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Old 03-18-2005, 09:25 AM   #16
photocartoonist
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Describing Eric Decetis as being in the porn business proves that you don't know this artist.

Licensing is the way in which we professional artists make our living. The use of our work withour permission anywhere damages the value of work in licensing, and cannot be tolerated.

There is a long history of cartoonists, photographers, and greeting card designers tracking down the unauthorizd uses of their work on the Internet to simply get it removed, much effort to no avail.

The problem has just unfortunately gotten out of hand. And despite whatever you may think, no one is required to just ask you to cease and desist first.
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Last edited by photocartoonist; 03-18-2005 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:29 AM   #17
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Making adult content for Penthouse since 1983 doesn't make him in porn?

I realize a right to copyright- but asking 200,000 in damages is darn near extortion.

JDT

Last edited by batcavenet; 03-18-2005 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:13 PM   #18
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JT, thanks for the responce and best of luck. You really shouldn't be calling the artist's attorney. As you have already discovered, they won't talk to you and neither will the artist. Your attorney should handle all communication which is always betwwen the respective attorneys and never the plaintiff.

Some additional thoughts to anyone reading this thread:

1. For many years, I made my living and supported my family working in and around "creatives". Artists, designers, photgraphers, cartoonists, font designers, and teaching the digital tools of the trade. All of these talented folks supported themselves/family from the revenue derived from their creative efforts. It would be best to switch places to understand the issue. If YOUR income, the roof over your head, the clothes your child wears, and the support of your family depended on the revenue derived from your creative efforts, how would you feel if your saw others stealing your income via the unauthorized use of your work.

2. The artist in question wants money for the unauthorized use of the image. The subject of the image means zilch. Short and simple. The huge opening dollar amounts is simply a negotiating tactic and is very common in the business world and smart. You begin with these numbers and hopefully move South (lower) and reach an equatible written settlement before you engage in further legal procedures.

3. I can understand how some folks are confused about IP Law on the Internet but we also have a huge number of folks who either don't care or are in denial. Thus I would prefer to see a single C and D sent and if action is not taken then by all means sue. As Kat says and it makes sence to me, the law may not require this but some will respond and remove the image. On the other hand, a huge portion of site owners just ignore them so I understand the need to go straight to legal.

4. The dirty little secret which I briefly mentioned in my other post in this thread is the cast of characters which I call "enablers". In this regard, Affiliate Programs turn a blind eye. Although their TOS normally contain clauses which prohibit the use of of content which is not properly licensed as opposed to "stolen", they do nothing. I do see the distinct posibility that evnentually these Affiliate Networks may find themselves in court and or an attorney letter which demands that they comply with their very own TOS and provides appropriate proof of "ownership". Then the Affiliate and all their sites are terminated and you eliminate the revenue stream. If "I" can eliminate the Affiliate revenue source from the offending site in combo with legal action then I can guarnatee you that things will change for the better. If I were so inclined, thats the exact 2 pronged attack I would take.

HTH and good luck to all

<Edited>

Last edited by Steve_S; 03-18-2005 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:36 PM   #19
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Default Settle

Yes all valid points- I'm going to settle and move on. I don't know this artist personally and have no way to contact him regarding this - I realize that extreme caution is required in any content selection or website purchases in the future - lesson learned game over

I am debating trying to find licensed cartoons which is dang near impossible or cost prohibitive or just closing the site completely.

JDT

Last edited by batcavenet; 03-18-2005 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:47 PM   #20
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Steve, you have mentioned affiliate programs as enablers. Let me see if I understand what you're saying.

Are you saying that - A webmaster creates a site which violates copyrights. This webmaster profits from affiliate program sales on this site. Therefore the affiliate program the webmaster joined should be accountable for allowing the webmaster to profit from this content. Is this right? If so, what about ad networks?

I don't want to steer this thread off the road but wanted to understand what you meant by this.
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Old 03-18-2005, 12:52 PM   #21
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Regarding the "enablers"......

The thought that affiliate companies are somehow responsible for researching the copyright status of the sites they advertise on - thats a pretty crazy idea.

Are department stores responsible for researching whether every product they sell is completlely clear of an ongoing or potential patent disputes? I could go on and on with similar examples but I think you get the idea.

This concept of "enablers" as you have framed is is a very long stretch at best.

I've had articles of mine reprinted word for word and credit taken by another site. I simply emailed them and asked them to take it down.

I read a book on IP law. There are many examples in there of high profile IP cases. One was some porn site guy VS Playboy. For years he published Playboys images on his own pay site. He was warned MANY times but refused to remove them. It then went to court and he had to pay damages.

The point here is that warnings are the first step in protecting your intellectual property. This guy that is going to court over a single comic on a small publishers site and there was never a warning sent. This guy doesn't care about protecting his property or fair use. This is how he makes a living - with legally sanctioned extortion. Talking to him will never produce a result because this is his racket - he probably WANTS people to use his work without permission so he can rob them in the courts.
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Old 03-18-2005, 01:04 PM   #22
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Fantastic JT. Your mature outlook and willingness to comply and settle is outstanding

Why not use this case/issue as an opportunity to work with the creative community? What I mean is that after everything is signed and sealed so to say, I would hope <hint> that an artist like Kat <hint> and MANY other artists would entertain the idea of properly licensing some of their images/works for use on your site. Ideally free of charge with suitable written authorization, attribution, and a new window link where appropriate.

I always try and sit in the middle of the table with one side on my left and another side on my right. It's what I LOVE to do.

From an artists perspective, you become the "poster boy" for compliance and demonstrate the fact that your have embraced their Community and will help them combat "theft" with your willingness to properly licensing some of their works for free ( or low cost ) and you will tell other "criminals" not to steal stuff. Natch, the artist gets additional exsposure and in some cases traffic if they have a site.

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Old 03-18-2005, 01:28 PM   #23
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I can't believe you are advocating a settlement in this situation. Do you realize that it is often impossible to ascertain with 100% certainty the copyright status of a work? This is why reasonable people contact violators and inform them of the situation.

Consider this scenario:

Mr. comic extorter has an associate set up a front that claims to be the owner of the comics and distributes "permission" to use them to many sites on the net. Then our litigious comic superhero shows up and takes all these sites to court even though they "assumed" they had rights - and how would they know otherwise?

Allowing this kind of instant court-backed robbery opens the floodgates to the possiblity of all kinds of ****s and cripples small publishers ability to operate.

Perhaps I'll have some of my Ukranian associates act as a rights distributor for my photography and then I'll track down the webmasters that use the pics later and slap them with some lawsuits.

It will be much easier on me if you just settle. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2005, 01:49 PM   #24
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Well unfortunately if I don't settle I feel it will be much worse. A jury and judge that have known to give outrageous fines and penaltys could really make my life hell - forcing me in bankruptcy or a long drawn out civil suit where I would have to wait maybe 2 years to get to court and incur fines much greater than what they want out of me. It ***** but that's the way our great system works and I don't doubt you could get away with what your idea.

JDT

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Old 03-18-2005, 01:59 PM   #25
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The **** is so dead-simple and the payoff so large - I'm sure it's going on all the time. In fact, you may have just been a victim.

edit: s cam is a censored word????

Last edited by TheMonkey; 03-18-2005 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 02:08 PM   #26
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Doug: YES! Let me explain as best I can and this applies to ALL affiliate programs and or Networks who have rules in place.. I pulled 3 out for you:

From Google AdSense

https://www.google.com/adsense/policies

Site Content
Site may not include:

Excessive profanity
Violence, racial intolerance, or advocate against any individual, group, or organization
Hacking/cracking content
Illicit drugs and drug paraphernalia
Pornography, adult, or mature content
Gambling or casino-related content
Any other content that promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others

From FastClick

http://www.fastclick.com/pu_agreement.html

(b) Representation: Publisher represents and warrants that the Websites: (1) are owned by or licensed to Publisher and Publisher has the right to use the entire contents and subject matter contained in the Websites


From Burst Media:

http://www.burstmedia.com/release/dummy_contract.htm

Representations, Warranties and Covenants.

You hereby represent, warrant and covenant that (a) use of your publications by BURST! or any of BURST!'s advertisers will not infringe on any third party intellectual property rights, including without limitation, United States or foreign trademarks, patents, copyrights, rights of publicity, moral rights, music performance or other music-related rights, or any other third-party right, (b) your web site does not and will not contain any content which violates any applicable law or regulation, and (c) you have all necessary rights and authority to enter into this Agreement and place advertising on the publications identified in this Agreement and on, adjoining, or in the vicinity of other web sites that may be viewed, linked or visited through access to your web site or in any location where you choose to place your individualized BURST! ad code. ---END

----> Mainstream Networks and advertisers generally don't want to be involved in legal stuff. Ask them if you don't believe me It cost them time, money, and taints their image. Networks have these rules in place which Publishers MUST comply with. If a Network states this stuff as part of their TOS then a reasoble "man" assumes that they MUST enforce them which means termination of the affiliate site. A few already do this but most don't. A few don't make you jump through a millon procedures but take immediate and decisive action. Most don't or stall and continue to profit and enable.

It's unreasonable to exspect a given Network to investigate the content of every site but some are so very obvious to the trained eye. However, if an IP violation is brought to their attention by an artist FIRST along with proof of ownership then they have an obligation to immediately terminate the affiliate and cut the revenue stream off.

Naturally, if the offending site removes the stolen content they should be able to reapply. This issue is a huge problem and I can tell you with absolute assurance that it's more a case of waiting for the other shoe to drop rather than actually enforcing what they say in a reasonable lenth of time.

The term "enabler" may not be the best choice but make no mistake about it that it is infact a legal principal. For example, If a Bartender in the fine state of California continues to serve a drunk and that drunk person leaves the bar and kills some person or does damage then the Bartender and the bar owner are in fact responsable.

Summary: It's NOT a matter of "reasearching the copyright status of the content" It IS a matter of enforcing what your very own TOS say.

Last edited by Steve_S; 03-18-2005 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 03-18-2005, 02:46 PM   #27
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Quote:
For example, If a Bartender in the fine state of California continues to serve a drunk and that drunk person leaves the bar and kills some person or does damage then the Bartender and the bar owner are in fact responsable.
off topic : thats a terrible law..the buck stops with the person, not someone else who doesnt know what hes capable of etc etc. is that just california, or US wide?
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Old 03-18-2005, 03:03 PM   #28
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jokearound, I don't know about all 50 states in the United States. But, California isn't the only state with that law. There are similar laws in several other states.

Back on topic: batcavenet, I hope this situation doesn't hurt you so much that you will be faced with living in a cave.

I certainly don't want to get started on our stupid legal country in the country and how people use and abuse it and how some people are too quick to sue and I certainly am not going to say what I think about some lawyers and the problems some of them create.

I hope everything works out as well as possible for you and I sure hope you keep all of us advised on what happens.
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Old 03-18-2005, 03:46 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by photocartoonist
you sweet talker

But Synozeer locked me out of his forum (Humorweb) right after this thread. Still think it's not me they are talking about??
Kat,

It was actually coincidence that I restricted your access the day this thread was started. It was because I never received a reply from you about those outstanding issues from the DMOZ fiasco.

I will reply later to the latest email you sent me... would have sooner but I've been very busy today.

As far as the issue goes with lawsuits and copyrights, I certainly can understand an artist trying to protect their work. It is their income and career. However, suing a site for $200,000 with no warning is overkill. There's a lot of reasons why someone might have copyrighted material on their site, some less guilty than others.

Sometimes it's an oversight, like in the instance of buying a site with pre-existing content that you think is in the clear. Or perhaps someone submits content to be displayed on your site and believe they are the owners of it. Or maybe you simply don't know the ins and outs of copyright on the web (maybe they are new at this sort of thing).

Either way, to not give a warning to that person and to try to bankrupt them is simply wrong (in my opinion). How would you like it if you were walking home one day and suddenly cops swarmed in and arrested you for tresspassing, on what you thought was public land. Instead of giving you a warning, or listening to your reason that you didn't know, they immediately go for the maximum punishment of the law and try to get you thrown in jail. After all, you were wrong, you broke the law, so you have to pay for your crime, right?

Don't get me wrong - I can imagine the frustration of these artists seeing their works being used for free everywhere on the web. But there has to be a middle ground. Try first asking for their content to be removed. If not, then go the lawsuit route.

Adam
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Old 03-18-2005, 05:21 PM   #30
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I have been trying for the past 2 years to find a way to bring the artists and webmasters together. Artists can benefit from the licensing and the webmasters can benefit from great content.

It has been a battle to say the least. I wish webmasters understood what artists have been up against for the past 7 years. We all are tired of the costs of C&D letters, which mostly end in no response. Professional artists have been forced to take action to protect the value of their work.

It is my opinion, that using content without permission is a business practice based on the belief that if caught you will just have to remove it. And since I have first hand experience with a general lack of respect for the value of content amoung humor webmasters, I have come to the conclusion that they will just find a new source of free content elsewhere.

We are business leaders. We already make our licensees lots of money. We already know the value of our work. Attacks on the artists and their integrity will not help this situation.

I came back to forums like Humorweb to try to start this dialog again. I really want artists and webmasters to come together and work this out. But once again I am accused of lying and not being trustworthy. Why? Because I am an ODP editor who is trying to clean up the Humor category, and because I am suspected of helping artists.

Yes guilty on both charges.
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Last edited by photocartoonist; 03-18-2005 at 05:27 PM.
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