The Intercept Releases Photos To The Public Domain… But Unfortunately Locks Up Text Content With Copyfraud Claims

from the kudos-and-boos dept

We already wrote about the launch of The Intercept, the first new publication from Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, helmed by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, and about its first big article about the NSA’s use of questionable metadata in telling the CIA where to drop bombs from drones. However, the other article that the publication launches with is also worth noting. It’s by photographer Trevor Paglen, who rented a helicopter and took aerial photographs of the headquarters of the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which builds spy satellites, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which maps and analyzes imagery caught from those spy satellites. As Paglen notes:

My intention is to expand the visual vocabulary we use to “see” the U.S. intelligence community. Although the organizing logic of our nation’s surveillance apparatus is invisibility and secrecy, its operations occupy the physical world. Digital surveillance programs require concrete data centers; intelligence agencies are based in real buildings; surveillance systems ultimately consist of technologies, people, and the vast network of material resources that supports them. If we look in the right places at the right times, we can begin to glimpse America’s vast intelligence infrastructure.

But here’s the part that caught my eye:

These new images of the NSA, NRO, and NGA are being placed in the public domain without restriction, to be used by anyone for any purpose whatsoever, with or without attribution. They can be found on Creative Time Reports, which commissioned this piece, as well as on Flickr, Wikimedia Commons and The Intercept.

Download high resolution images of these photos: NSA, NRO, NGA

Here are the three images:

NSA:

NRO:


NGA:

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that First Look/The Intercept is nearly as open about the text of its articles. They have a big copyright symbol on the bottom and no Creative Commons or other permissive license. In fact, their copyright statement appears to go to the other extreme, pretending that fair use and other user rights can be ignored — and seems to go beyond what copyright allows, moving into the territory of copyfraud.

The Intercept is made available for your personal, noncommercial use only. All content and other material on this Service is the property of First Look Productions or its licensors and is protected by U.S. copyright laws, other copyright laws, and international conventions. Except as explicitly provided in these Terms of Use, you may not reproduce, distribute, display, perform, create derivative works from, or otherwise exploit any of the content or other material on this Service. You may display and occasionally print or store single copies of individual pages of the Service for your personal use, provided that you keep intact all credits and copyright and other proprietary notices, but you may not otherwise reproduce, store, or distribute copies of any content or other material found on this Service, in any form (including electronic form), or exploit any of the content you find here for any commercial purpose, without prior written permission from the copyright owner.

That statement above ignores even the possibility of fair use, which you can’t do. I’m sure it’s just boilerplate that First Look got from some lawyer, but for a publication with such lofty goals, and which used one of its first articles to release images into the public domain, you’d hope they wouldn’t have started out with such a bogus copyright statement.

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Comments on “The Intercept Releases Photos To The Public Domain… But Unfortunately Locks Up Text Content With Copyfraud Claims”

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11 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

1) Thanks, Captain Obvious! How would we have figured that out without you?

2) And? Does commonality invalidate all criticism? Are you truly that dense or do you just suffer from hyper-apathy?

3) Thanks again, Captain Obvious! Good thing you were here to point out something that everyone already knows and no one is asserting otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

What copyright text?

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I can’t find anywhere the copyright text you note attached to the 3 photos in question. On wikimedia I find a declaration of the photos are in the public domain, on theintercept I can’t find the copyright text at all. Can you post the link where the copyright text is found related to the 3 photos.

Cheers

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