo.)
A good argument can be made that all of those Hitler parody videos are permissible under the fair use doctrine.
In another case, TechDirt reports that Twitter took down a post by a music blogger because he included a link to a website where people could download a song from a yet-to-be released album. TechDirt argues that Twitter overstepped its bounds.

My notice of infringement

Today I received an e-mail from Yahoo’s Flickr photo-sharing service that it had removed four photos from my collection.
“We have received a Notice of Infringement from Newscom via the Yahoo! Copyright Team and have removed the following photos from your photostream,” the message began. These were four photos taken nearly two years ago at the Nintendo press conference at the 2008 E3 video game conference in Los Angeles. I was at the event and posted my own shots, but they weren’t so hot since I was seated pretty far from the stage. So I supplemented my photos with four shots of Nintendo executives taken by freelance photographer Bob Riha Jr. and distributed by Newscom along with Nintendo’s press releases from the event. I included the full cutline and credit information with the photos.
My Flickr photo collections are for my family and friends to see, but I keep them open because I don’t want my loved ones to have to remember some password to get in. I also don’t add tags to the photos so they aren’t easily searchable.
Yahoo’s copyright goons warned me about further violations.
“Subsequent NOIs filed against your account will result in further action that may include termination without warning,” the message said.
I hope they were talking about terminating my account and not my life.
Not taking any chances, I prompted deleted the photos in question.

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