Author Topic: On the subject of posting copyrighted material  (Read 2942 times)

Offline J. McKenna

  • Member
  • Posts: 1502
  • X X o o X X 137 45' 32" 67 33' 41"
    • View Profile
On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« on: March 26, 2011, 08:54:10 am »
Over the last several months passed news in my community has revealed a company that is filing massive numbers of copyright lawsuits against all sorts of websites. The sites range from large charities to small personal blogs.  This company finds articles from some news website, mostly those of newspapers, and then buys the copyright and sues the "offending" website owner.
 
They sue for $150,000 and ownership the domain name of the "offending" website. To date they have filed 253 lawsuits and earned nearly $500,000.
 
Please consider the position of Freesangha as well as a change to the TOS to prevent or reduce the potential for being the target of this questionable tactic.  If such a rule exists and I've overlooked it, please refresh all members. I'd rather not see this forum or its operators dragged in by this unsavory group of "lawyers."

Here are some links to consider:
http://www.righthavenlawsuits.com/
http://righthavenvictims.blogspot.com/
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/righthaven/
http://bigjournalism.com/rfutrell/2010/09/10/righthaven-lawsuits-a-chilling-effect-on-the-blogosphere/
http://newmedialaw.proskauer.com/2011/02/articles/copyright/the-righthaven-lawsuits-what-is-fair-use-of-online-publications/

Thanks for the chance to bring this to your attention.
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline Monkey Mind

  • Member
  • Posts: 2796
    • View Profile
    • My Buddhism Biography
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 09:21:25 am »
Thank you, JMc. In your opinion: Is it safer to link to copywrited material, rather than cut-and-paste? Can one quote an excerpt?

Offline J. McKenna

  • Member
  • Posts: 1502
  • X X o o X X 137 45' 32" 67 33' 41"
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 11:52:41 am »
Thank you, JMc. In your opinion: Is it safer to link to copywrited material, rather than cut-and-paste? Can one quote an excerpt?

Well before this group began their actions extracts were covered under the "Fair Use" doctrine.  But, that is always a defense and sometimes it is better not to even be served as defendant!

I would consider allowing links to articles and perhaps the title being quoted in a post. If the poster then summarizes in their own words the gist, all of that is allowed and shouldn't give rise to action.  News sources are the current source-crop, but it would seem that this organization as well as others are also pursuing other opportunities for the quick buck.  They seem to make extensive use of bots, spiders and perhaps even rewarding people who find the alleged offending copiers.

 :twocents:

...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 05:56:07 am »
A website is in the position of being the  'publisher' and the laws of copyright and defamation apply.

In the case of defamation, I think as long as the site removes the offending material once there is a complaint from the person or company which feels 'defamed' then there is rarely a problem unless material loss can be proven, such as a loss of income from events caused by harm to reputation.

Maybe the same is true with copyrighted material - if removed swiftly it should be OK unless some loss of income etc could be shown.  The UK permits certain usage for education etc. and it is also the case that an author has to 'assert' their copyright if they want their material to be protected.

I would think a sensible formula would be link, clear attribution to the author and publisher, and no more than a brief extract.  Of course, in the case of a book, they may also welcome a link to Amazon etc. as it helps sales. 

This should IMHO apply to quotes from scripture - there is usually a translator and publisher with rights to protect. I have seen entire threads on some forums with thousands of words quoted in multiple posts - sometimes without even any of the member's own words. 

Maybe ToS should make it clear that it is the responsibility of members to ensure they do not breach copyright or make unauthorised use of other material such as video, pictures in posts and in avatars. 'Intellectual property' is the modern name for such things.

Two things I'm unsure about:

In the case of defamation a website can be sued using the legal system of any country where it may be viewed (in other words, someone could sue using Singapore law even though they are based in the UK and the website owner is in the US).   Does this also apply to the international agreements for copyright?

Whilst a statement in ToS is certainly needed, I'm not sure if it helps avoid prosecution, so swift removal or editing shouldn't be forgotten.

It may be possible for the site to take out insurance against these things - I always had my own professional indemnity as well as cover from my trade union or professional body when I was an editor, copywriter or marketing director as there is always someone out to make a fast buck, especially  through the the 'no win no fee' parasitic lawyers. 

This article seems pretty clear:

http://webdesign.about.com/od/copyright/a/aa081700a.htm


Moderator note: I removed two sentences about your old dispute with FreeSangha. Let's let sleeping dogs be, yes? -MM
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 09:41:11 am by Monkey Mind, Reason: See comment above »

Offline J. McKenna

  • Member
  • Posts: 1502
  • X X o o X X 137 45' 32" 67 33' 41"
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 07:44:12 am »
I was speaking purely of copyright cases and this new aggressive campaign of one firm. In light of a recent post copying an entire news article, including the copyright notice, I felt compelled to warn the FS Team.

This new pit of vipers is quite aggressive. They care not if there is a demonstrable monetary loss.
 
They sue even when the article is still freely posted on the source web page for all to view at no cost!
 
They sue even when the site posting a copy is gaining nothing monetarily. They sued one site when the article was about the website's owner!!
 
They sue when the owner of the website isn't even the one posting the copy. (This case is troublesome for forums like guess who?)
 
They sue without the notice of offense and an opportunity for the offending site to withdraw. They continue their suits even with the material removed!!
 
So far, they seem to want to sue for an outrageous fee; cause the defendant to see the legal costs if they fight, and settle for less than 10% of their original demand.
 
Cha-Ching! goes their cash drawer ......
 
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 09:57:58 am »
I was speaking purely of copyright cases and this new aggressive campaign of one firm. In light of a recent post copying an entire news article, including the copyright notice, I felt compelled to warn the FS Team.

This new pit of vipers is quite aggressive. They care not if there is a demonstrable monetary loss.
 
They sue even when the article is still freely posted on the source web page for all to view at no cost!
 
They sue even when the site posting a copy is gaining nothing monetarily. They sued one site when the article was about the website's owner!!
 
They sue when the owner of the website isn't even the one posting the copy. (This case is troublesome for forums like guess who?)
 
They sue without the notice of offense and an opportunity for the offending site to withdraw. They continue their suits even with the material removed!!
 
So far, they seem to want to sue for an outrageous fee; cause the defendant to see the legal costs if they fight, and settle for less than 10% of their original demand.
 
Cha-Ching! goes their cash drawer ......
 


Yikes. They obviously have no real interest in proving their case then, just bullying people into settling. It would need a lot of courage to call their bluff, I guess,  hoping that they will withdraw.

So many scams like this these days which pick on victims who can't easily fight. We've got it all here from faked car accidents to dodgy builders with dodgy but clever lawyers.

Yup, if you've no insurance then settlling out of court is going to seem like the only option.  If you do have insurance your insurance company will still probably settle and then slap you with hefty premiums later.

The UK government was burbling something about stopping the litigation culture, but I can't see a bunch of privately educated millionaires sorting it out - although they probably know all the dodgy scams intimately. ;)

Best to have the legal equivalent of Crocodile Dundee's 'Donk'

Offline Wonky Badger

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2011, 02:49:35 am »
I guess I'm the one they would sue, so please don't post anything from any sites associated with Righthaven.  :sweat:
Hopefully they wouldn't be interested in going after someone that's not a U.S. resident but let's not try our luck.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
---
What would Buddha do?

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2011, 03:27:18 am »
I guess I'm the one they would sue, so please don't post anything from any sites associated with ******.  :sweat:
Hopefully they wouldn't be interested in going after someone that's not a U.S. resident but let's not try our luck.

Shhh - don't mention the name! Their spidey sense may pick it up when crawling over the site ;)

Offline J. McKenna

  • Member
  • Posts: 1502
  • X X o o X X 137 45' 32" 67 33' 41"
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 05:55:45 am »
Yikes!  This one hits way too close to home .....
 
 
 
 
 
Lawsuit against Forum/Message Board for copyright violation continues
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline heybai

  • Member
  • Posts: 2145
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 06:13:53 am »
Yikes, indeed!  How do you say "yikes" in Pali?

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 10:29:30 am »
Yikes!  This one hits way too close to home .....
 
 
 
 
 
Lawsuit against Forum/Message Board for copyright violation continues


Well spotted.

This part seems especially relevant:

''Despite assertions by the defendants they spotted and removed the post before they were sued by Righthaven, Dawson wrote in his ruling there is nothing in the record to show they "engaged in any form of proactive copyright protection on the website."

"Thus, defendants cannot claim that their lack of knowledge of infringement, when such activity is reasonably foreseeable, can shield them from being subject to this forum’s jurisdictional reach," the judge wrote. ''


This should maybe lead to a more 'proactive copyright protection'  as shown by the recent deletion by Su Dongpo of a thread which had as its OP a scan of  material which could have been in breach.

ToS could reflect this by stating that any material which seems to be in breach of copyright will be removed, maybe explaining that recent prosecutions of web forums has made this necessary in order to protect our forum community.

GoGet

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 12:48:36 pm »
Yikes!  This one hits way too close to home .....
 
 
 
 
 
Lawsuit against Forum/Message Board for copyright violation continues


Well spotted.

This part seems especially relevant:

''Despite assertions by the defendants they spotted and removed the post before they were sued by Righthaven, Dawson wrote in his ruling there is nothing in the record to show they "engaged in any form of proactive copyright protection on the website."

"Thus, defendants cannot claim that their lack of knowledge of infringement, when such activity is reasonably foreseeable, can shield them from being subject to this forum’s jurisdictional reach," the judge wrote. ''


This should maybe lead to a more 'proactive copyright protection'  as shown by the recent deletion by Su Dongpo of a thread which had as its OP a scan of  material which could have been in breach.

ToS could reflect this by stating that any material which seems to be in breach of copyright will be removed, maybe explaining that recent prosecutions of web forums has made this necessary in order to protect our forum community.


Yeah, but then someone's gonna have to be babysitting this site to remove suspect content 24-7.

Any volunteers?

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 01:14:24 pm »
Yikes!  This one hits way too close to home .....
 
 
 
 
 
Lawsuit against Forum/Message Board for copyright violation continues


Well spotted.

This part seems especially relevant:

''Despite assertions by the defendants they spotted and removed the post before they were sued by Righthaven, Dawson wrote in his ruling there is nothing in the record to show they "engaged in any form of proactive copyright protection on the website."

"Thus, defendants cannot claim that their lack of knowledge of infringement, when such activity is reasonably foreseeable, can shield them from being subject to this forum’s jurisdictional reach," the judge wrote. ''


This should maybe lead to a more 'proactive copyright protection'  as shown by the recent deletion by Su Dongpo of a thread which had as its OP a scan of  material which could have been in breach.

ToS could reflect this by stating that any material which seems to be in breach of copyright will be removed, maybe explaining that recent prosecutions of web forums has made this necessary in order to protect our forum community.


Yeah, but then someone's gonna have to be babysitting this site to remove suspect content 24-7.

Any volunteers?


If there was a lot of traffic I guess it would be a strain. It depemds on members and Mods to spot it, but you're right in that there must be at least one member of staff on duty to deal with it.

Usually these things seem to pivot around the word 'reasonable', so if ToS display the rule, and any offending material is removed in a 'reasonable time' it should be OK.  It just depends on how long a time people deem to be 'reasonable'.

I volunteer to watch out duiring UK time daytime hours and report whatever seems dodgy. If we can cover the reamining time zones it would be good. :)



Offline J. McKenna

  • Member
  • Posts: 1502
  • X X o o X X 137 45' 32" 67 33' 41"
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 02:42:26 pm »
Yeah, but then someone's gonna have to be babysitting this site to remove suspect content 24-7.

Any volunteers?
They are called, "Moderators." And they get nothing but grief for the work they do. But, they have an easier row to hoe than an Administrator ........

But!! Ignore the potential and one ends up on the losing end of a bill for $150,000 American. Once sued, you can't just say, "Opps, sorry!" When sued the world as one knew it changes.
 
Yes, someone, or multiple someones, will have to babysit. No other way to prevent a monstrous loss ...... Short of preemptive surrender ......
...i found there was no "i" anywhere.....

Offline catmoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1599
    • View Profile
Re: On the subject of posting copyrighted material
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 11:10:45 pm »
There is an interesting defense possible here. Who is to say it was not the Denver Post, posing as a user, who posted the infringing material in order to collect $150,000? Since the postings are anonymous, the rulings as currently made allow anyone with a chip on their shoulder to post something copyrighted and then sue at will. This is not a tenable state of affairs.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal