Stolen Content

I picked up a tweet this morning, regarding a “crazy one-in-a-million photo”.

The Tweet that started all this

The Tweet that started all this

So off I went to the relevant page in flickr – where the owner claims “all rights reserved” for this photo.

the crazy one-in-a-million photo

the crazy one-in-a-million photo

There’s a pretty funny discussion on English grammar in the comments but more interesting was this comment from a sharp-eyed flickr member.

Is this a case of copyright violation?

Is this a case of copyright violation?

Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, states in the terms of service agreement.

the relevent passage in Yahoo's terms of service agreement

the relevent passage in Yahoo’s terms of service agreement

Investigating further it seems that all the images on xdvxas’s photostream are stolen from somewhere else, xdvxas has obviously had a lot of comments on his behaviour and provides this “handy guide” to his philosophy.

The subtle difference between privacy and theft

The subtle difference between privacy and theft according to xdvxas

What xdvxas has missed is firstly a semantic argument. Olde Worlde pirates stole, those operating in the Carribean were after gold being exported from Mexico to Spain. The original meaning of piracy is “robbery at sea”. The term gained some respectability in the 20th century as pirate radio stations sought to break government stranglehold on broadcasting frequencies, and of course the movies have romanticised our notion of pirates even futher.

The second thing is that his model makes some sense for physical goods, but it doesn’t apply to intellectual property. In the cases of intellectual property the “making a copy” often dilutes the revenues stream of the person creating the goods in the first place. Given that xdvxas is operating in the murky waters of social media where sharing is the new mantra perhaps we should turn it around.

In the real world your reputation is worth something, we choose who we work with and who we do business with based on that reputation. In the online world the same dynamic is at play, by publishing works and not giving fair attibution, you’re claiming a reputation you don’t deserve. You’re stealing someone else’s reputation for creativity, you’re stealing their thoughts and presenting them as your own.

I’m starting to feel sorry for xdvxas, he’s missed the point of sharing on social media, it’s apparent he does not have any original thoughts of his own, and his attempt to pirate someone else’s reputation has backfired. On almost every photo someone has posted a link to the original photo.

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