February 29, 2008

AP Goons Force SnappedShot.com To Shut Down
— Ace

Objecting to SS's use of their photos.

Not sure what we can do about this.

Posted by: Ace at 12:15 PM | Comments (56)
Post contains 29 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Doesn't it fall under fair use as long as there is valid criticism?

AP can go suck a dick.

Posted by: EC at February 29, 2008 12:22 PM (j2Tjh)

2 Agreed -- from what I remember of SnappedShot , it's a textbook case of fair use.

Posted by: JSinger at February 29, 2008 12:25 PM (EqFh0)

3 This should have a nice blowback effect towards the AP.  Everyone that has never heard of snappedshot will probably hear about them now and what they did.

Nice work AP.

And I 2nd EC's comment:  AP can go suck a dick.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at February 29, 2008 12:26 PM (FAZ6l)

4 Sounds like they are looking to get paid.

Posted by: Paladin at February 29, 2008 12:27 PM (2X4q0)

5 Doesn't Steve H. handle in IP law?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen at February 29, 2008 12:31 PM (Zi+FQ)

6

Yep,

Only one thing to do. Find a lawyer willing to tell the AP that there are laws protecting reporters (and SnappedShot.com is a news criticism site). Use of their photos clearly falls well within the bounds of fair use under US Copyright law.

However, unless you are rich, the law doesn't apply to you. AP knows this. If you want your rights, you have to pay for them.

Unless, of course, an attorney wants to get some free publicity for their firm by handling the case pro bono!

Posted by: formerglobesubscriber at February 29, 2008 12:39 PM (Ncq2X)

7 Okay, I don't know what Snapped Shot was (never heard of it) so I can't comment on whether or not its use of AP's copyrighted works falls under the fair use exception. But to aid you folks who do know what Snapped Shot was all about, keep these rules in mind from § 107 of the Copyright Act:

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include— i. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; [consider whether there were ads on the site or whether he asked for contributions or donations; whether the stated or implied purpose of the site was to lower the value of AP's copyrighted works, etc.; is the purpose of the site parody? is the intent of the site to infringe AP's copyright?]

ii. the nature of the copyrighted work; [photography--often a difficult area to win in copyright infringement unless the copied photos are themselves newsworthy (as opposed to the newsworthiness of their content); or if their subject content is unavailable by any other means]

iii. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; [is the whole photo copied? is it modified? are whole series of photos copied? are we talking about copying just one photo or hundreds?]

and iv. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. [does the use of photographs on Snapped Shot reduce the value for AP? does it take viewers from AP? does it damage AP's brand or that of its photographers? does it interfere with a potential future market for the photos?]

Note that it doesn't matter that Snapped Shot gave credit to the AP photographers. Copyright infringement isn't cured by disclosing where you stole something from. It's about the theft itself.

Also, this information is for moron use only and should not be construed as legal advice for Snapped Shot or for anyone else who happens to read it.

Posted by: Gabriel at February 29, 2008 12:47 PM (1Ug6U)

8 Go see my good friend, Ron Coleman, super copyright infringement lawyer and copyright law blogger, over at Likelihood of Confusion.



Posted by: Z as in Jersey at February 29, 2008 12:51 PM (kZT4X)

9 I only bring it up in detail because every time something like this, or illegal music downloads, or photocopying books, or whatever comes up, people inaccurately cry "Fair Use!"

They might be a little closer to the mark here because this time the use is actually "criticism, comment, news reporting," but that's only incidental to the fair use determination. Examining the factors listed above will actually get you your answer, if you're able to litigate the question.

You folks who are familiar with Snapped Shot, go through and put a little plus or minus sign next to each factor to decide whether it is "for" or "against" Snapped Shot's case. If you end up with more minuses than pluses, it's probably not fair use. Actually, sometimes the first three factors can be in favor of a fair use finding, only to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the negative effect on the market for the copyrighted work. So, also keep in mind the magnitude of benefit or burden for each factor.

Again, no legal advice here; just friendly information for folks interested in what "fair use" is really about.

Posted by: Gabriel at February 29, 2008 12:55 PM (1Ug6U)

10

Screw the AP and the Lawyers they rode in on. 

p.s.  I fuck'n hate lawyers.

Posted by: Voter X at February 29, 2008 12:55 PM (igcvF)

11 Hi, I'm here about that dick sucking thing a few of the commenters mentioned earlier.

Posted by: AP at February 29, 2008 12:57 PM (Oofa8)

12

Hey Ace,

Off topic.  Senator Rockefeller just gave his endorsement to Obama.  Robert Byrd was unavailable for comment.

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/homepage/x112305264

 

 

Posted by: natesnake at February 29, 2008 01:01 PM (YcXTT)

13 Didn't the Electronic Frontier Foundation work with Michelle Malkin a few months ago regarding a threat from the RIAA for using clips of a music video in her news production for the purpose of content discussion? IIRC, the RIAA backed down. Could EFF possibly be a good source for Snapped Shot?

Posted by: mojojojo at February 29, 2008 01:02 PM (6EQ2c)

14

Gabriel,

You are so cute when you go all lawyerly on us...;-) 

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at February 29, 2008 01:03 PM (vTS2w)

15 AP can suck all our dicks at once.

This suggestion is for AP use only and should not be construed as dick sucking advice for anyone else who happens to read it.

Posted by: Z as in Jersey at February 29, 2008 01:08 PM (kZT4X)

16 Airbus just won the Tanker contract for the USAF.  Yeah just read that again real slowly, and you can thank the Maverick for it.  Looks like the military has picked up on the fuck-your-friends and kiss your rivals asses modus operandi.

Posted by: sherlock at February 29, 2008 01:11 PM (ojW85)

17 Hey, my dad works for Northrop and I just bought my first house here in Mobile, so...bite me, sherlock.  This is awesome for me.

Posted by: Mary at February 29, 2008 01:28 PM (JGUCy)

18 I just looked at the Airbus site , Mary, and it seems that there is some relationship with Northrop for this very project, so I need to check more on how that's working.

Posted by: mbruce at February 29, 2008 01:46 PM (CxNJy)

19

Sherlock, do what the nice girl says.

Posted by: Dogstar at February 29, 2008 01:48 PM (FgxdU)

20 The AP lawyer's name is Priti Doshi (Pretty Douchy).  How apt.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at February 29, 2008 02:04 PM (5hXBq)

21 The part that frosts my ass is where Doshi writes "In any event, AP is entitled to, and WILL pursue from you, fees for the past use of its images." 

Posted by: gp at February 29, 2008 02:19 PM (aX0pX)

22 The part that frosts my ass is where Doshi writes "In any event, AP is entitled to, and WILL pursue from you, fees for the past use of its images."

In other words, "We're gonna fuck you over no matter what you do".

Posted by: IllTemperedCur at February 29, 2008 03:47 PM (Ds4I5)

23 I've always said: If you're gonna take the rap anyway, you might as well do the crime.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at February 29, 2008 03:49 PM (5hXBq)

24 "AP: our staff worked hard to photoshop these images and we are entitled to compensation for their use"

Posted by: Frank G at February 29, 2008 04:08 PM (Ydps9)

25

Gabriel,

Imagine for a moment that I run a website with ads.

The site is a news criticism site. And the ads support the cost of producting the site, and paying me a salary.

Imagine that my choice of criticism isn't written news, but photojournalism. I don't just randomly post pictures from the AP and say "nice shot" or "crappy shot." It's not that kind of criticism, but rather an in-depth expose of selected AP photographs that are ostensibly faked.

I examine the photo critically, educating my audience on how the photographer faked the shot, or used Photoshop to change the photo, or how the photographer obviously staged the shot and that it doesn't represent the reality that the photographer is attempting to make us believe with the photograph.

If I run the photo, enhance parts of it to demonstrate the use of Photoshop techniques, zoom in on areas ... is this then not "fair use."

If it's not fair use, please explain to me how I could criticize the photograph without using the photograph.

It seems pretty clear to me that this would be fair use. Or "fair use" doesn't have a meaning.

If then AP then sues me every single time I criticize their photographs, forcing me to hire an expensive attorney to defend myself in court, are they guilty of using the legal system to harass the critic? Is that illegal? Can you use the courts to harass critics exposing your fake photographs?

Posted by: formerglobesubscriber at February 29, 2008 04:14 PM (Ncq2X)

26 I once corresponded with a licensing salesperson over reprinting portions of articles I provided commentary on. They wanted me to pay for a license. I sent a long treatise back about fair dealing (Canadian, English, Australian term). I never heard from them again.

I'm not saying that will work here. His work is much more extensive and also I could just use a portion of the article and link back to the rest. With a photo, I assume you want the whole thing.

Nonetheless, the basic point is if you, your lawyer, and/or the blogging community fight back in a vigorous way, you may get them to back off.

I'll cross post this at LGF 'cause I'm too tired to retype something allegedly original. But don't tell the copyright protection lawyers about that!

Posted by: Christoph at February 29, 2008 05:22 PM (hawOV)

27 And many at ANARCIST PRESS wonder why their losing their readers BECUASE AP ARE HABITUIAL LIARS

Posted by: Spurwing Plover at February 29, 2008 05:49 PM (n7v4a)

28 A lot of states now have SLAPP statutes, which penalize "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation."  If AP actually sues over this, there's a good chance they would end up paying SS's legal fees.

It sounds to me more like an empty threat than one they intend to follow through on.  Nevertheless, SS should definitely see a lawyer before proceeding.

Posted by: Daryl Herbert at February 29, 2008 06:59 PM (YvLui)

29 formerglobesubscriber,

It seems to me that you've described an example of copying that would fall under the fair use exception. The purpose of the use you've described is to criticize the AP's photography, and though that may have a negative effect on their market, so do negative book reviews. An important distinction exists, of course, because book reviewers don't usually reprint the entire book for the criticism's audience.

That's crucial question here. Is it necessary to reproduce the photograph to "examine the photo critically" as you describe? I think so, but only to the extent that you are making the photography the issue, not just the content. In other words, you can probably copy the infamous Adnan Hajj photo to point out the photoshopped smoke or criticize AP's editorial control or to talk about it as news itself. But you can't copy it just to say, "Look at the smoke in Lebanon." That's content related. Do you understand the difference?

Posted by: Gabriel at February 29, 2008 11:55 PM (1Ug6U)

30 Now, after reading formerglobesubscriber's comment I wondered if that was what Snapped Shot was about, especially because his reply sounded kinda forceful. A recent google cache leads me to believe that it wasn't Snapped Shot's purpose to critique AP or any other news outfit, but to infringe on their copyrighted works.

For example, the entry "How's That Old Joke Go?" on Wednesday, February 27. 2008 17:36 copies a Reuters photo and the accompanying text description provided by Reuters. It then proceeds to comment on the news story about Pakistani protests over the Danish cartoons, not the photo. The only portion that can be said to be "critique" is a snarky comment over Reuters choice of words in the text description--a legitimate criticism, but probably not one that requires or justifies stealing the photo, as opposed to just stealing the text description.

For example, the entry "Daily Dictator" on Wednesday, February 27. 2008 16:59 copies an AP photo and the accompanying text description provided by AP. It is preceded and followed by comment on the news story about North Korea. No comment or criticism is directed at the photo, its making, or any of its elements. And in this case there isn't even any criticism of the text description. In other words, Brian Ledbetter used the AP photo as a jumping off point to talk about the news coming out of North Korea. He did not use the AP photo so that he could "examine the photo critically."

For example, the entry "Rage Lawyer on Wednesday, February 27. 2008 16:33 copies a Reuters photo and the accompanying text description provided by Reuters. It is followed by examples of Islamic "raging lawyer goodness," which is a legitimate news story. It does not however contain any discussion of the copied photograph itself.

Again, the entry "Personifying Denmark" on Monday, February 25. 2008 22:29 included a Reuters photo and the accompanying text description provided by Reuters. Comment on the news content, which was Pakistani protest over the Danish cartoons, is made, but no comment on the photo itself. Ledbetter uses the photo to start his conversation about the event, but doesn't actually engage in any examination of the photo itself.

This goes on and on.

Friday, February 22 2008 08:33 in "Happy Denmark Day... of RAGE!" it is the same thing. Copied AP photo and text. No examination of the copied photo and text, rather discussion of a related news story.

Thursday, February 21. 2008 10:31 in "End Recial Discrimination" it is the same thing. Copied AP photo and text. No examination of the copied items themselves, rather Ledbetter discusses the content of the photo which is the misspelling by a Palestinian protester of the word "racial." In this case, a possible fair use claim could be made because the photo may be unique and the content newsworthy--but that isn't a slam dunk because its rarity increases its value to AP at the same time that it becomes more newsworthy.

That's the first page of the Google cache of the Snapped Shot site. So far, seven photos stolen (I only mention six, above, but the other is same ol', same ol') with only the barest, most far-fetched claims of fair use available.

You can't make a practice of stealing photos and text to go with your blog posts. News papers, news media websites, and TV news programs all have to pay to reproduce copyrighted photos to go with their articles and segments. Ledbetter doesn't get an exception just because he's a blogger.

Posted by: Gabriel at March 01, 2008 12:17 AM (1Ug6U)

31 An example from AOSHQ:

One of the cobloggers reproduced the AP file photos from Wednesday's appearances by Obama and Clinton. Obama is cleverly backlit to create a halo, Clinton is pictured with a grinning devil over her left shoulder. The purpose of copying the photos and republishing them here was to comment on the photos themselves--the way that the first one deified Obama and the second one associated Clinton with evil. That's comment on the photography and not just the content.

Posted by: Gabriel at March 01, 2008 12:23 AM (1Ug6U)

32

Just to be clear, I'm not "with" ShappedPhoto. Never heard of them, or even seen the site.

I was merely pointing out an example of how fair use could be applied to the critical viewing of news photographs, even for a profit.

Posted by: formerglobesubscriber at March 01, 2008 03:07 AM (Ncq2X)

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