Sunday, February 12, 2012

Copywrong

I rather like these.

A clean, grown up response to the name calling between The Big Bad Buggy-Whip Cartels and the Freeloading Pirates Who Don't Care About the Struggling Artists.

Can Mark's one man campaign win the hearts and minds of the mass of consumers? Maybe. I think many of us are aware of the arguments and ready so support a clear, simple signal. This could be it.

There is another problem, though. Assuming that my heart and mind have been won, how do I know whether a file I find on the internet has been stolen?

If it's on one of the big sharing sites such as YouTube, I assume that any creator will be searching that periodically and taking down anything they don't want shared. So the old Monty Python clip seems to me to be fair game.

But what about this pretty Gif shared on Google+?

Alert reader Keiran Conlan commented:

Kieran Conlon  -  +Janet HAL I think that you really should be more careful about what images, gifs and clips that you are sharing. This gif is taken directly from a video clip produced by Lockheed Martin and the UK Ministry of Defence. I know for a fact that the original clip of this C-130 deploying flares was marked as "Crown Copyright", meaning that the image is owned by the UK Government. If you are going to share some body else's work you should give credit when you post.
Fair enough. But if I were in Janet's position, hoovering up pretty things on the interweb, giffing them and then gifting them (ba boom!) to her circles, how would I know whom to credit? If I make a video search for military planes dropping flares, I get a handful of similar videos, none with any attribution. Should I simply reward a potential pirate by attributing the site I got it from?

In this case, I wouldn't be too concerned: this clip or something very like it has been out on YouTube for two and a half years: ample time for Lockheed Martin to find it and have it taken down.

But in general, I am not aware of any practical way to check whether an image is made freely available by the creator. It would be nice to have a library of protected images (or other work) that you could check against. So serious artists and craftists could have somewhere to register that they need to be paid for that piece of work. (Possibly even a payment process.)

In the meantime, Mark, perhaps the Copylike team could give some thought to some simple guidelines for the responsible audience to which you are appealing? Perhaps another postcard for each medium?

What do you, dear reader, do to make sure you aren't exploiting the Struggling Artist?