Copyright 101

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Amongst so many other things, copyright laws seem to be something the paeds just can’t seem to grasp. I first became aware of this phenomenon when reading this thread on the Visions of Alice forum.

You see, a member was concerned about possible copyright breaches when paedophiles steal photos from online albums and upload them to VoA. Well of course the other members jump in to share their infinite wisdom regarding copyright.

We see the typical bizarre justifications:

Raccoon states:

Breaking a law that is not working in the best interest of the general population is not a crime but an act of civic duty.

F.P.J. Mask shows typical paedophile disregard for anyone else:

Yes, it would break these people’s hearts to see their family pics on a site like this. But we can’t cave in.

Childdriver, well…..

Somehow I thing if a lea were to break into my computer and trump up some criminal charge, I’m pretty sure copyright infringement would not be what they come up with.

Ok these sorts of demented rationalizations were expected. But what wasn’t anticipated was the complete misinterpretation and lies that followed. See, Lawndog thought he’d set them all straight:

There is a “limited use” clause in the copy right law that says for the sake of promotion or review a portion of copy righted material may be used. One could argue that the posting of pictures from modeling or other copy righted sites is done to review what is seen there, ie “Sandra looks really hot in this picture”

Well it was a good effort anyway, wasn’t it? Considering their capacity for thought and intelligence, I thought it was pretty decent.

What Lawndog is referring to is known as the doctrine of fair use contained in section 107 of the Copyright Act which does allow for the use of portions of copyright work. Poor Lawndog failed to realize that an ENTIRE picture really doesn’t qualify as a portion; it is therefore excluded from any protection under fair use. There is no exact measure of what portion of a particular work may be copied, courts determine whether each individual case is a matter of fair use or not. In making this determination, the courts will consider the following:

a. Purpose & character of the use
b. Amount & substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
Copyright Office

I think perhaps they all sensed that Lawndog’s reasoning was skewed however they follow up with even more ridiculous crap. Apparently the idea that gained the most support is the one that follows.

Frederick starts us off with:

I fall into the category of: “If you post something on the internet, it becomes public, ‘nuff said.”.

Even more amazingly, a moderator on the board known as Hedonist supports this completely absurd notion:

If the pictures in question are on a site to be shared with the general population, it falls under the laws of public domain.

You don’t really know whether to laugh or cry do you? For anyone out there who believes the above rubbish, I would suggest you read this page which addresses common copyright myths. As the author states,

Nothing modern and creative is in the public domain anymore unless the owner explicitly puts it in the public domain. Explicitly, as in you have a note from the author/owner saying, “I grant this to the public domain.” Those exact words or words very much like them.

I personally find it pretty frightening that one of the people charged with maintaining the ‘legality’ of that site can make such brazenly stupid false statements with no understanding whatsoever regarding the law he refers to and advises users on.

In any case, my interest in this topic has been piqued once again. You see these poor unfortunates think they actually have a copyright claim against Perverted Justice.

After PeeJ posted a screenshot of a repulsive forum discussion, D really does give it his best shot:

Both GirlChat and Heirophant now have copyright claims against PJ and their hosting provider. The former has a copyright on the design of the screen, and the boilerplate text. H. of course owns his own words. Everyone who replied has a copyright to their subject lines.

I was originally going to provide a detailed explanation of why this falls under fair use and therefore none of them actually have a valid claim. But I don’t really think that is necessary; can you guess why?

they’d have to slither out of the toybox and show the world what they really are to file a suit against PeeJ

So instead I’ll leave you with Daydreamer’s Top 10 Copyright Lessons For Paedophiles:

1.Your opinion of the law is entirely irrelevant.

2.You need moderators who understand the laws they are advising you on.

3.Your opinion that a civil suit against you is unlikely does not mean it won’t happen...

4.It doesn’t matter whether a copyright notice is visible or not, the pictures are still protected.

5.Attempting to shield your words behind an extensive copyright notice does not preclude others using it under the terms of fair use.

6.A screenshot or preview IS fair use.

7.Stealing an entire picture is NOT fair use.

8.Public domain is not a literal phrase. By your line of reasoning, this - that car is in the public domain (street) therefore its now public property - would make perfect sense. Dumbasses, get a clue.

9.You will never bring a copyright suit against PeeJ because you cannot afford for Xavier to find out who you are.

10. I invite and encourage any paedophile who thinks they have a copyright claim against me to file a suit and meet me in court :)
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