Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Reprinting Images Produced In 630 A.D.

from the what-public-domain? dept

Over the years, we've heard tons of stories of professional printers refusing to print certain images because they're concerned about being accused of copyright infringement. This tends to create a huge nuisance for people who have a legitimate right to have things printed, but it gets absolutely, positively ridiculous when it involves material that is quite obviously in the public domain. Long time Techdirt community member Rose M. Welch sends in this ridiculous personal experience:
I'm working on an educational paper about medieval illumination and needed about a dozen full-color sheets with examples printed up to go with the paper. I called several local printers, found one who could print them today, and e-mailed her my documents.

The documents in question feature anywhere from one to six pieces from various illuminated manuscripts on each sheet, including some bits from the famous Book of Kells. The largest image is comprised of a full scan of the original manuscript, but printed in less than half of the size of the original piece (something like 6" x 8") and the smallest are six 2.5" x 2.5" chunks showing specific detailing from five different manuscripts on a single page.

These manuscripts were created between 600 and 900 A.D. and are firmly in the public domain. Even if they were not, printing pages and cutout bits from pages for an educational paper almost certainly constitutes fair use, which the printer had never heard of.

Seriously. No joke. What is the world coming to?"
And, just because we can, because it's public domain, here's an image from the Book of Kells, pulled from Wikipedia.
It's really troubling just how frequently we hear similar stories where people simply don't believe the public domain exists any more. They have it beaten into them so hard that everything is covered by copyright, and they're so scared of being accused of infringement that they can't even seem to fathom that there are works out there that you don't need permission to copy. It's pretty sad.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    el_segfaulto (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    Patience

    Just give it enough time. We'll keep expanding the length of copyrights and applying them retroactively so that eventually these works will be covered. And perhaps they should be! The purpose of copyright is to encourage people to create more works, and when was the last time somebody created a medieval illumination?

     

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      Dementia (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

      Re: Patience

      Ummm, about 700 years ago??

      Yes, I know it was sarcasm, just felt like being snarky.

       

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      identicon
      DCL, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:23pm

      Re: Patience

      YES that is the answer! Get them out of the public domain by retroactively allowing copyright on those medieval illuminated manuscripts so the original artists can create more!

      I am calling my congress person now to get it going!!! I am guessing the current US stance on world wide copyright will make it easy to ignore the fact that this country didn't even exist when they were created, so ICE get those police raids setup ASAP!

       

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      Manabi (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:13am

      Re: Patience

      We need a "sad but true" vote button so I can vote that for your comment. :D

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Not surprised

    A few years ago a local paper printed Halloween masks of local celebrities (the mayor, etc.) I tried to get them copied onto stiffer stock and was refused by the local Kinkos. I was dumbfounded, since the whole point of the piece was to get people to do exactly that.

     

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    Jeffhole (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    wait for it...

    Day 1: we finally get documentation of dark matter. Day 2: the Vatican sues the researchers for distributing images of Gods intellectual property.

     

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      Bill Silverstein (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

      Day 3

      Day 3: Depose God.
      Day 21: Court orders Vatican to produce God for deposition.
      Day 30: Court dismisses case, as sanction for failing to produce God for deposition.

       

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        PRMan, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

        Re: Day 3

        Day 999999: God deposes lawyer. Lawyer shows up in God's courtroom. Being a lawyer, God sentences him to hell for eternity... ;)

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:03am

          Re: Re: Day 3

          Pleeease tell me lawyers don't really live that long...

           

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            Chargone (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Day 3

            don't need to.

            fun side effect of God not being limited to the same subset of dimensions as we are (if any).

             

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            Sean T Henry (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Day 3

            No the lawyer will only live 76yrs the remaining 2663.72yrs he spends waiting to go to trial due to the court system being backed up from intellectual properties cases.

            The good thing there is that God wins all intellectual properties cases since he/she/it is all knowing so God must have thought of it first.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

    While a store clerk was apparently reluctant to do this print job, the comment does not come out and say so, nor does it mention what was the end result. Were they printed or not, and if not why not?

     

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      Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:01pm

      Re:

      I was going to say the same thing - a key part of the story seems to be missing from the quoted section. It jumps straight from emailing the documents, to an explanation of what was in them and why they were public domain, without stating exactly what happened after the email was sent...

       

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        Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re:

        I read the article for you and found the relevant bit:
        printing pages and cutout bits from pages for an educational paper almost certainly constitutes fair use, which the printer had never heard of.
        Whether or not the printing ever occurred, it can be safe to assume that the printer had an objection on copyright grounds, there was some back and forth, fair use was brought up, the printer demonstrated his/her/its ignorance of fair use, and Rose was befuddled over such ignorance.

         

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          nasch (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is probably safe to assume that, but there is no reason to leave such critically important information for the reader to assume.

           

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            Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If you toss out the stuff we are assuming, the article is still shocking. How Rose found out that the printer had never heard of fair use would be an interesting story, but it would be ancillary to one of the points of the article, which is that a printer had never heard of fair use. Granted, the major theme of the article indicates that the fair use defense was only needed if the whole in-the-public-domain thing wasn't sufficient.

             

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          Nick Coghlan (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, I saw that reference, but the story still skips the specific point I mentioned: nowhere does it actually say that the printer refused to print the images.

          We can *assume* it (since otherwise the rest of the story makes no sense), but why leave that part out? As it stands, the story goes:

          1. Rose asked a printer to print some documents for her
          2. ???
          3. The documents were public domain (why does this matter?)
          4. The printer had never heard of fair use (why does this matter?)

          3 & 4 are only interesting if the printer refused to print the documents at step 2 due to copyright concerns. Hence why I suspected an editing error, with the context of the original quote being lost somewhere along the way.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 8:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This is just part of Fanboi Strokefest 2011. Rose is a good kool-aid drinker and needed a little stroking. Good little Rose, you tell those printers that copying is their job!

            Where is Rose on all of this anyway? It is her story after all.

             

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              Karl (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              This is just part of Fanboi Strokefest 2011.

              I stopped going to that after Fanboi Strokefest 1991, when the special guest was Edward Scissorhands. Boy, was that a painful mistake!

               

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:31am

      Re:

      I actually just saw this post, sorry. I was actually in a huge hurry that day, and on a pretty tight deadline, after which I was out of town for a few days. If I hadn't been in such a hurry, I probably would have sent more detail, lol.

      Anyway, the woman in question was not the clerk. She was the owner of the print shop, which makes it so much worse, imho.

      As for the series of events, she called me back after viewing what I'd sent her and told me that she couldn't print them. During the course of the conversation, I explained that these items were in the public domain and that even if they weren't, this would constitute fair use. She'd never heard of either and still refused to print them. At this point, I e-mailed Techdirt.

      After that, I e-mailed them to Staples, who printed them without comment but made me sign a short form saying that I was responsible for any infringement before I could pick them up. The same form was posted on their counter and by the DIY copiers, though, so I think that was just their standard practice.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 4:58pm

    Here is the question though: Is Rose using the orignal images from 690 AD, or is she using images printed in a modern book?

    The documents themselves may be in the public domain, but are those particular scans?

    After all, didn't we have someone on here just the other day point out that photographers and photo copy machine operators are about on the same level, and as such, a photograph or a scan of a document could be consider copyright, at least a "thin" copyright?

    Rose, where did you get the images you are using from?

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

      Re:

      Does it matter where the scans came from? As long as she is not using any actually copyrighted material, like research or history from the book's writer, she should be in the clear. That is clearly fair use.

      The source is not at issue, the content itself is.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:01pm

        Re: Re:

        It would depend. Example, if the seperate images were scanned onto a single sheet, perhaps with annotations, or a layout - while the individual items in the images are in the public domain, perhaps the layout is not.

        Basically, did She show up at the copy store with a book that is copyright, and ask them to copy pages from it?

         

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          Any Mouse (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You missed the part where she emailed the images, then. Natch. The content does not matter as using it for instructional purposes is covered by fair use, public domain or not.

           

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          E. Zachary Knight (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 9:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I called several local printers, found one who could print them today, and e-mailed her my documents.

          Emphasis mine.

          The only book mentioned is the Book of Kells which was first printed in 800 or earlier.

          If she had copied from any current work, she still would have been within fair use because she would not have been copying a substantial portion of the copyrighted work as she was only using images and scans of public domain works.

          Why must you try to find fault with all cases of fair use being blocked by over zealous copyright police?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Since fair use really is an affirmative defence, exactly how is the printer suppose to know?

             

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              JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:40am

              ...cue the corporate propaganda

              Because it is not in fact just an "affirmative defense". It's as much a part of the explicit legal language than anything else on this subject.

               

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              E. Zachary Knight (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, when the original creator of the manuscript files a lawsuit against Rose, we can all find out just how effective the fair use defense is.

              Until then, we will continue to operate under the idea that works created prior to 1923 are in the public domain and can be copied and redistributed as many times as people want.

               

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                Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Hilariously, we don't even know who many of the original authors were, so they may even be considered orphan works. :D

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Why would/should that matter?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Why would/should that matter?

               

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      MrWilson, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:03pm

      Re:

      "...exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright in the United States because the copies lack originality. Even if accurate reproductions require a great deal of skill, experience and effort, the key element for copyrightability under U.S. law is that copyrighted material must show sufficient originality."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

      Re:

      Doesn't matter. Simply scanning something does not give the scanner a copyright interest in the resulting image.

      Not in the U.S. anyway (or most countries, I believe).

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 9:27pm

      Re:

      Here is the question though: Is Rose using the orignal images from 690 AD, or is she using images printed in a modern book?

      Doesn't matter. Look up Bridgeman vs. Corel.

      Might matter in the UK, but in the US... doesn't matter.

       

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        mike allen (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 11:55pm

        Re: Re:

        would not matter much in the UK as there would be no copyright on the book of kells here. Several years ago I did something similar with something else of similar age.

         

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          Francis Davey, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:31am

          UK Copyright

          In the UK, if a work is unpublished it doesn't matter how old it is, copyright may still subsist in the work. Classic example: the Dead Sea Scrolls (which are older than the Book of Kells).

          There are some exceptions, retained from the 1956 Act, that get around this to some extent, but they are permissive exceptions rather than rules taking the work out of copyright.

           

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            Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:39am

            Re: UK Copyright

            ,i>In the UK, if a work is unpublished it doesn't matter how old it is, copyright may still subsist in the work. Classic example: the Dead Sea Scrolls (which are older than the Book of Kells).

            I think you must be referring to the provision for a 25 year copyright for the first publishing of a previously unpublished work. It is not clear to me that the Book of Kells would count as unpublished anyway - but even so the book was published in facsimile in 1951 and 1974 so even that copyright is now definitely expired.

             

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 9:47pm

      Re:

      You don't get a new copyright for making a new copy, if it worked that way every pirate on earth would be a copyright holder.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      "Is Rose using the orignal images from 690 AD, or is she using images printed in a modern book?"

      A photograph of a public domain image (painting, etching, tapestry) unless transformative (shot from a unique angle, impossible for a flat piece of art or relit, which would defeat the purpose of the image in this case) is still pd.

       

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    I don't know if my reading comprehension is a bit off today, but I can't find the "punchline" in the text you quoted from Rose... basically it states that she sent it to the printer, and then...

    Did the printer refuse? I'm assuming that's the case but can't find it stated anywhere.

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:34am

      Re:

      The printer did refuse. I had to take my documents to another printer.

      Sorry for not being clearer. I was in a huge hurry, and dealing with morons. :P

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

    As others have pointed out, nothing in the story actually says anything bad happened here.

    However, assuming that was just just an unintended omission, and the printer did actually refuse to print the images, I agree that that's a bad thing.

    However, I suspect that sensationalist and often misleading stories about supposedly ridiculous cases of copyright enforcement(e.g., many TD stories) encourage rather than discourage this type of negative, overly-cautious behavior.

     

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

      Re:

      Never pass a chance to make an ad hom attack do you? :D

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I fail to see how that is an ad hom attack. I'm criticizing the nature of Mike's work (i.e., his actions).

        At any rate, this is not just some "ooh, here's a way I can slip in a dig" thing. I seriously believe that TD routinely posts misleading articles, and that a substantial numbers of readers take those mischaracterizations at face value, contributing to a warped view of IP law (and other subjects).

        I often post here about specific mischaracterizations or misstatements (not just from Mike or other TD authors, but commenters as well, including other ACs), but this story provided an opportunity to discuss misperceptions of copyright law in general.

         

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          The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Circumstantial Ad Hominem:

          Ad hominem circumstantial points out that someone is in circumstances such that he is disposed to take a particular position. Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source. This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false.

          The circumstantial fallacy applies only where the source taking a position is only making a logical argument from premises that are generally accepted. Where the source seeks to convince an audience of the truth of a premise by a claim of authority or by personal observation, observation of their circumstances may reduce the evidentiary weight of the claims, sometimes to zero."

          It was nothing but a cheapshot. Just admit it, it's ok.

           

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            Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:00am

            Re: “This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false.”

            Bayes’ Theorem suggests otherwise.

             

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              Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:45am

              Re: Re: “This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false.”

              No it doesn't - unless the argument is proved false in the other cases - and even in then it is only a probabilistic effect - and a weak one at that.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:51am

                Re: Re: Re: “This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false.”

                In this case, there is no "argument" being criticized. I'm not saying, e.g., "Mike is wrong in this case because he is often wrong in other cases."

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm not attacking Mike's argument in this article. Thus, your quote is not applicable.

            It was nothing but a poorly-grounded attack on a criticism of Mike. Just admit it, it's ok.

             

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          JMT (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I seriously believe that TD routinely posts misleading articles, and that a substantial numbers of readers take those mischaracterizations at face value, contributing to a warped view of IP law (and other subjects)."

          Here's a crazy thought. Perhaps we read what Mike writes, then read what you write, and make up our own damn minds which one of you is correct. Thanks for implying that a substantial number of Techdirt readers are too stupid to do that.

          Of course you and many of the commenters that disagree with everything Mike says leave the very distinct impression that you have undisclosed vested interests in the IP world, and that's hardly going to make people more likely to believe what you say.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not likely. It has been proven over and over again here that the most agressive posters in the comments are also blind to anything except the word of Mike. Why do you think so many of them end up being "contributors"? As soon as Mike finds someone who swallows the kool-aid whole, they get put on staff.

            Groove Tiger: When Mike does it to someone else, it's a zinger or scoring points. When anyone else does it to Mike, it's a cheap shot?

            I love the double standard.

             

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              JMT (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "It has been proven over and over again here that the most agressive posters in the comments are also blind to anything except the word of Mike."

              Again, just a cheap shot a commenters' intelligence.

              I'm curious, if I aggressively agreed with everything you said, would that make me an ally or blind to anything except your word?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "if I aggressively agreed with everything you said, would that make me an ally or blind to anything except your word?"

                Perhaps both.

                I'll note that, as someone who is deemed "Anonymous Coward," I believe I often get a lot of backlash based not entirely on the content of my posts, but due to lingering animosity toward one or two other Anonymous Cowards.

                In my opinion, that type of inherent prejudice, whether it's for/against Mike(or any other regular contributor) or for/against a particular Anonymous Coward doesn't really speak well of commenters' intelligence (although I suppose it could be attributed to laziness rather than intelligence).

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  As an Anonymous Coward I have never experienced any backlash here due to lingering animosity toward one or two other Anonymous Cowards. Maybe it's the content of your posts after all, and not your name, that is causing this 'backlash?'

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I actually believe it is a combination of both. I am often critical of articles on TD. I think people assume that I am one of the other ACs that are also often critical of articles on TD (often attributing things to me that I have never said/done, but other ACs have).

                     

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                      freak (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 4:18am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      When I post as an AC (IE: For trolling, or because I forgot to login), I have never experienced any backlash whatsoever.
                      (It's actually easier for me to troll when I'm logged in)

                      I'm often critical of Mike. In fact, I'm writing up something about that right now.

                       

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 8:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Wait wait wait. Are you telling me that Mike selects people with similar views to contribute to his website that advances those views? This is a shocking scandal! Call the NYTimes!

               

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              Anonymous Rebuttal, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 8:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not likely. It has been proven over and over again here that the most agressive posters in the comments are also blind to anything except the word of Mike.

              What I don't get is why you come here and post your comments across articles when you believe that everything here is wrong, lies, distortions and etc ?

              I mean really... I don't go to Fox News or Sean Hannity's site and argue with people and nitpick postings because there'd be no point in it. All it is at that point is an ego trip. Why do you waste your precious time and pearls of wisdom on us benighted and brain-damaged cavemen?

              It's this continued and sustained effort on your part that makes people question your motives and dismiss what you have to say. Either you're an ego-tripping masochist or a industry shill, or you've got a personal grudge against Mike... using your own "logical" approach.

              It's you who seems to be one of the most "aggressive posters in comments" so I guess that makes you "blind to anything except the word of Mike."

              Care to try using your brain again? It might work a little better next time, though judging from your long-term performance here I wouldn't bet on it.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                [...]ego trip[...] ding ding ding ding ding!

                You pretty much nailed it. My favorite part is how he accuses Mike and everyone here of his own behavior. How he does it without feeling foolish is beyond me.

                 

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                  Chargone (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  that's actually common behaviour. lots of people with issues end up doing that and don't even notice. heck, i'd go so far as to say that most people do it to some extent, at least occasionaly.

                  highly exasperating, at best, for those who notice it and have to deal with them.

                   

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "if I aggressively agreed with everything you said, would that make me an ally or blind to anything except your word?"

                I'm not the person you responded to, but I'll put forth my answer, since I'm in a similar boat and that's really the point of my comment that started a cavalcade of responses in this thread.

                I don't think Mike is wrong about everything, but I do think he (and other contributors) routinely exaggerate and/or misrepresent things. I think this contributes to widespread misunderstanding of subjects that I am interested in (most often intellectual property, but also other subjects).

                I try to shed light and correct misperceptions, because I enjoy doing that.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 10:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean like you?
              You are one of the most aggressive poster here aren't you?

               

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              G Thompson (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 11:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not likely. It has been proven over and over again here that the most agressive posters in the comments are also blind to anything except the word of Mike.

              Are you stating that I am not aggressive? or that I am not the norm? See fallacious and specious comments can work against you.

              Why do you think so many of them end up being "contributors"? As soon as Mike finds someone who swallows the kool-aid whole, they get put on staff.

              Interestingly the colour of your snowflake reflects the amount of implied jealousy that you are showing.

               

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              Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 2:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not likely. It has been proven over and over again here that the most agressive posters in the comments are also blind to anything except the word of Mike.

              Proven - really - you obviously don't understand the meaning of the word.

              (And btw I can give counter examples that would refute any proof you might think you have)

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm curious what your counter examples are. It seems you would first have to designate who the "most agressive posters" are, then find examples of them rejecting "the word of Mike."

                I'm not saying the other AC is right in his claim, but if you take a restrictive view of what can be called "proven," you are making a claim that would appear to me hard to support.

                 

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                  Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:13am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I'm curious what your counter examples are. It seems you would first have to designate who the "most agressive posters" are, then find examples of them rejecting "the word of Mike."

                  since you (or the other AC) have defined the "most aggressive posters" you would have the responsibility of identifying them. Once one of you does that I'll find the requisite counter examples.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:20am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I have not made any such definition (it's the other AC making the claim).

                    Seems odd (and risky) to claim that you have counter examples of something when you don't even know what that something is yet.

                     

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Here's a crazy thought. Perhaps we read what Mike writes, then read what you write, and make up our own damn minds which one of you is correct. Thanks for implying that a substantial number of Techdirt readers are too stupid to do that."

            Nothing crazy about that thought. Not sure why you would think otherwise.

            Here's the thing, though. In my experience, a substantial majority of TD commenters take Mike's word at face value, but require irrefutable proof before considering the mere possibility that someone who criticizes Mike's work might know what he/she is talking about.

            Of course, you seem to support that type of prejudice, so whether or not you are "too stupid" to make up your own mind, you might have a hard time reaching an accurate and supportable conclusion.

             

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              nasch (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In my experience, a substantial majority of TD commenters take Mike's word at face value, but require irrefutable proof before considering the mere possibility that someone who criticizes Mike's work might know what he/she is talking about.

              I think you're exaggerating, but some of the effect you see is when a reader has followed Mike for a long time and found that he generally backs up his positions with references and research, and makes a lot of sense. Then some anonymous (not even psedonymous so a reputation can be established) person says something contradictory that doesn't sound right or plausible. Naturally it is going to be challenged.

              That does not mean Mike's word is taken as gospel, or that ACs are automatically shouted down. It just means his assertions sometimes carry more weight than yours. That is just something you'll have to deal with for at least as long as you don't put a name to your posts. I think you'l get a fair shake most of the time if you disagree reasonably and provide evidence when you can.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I take only a few minor issues with this.

                First, I find that Mike creates an illusion of supporting his statements, but such facial support is often quite weak. For example, he includes many links to documents, but those documents often do not actually say what he says they say (or at least are subject to differing interpretations).

                Second, I don't think it's natural to challenge someone's assertion simply because you don't know who they are, especially if you don't have an independent basis for believing their assertion is mistaken.

                "I think you'l get a fair shake most of the time if you disagree reasonably and provide evidence when you can."

                Not sure about "most of the time" but I do find that after rigorously supporting statements I make, sometimes, some regulars are willing to admit that someone else (Mike, another regular, another contributor, another Internet folk hero) might have made a mistake. Of course, it's frustrating that it takes numerous posts worth of supported work to contradict something someone else just says offhand without any support.

                Nobody owes me any sort of deference, but you'd think people might question the deference they give to someone else just because they know his name (or Internet moniker).

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  A couple of your statements are distortions of what I said.

                  Second, I don't think it's natural to challenge someone's assertion simply because you don't know who they are

                  What I said, emphasis added: "Then some anonymous... person says something contradictory that doesn't sound right or plausible.

                  you'd think people might question the deference they give to someone else just because they know his name (or Internet moniker).

                  What I said: "when a reader has followed Mike for a long time and found that he generally backs up his positions with references and research, and makes a lot of sense."

                  Those are really important parts you left out: I'm talking about arguments from one person with a reputation (deserved or otherwise, you can certainly disagree) for being careful and sensible, against someone with no identity or reputation saying something that rings false in some way. Not simply someone you've heard of versus someone you haven't, as you rephrased it.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:53pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Those are certainly valid distinctions. I would just note that it seems to me that people all too often view things as "ringing false" when they don't like them, regardless of their relationship to truth or falsity.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      What it seems to me that you are doing, is similar to what you are accusing others of... Dismissing posts or posters based on something other than the actual content.

                      For example, you've spent quite a bit of real-estate explaining how you think some subset of techdirt posters is close-minded and will never see your side. Ergo, you have dismissed any of their posts as valid regardless of content (a close-minded, ad hom view). At the very least you are not considering that each and every post may contain analysis that is valid at least to the individual.

                      Me, I like to judge every post on its own and not try to categorize the poster. One thing that will close my mind though? Personal attacks and superiority complexes.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:29pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "you've spent quite a bit of real-estate explaining how you think some subset of techdirt posters is close-minded and will never see your side. Ergo, you have dismissed any of their posts as valid regardless of content (a close-minded, ad hom view)."

                        Um, what? What you said after "ergo" does not follow from what you said before "ergo."

                        If you take a look at the very post you replied to, I acknowledged the validity of some points the other poster was making, despite some disagreements between us.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:03pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          I did, and right after you acknowledged them you went right on to dismiss those that disagree with you as not having valid reasons for disagreeing. Instead you believe they just don't like what you have to say. Whether you only mean to apply that to a subset or not--it is a barrier to understanding. You'll never truly consider the value of other people's opinions or even consider if your own need to evolve if you don't avoid categorizing people (he's just a fan-boy, he just doesn't like what I have to say, he's just a freetard).

                          This isn't something just you struggle with--it is a common cognitive fallacy, but it comes out very strongly in your postings above.

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Please indicate where I "categorized" people. Thanks.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:12am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              "I would just note that it seems to me that people all too often view things as "ringing false" when they don't like them, "

                              "a substantial numbers of readers take those mischaracterizations at face value, contributing to a warped view of IP law"

                              I don't know if its just the word "categorize" that you don't like, but the above text takes a group of people and makes a generalization about them that is founded in opinion and not fact. Category, generalization, whatever word works for you.

                              This indicates to me that you filter any dissent to your posted opinion through these perspectives, dismissing them as being biased before deciding if they are grounded in anything valid. That seems to me that would make it very difficult to fairly consider whether or not you might be incorrect yourself. If you aren't considering that possibility, then debate is pointless--no facts or arguments will ever sway or enlighten you.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 10:21am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                I don't see how you get from "based on my experience, I have noticed that some proportion of X people appear to be doing Y" to "I dismiss out of hand anything said/done by X people as biased without considering their merits."

                                Quite a logical leap, if you ask me.

                                The fact that have distinguished in this thread between statements from this group of X people that I believe have merit and those that do not, would seem to show that I don't dismiss all such statements out of hand, but I guess that's not good enough to contradict your opinions of me.

                                I believe we have similar views of what constitutes reasoned debate and conversation (at least based on your statements). But I'm having a hard time understanding why you seem to believe my posts indicate I am not practicing these views myself.

                                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Actually there's a substantial amount of crazy in the world view your espousing that everyone around you is an idiot incapable of seeing the truth that's right in front of them and that this explains why very few agree with you.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'm not sure what you're political affiliation is, but let's assume you are neither a fervent Democrat nor a fervent Republican (of course, I'm assuming you're from the U.S., but you can draw the analogy to your particular locale if I'm mistaken).

                Assuming this is true, if you go to freerepublic.com (a website for rabidly partisan Republicans/conservatives), I suspect you would agree that a substantial majority is not willing to consider valid propositions that contradict the conservative/Republican worldview. In addition, or in the alternative, if you go to dailykos.com (a website for rabidly partisan Democrats/liberals/progressives), I suspect you would agree that a substantial majority is not willing to consider valid propositions that contradict the Democratic/liberal/progressive worldview.

                My point is that (a) I'm not talking about "everyone," (b) I'm talking about a limited population that congeals around a particular worldview, and (c) it is not at all "crazy" to observe that in such a limited population a substantial majority simply refuses to accept/consider arguments/propositions that contradict that worldview.

                ya dig?

                 

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              JMT (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Nothing crazy about that thought. Not sure why you would think otherwise."

              It's just a turn of phrase. Jeez...

              "In my experience, a substantial majority of TD commenters take Mike's word at face value, but require irrefutable proof before considering the mere possibility that someone who criticizes Mike's work might know what he/she is talking about."

              That's called TRUST. Many long-time readers have come to trust Mike's interpretation of events and the evidence he routinely provides to back up his conclusions. I often read the links he provide and rarely have issue with the way he comments on them.

              You on the other hand refuse to comment under a single name, even anonymously, so we have to make an assessment of you one comment at a time. The fact that you won't allow others to see your comment history even in one post makes you seem untrustworthy. You will always have to try much harder to gain trust then someone who comment under a single name. I'm sorry if this perfectly natural human behaviour bother you so much.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 10:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I understand the concept of trust. I happen to disagree with the (apparent) majority view there that Mike is trustworthy when it comes to accurately describing events/articles/judicial opinions.

                I accept that people have no reason to trust a completely anonymous person. However, I don't believe that means it's reasonable to *distrust* an anonymous person as a default position.

                As far as "The fact that you won't allow others to see your comment history even in one post makes you seem untrustworthy." I don't think I understand that. The AC avatars that TD uses are not perfect, but they usually make it not terribly diffcult to discern between ACs in a particular thread in most cases. Although if I happen to continue commenting on a thread using a different IP address that obviously makes a difference.

                 

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:06pm

      Re:

      However, I suspect that sensationalist and often misleading stories about supposedly ridiculous cases of copyright enforcement(e.g., many TD stories) encourage rather than discourage this type of negative, overly-cautious behavior.

      Exactly. All the FUD about how hard copyright is leads to people not understanding copyright. You reap what you so, Masnick.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    My uncle took my engagement photos and Wolf Camera refused to print them for me because they looked "too professional."

     

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      mrtraver (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 7:27pm

      Re:

      We've had the same problem with Wal-Mart. My wife took our daughter's senior pictures with a Kodak point and shoot, and Walmart didn't want to print the images for us because we couldn't prove we had the copyright on the photos we took. They eventually did, after I showed them the metadata showing that it was indeed a Kodak that they had in stock, and convinced them that no professional photographer would be using that to take pictures for sale.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 8:53pm

    no, the rapid bend to mikes will pretty easy around others who point things out are the "bad" guys

    this is a fail of a "story", where is the story??

    mike's headline
    "Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Reprinting Images Produced In 630 A.D."

    where is the accusation???, where or who reprinted them???

    I know mike stands behind his "opinion blog", to say he doesn't really have to tell a "story", he isnt a "journalist"

    but your trying very hard to act like one, maybe you should actually try and be more professional about it

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 9:07pm

    Mike your genius never ceases to amaze. The quote form Rose is "almost certainly constitutes fair use, which the printer had never heard of." and somehow you take that over here "It's really troubling just how frequently we hear similar stories where people simply don't believe the public domain exists any more." Fair Use and Public Domain are not the same thing. It's pretty sad how frequently you conflate ideas and claim to make some kind of point but fail at it.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 9:32pm

      Re:

      Mike your genius never ceases to amaze. The quote form Rose is "almost certainly constitutes fair use, which the printer had never heard of." and somehow you take that over here "It's really troubling just how frequently we hear similar stories where people simply don't believe the public domain exists any more." Fair Use and Public Domain are not the same thing.

      Hmm. She pointed out first that it was a PD document and then noted that, even if it wasn't in the PD, it would be fair use. The fair use argument was meaningless because the image is PD, so that's all I talked about.

      I didn't conflate the two. I focused on the key issue, which is the public domain.

       

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        nasch (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        Mike, are you going to update the article to tell us what actually happened? Some important chunk is missing, because the story so far doesn't include what the headline claims.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re:

        Where exactly does Rose mention that the print shop did not believe that Public Domain exists? You still got it wrong.

        And what does that have to do with the headline, where is the accusation? You are making stuff up and declaring your self correct. td is a joke.

         

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          Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The part where I stated that the printer had never heard of the public domain, which implies all of the rest.

          Which was, I guess, too subtle?

           

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 12th, 2011 @ 11:18pm

      Re:

      When a professional printing company cannot tell the difference, it's staggering.

       

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    Rekrul, Sep 12th, 2011 @ 11:25pm

    It's really troubling just how frequently we hear similar stories where people simply don't believe the public domain exists any more. They have it beaten into them so hard that everything is covered by copyright, and they're so scared of being accused of infringement that they can't even seem to fathom that there are works out there that you don't need permission to copy. It's pretty sad.

    Which is exactly the way the copyright industry wants it.

     

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    Thomas (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    In europe

    they are working to eliminate public domain and make everything copyright by someone.

    It's all part of the greed for money that is rampant in our societies. Copyright, patents, you name it; everyone thinks they own something and someone else has to pay. This is much easier than actually working.

     

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    cjstg (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    what happened?

    i've read the post three times and i cannot find anywhere in the article where it says what happened. in her quote the narrative goes directly from being able to print today and sending them over to stating that these items are in the public domain. did the printer refuse to print them? what reason did they state? what is funny is all the comments regarding what happened. the post never states what happened. it implies what happened, but never quite makes it.

     

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      Eugene (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:58am

      Re: what happened?

      Yeah, I think there's a paragraph missing in the middle somewhere. Mike, you may want to double-check that.

       

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:38am

      Re: what happened?

      I actually just saw this post, sorry. I was in a huge hurry that day, and on a pretty tight deadline, after which I was out of town for a few days. If I hadn't been in such a hurry, I probably would have sent more detail, lol. (And maybe seen this post.)

      Anyway, the woman in question was not the clerk. She was the owner of the print shop, which makes it so much worse, imho.

      As for the series of events, she called me back after viewing what I'd sent her and told me that she couldn't print them. During the course of the conversation, I explained that these items were in the public domain and that even if they weren't, these documents would be considered fair use. She'd never heard of either and still refused to print them. At this point, I e-mailed Techdirt.

      After that, I e-mailed the exact same documents to Staples, who printed them without comment but made me sign a short form saying that I was responsible for any infringement before I could pick them up. The same form was posted on their counter and by the DIY copiers, though, so I think that was just their standard practice.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    So infringement is the new Communisim??

    If you're not with us, you're against us, right comrad?

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:28pm

    Printing company

    I used to work at a printing company, and I will tell you right now, Rose's version is absolutely correct.

    Of course, print shops have heard of fair use, and the public domain. It doesn't matter. Even the possibility of getting sued will make shops err on the side of caution (i.e. on the side of "we assume everything is copyrighted").

    That's because even if a lawsuit is unsuccessful, the print shop will be required to spend resources it simply doesn't have. Even the larger shops barely make any profit at all (and didn't even before the economic crashes of 2001 and 2008).

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:44am

      Re: Printing company

      A lawsuit from whom, exactly? Whomever tiled the floor of a Roman villa in 350 BC? One of the many unknown scribes from Lindisfarne and Kells who scribed that manuscript? The Count of Milan who commissioned the Visconti Hours before Gutenburg was a mote in the eye of God? Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of fair use and the public domain would find the idea of a suit equally laughable. Regardless, this woman had not heard if either. She was baffled by those terms.

       

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    Claire Ryan (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Just to clarify

    The Book of Kells wasn't printed - it's an illuminated manuscript, which was illustrated by hand by an order of Irish monks. It was the work of many people whose identities are unknown, so good luck figuring out who owns the copyright on that - if copyright were infinite, of course.

    It's a work of art more than a book, so it'll be covered by the copyright stuff that old paintings use, I think. And we've already established that American copyright law doesn't give a toss about that (see http://www.webarnes.ca/2009/07/copyright-on-200-year-old-paintings/) so it depends on where Rose is based.

    The Book is kept in Trinity College in Dublin, and the College has a trademark on the name so that they can use it for merchandise or whatever. Profits go back into the College and into the conservation of their collection of old books and manuscripts. As far as I know, they haven't claimed any copyright on the Book itself.

    The facsimiles are perfect reproductions so they're not copyrightable, but there was a staggering amount of work put into creating them - they're not something you could just download off the net and print out yourself. Scholarly commentary on the Book is obviously copyrighted by the respective authors.

    In short: the printer was probably being over-cautious, and if they didn't recognise the Book of Kells, it's not outside the realm of possibility that they'd refuse to print it in case it's a modern work. In Ireland, for example, I'm pretty sure any printer would be happy to do it because they'd know it on sight.

    This raises the pretty rotten prospect, however, of someone's photos being printed depending on the printer's own knowledge of copyright law/art history/insert esoteric subject here. Anyone who thinks this is alright needs their head examined.

    It is not the responsibility of the average person to teach a business about fair use and the public domain in order to avail of their services.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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