I have been BOMBARDED with emails over the past week, all frantically wanting to know why my website was down. Well, I’m sad to say that it was a simple matter of copyright infringement that felled the mighty beast that you all know and love as www.isleyunruh.com, and after jumping through all manner of hoops I’m happy to report that we are back up and running! I should get to all the posts I missed by tomorrow, so no worries, Mailbag Monday will still get published!
Anyway, the strangest thing about this particular situation was that this site was taken down, not for one of the countless examples of ACTUAL copyright infringement, but rather because someone laid claim to a background picture of a hippy making a peace sign, onto which I had photoshopped John Wayne’s head about four years ago. And the picture wasn’t even uploaded to my website, I had just linked to it from my old photobucket account.
Or, as they put it:
The DMCA copyright infringement notice that has been filed against you has been filed by an agent representing the legal interest of Kat Caverly Enterprises (“Complainant”). The allegedly infringing material was found at or about the following website:
isleyunruh.com (the “Subject Site”)
Specifically, but not limited to:
Complainant claims to own copyright to the photograph of the man making a peace sign (the “Peace Image”). Complainant certifies that your use of the Peace Image in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
Without obligation, as a one-time courtesy, we will allow you 24 hours from the time of this notice to remove or otherwise disable access to the Peace Image and update this support request with confirmation that you have done so. BE ADVISED, if you have not removed or otherwise disabled access to the Peace Image, and updated this support request with confirmation of the same, by this time tomorrow, May 30, 2013, we will be forced to completely disable the Subject Site until such time as you comply.
Surely they jest I thought…a background picture in a photoshop? Alas, they did not jest, and apparently when it comes to claiming copyright, I have little choice in the matter but to bend over and let them take my website down no matter how frivolous the claim. Granted, no one seems to understand what the term “fair use” actually, legally, means (I’ve heard everything from some dude who sold me a shirt out of his truck at a concert claim that if you just change one tiny thing, it’s “totally fair use dude,” to people claiming that there is some 17 item checklist of things you have to change in the original work.
All of those sounded suspiciously like bullshit, though, the Wikipedia article on “fair use” seems plausible, namely:
In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Of course, that being said, it seems like the nature of the internet is to have a knee jerk “oh shit, just take the picture/video/song down now!” reaction to any claim of copyright violation. I know youtube has this issue as well, considering all their threats of shutting my account down and enforced “copyright school.” So, bottom line, it doesn’t matter if your creation was the most clear cut case of fair use there ever was, at the end of the day you just have to hope people aren’t going to be dicks about it.
And, you know, I can bitch about how unfair all this was all I want, but, let’s face it, all I really want to do is all anyone else really wants to do. Namely, I just want to freely borrow/steal/plunder other people’s work for my own selfish purposes without fear of reprisal because I’m from an entitled generation that thinks the internet and everything on it is theirs for the taking.
Sigh, someday, someday that lovely future will be here, and then you’ll see me bitching about someone stealing my “Gimli Farts in the Halls of the Dead” video off youtube, fixing the sound level issues and letterboxing and then profiting from it:
That video, by the way, most likely doesn’t meet the criteria for fair use. Maybe if I added a few more fart sounds.