Red Herrings of Copyright Arguments

  • Posted on: 23 July 2016
  • By: JimDuvall

It comes down to this. You published someone else's intellectual property. The last word is important, it is property under the law. That is wrong and against the law. You should not do it and when caught, you should rectify the situation. Even better you should rectify this before you get caught. Look at your pictures and writing and delete anything you did not create yourself or have explicit permission to publish.

Now when you get caught the person you infringed uses a word like thief or theft or stolen in their anger at your publishing their property. They are rightly upset. What you posted is theirs to post or not and/or allow others to post, not yours.

RED HERRING 1. Infringement is not theft technically under some definitions of the law and I was called a thief and therefore wronged. If I make a copy of your bicycle you still have yours so it is not theft.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

RED HERRING 2. I and my acquaintances are making comments under this intellectual property and that makes it fair use since I am not making money off of it's publication.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

Fair Use is complicated but most social media are not an educational institution and you are not a newspaper reporter, teacher or art critic.

Sometimes this is done by a third party who is bothered by your illegal action. They point it out and report you to a host, maybe even contacting the owner of the intellectual property.

RED HERRING 3. This is none of your business. Why are you involved? You should stay out of this and let the owner catch me in their own time. You are a vigilante and this is a witch hunt.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

If you have not yet noticed we live in societies and we all have an interest in making sure our neighbors obey the rules. If not why have rules. You do not get to live in selective anarchy. If you do, turn off your computer because the internet exists because we all follow a set of rules.

Now maybe a person posts in a group a link to your profile stating that they think your images are not published legally.

RED HERRING 4. This is outing. You can't out me. Outing is bad and harmful. I have been harmed by your outing.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

Outing would be me calling your work or someplace that you were not out in and saying you were kinky. Outing would be me publishing your real name somewhere else like facebook or your local newspaper, where your family and neighbors could see it. Outing takes away your choices and privacy.

What really happened was your completely public actions were noted on the same public website in which you committed them. The fact that you published those images is already out. In fact your real name was not used, a cartoon name you picked was used. Your work, family, standing in the community where you live were not damaged.

So now that we have tried to fix all of those things.

RED HERRING 5. Anyone who uses the report button on an image that is not theirs, is bullying. If you are not the copyright holder you have no right to report an image.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

The law requires websites handle intellectual property infringement in certain very concrete ways.

RED HERRING 6. Anyone who takes good pictures that are well lit with care and craft is a spammer who is abusing this social network.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

RED HERRING 7. I was giving you good exposure. You should be flattered so many people like your art.

RESULT: You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.

Artists and mountain climbers die of exposure. While this is a joke it is true. You are not showing my work to art buyers. You are not an art broker. Your exposure does not result in art sales for me. In fact it deters them. The internet is a double edged sword for artists. We need it to communicate with certain people but over exposure to other people can cause our work to be devalued. I myself have been turned down by a gallerist because a piece was “over exposed”.

Basically all of these arguments are a deflection. They should not be engaged. Engaging them actually gives them legs and credibility. They are not credible.

I used to be a bouncer. When asking someone to leave a bar you stay on topic. They will divert away from it. Your answer is always the same. "You have to leave sir" No matter what insult they call you. Your response is "You have to leave sir"

The same goes for this argument.

You still have to remove the infringed intellectual property. It is still wrong and illegal for you to publish it.