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Censorship Your Rights Online

Toyota Demands Removal of Fan Wallpapers 594

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-what-sticks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TorrentFreak reports that Toyota's lawyers have recently contacted computer wallpaper site Desktop Nexus in a blatant example of DMCA abuse. Toyota issued a blanket request to demand the immediate removal of all member-uploaded wallpapers featuring a Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicle (citing copyright violation), regardless of whether Toyota legally holds the copyright to the photos or not. When site owner Harry Maugans requested clarification on exactly which wallpapers were copyrighted by Toyota, he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor."
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Toyota Demands Removal of Fan Wallpapers

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  • its just a car. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcfatboy93 (1363705) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:19AM (#25777111) Homepage
    why do these things always happen like come on its a car. do you see these guys confiscating all pictures of their cars that you take on the high way. i think not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by capnkr (1153623)

      It's not just a car, it's a Scion , you insensitive, un-trendy clod!* ;)

      *(...writes the recent EX owner of a Toyota, who really digs his 10 yr old Saturn SW2, that gets better gas mileage for $2K than most all of these over-hyped "green" cars... Hey, just saying!)

    • by dnoyeb (547705)

      The lawyers want to get paid. Damn whats good for the company. Typically, this gets cleaned up when some company execs get wind of it.

      • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by davolfman (1245316) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:22AM (#25777491)
        The proper response? Bill Toyota right back for each and every takedown.
        • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Kagura (843695) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:01PM (#25777697)

          ... he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor."

          My first reaction was, "What idiot laywers, no court would award them that. Maybe they hope that the website won't spend the money to fight them." But I thought about it for a few seconds, and if the onus is on the infringer to make sure that they are not infringing, then it makes sense for them to be billed.

          I'm not saying it is the responsibility of the infringer to be sure they're not infringing, but if that's the case, then it's a little easier to see where this seemingly crazy statement actually came from.

          • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by genner (694963) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:06PM (#25777737)

            ... he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor."

            My first reaction was, "What idiot laywers, no court would award them that. Maybe they hope that the website won't spend the money to fight them." But I thought about it for a few seconds, and if the onus is on the infringer to make sure that they are not infringing, then it makes sense for them to be billed. I'm not saying it is the responsibility of the infringer to be sure they're not infringing, but if that's the case, then it's a little easier to see where this seemingly crazy statement actually came from.

            Except the site owner isn't the infringer and the DMCA makes sure they can not be treated as such.

          • Re:its just a car. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@[ ]tles ... s ['cas' in gap]> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:24PM (#25778315) Homepage Journal

            But I thought about it for a few seconds, and if the onus is on the infringer to make sure that they are not infringing, then it makes sense for them to be billed.

            It would if that were the case, but it isn't.

            Toyota's begging for a wrongful prosecution case in this one. They really don't have a leg to stand on, saying they'd invoice for identifying their "copyrighted" works. And here's why:

            * Copyright probably doesn't apply. If I take a picture of my car (an American-made Chevrolet, FWIW), then the copyright of the photograph belongs to ME. And even if copyright DOES apply (wallpaper made from images made by Toyota), the DMCA still requires Toyota to identify which images are in the wrong. "All those that contain Toyotas" would require the website to review each image -- which the DMCA excludes them from having to do, by way of requiring them to remove any so-identified image.

            * Patent law -- where you really do have to work to avoid infringement! -- doesn't apply to photographs. You can describe in great detail anything protected by patent -- you just can't make/use that thing without the patent holder's permission.

            * Trademark law -- which, again, DOES require you to do some legwork -- only protects against diluting uses. Fan-created walpapers incorporating Toyoyta's trademarks as a way of expressing preference for Toyoyta? At best, they can force a disclaimer on them.

            (Note: this is not Legal Advice. If Toyota comes after YOU, get a lawyer to determine the specifics. You might have entered into a contract, live in a strange country, the laws might have changed, or I could be completely wrong.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pepebuho (167300)

            Please specify what law are you basing your argument on. Nothing in law supports your reasoning. In fact DMCA forbids it. As a copyright owner you have to specify under oath (perjury) exactly the thing that infringes your copyright for the website to take it down. The website owner does not have to go on a hunting spree.
            As it is, Desktop Nexus should simply ignore it because it is not a proper DMCA take down notice, and if the idiot lawyers should prosecute, they should be counter demanded for negligent pra

    • by harry666t (1062422) <harry666tNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:26AM (#25777515)
      I do not understand. Please use a car analogy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by step.ee (220594)

      Lexus is not just a car, it's a pile of shit made for pompous morons.

    • by Kristian T. (3958) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:19PM (#25777817)

      We see this nonsence all the time. Compagny lawyers who think they have a case completely ignoring if it will benefit or hurt their client to do so. More often than not, resorting to legal-bullying of ordinary people unwilfully brushing on your precious IP, is a terrible way to make a brand.

      Every time I see the name (beginning with the letter D) of a very large maker of animated movies - the very first thing I think about, is how back in 2003 their legal vigilantes bullied a local musical into changing it's name from Rubber-Tarzan(translated) into Rubber-T. The name of the musical is the same as the title of the 1975 chilrens book that it's based on - while apparently the name Tarzan somehow became trademarked in 1999.

      Legal experts say [insert name of litigous company here] would most likely loose the case - but the musical does't have the money to go to court, so they had to bend. It's impossible to imagine how [D.....] was damaged by a musical performance of a childrens book from 1975 not related to the animated movie - but their brand is irreparably damaged in the minds of countled danish parents (read prime costumers).

      If you are a 500 pound gorilla, you have to be very nice to be viewed as likeable.

      • by calidoscope (312571)
        Wonder if Disney thinks the community of Tarzana infringes on their trademark???

        I really think the penalty for trademark abuse is loss of all IP rights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Planesdragon (210349)

        Legal experts say [DISNEY] would most likely loose the case - but the musical does't have the money to go to court

        1: you DO realize that libel & slander charges would require DISNEY to prove that you don't believe what you're saying, and that DISNEY can't use trademark law to keep you from using their name to refer to them, right?

        2: Yes, you do have the money to go to court. Call your state bar association. Find a lawyer in the community. Talk to the judge. Most lawyers are required a certain % of their time as pro bono cases, they may take it on retainer if you decide to sue Disney (for harassment, wrongful pr

    • Re:its just a car. (Score:4, Informative)

      by azav (469988) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:36PM (#25778411) Homepage Journal

      "why do these things always happen like come on its a car."

      Could you please try some punctuation? It took me way too long to find out what you really were trying to say. Also, if it is a car, then the big company that makes the car wants to protect just everything about it.

      Anyway, learn the power of punctuation, Luke. Try this sentence next time:

      "Why do these things always happen? Like, come on, it's a car!"

      If people can't understand what you are trying to say, isn't that something you should fix?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ant P. (974313)

        Try this sentence next time: "Why do these things always happen? Like, come on, it's a car!"

        How about shortening the second sentence to just "It's a car!". No need to have both English and AOL punctuation in the same sentence.

      • by initialE (758110) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @05:00PM (#25779737)

        It happens like come on a car. A lot of people mistake it for bird shit, but only you know what happened last night between you and that stray dog.

  • just wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by matto14 (593826) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:24AM (#25777139)
    damn just be happy that your customers are sooo happy with your products that they celebrate it with making a wallpaper to put on their computers. i bet that toyota's lawyers are summers eve fanboi's
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TFGeditor (737839)

      I am looking to buy an economical pickup truck. I was going to buy a Toyota, Think I'll get a Nissan instead, send a copy of the invoice and canceled check to Toyota, and tell them why.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Walpurgiss (723989)
      Something fairly similar to this happened with Ford. Link here [adrants.com]

      A key difference though is the photos of the cars were put into a calendar for sale.
      Eventually Ford compromised, saying they could use the photos of their cars, just could not use the Ford logos, as they are trademarks.
  • by budword (680846) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:26AM (#25777145)
    In a related move, Toyoda has also served a DMCA take down notice to slashdot, demanding that all car related analogies be removed from comments by slashdot members.
  • by Zathain Sicarius (1398033) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:26AM (#25777147)
    All you're doing is taking down free advertisements all around the world and giving yourself a bad name...
    • Obviously. But if this ever got as far as a court system. "But I'm doing free advertising for you" wouldn't be the successful argument that gets the case dismissed. To put it bluntly "Who asked you to?" would be the courts question. From a marketing standpoint you have a point. From a legal basis no.

      • by Teancum (67324) <(robert_horning) (at) (netzero.net)> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:43AM (#25777601) Homepage Journal

        Still, until Toyota says "We own the copyright on image 11684.jpg, 11689.jpg" and mentioning other image explicitly on the website, all the site owner has to say is:

        "We were not served a proper DMCA take-down notice, and as such we were unable to fill the request."

        The judge would look at the invoice and throw the thing out. The DMCA notice has to be done in writing, be specific, and allow for a response if the copyright is being questioned or challenged. None of this is happening, and it would be Toyota that would have egg on its face if they really tried to follow through with this tactic.

        Still, as far as the free advertising is concerned, once copyright is clearly established and can be legitimately claimed by Toyota, proper notices have been filed and the law has been followed, the images have to go.

        Unless.... you are claiming "fair-use" privileges for the use of the image of the vehicle.... so the whole thing starts all over again in another round of legal maneuvering. Fair-use here might actually be valid, depending on who took the image and in what context it is being used.

      • by xant (99438) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:03PM (#25778139) Homepage

        That just doesn't matter. Don't prosecute things that are benefitting you. To make an analogy: Suppose you were standing on your front lawn with your wife when she collapsed, unable to breathe. When you ran inside to call an ambulance, someone off the street ran up and successfully administered the Heimlich, saving her life. Do you prosecute him for trespassing? Do you quibble about whether the law is on your side?

        Think about it. Yeah.

  • Yeahh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Davemania (580154) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:28AM (#25777159) Journal
    Does that mean all the speeding camera are illegal ?
  • Toyota and Sony. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:29AM (#25777165) Journal

    Is any more evidence required for average people to avoid these 'too large for their own common sense' companies?

  • Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GFree678 (1363845) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:30AM (#25777171)

    Directly attacking the fans who are providing free advertising of your product is about as stupid as it gets.

    • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Funny)

      by Robin47 (1379745) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:35AM (#25777207)
      Wait 5 minutes. I think I hear something stupider coming down the road.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Yarcofin (1397091)
      The YMCA initially tried suing The Village People for the song "YMCA". Probably the best publicity it ever got. Shows you how smart corporations are...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Like2Byte (542992)

      Has anyone stopped to consider that Toyota is doing this on purpose *because* they are aware of the Streisand Effect and they are now moving into viral-marketing to save their sales during this economic downturn?

  • The path is clear. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:33AM (#25777191) Homepage

    Ignore the notice. It's clearly not properly formed, and should provide great evidence, should Toyota decide to start suing this guy.

  • Will Fail (Score:5, Informative)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:34AM (#25777199)

    I remember reading about similar "cases" in the past, although they were not DMCA related. Anyway, the courts threw out the plaintiffs because the items being photographed were not considered "art". Despite what Toyota thinks, a mass-produced automobile is not art. It wasn't created as art. It is not unique. And it wasn't sold as art.

    Toyota could only be right if the images they specify were TAKEN BY TOYOTA. And that could be difficult to prove. If they claim ALL the images on the site belong to them and the operators of the site KNOW that some/all/most of the pictures were not taken by Toyota, then I think the whole request is bogus.

    Yet another example of abuse of the legal system. If it ever makes it to court, I would hope the site operators counter-sue and win BIG. But I think that is the whole point- such cases rarely make it to court, big businesses just use the DMCA as a weapon to scare smaller entities into complying.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      The issue is, there are mass-produced automobiles that either are considered art, or have components that are considered art - IIRC, a 1st-gen Mazda Miata's tail light is in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

    • Re:Will Fail (Score:5, Informative)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:02AM (#25777371) Homepage

      Despite what Toyota thinks, a mass-produced automobile is not art. It wasn't created as art. It is not unique. And it wasn't sold as art.

      What has that got to do with anything?

      Mass production doesn't matter, nor does uniqueness. While some, including myself, might want authorial intention to be relevant, it currently doesn't matter. And what it was sold as doesn't matter.

      What it boils down to is that the manufacturer can claim that the parts of the car photographed are copyrighted works, most likely sculptural works (most cars don't seem to come from the manufacturer with pictures painted on them). The counterargument is that copyright excludes the useful portions of sculptural works, and where the useful and non-useful portions are inseparable, the entire work is excluded. This is the utility doctrine. There are numerous tests for determining whether or not various features are separable, most likely because no one has ever managed to come up with a sufficiently good test for people to rally around, and it's all largely based on rationalizing gut instinct.

      One noteworthy example of the utility doctrine being used was in Brandir [altlaw.org], where the creator of those undulating bike racks [ribbonrack.net] tried to get a copyright because he had forgotten to get any kind of patent before the deadline for applying for a patent expired. IIRC, he lost, and anyone can make those racks.

    • Re:Will Fail (Score:5, Interesting)

      by timeOday (582209) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:12AM (#25777439)

      Toyota could only be right if the images they specify were TAKEN BY TOYOTA.

      What is what makes this sentence in the article so bizarre: "The site's owner, Harry Maugans contacted Toyota to clarify. He was told that all images featuring Toyota vehicles should be removed, even images with copyright belonging to others." If that sentence is true, Toyota is admitting it does not hold the copyright to others' images of Toyotas, yet still claiming the right to control copying!

  • Bill and bill alike. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:37AM (#25777213) Journal

    " When site owner Harry Maugans requested clarification on exactly which wallpapers were copyrighted by Toyota, he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor.""

    And then he invoices Toyota for complying with each and everyone of them to the tune of the same dollar amount their bill is. Two can play this game.

  • ...oh wait... this is about cars. Now how can I make a traditional parallel with cars when this is already about cars?

    Damn the luck.

  • by codegen (103601) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#25777253) Journal
    The article referenced in the main post is light on details, but this is probably not a copyright notice. It is more likely a trademark notice and/or a trade dress notice. The same issue has been discussed back in January in a post about article [slashdot.org] Ford calendars. Back then, the calendar was for fund raising for a not for profit entity,and there may have been an argument that there was a loophole in trademark law. In this case, the images are being distributed for profit (the site caries advertising). If it is not copyright, then a DMCA notice would not be appropriate and a more general lawsuit would be the only remedy.
    • by Teancum (67324)

      The status of being a non-profit or not has no relevance with the DMCA. It applies to what network "hosts" have to do in order to comply with copyright laws in regards to electronic communications.

      In other words, the DMCA notice is certainly appropriate in this circumstance, given the nature of the request (to remove images from a website). There are additional provisions where either the person uploading the image or the web hosting service to protest the removal and gets into a larger legal challenge fo

  • Invoice won't fly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tonyray (215820) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:47AM (#25777259)

    If they receive a proper DMCA notice and remove the offending files then they have no further liability under the law. Toyota is blowing smoke; this is just a typical lawyer scare tactic that has no basis in law.

    Actually, Toyota could be the one billed should Desktop Nexus comply. By demanding that Desktop Nexus identify for Toyota the offending files, one might argue that Toyota was hiring them as a contractor to fulfill Toyota's obligation under the DMCA. To cover themselves, Desktop Nexus should send a proposal to Toyota offering to identify and remove the offending photos, to the best of their ability (thus not guaranteeing to find them all), for, say, $1000 each.

  • by Teancum (67324) <(robert_horning) (at) (netzero.net)> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:48AM (#25777261) Homepage Journal

    Just because somebody sends you an invoice doesn't mean that you have to pay it.

    This, in fact, is a common scam technique, where somebody will send to a small business some sort of random invoice (sometimes to larger businesses) demanding payment for some random "service" that has been provided.

    They (Toyota) should know full well that if they actually take legal action to collect on these invoices, that they would be thrown out of court.

    But of course that does mean you have to appear in court (often not in a convenient venue) and defend why you have refused to pay on the bill if you are refusing payment.... and you have to give formal notice to the person submitting the invoice that you dispute the terms of service.

    Still, if I were running this website, I would refuse payment as the DCMA is quite clear about what the law is here in terms of legal requirements to take down photos or "copyrighted content".

    At the same time, who "owns the copyright" on a picture of a Lexis or other vehicle is something that can be debated in court. Yes, the photographer who made the image in the first place has rights, as does the property owner (if it wasn't in a "public" place). The physical structure of the vehicle itself can also be considered "a work of art"... which is what I guess Toyota is trying to do here. So yeah, they do have a slight point even if Toyota didn't physically take the photo.

    Still, this is a P.R. nightmare and something most companies don't want to either bother with or are usually tickled that somebody is promoting their product over and above their competitors. Frankly, rather than demanding a take-down of the pictures, they ought to be sending professionally looking pictures with full republication and distribution rights granted.

  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by geantvert (996616) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:48AM (#25777273)

    Don't remove the images!

    Simply hide the cars under a big "CENSORED BY TOYOTA".

       

  • by denobug (753200) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:54AM (#25777305)
    If they cannot point out the specific photos they own copyrights with, Nexus does not have to comply out of obscurity of the notice. Simple as that. Try to bring that to court Toyota!

    While we're at this spread the word to all major news network and let them broadcast the clip for a few minutes in evening news (or better yet, put that in the Morning section of Headline News). Let's see who is the ultimate winner here.
  • O boy (Score:5, Funny)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:57AM (#25777335) Homepage

    What a hideous crimes people commit these days. Poor Toyota, they must have lost millions of dollars because of these wallpapers. I mean, publishing a song on the internet, ok, it's bad, but a whole car?! Don't these people have any sympathy for a poor carmaker?

  • by flajann (658201) <flajann AT linuxbloke DOT com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @10:58AM (#25777339) Homepage Journal
    I've owned a Lexus -- the ES 300 -- for 10 years now and am very happy with how that car has held up. As a result, I've become a die-hard Lexus/Toyota fan, and my next purchase was planned to be the Lexus hybrid model.

    However, in lieu of Toyota's errant behavior and its refusal to keep its lawyers in check for something that only promotes their product, I might consider making my next purchase with one of their competitors instead.

    I would that that, especially in these tumultuous financial down-times, that Toyota and other companies like them would rather enhance their customer loyalty base rather than diminish it.

    So, Toyota, kudos for a great product line, but a thumbs down on your PR with your loyal customers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by berend botje (1401731)
      Don't tell us, tell the board members of Toyota. Write a polite, well formed letter expressing your above stated concern. Your letter won't make a difference. My letter won't either. But when they get enough of those, the idiots responsible for this fiasco will be found and taken out of the loop.
  • If Toyata has a user contributed forum or guestbook of some sort hosted somewhere, someone should just post random copyrighted material (both text and graphics to make it harder to filter) on their site and throw them the take down notice...

  • When site owner Harry Maugans requested clarification on exactly which wallpapers were copyrighted by Toyota, he was told that for them to cite specifics (in order to file proper DMCA Takedown Notices), they would invoice Desktop Nexus for their labor.

    Harry should really consult his lawyer before making request.

    It was him who asked for clarification. In some circumstance Toyota could really request payback.

    I suggest Harry to comply, and send an invoice to Toyota for his labor, and it happens that Harry's labor is very expensive, say 1 million/hr...

  • by MrLint (519792) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:09AM (#25777421) Journal

    I thought that a DMCA notice *required* actual specifics of infringing content. Its part of what you have to do when you file a notice. Claiming that your are going to force someone to pay you so that you have to comply with the law seems patently (no pun intended) ridiculous. If your client wants this action done, they pay you (the lawyer) to do what is necessary.

    I get the feeling that the mere fact that they refuse to follow the rules without trying to extort money from the 'defendant', will get them a well deserved legal slap in the face

  • not a DMCA notice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Laebshade (643478) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @11:36AM (#25777567)

    At least not according to the article [torrentfreak.com]:

    Yet, Toyota has also been cagey. These demands have not been sent in the form of a DMCA notice.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:02PM (#25777707) Homepage

    The difficulty here is that some of those wallpapers might have official Toyota photos that have been airbrushed or had something added. That would make them derivative works, and they would be under Toyota's copyright. But there is no way for the site owner to know that. And if Toyota won't tell him which ones, then he is kinda stuck.

    Legal question here: Is the site owner safe under DMCA safe harbor? He hasn't received a DMCA request, and he isn't advertising or selling the images. He is just a content provider. What if the owner puts a check box during the upload process saying "[ ] I certify that this image is copyrighted by USERNAME and is not created from any copyrighted works" and someone lies?

    I know Wikipedia handles this by having a big paragraph about copyright when images are uploaded, and when you click on the image you see that boilerplate.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @12:05PM (#25777719) Journal

    It is the responsibility of the site owner to be able to verify the copyright ownership or licensing status of every image/piece of content on his site.

    I had (have) a site which my webmaster created with what she thought was licensed content. A popular image licensing firm sent her a notice to take down certain images and pay blackmail money^W^W restitution or they would take her to court. She took the images down and they settled; she asked them if there were any other images so that she could make sure she didn't have future liability. Two years later, I got a similar notice, with demands. My legal council (which cost nearly 30% of the amount they wanted, which was in turn about 10x the value of the images used based on their own catalog) who does happen to be an expert in IP law, basically told me I was screwed, and to pony up a check or be looking at 5 to 6 figures of litigation.

    My old webmaster was kind enough to call them up and negotiate about a 20% reduction in the settlement on my behalf.

    The moral of the story is this: If he has infringing content on his site, it is irrelevant whether or not they identify every piece. He has to be able to provide proof of license for every file he has. If he cannot, then he needs to take the images down or face possible ruin in court. This is the hidden failure of the system - there are so many regulations that it is impossible for a small business person to create a startup and know the implications, and ignorance is no defense. I feel for him, but he is (presuming he has actual unlicensed material) effectively screwed.

    • What you describe is something that existed in copyright law even before the DMCA. If you are the one making the decision about what to put up, then you are responsible for making sure you don't put up anything that infringes on any copyright. While the DMCA can be applied even to such cases, it doesn't even have to. The copyright owner can use the traditional legal methods against you.

      What this part of the DMCA is for is to deal with cases where the web site does NOT make the decisions. When user posti

  • by grandpa-geek (981017) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:24PM (#25778307)

    In one of his books, Lawrence Lessig discusses how manufacturers of furniture and other goods have been claiming copyright protection for their goods if they appear in movies. Moviemakers have been needing to go through an elaborate process of copyright clearance for objects that appear in their movie scenes. This has applied even if the movie scene is intended to be of someone's room as it is in real life.

    This claim by Toyota is the same kind of thing. It looks like they are claiming copyright protection for the appearance of their cars if used in something that is reproduced. Presumably a police car chase or a major accident, if the car involved is a Toyota product, would require copyright clearance by Toyota to be shown on TV.

    This is carrying the law to its ridiculous extreme.

  • Good Timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @01:56PM (#25778567)

    This couldn't have come at a better time, from my point of view. I'm in the market for a new car. My current car is a Toyota (2000 Celica). My last car was a Toyota. So was the one before that (an '83 Tercel hatchback, as a matter of fact). While still under warranty, the top half of the Celica's engine had to be replaced. It hasn't given me any trouble since (beyond having an appetite for headlights I find a bit disturbing), but somehow it's never enjoyed the same place in my heart as the others.

    For the first time in more than 20 years, I've thought about looking for a new car somewhere besides a Toyota lot. Competitors (even North American ones) have come a long way in the last few years. They now offer the kind of quality and reliability I expect in a car, so there's a lot less reason to pay premium bucks to Toyota. And Toyota parts, when you need them, cost a LOT.

    This incident has made up my mind. Toyota is off my list, and won't receive further consideration. It's exactly the kind of crap I hate: a corporate bully with deep pockets slaps average people across the face, not because there's any compelling reason to do so, but just because it can.

    For once, in a small way, I'm in a position to slap back. My next car won't be one of theirs, nor the one after that...and so on. I'll also have a word with family and friends who may be leaning toward their product: buy elsewhere, help starve a corporate thug.

    By the way, if you reach a similar decision, please feel free to pass this little note on to your local Toyota dealer. I certainly intend to, probably the next time the dealership sends me one of those irritating, "we value your business" letters.

  • Silly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday November 16, 2008 @03:26PM (#25779147) Homepage

    How exactly do they own the copyright to images of their product? I thought that kind of logic applied only to pictures of persons.

    For a simple analogy, let's say you build cars, and someone takes a picture of them. How exactly is his reproduction of those pictures a damage to your ability to market your product? Do you sell pictures? Can people drive his pictures instead of buying your cars? I know it's just an analogy but...

    OH WAIT

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Sunday November 16, 2008 @03:43PM (#25779279) Homepage
    Step 1. Copyright your company name. Step 2. Then sue them for $1,000 for every time they print your company name. Step 3. Starting with each and every legal document that mentions your company name. Step 4. When they respond to the lawsuit, they will of course, use your company name again. Return to step 2.

    he he he he he he.

    Makes as much sense as Toyota's silly idea

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