Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ignoring Copyrights

This post troubles me. The author ignores copyright for bad reasons. He posts a photo with copyright owned by the AP and says this:
I am sourcing this photo, but I will not follow the AP’s directions…….the AP says I can’t use this photo……I am saying to AP……you would never have been able to take this picture without taxpayer money protecting your bigoted behinds.
Am I supposed to believe the AP, somehow ended up on this rooftop in enemy controlled territory without the help of taxpayers?
So I have no qualms about using it.
The comments on the post were in praise of the author for this attitude, and that further troubles me. Here is my response:
As a photographer, I'm extremely troubled by your attitude in this. Yes, they're taking advantage of taxpayer money, but so are you. All the time. America's military is always protecting you whether you're aware of it or not.

Why should an artist be denied the benefits of a valid copyright just because he was using taxpayer money? So people who get grants fromt the National Endowment for the Arts should not be allowed to retain their copyrights just because they are using taxpayer money? I think they would rather turn down the endowment.

Not only that, but allowing the media access to the war zones helps with PR, so they're actually providing a valuable service to the military with the taxpayer money.

This post really bothers me.


  1. I agree. With all the anti-RIAA & MPAA sentiment going on in the last few years, people often seem to forget that the copyright system was put in place for a good reason. Artists should have a certain degree of control over how their work is used.

    Now, that doesn't necessarily mean the AP should go around and sue people like this guy, but they certainly have the right to make him take it down. He definitely should not have used it in the first place, since he knew it shouldn't have been used.

    Did the author go into a dangerous war zone and risk his life for a couple of photos? The photographer did, and I think he deserves a bit more respect than the author is giving him.

  2. There is this frustrating ethos on the internet that all information should be free, including music and films and books, somethin I simply can't agree with, because if artists cannot make money from the art they make, that will lead to the destruction of creativity, a horrible idea.

  3. Exactly the point of Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, Mr. K. I'm glad you guys see this from a rational perspective. I, too, find that Internet ethos to be offensive. Does anyone contend that Stephen King should not be rich for giving us The Shining or that H.R. Giger shouldn't be rich for being the wierd bastard that he is?

  4. I've gone back to the post, and in the author's response he makes the case that he is not respecting the copyright because the photographer is working for the media, and the media is a bunch of traitors to the US. That's a ridiculous claim. Sure, they might be slanted against the current administration, but that doesn't make them traitors. If you criticize an action of the President then you can have your property rights taken away?

  5. I should make it clear that I do agree with the "frustrating ethos" that everything should be free. It should, but that doesn't mean copyright should go out the window. I may clarify later, but for now, I command you all to be puzzled by my aparent contradiction.

  6. As usual, Kelly, you are logical in your conclusions. I agree.

  7. As author of the talked about blog article, I only have one thing to say.
    If the AP photographer had somehow been on that roof in a fire zone, without a large amount of money and care being taken by the taxpayers of the USofA, and took the picture, I would respect his or her right to deny use of it. But even then, I blog, I don't sell anything, or make a penny from my blog. My blog costs me money to maintain. I pay taxes, my nations military is 100% taxpayer paid for.
    It falls under the umbrella of public domain because of who paid the bill. If a president utters something it falls under the same umbrella. Pictures taken of the President by news organizations are in the public domain. Speeches any politician makes are in the public domain.

    I respect authors, photographers, bloggers and such. I always try to source any thing I use in my blog, even though I make no money, I respect the media, the music industry and the print media. I can republish anything a politician says, even pictures of the public servant, if the pictures were taken by the official government photographer. I scour the presidential libraries looking for photos in the public domain. Harry Truman’s Library even separates the pictures in the public domain from those of private photographers.

    I have emailed artists, photographers and writers for permission to use their work on my blog, and most of them concur, with only the stipulation that I source and link back.

    Some of you may have missed the point of my rant. That's what I do, I rant.

    Thanks for caring, no seriously, I know there many issues with copyrights and fair usage and such....I have copyrighted songs, and poetry, so I am sensitive to the issue, but I have never received a penny from the government, so my works are not in the public domain.

    Hopefully you all will rethink this issue in light of what I said, and I give you all permission to copy, print or quote this blog article of mine.

    And it is great to get such response, even if it was all negative.

  8. I understand what you're trying to say, Web Loafer, but I think it's wrong. I know opinions written by federal courts (and I think all American courts) are in the public domain, and we didn't discuss speeches by politicians (although you may be right), I think you've got the photography thing all wrong. The photographer who takes a great picture of Bush, as long as he wasn't hired by the government to take the picture and signed away his copyright, should be entitled to keep his copyright in it. In this situation, he's not working for the government so there's no reason to take away his copyright. And the photographer who took the picture you infringed had no choice but to accept the protection of the taxpayers' money.

  9. I should also point out that I do not need your permission to quote the article you wrote, at least not to the extent and in the way that I did. What I'm doing is fair use. What you did with that photograph is not. But what do I know? I'm just a law student, not a licensed attorney.

  10. and Kelly, hopefully you will not become a lawyer for any vote seeker. D R or I.

    I am careful to source the things at Sanity's Bluff......yet when I came across this picture.......I thought......How did a photographer from the AP get this picture......?

    Of course, taxpayers paid for the whole it is public domain. Webbie is surprised that so many wannabe lawyers would defend something so unAmerican......the right for a news organization (RELIGION) to use taxpayers money to get a money maker, and deny the taxpayers the right to the money maker.

    If it were not for the protection the taxpayers of America afforded the (may I say, talented photographer? It was a good pic) person with the camera, the picture not have been available to AP.

    Webloafer has never even suggested that he knows anything about the laws that bind us......invisible repression......that's what it is......

    Webloafer graduated from the university of common sense UOCS, somewhere in Kansas.

    The law in this land is being used against the people. More on that in future blog articles. Not here to pimp my blog, and you fancy dancy lawyers need not worry, I get less than 30 visitors a day to my blog.

    If any of you have the time to visit a peon's blog......webloafer's front page of Sanity's Bluff contains one of the world's saddest, yet good photos......can you say......the picture of the helicopter on a roof of a building in Saigon......taking a few last humans from communism to liberty.

    I ain't no wiz' bang power monger, but I know that picture is in public domain......sue me, and maybe I could beg $6.24 from my pay court costs.

    Sorry for the ramblin' comment, I love to interact with other people breathing the same air as myself.

    Who knows? The very breath I just inhaled may have carbon dioxide from King/Queen Clinton, but of course as long as the lungs are working properly……my body will exhale the trash others, and keep all of the pure oxygen I received. To think, I may be exhaling the trash of George Walker Bushes exhale……kinda makes me humble…….we are all alike, we were fearfully and wonderfully created. Yeah, yeah; most lawyers don’t believe in God, but most of us peons do, and

    if I put it on the web...without a copyright notice, you can use it until the cows come home......that has to be the most ridiculous saying in America.

    And I know cows......I worked on a Grade A Dairy for two years, between 15 and 17 years of age.

    Again, sorry I got so carried away.