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Old 20th August 2010, 11:22 PM   #24
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Posts: 660
Unhappy Sometimes you do what you have to do and are soiled in the process

Please forgive as I briefly interrupt this thread with something off-topic, but possibly of legitimate interest to a membership that have come to expect archive integrity. In brief, about a month ago a new member of our forum, who is also a member on another forum, did something many all of us have all done at one time or another and that was to place a link to images of the Morko gun located on a photo album site which had been shared in the other forums community. There must have been some issue with the link and in subsequent replies several other members assisted in trying to access the pictures and several of the pictures from this album were ultimately included in this thread. These pictures did, in fact, further consideration of this artifact and led to some insightful comments from a most experienced and knowledgeable connoisseur of such artifacts on our forum. I suspect the typical Internet user would, so far, regard this as not unusual and indeed feel this is exactly what forums such as this exist on the internet to facilitate.

Then about a week ago the fecal material fell into the ventilator...

One component of US copyright law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). There is much to despise in this law (which I personally view as excellent evidence of exactly whose benefit our Congress is concerned with), but there are some practical aspects of the law where the public's interests happen to be consistent with the media companies' interests.

Relevant to forums such as these, the law provides a 'safe harbor' for Internet Service Providers, such as whoever you buy your Internet access through, as well as for sites such as youtube, facebook and the forum communities you visit. Millions upon millions of posts and 'uploads' of all sorts are made every day and a significant number of these include 'borrowed material.' The law actually recognizes that it would be impractical for all postings and uploads to require individual investigation and moderation, so, the law has a provision for copyright holders to serve a 'takedown notice' to site operators by identifying infringing material. It is more complicated, of course, but the copyright holder cannot sue the ISP or site operator for infringement provided that infringing material is removed within a reasonable time frame and there is a policy in place to ban repeat offenders.

There are some links on our rules page concerning copyright law and the doctrine of fair use which may provide useful details about the fuzzy line between fair use and infringement. I believe, at least within the US jurisdiction, that it is a myth that attribution and proper citation of a source constitute any automatic license for the use of material. A case could be made that every time a photo is lifted and placed, that an infringement has occurred, but it not at all that simple. In real world practice, particularly with the sort of material this site deals with, I believe the reality is that 99.99% of the time the copyright owner either does not care about or cannot be bothered to police infringements or is satisfied by decent and proper attribution.

There does remain, however, the occasional situation where a copyright holder chooses to enforce their legal rights and makes a takedown notification to a hosting site. This is the second or third time this has happened to our forum in over a decade of operation. The copyright holder and a licensee thereof's positions may be found in this thread on the other forum. Please realize that my linking to that thread should not imply that I concur with some of the content or characterizations contained ... and do brace for an advertising assault.

If you think we have a problem, consider this EFF advice page for persons whose videos are removed from youtube. Please refrain from turning this thread into a discussion on copyright compliance.
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