The Travelin Man
What concerns me recently regarding copyright and theft of intellectual property is the rise and growing field of legal extortion mills under the guise of copyright protection.
What SHOULD bother you is the actual infringement of the copyright and the theft of someone’s property, intellectual or otherwise. The problem with someone “appropriating” someone else’s work for their own use is that it causes creative people to share less of their work. Why would a talented photographer upload their pictures to flickr (for example, not really calling them out specifically) when there is an increased likelihood that the exposure generated on flickr could cause their property to be stolen – or, simply used by someone like the dimwit in the above-mentioned article, who really believes that everything on the Internet is public domain?
It’s no longer a C&D request as a reasonable effort to stop infringement, it’s now an automatically generated demand letter threatening legal action that can be averted for a price.
If by “averted for a price,” you mean that the person committing the copyright infringement is asked to pay a reasonable sum for the property that they allocated for themselves…then yes, this is what is happening. If your home or car was broken into (even if you left it unlocked) and someone came in and helped themselves to your stuff. If apprehended, shouldn’t the criminal pay? If said criminal only had to give you your stuff back, what deterrent would there be for the same criminal to try to break into someone else’s house – in the hopes that they weren’t caught the next time? Perhaps they have even learned some lessons about how to better break into someone’s home to reduce the odds of them being caught the next time?
Sorry, but if you steal someone’s creative work and re-post (or in whatever way re-package) as your own, you should be punished, if caught – and made to pay a fair sum for the work involved.
This is no longer about copyright protection, it’s been perverted into a revenue generator.
Call it what you like, but after reading the response from the magazine in the referenced article, do you really feel like the author of the article was out of line asking for a donation (or, rightfully, she could have asked to be paid)? What justification could there possibly be for that magazine not paying to use someone else’s material?