28 May, 2015

Dear Media, stop getting copyright wrong!



I may keep adding links to this post, every time I see a news article that perpetuates the bullsh*t MYTH that once you post something online it's 'free for anyone to use.' And/or, an incorrect interpretation of a famous infringement case, (which often has the same effect as perpetuating the above mentioned myth). As well as all too common stories of media taking images from social media without permission, (instead of finding and paying the actual owner a fee to use them, which is how it's done legally and ethically).

EXAMPLES OF MEDIA GETTING COPYRIGHT WRONG

The Guardian, 27 May 2015, Richard Prince v Suicide Girls in an Instagram War, QUOTE, (re: the outcome of the lawsuit Cariou v Prince): "Though Prince was ordered to destroy the pictures, he won an appeal, with the court ruling that Cariou’s copyright had not been infringed." 
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/may/27/suicide-girls-richard-prince-copying-instagram

Um, no...the appeals court ruled SOME of the images were not infringing, and sent some back to the district court, but the case settled before there was a decision. One of the images sent back was the guy holding a blue guitar, which some media sources use as an illustration for the case without stating clearly that it was one of the images sent back to court. The misinformation tells the public that you can take anything you want and change it little or not at all and it's ok. This is wrong. Furthermore, Cariou was very unusual compared to similar court decisions, and mostly carries weight in its district, not everywhere. Expect future cases to argue that the court got Cariou wrong. Same goes for the other articles that got Cariou's outcome wrong.

Washington Post, 25 May 2015, A reminder that your Instagram photos aren't really yours, Quote: "This month, painter and photographer Richard Prince reminded us that what you post is public, and given the flexibility of copyright laws, can be shared — and sold — for anyone to see. ... Although Cariou won at first, on appeal, the court ruled that Prince had not committed copyright infringement because his works were “transformative.”"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2015/05/25/a-reminder-that-your-instagram-photos-arent-really-yours-someone-else-can-sell-them-for-90000/

See above re: Cariou. As far as what you post being public, this is another example of someone muddying the waters about the difference between publicly accessible and public domain. See the links on copyright myths, etc, for info on what the public domain is, and isn't. Absolutely no excuse for journalists not to know this.

PBS, 25 Nov 2013, Photographer awarded 1.2 million from Media companies that lifted images off Twitter
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/in-landmark-copyright-case-photographer-awarded-12-million-from-media-companies-that-lifted-images-o/

EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL LAWS,  LAWYER-WRITTEN ARTICLES, AND CREDIBLE RESOURCES ON COPYRIGHT, PUBLIC DOMAIN, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND FAIR USE

The Copyright Zone's duo of photographer and lawyer also seemed to be annoyed at the repeated myths in the media. Quote: "It is not accurate to state that putting something on Instagram makes it Public Domain"
http://thecopyrightzone.com/?p=1456

US Copyright Office FAQ's:
http://copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html

Copyright Statutes, Title 17 of the US Code:
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/  
https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17

Ruth Carter, attorney, 25 May 2015, Richard Prince's New Portraits; Art or Infringement? Carter writes on why she feels Richard Prince's use of the Instagram photos without permission would not likely succeed in court as "fair use."
http://carterlawaz.com/2015/05/richard-princes-new-portraits-art-or-infringement/

Kent State University, on copyright, Fair Use, Plagiarism:
http://libguides.trumbull.kent.edu/content.php?pid=465045&sid=3811281

Attorney Lloyd J. Jassin, Ten Common Copyright Permission Myths:
http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/copy_myths.html

Public Domain Sherpa, 10 common misconceptions about the public domain:
http://publicdomainsherpa.com/10-misconceptions-about-the-public-domain.html

Plagiarism Today, 13 May 2015, "Does Facebook Really Own Your Photos?"
https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015/05/13/does-facebook-really-own-your-photos/