The weird saga of the insanely thin-skinned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues. As you'll recall, he's on a legal crusade against a German comedian who recited a purposely ridiculous insulting poem about Erdogan on TV (as a response to the stories about Erdogan's thin skin). Erdogan's lawyers found a little used (and little known) "lese majeste" law on the German legal books that makes it a crime to insult representatives of foreign nations. The comedian, Jan Bohmermann, admits that the poem in question was over the top, but that was the point. When you hear about a foreign leader spending so much effort on trying to sue anyone who insulted him, no matter how slight, it's actually pretty tempting to add to the pile of insults.
In Tuesday's ruling the court found that "Erdogan does not have to put up with the expression of certain passages in view of their outrageous content attacking (his) honour."
Why not? While it may sound flip, it's a serious question. He's the leader of a country of almost 80 million people. Shouldn't we be at least a little concerned that he apparently turns into a cowering puddle of emotions the second people make fun of him? Most people put up with other people insulting them just fine, and we aren't leaders of a major nation state. Why is a German court so willing to toss out any basic free speech rights around satire just to please a foreign leader who can't take a joke?
The court didn't ban the entire poem, but even just picking what can and can't be said seems like a ridiculous thing for a court to be involved with at all:
The court ruled that only six lines of the 24-line poem by German comedian Jan Boehmermann could be recited, offering the Turkish leader a partial legal victory.
As could be expected, once the secret troll-summoning words were revealed, many people rushed to their Twitter accounts to try their luck. They were not disappointed. Over at Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza tweeted an unattributed "Tongues Made of Glass," and was quicky hit with the expected blast of canned tweets.
On Press must have realized something was up, what with the sudden (and huge) increase in non-attributed poem quoting. For a little while, the On Press accounts fell nearly silent. In a few hours, however, its responses suddenly became a whole lot friendlier.
It would appear that On Press Inc. has realized (thanks to a very public airing of dirty laundry) that its previous tactics weren't earning it any friends, customers or respect. This new approach is bound to be more successful on all counts, if for no other reason than the old way did nothing more than paint both Shaun Shane and On Press Inc. as overbearing thugs, hardly the sort of people anybody wants to comply with, much less support. All in all, I imagine it was a very long and hectic day for whoever's running the On Press Twitter horde. This tweet (my new favorite!) pretty much sums it all up.
This is On Press. We actually have to thank you Mr.Cushing. While at first we dimissed your post as simpleminded reactionism, you have brought quite abit of attention to Shane's work. So much so, that we have sold 3219 (as to this hour)of Shane's book in the last two days( more than we do in a month) and have recieved thousands of emails stating how much people like his work. So, by all means keep going. Your the best advertisment we have. Most people seem to not accept your position that using someone's work without credit is acceptable. With much thanks, On Press Inc.
Now, I'm not going to comment publicly on the veracity of those sales figures* because that's beside the point. I have to believe there has been an increase in sales for two reasons: 1. additional exposure and 2. a more pleasant "On Press experience" on Twitter. I'm also not going to comment on the penultimate sentence... yet.
While there's a new On Press leaf being turned over on Twitter, it appears that it's the same old On Press (only grudgier) away from that platform. I was first clued in to this by Kendra Albert, who tweeted me a link to her blog post dealing with her On Press experience. She tweeted the poem, along with a link to our story, and received this in response. (The following image is Kendra's.)
Here let us speak for ourselves, This is On Press Inc. Tim Cushing (Techdirt) posted Shane's Poem on his Twitter account without credit to Shane. He was told to remove the post. Which is our legal right to demand. He then responded in what can only be characterized as juvenile ranting.He has selectively posted what he wants on his bizarre rambling on his webpage.But we have screenshots of all his conversation. You cannot post Author's work without credit to them. Not only is it illegal but unethical. If you published something and someone put it on the internet without credit to you and you contacted them and they refused to credit you and then post your work on the internet without your credit and then encouraged their friends to post the work without credit to you,w e wonder how you would feel. As we do. Shane should credit for his work. And that is all that was asked of Cushing to do
You post was not for commentary or reporting it was to incite. Which is not Fair Use. We understand that some people have a limited and overly simplistic understanding of Copyright Law, which to be expected of amateurs. But, let us put Mr.Cushings efforts in perspective. Of all the issues we deal with daily, he is quite minor and is hardly the first of his kind that we or other publishers have had to deal with . And we have quite abit of experince with resolving these types of issues. Though they take a little time. Secondly, Mr. Cushing has committed quite a few criminal and civil infractions that we are in the process of bringing to bare against him. But as we stated, legal proceedings take time. We have, and are sure that we will have too in the future, deal with sorts like Mr.Cushings as we have in the past. But, that is the nature of Publishing in this era and this issue will be resolved in our favor. However, we would suggest for you that you become better acquainted with the limitations of Fair Use.
So, it appears that On Press (or people pretending to be On Press) is playing nice on Twitter, but is still just as brutish (and confused) everywhere else. Someone claiming to be On Press also visited Boing Boing's writeup on this story to add the following:
We would really like to see if you'll come out from hiding behind this cowardly shield of words, on some poorly excuted blog that list no way of getting a hold of you and give us some real world contact information. For surely, if you presume you are right then there can be no harm in having us settle this in court. Or perhaps your just a wanna be revolutionary that does nothing more than talk hiding behind some silly childish ranting on a webpage. Or are you really up " to putting your money where your mouth is " as they say. So give us some contact information and stop being so cowardly.
"...he (Cushing) acted like some idiotic kid and wrote this fake review. Notice he has not bought the book... And anybody who would go to these lengths rather than first credit an Artist is seriously deranged... Anyone who support this type of unethical childish behavior is as emotionally disturbed as Cushing is ."
"Cushing never read Shane's book he's just an immature idiot who knows how to nothing more than respond like a child when confronted with his immturity."
"Tim Cushing and the other guy have posted fake reviews when Cushing posted Shane's poem without credit and was asked to credit him instead of being a decent human being decide to write a fake review in immature retaliation. Only a moron does stuff like that"
In addition, on the day of the original post, this email was sent to Techdirt's Facebook account. [Interjections in brackets are my comments.]
Ah, Mr. Cushing we are quite amused by your efforts. Your investigation techniques need some work, but they are interesting to review nonetheless. As, for some of the misinformed opinions you've stated in your post ( quite bizarre in it's length) let us correct you. Shaun Shane is dead and died of cancer in 2010 and is buried in Connecticut. [Link to an obituary, perhaps?] He willed all his work and ownership of his copyright to On Press Inc. [Documentation?]
As for Tim Roth, who attempted to verify that you were employed and Techdirt , he is in New York.
[There don't appear to be any Tim Roths registered to practice law in New York. There's a "Timothy Rothwell" in New Jersey. And as for it being "Tim Roth" who called, the voice on the phone (which sounded quite similar to the voice in Shaun Shane's videos) clearly said "James Roth" and the call itself was made using a Texas phone number (the same number belonging to one of the names that has been going around supporting Shaun Shane online, Anne Murphy). It's possible that there is another Tim Roth out there not listed in the official listings for NY lawyers, but who is a lawyer. It would help to see some proof though. For now, it's a misdemeanor to impersonate an attorney in New York. If any impersonation is being done in Texas (where the calls originated), it's a third-degree felony. There may not be any impersonation going on, but we pass along this info as a courtesy to On Press.]
But most importantly after being contacted to remove your post of Shane's poem ,which you used illegally and not in compliance with any copyright law. ( Your use of it on Twitter does not meet Fair Use protection Guidelines; and despite your protest to the contrary, you cannot use copyrighted work - and it is copyrighted - without permission from the publisher) you showed willful intent to incur further infringement of our property and encouraged other to do (quite illegal Mr.Cushing)
[You'll have to point out where exactly I "encouraged others to do" so. I believe your tactics, once exposed, had more to do with any uptick in uncredited poem tweets than anything I said in my post. And, once again, I'd like to see some proof of your claim that On Press holds this copyright. So far, all I've seen is one phrase in the opening pages of a print-on-demand book composed of someone else's poems.
And as for your claim I showed "willful intent to incur further infringement," please take some time to point out exactly where that occurred.]
Additionally, we have just been in contact with Amazon concerning your fake review of Shane's book and have forwarded them the complete conversation with you ( we take screenshots of all conversations involving copyright infringement.) we had on Tweeter and your Twitter post stating that you had just made a review on Amazon in retaliation for being legally contacted to credit Shane or remove the post. Additionally, Twitter can, and does terminate accounts for copyright infringement.
[Good thing you made screenshots because all of your accounts are suspended. In fact, as of the evening of Feb. 18th, I can't find a single one up and running.]
Copyright Infringement is a crime and you cannot use anyone's copyrighted work without crediting them, period. There are no exceptions. We have to say that you have provided with us quite a lot of material to begin prosecution against you for copyright infringement. Also, Mr. Cushing we suggest you become more informed about how legal proceedings are conducted. it takes roughly a month to three months to begin the initial stages of prosecution. On Press Inc.
[I've got nothing to add to this -- other than that there is a whole body of law that talks about limitations and exceptions in copyright law, so to say that "there are no exceptions" is simply incorrect. Moreover, I suggest a crash course on the difference between criminal copyright law and civil copyright law.]
I'd also like to address that last sentence of the self-congratulatory comment left here at Techdirt by On Press.
"Most people seem to not accept your position that using someone's work without credit is acceptable."
["Most people" apparently being "Bob."] Reading the entire post would show that my position is very clearly the opposite. Just like every other writer for Techdirt, I properly attribute the work (and words) of others. Every article posted has links to the source material. Quotations from the source are clearly set off by the use of blockquotes and italics. As I stated in my post, I don't have any problem with seeking attribution. I just didn't care for the method On Press was using. "Using someone's work without credit" has never been acceptable, professionally or privately.
Now, bearing in mind that On Press is still considering naming me in a lawsuit for "copyright infringement, defamation of character and making false claims," there's not much I can do about the offending tweet and faux review. I can't delete them or alter them in any way. The last thing I need is accusations that I'm trying to alter or cover up evidence. As long as there's a legal threat dangling above my head, the tweet and review will stay where they are, unaltered.
Finally, even with this turnaround on Twitter, On Press still has some issues of its own. For one, it continues to claim it's a division of Knopf, despite the fact that Knopf itself told us directly that it has no division by that name. In fact, Knopf itself offered to "release the hounds."
Speaking of Twitter profiles, it appears the background photo On Press is using is a Shutterstock offering. This doesn't mean On Press hasn't paid the license fee (only $19!), but if it just grabbed it thoughtlessly from somewhere on the internet (without attribution), that would be a real shame.
Then there's the issue with its claim of ownership of Shane's work. On Press claims it owns it, despite it never having been registered at the Copyright Office. This doesn't necessarily rule out ownership, but it does make one wish for a bit more proof than an uploaded video/flipbook. If Shaun Shane is dead (as On Press has repeatedly stated), who or what is controlling his work?
Shane's only "published" book is a print-on-demand title from a company that doesn't seem to exist outside of tweets and comments. Without any more information to go on, this book (and its attendant copyright) seems about as legitimate as a scraperbot's Amazon offering compiled from eHow articles and Wikipedia pages. Some sort of chain of evidence needs to be presented before anyone can start filing copyright infringement lawsuits. If On Press has any information related to this, I greatly encourage it to clue the rest of us in on its existence.
Now, On Press has made some great strides in its day-to-day attribution work and I'd like to see it continue down that positive path. I'd also like to see it drop its "division of Knopf" wording and be a bit more open about its relationship to Shaun Shane (or his estate), but I'm not expecting any miracles. I'd also like to see it drop the legal threats but, understandably, it's quite angry with me right now and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. On the bright side, I did receive this little note in my Twitmail late last week.
As someone's who's witnessed the awesome power of the Popehat Signal, I'd hate to be the entity whose legal threats have prompted the lighting.
All in all, though, I'd say more good than bad has come out of this. At the very least, unsuspecting teen retweeters aren't being smacked around by baseless threats involving IP addresses, police departments and lawsuits filed against their parents. While there is evidence that On Press is a bit more "aggressive" away from the confines of Twitter, for the most part it looks like a more positive effort is being made. Old habits die hard, but hopefully the newer, friendlier face of On Press will become the new "normal." Perhaps this will lead to enough book sales that On Press/Shaun Shane can set up an actual web site and offer more than one title. As I've said before, I have no problem with giving proper attribution. I have a big problem, however, with using threats, insults and good, old-fashioned trolling to get these results.
My apologies ahead of time for the length of this piece, but anything shorter wouldn't do the subject justice. I will, however, provide plenty of pictures and blockquotes. This post deals with a strange copyright troll, which bullies people into properly attributing a quoted poem. The troll runs across multiple social media platforms but does a bulk of its "work" at Twitter, where it can receive instantaneous feedback. Along the way, we'll deal with the poet himself, a company called On Press Inc. and some other connections which seem to indicate the poet himself is behind the trolling, along with a threatened lawsuit against me for copyright infringement, defamation and false claims.
It starts out simply enough. As a contributor to this site, I was doing the sort of thing we do in our downtime -- running a Twitter search for the term "infringement." The search results were dominated by tweets from an account that looked exactly like this one.
Only it wasn't this one. The account I saw had this name: @xsaonpress.
When I returned the next day, I was greeted with the message that the above account had been suspended. Odd. So, I searched again, only this time using the keywords "tongues" and "glass," -- two words in the title of the poem in question -- and found that On Press was still in business.
On Press Inc., supposedly a division of Knopf Publishing (according to its Twitter profiles), was running a search of its own and issuing tweet after threatening tweet to anyone who dared publish a short (really short -- under 140 characters) poem by reclusive poet, Shaun Shane, without attribution. The entire poem reads as follows:
"If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak."
The Organization Invisible Children has plagiarized and thus committed copyright infringement ( which is illegal) on their website and on their Twitter account, a work by Shaun Shane. Exemplifying the criticism against them that they do not research their facts and have sloppy journalist methods. (Here is a link: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/) and to the Twitter post (https://twitter.com/#!/Invisible/status/196433854851055618/photo/1)
After sending out an ignored invitation (via direct message) to discuss these "tactics," I decided to throw out some bait.
Soon, I was receiving the same set of tweets I'd seen filling up my search results the night before. On Press, utilizing one of its many, many Twitter accounts, gave me its usual combination of Shaun Shane info and legal threats. On Press has a very shaky grasp on IP law, but it doesn't let its ignorance stop it from trotting out nearly every term (plagiarism, theft) imaginable in hopes of quick compliance.
The first false claim it makes is that Twitter will shut down an account for a single infringement violation. Not true. Twitter may shut down an account for multiple cases of infringement, but a single report won't result in the removal of an account, as is clearly stated in the Twitter terms of service. (On Press has also made claim that this process will shut down an account in 4 hours. You may laugh at this one.)
Twitter will also terminate a user's account if the user is determined to be a repeat infringer.
If the proper steps are followed (via the DMCA form), the offending Tweet will simply be "withheld," with a notice replacing the original Tweet. Finally, On Press delivers this bizarre phrase:
For an entity so concerned with copyright infringement, it certainly doesn't seem to understand the terminology it's throwing around. "Libel" and "liable" are nowhere close to each other in definition, and you'd think an entity this concerned with infringement would know the difference (or at least be able to spell the one it actually means).
Then there's On Press Inc itself, which has its own issues. As you can see from its profile photo, On Press claims to be a division of Knopf Publishing. However, we contacted Knopf Publishing for comment and they said that there is no division of Knopf called On Press Inc. On Press has apparently decided an appearance of Shane's poem in a Poem-A-Day-Celebration hosted by Tumblr and Knopf allows it to add Knopf's name to its profile... and the large publisher's weight to its fight against unattributed use, despite no official connection to the company.
On Press also utilizes multiple simultaneous Twitter accounts, in violation of the Twitter Rules.
Serial Accounts: You may not create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes, or with overlapping use cases. Mass account creation may result in suspension of all related accounts. Please note that any violation of the Twitter Rules is cause for permanent suspension of all accounts.
In one night, my interactions with On Press Inc. included input from the following accounts: @copyrightdept, @vesoaonpress, @vseawonpress, @wasweonpress, @xaswonpress and @xseionpress. All accounts sported the same On Press logo and spouted the same tweets. One could try to make a claim that these accounts are not "disruptive" or "abusive" (and I'd love to watch them make that claim), but there's little doubt On Press Inc's multiple accounts are "overlapping." (@vseawonpress is the only account not suspended at the time of this writing.)
Now, although I was receiving the same stream of misspellings and misinformation from On Press as the other users posting Shaun Shane's (unattributed) poem, I wasn't seeing any signs of life. I was pretty much convinced it was a bot running multiple accounts. To test that theory, I called out On Press on the false claims directed my way, specifically the assertion that Twitter would delete my account for a single violation. To my surprise, it provoked a very human reaction.
So, there was a human behind the account, one who handily provided a link to the terms of service that directly contradicted what he had just said. (I've shifted pronouns, but an explanation is on the way.)
Once I had his/its attention, I pointed out On Press' suspicious behavior -- namely, the multiple suspended accounts linked to its name.
On Press responded with this blast of angry tweets, stating that Twitter itself generated these accounts for it.
It shouldn't need to be said, but this claim is completely false. Mike contacted Twitter to ask about whether or not, as On Press claims, it creates thousands of automatically generated accounts for companies with which to harass infringers, and (no surprise) Twitter said there is no truth to this claim.
I attempted to gather more information, but my overtures were rejected. At one point, an On Press account mentioned it performed this "service" for "other authors" but refused to name any. It also failed to cough up a usable URL that might indicate On Press Inc exists outside of multiple Twitter accounts.
Shortly thereafter, the accounts went ballistic, showering me with a long list of legal threats.
This was prompted by its discovery of a tongue-in-cheek review of the only book On Press has for sale, one I had posted earlier that night. (You may notice a second review has suddenly appeared -- from the same person who showed up to criticize my review.)
Again, On Press made several dubious claims, including the ridiculous suggestion that Twitter would surrender my IP address to the police on the strength of a fake review posted on an entirely different site. It also seemed to feel that the Feds would be interested simply because I was using a computer.
However, he/it wasn't kidding about one thing: "legal prosecution." The morning following this bizarre conversation with On Press (Feb. 8th), Techdirt received a phone call seeking to confirm that I "worked for Techdirt," with the "lawyer" on the phone saying that he wished to serve me with a lawsuit (at Techdirt's headquarters) for "copyright infringement, defamation of character and making false claims."
To date, nothing has been filed, despite the voicemail implying the lawsuit was already filed. But here's the great thing about legal threats: nothing being served to this point doesn't mean nothing ever will. The possibility still exists and the potential plaintiff is free to file anytime before the statute of limitations expires. This is likely a bluff, but it carries enough weight to make any future direct interaction with On Press ill advised, to say the least. This leaves him/it free to aggressively pursue those posting the poem without attribution, without worrying that I might ruin the fun by pointing out its false claims.
With the threat of a lawsuit still hanging overhead, I'm simply going to present my findings, all backed up with screenshots and/or links, with a minimum of speculative commentary.
The On Press Inc. "Network"
First off, let's address the "him/it" issue. On Press Inc. seems to exist solely as multiple accounts spanning several social media platforms. Running a search will serve up a few hits on existing businesses with the same name, but I have confirmed that these are unrelated to this bizarre attribution trolling.
A Poem Is Nothing
Shane's book is print-on-demand. Amazon doesn't list it this way, but other booksellers do. So, there's no pile of unsold paperbacks sitting in an On Press warehouse. This may explain why there's so little effort made to provide infringers with a "buy" link during the barrage of tweets and comments.
The On Press Twitter horde usually presents two links. One of them leads to this video displaying "proof" that someone (d/b/a On Press, Inc., with no address displayed) holds the copyright to "Tongues Made of Glass." (The other links to the Invisible Children photo.)
Now, a video like this could be made by literally anyone (with hands) and hardly presents a solid case for On Press' claim to Shaun Shane's poem. None of his work has been registered at the US Copyright office, either by himself or by On Press (or by anyone, actually). This limits any legal liability for infringement to actual proven damages, making the threat of a lawsuit slightly more tolerable. Also, the claims made at the end of the video, which appear to be a bastardization of the typical "copyright policies" found on sporting events, saying no copies can be made "without written consent of the publisher," overstates the powers given under copyright law in ignoring the possibility of fair use or other exceptions to copyright law.
Interestingly, the voice on the "copyright" video sounds nearly identical to Shaun Shane himself. Shane has a very distinctive cadence and tone to his voice, as evidenced by this live performance.
[Shane's voice also bears heavy, heavy resemblance to that of James Roth ("representing On Press Incorporated"), the caller who contacted Techdirt about serving me with the lawsuit.]
So, is On Press simply Shaun Shane, reclusive poet and attribution seeker? He'd certainly be the person most interested in enforcing this. His impossibly glowing bio at PoemHunter puts Shane in Schrodinger's Box, theorizing that he's dead ("...had become terminally ill and his re-emergence was to reinforce the ethic of Pure Poetry or Truly Modernist Poetry before his death..."), before theorizing in the opposite direction a few sentences later ("though it is believed, if he is still alive, he lives on the West Coast...") One of the On Press Twitter accounts I dealt with claimed Shane was dead and had willed that his work be used to raise money for various children's charities. (Too bad no one's trying to sell that book...) This claim is echoed at Pinterest, where the same sort of attribution-badgering occurs.
Whether Mr. Miche is real or simply Shaun using another name remains to be proven. (It does share a Shaun Shane-like bit of alliteration.) Miche patrols Pinterest, sending users who re-pin this photo the same sort of messages as the Twitter accounts do, only without the character limit.
Miche also sports the same shaky legal grasp and penchant for baseless threats.
Here Miche chases down a user (who deleted her tweet) and continues harassing her at her Pinterest account, claiming that people like her using an unattributed quote can "cause untold billions of dollars of lost [sic] for companies who support and publisher [sic] Authors [sic... again] works." Miche also seems to make the claim that she's legally responsible for any retweets (a claim echoed in return by the On Press Twitter accounts).
Hopewell has sent out similar messages to Facebook users, again seeking attribution and using identical wording.
There are a few differences that might indicate she was just "pitching in" with the attribution push ("This Poem is our copyrighted property your use of it uncredited to him constitutes thief."), but by and large, it resembles missives issued at other platforms.
A user named "Sean Seans" refers to himself as "Shaun" and tells her he loves and misses her. And that Sean Seans/Shaun is also busy chasing down wrongdoers posting unattributed poems.
Anne Murphy has also made posts on Facebook concerning Shane's poem and seems to be located in Texas (at least judging from the locations of most of her Friends). The wording is almost identical to the Facebook posts by Alexandria Hopewell, suggesting the same author wrote them. She has also uploaded a few videos of Shaun Shane performances to YouTube. (Interestingly, the phone number on the caller ID from the call by "James Roth" to contact Techdirt is registered to Anne Murphy and also to a vegetable farm, the O.P. Murphy Produce Company -- both in Texas. Also worth noting: there does not appear to be a "James Roth" listed on the Texas state bar. If whoever called is not, in fact, a lawyer, they might want to familiarize themselves with Texas law 38.122 which makes it a felony to impersonate a lawyer.)
But that's not all. Shane/On Press also stalks Tumblr with multiple accounts (some of which are filled with work-from-home scam posts), issuing the now-familiar statements demanding attribution. A search for the terms "Shaun Shane" and "On Press" also brings up hits on several other platforms. On Press/Shane is very busy, though (as far as I can see) never seems to direct anyone towards buying the actual book.
He has also ramped up the aggression, perhaps as a result of his "successful" legal threat. The On Press Twitter interactions were never pleasant, but the latest ones have a decidedly malevolent tone that's undercut slightly by the sheer number of false claims they contain. It doesn't help that the poem is most frequently tweeted by teens -- a demographic On Press/Shane seems to enjoy hurling threats towards.
"know that you can be track by your ip address and that your parents will be the one's who are sued since you are a minor..."
"know that the average cost is $4000.00 per instance but that is times the number of follwers you have, or the number people who are exposed to your illegal post..."
"...but if you were bright you wouldn't have been stupid enought to tweet the poem in the first place..."
"WE don't care if you care. Your account will be terminated that is all that matters to us. We are indifferent to your feelings about it. your just some dumb kid."
There are some interesting legal theories mixed up in there that we have not seen before. I particularly like the idea that infringement is multiplied by the number of followers you have. This would appear to be an entirely novel interpretation (by which I mean "wrong") of 17 USC 504, which has always been clear that the amount of statutory damages paid is per work infringed, not by the number of people who saw the work.
So, what's the point? Why should we care? On Press/Shane is just seeking attribution. It's not like he's sending out settlement letters. Well, for starters, this is not how the system is supposed to work. Those concerned about infringement are directed to Twitter's DMCA form, which to date, On Press has used only once. Apparently, this method is much less satisfying than the instant feedback one gets while hounding Twitter users (even going so far as to follow them to other platforms, as Mike Miche [above] did).
I'm not pissed off that On Press circumvents a system many rights holders find inefficient. I'm pissed off that On Press deceives people about its relationship with a major publisher, using that as leverage to harass users with a variety of baseless threats. It doesn't help that the users receiving the most abuse are teenagers who did nothing more than post a quote they liked, who are then threatened with arrest and lawsuits against their parents in return.
I'm pissed off that On Press is fighting a battle it can't win utilizing bullying tactics. It seems to want respect, but keeps forgetting respect is something you earn -- not something you beat into people. People may start to respect the stick, but they'll never respect the entity wielding it.
Furthermore, if I was a rights holder hoping to protect my creations, I'd be pissed off that someone out there is doing serious damage to copyright itself with a scorched earth policy of baseless threats and vindictive bullying. It makes it that much harder to fight infringement when any existing level of respect has been torn down by another's overly aggressive tactics.
Finally, if I'm Shaun Shane, and I'm not behind this? I'm fucking furious. Any potential legacy or possibility of expanding my audience has been absolutely destroyed by someone who has used my name to harangue internet users across multiple platforms, utilizing angry missives filled with misspellings, deception, baseless legal threats and a very dangerous misunderstanding of IP law in general.
And Shaun, if this is actually you? You're only hurting yourself and your reputation by hammering unwitting Twitter users (among others) for this act of omission. There's nothing wrong with seeking proper attribution. But there are so many methods that work better than this. You can't stop unattributed quotes from flying around the internet. You can't even slow it down.
Do you seriously think anyone's going to Google a tweet to make sure it doesn't belong to someone else before retweeting it? Do you really think people are going to Google "Shaun Shane" unless you bring it up first? Pinterest users, right or wrong, aren't going to do a reverse image search before repinning. Sure, it sucks that stuff strays so far from the original creators, but that's the price you pay for unprecedented access to millions of creative works.
But the benefits outweigh the negatives. Unprecedented access works both ways. You can connect with potential fans and customers in ways that simply weren't possible 10 years ago. If you're only going to see the worst aspects, you'll never be anything more than a set of empty words and threats, spat endlessly into a void, covered in vitriol and self-righteousness. You've crafted a poem with viral possibilities but you're only interested in slamming every door shut as soon as it opens. This final perspective doesn't make me angry. It just makes me sad. There's so much potential but you're too angry to see it. You, and only you, can turn this around.
Additional/supportive links and info.
My Storify account, where I will continue to collect interactions between On Press Inc. and Twitter users.