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Time Denies Issuing DMCA Over Obama Joker Image 324

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-the-beginning-of-the-dark-knight dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week Slashdot posted on the Flickr censorship case where Flickr removed the controversial Obama/Joker image from their site. A representative from Flickr claimed that they only removed the image because they received a DMCA takedown notice over the image and then accused the press and blogosphere of being 'makey uppey,' subsequently locking the thread where Flickr users were complaining about the takedown. But now it appears that Time, DC Comics, and the photographer of the original photograph used to make the parody image are all denying having issued Flickr a takedown notice. Flickr was asked who issued the notice by the Los Angeles Times and told the Times that they were not able to provide that information. The original artist says Flickr has not told him who filed it either, despite the fact that Yahoo has in the past provided the information to people when DMCA takedown requests are issued. So if Time didn't file the DMCA notice, and DC Comics didn't file the DMCA notice, and the original photographer did not file the DMCA notice, then who exactly did?"
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Time Denies Issuing DMCA Over Obama Joker Image

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  • by Unoti (731964) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:27PM (#29208471) Journal
    Large companies are the enemy of freedom of speech, it's a long-standing fact of life. It's ironic that the wild popularity of electronic media outlets such as Flickr and Youtube is because it took publication rights out of the control of big media outlets. But when these little independent things become big corporations, and lose site of what got them where they are, it's a good indication they deserve to be killed by their competition.
  • Well.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:34PM (#29208585) Homepage Journal

    Since all you need is an e-mail, wasn't it just a matter of time before someone without the right to issue a DMCA notice issued one to take down a politically inconvenient image?

    We have courts and paperwork for a reason in similar cases outside of the internet, and that reason is it's impossible to trust some letter you received. Just like you don't send DR AMHED JAFAR OF NIGERIA with your personal information, a rational legal system wouldn't allow just anyone to send an e-mail based DMCA takedown notice.

    But this is what happens when the you let the content industry write their own laws.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:43PM (#29208727)

    My guess is that Time's legal team or publishing house or right hand knee jerk issued a DMCA while the people answering the phones and writing articles had no idea bout it.

    If that's the case, then why didn't Yahoo tell them? (As the summary states they've done in the past.)

    Personally, I'm wondering if someone at Yahoo decided to take it down because it personally offended them, and claimed DMCA to cover their asses?

  • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:52PM (#29208837)

    > Since all you need is an e-mail, wasn't it just a matter of time before someone without
    > the right to issue a DMCA notice issued one to take down a politically inconvenient image?

    The scenario you describe will happen, probably HAS happened. But in that case they would provide the email they received to the user. No, they took it down on their own for one or all of the following:

    1. Pure political activism on the part of someone at Flickr/Yahoo. Remember Citizen, Dissent is Patriotic... unless Democrats are in charge then you must Doublethink; To Question the State is Treason.

    2. Simple risk aversion. Fear that as word of where the subversive, treasonous art originated that their reputation would be tainted.

    3. Avoiding the traffic spike when half the blogs on the planet linked to them.

  • Re:Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:02PM (#29208975) Journal

    1. Pure political activism on the part of someone at Flickr/Yahoo. Remember Citizen, Dissent is Patriotic... unless Democrats are in charge then you must Doublethink; To Question the State is Treason.

    When have Liberals/Democrats ever tried to silence dissent [theatlantic.com]? I thought such actions only occurred under evil Republican administrations?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:06PM (#29209031)

    That's sending one out. Falsely claiming you got something...is another story.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:21PM (#29209267) Journal

    Perhaps it was Obama's staff, but I doubt it.

    The most likely answer is that Flickr, like television media, is left-leaning. The management probably felt offended by the image against their favorite man, yanked it off the site, and then made-up a story about a DMCA notice that doesn't exist. I wonder if we could file a Freedom of Information (sp?) request to discover who issued the notice.

    If not I say we upload it. Again and again and again. Then sue Flickr is they ban your account, so they have to stand before a judge and explain themselves.

  • Par for the course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:33PM (#29209469)

    As a member of the military, this much is obvious: This is par for the course in government mandated ignorance and anti-intellectualism. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time working in the military can tell you that this kind of crap is shoveled on to us by the truckload. What's even more amazing is that there's a significant body of people who will believe anything they're told simply because they're dependent on the system. Be afraid.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:37PM (#29209505) Homepage Journal
    We saw in last week's story [slashdot.org] that Flickr removed it "due to copyright concerns". It was well explained last week [slashdot.org] for those who didn't care to RTFA.

    But now someone is claiming DMCA - and only providing a link to a discussion forum to back it up? If there is no acknowledgment from Flickr of a DMCA notice having been issued, then why are we speculating on this? Last week they cited "copyright concerns" (read the LA Times article that actually interviewed the artist [latimes.com] to see what they told him) and never mentioned DMCA - why is it there suddenly?
  • Re:Actionable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:38PM (#29209515)

    > I thought that in order for a DMCA takedown to be valid (that is, for the ISP to gain immunity to legal action by the user) the complete notice had to be provided to the user against whom the takedown was performed? Am I mistaken?

    Well, yes. They're *supposed* to provide the person with a copy of it so that they have the opportunity to file a Counter Notice and restore the allegedly infringing works. However, a service provider always has the option of accepting even defective notices and removing the items per their ToS, never giving you an opportunity to contest this at all. My guess is that they never got an actual DMCA notice, just someone pointed out "hey, that's copyrighted!" and they removed it. Then their representative fudged the story a little to make it sound like they had no choice.

    Anyhow, you need an actual lawyer to answer as to whether this is actionable. It's a free service and they have a ToS which may get them off the hook. The only thing that would be clearly actionable would be if there were a fraudulent DMCA notice, but there may not have been one to begin with, so who knows?

  • Re:Well.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:50PM (#29209713)

    That's silencing dissent?

    Seriously? Criticizing someone's views is silencing dissent? People backing up their opinion by deciding to (ineffectually) boycott is "trying to silence dissent?"

    Funny, I thought that was proper politics. Oh right, under "evil Republican administrations" debate and criticism were met with cries of being "unpatriotic", "anti-american", and protests were corraled into "free speech zones" and impromptu prisons.

    I'm sorry, what should they have done? Ignored him? Not debated or considered any of his points?

    @GP

    unless Democrats are in charge then ... To Question the State is Treason.

    Gee, let's go back and see how often people who questioned Dubya's Iraqi Bloodthirst were accused of treason. On major cable networks and all over the internet, no less.

  • by Reaperducer (871695) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:50PM (#29209717)
    You really need to look up the definition of "most."
  • The funny thing is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:11PM (#29209969)

    The more they do it, the more they prove you right. These idiots that think you can silence an opinion you don't agree with online. No, you really can't, and trying just proves what a hypocrite you are.

    Always funny to me the people who say they are liberal and talk about "freedom of expression" but really mean "freedom to express anything I happen to agree with." If you don't like the other side to be able to voice their opinions, you aren't a liberal. Sorry.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:17PM (#29210027) Journal

    Actually, Flickr is a government contractor and has exclusive content the government releases. A FOI request might actually work here. Of course it would have to be worded to include connections to government services they offer OR perhaps a statement concerning how the removal of the image was or was not connected to the government services they offer.

  • Re:Actionable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:48PM (#29210297) Journal

    Not really. If they believed the joker image to be infringing, then they would have had to delete the other time magazine and DC comic photos that are still on their site today.

    That's where it fails for them horribly. If they believed it to be infringing, they would have had to apply the same reasoning to all of their other files hosted. They didn't do that as there are still tons of Joker images and Time covers on the site and presented by people other then Time.

    Unless you can find a valid line of reasoning that would mean only the obama joker image was infringing and all the other ones weren't subject to it.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @07:12PM (#29210521) Homepage

    Yeah, I still remember the first time I realized someone was using the phrase "open minded" to mean "holding a specific set of 'open mind'-approved beliefs". It was no different than religious dogmatism but less honest about the fact.

  • Re:Actionable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @07:41PM (#29210773) Homepage Journal

    The take down law is in two parts

    That assumes that DMCA was applied in this case. There is no solid evidence to support a DMCA notice having been served.

    Indeed, the earlier evidence suggests that DMCA was not applied.

    Flickr would have had to pass the information on to the user in order to be immune from damages of the content being removed.

    I suspect that may depend on the TOS for Flickr. It is possible for Flickr to have a TOS agreement that says they are not liable for any loss of profit any customer may face as a result of images hosted there.

    As it stands now, Flickr is not immune from potential lawsuits over the removal of the image

    Again, it depends on several factors that we don't have information on.

    The user is guaranteed a right to file a counter claim (under the law)

    Again, that is only valid under the assumption that DMCA was in some way applied to this case. We haven't seen solid information to support that conjecture; earlier Flickr told the artist that they had "copyright concerns" which does not inherently imply DMCA. And as a private company Flickr does not have the obligation to put themselves at risk of copyright suits just to host a user's images.

  • Re:Who Cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by conspirator57 (1123519) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @08:04PM (#29210981)

    neither party gives two turds about us or the constitution other than whatever power it has as a rhetorical bludgeon over the other side.

    Obama=Bush++

    Same policies.
    Better PR.

    Seen any antiwar rallies recently? a bit smaller than in years past, huh? heard about any on NPR recently? no, didn't think so. dead issue, dead promise.
    pretty much the only leftish opinion source calling Obama on his BS is Greenwald http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ [salon.com] who is alternately ignored and excoriated for being "fringe" left. apparently holding someone to account for promises broken is "fringe" now.

  • Re:Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:00PM (#29211391) Journal

    Funny, I thought that was proper politics. Oh right, under "evil Republican administrations" debate and criticism were met with cries of being "unpatriotic", "anti-american", and protests were corraled into "free speech zones" and impromptu prisons.

    Yeah, sure am glad that Democrats wouldn't do the same thing [usatoday.com].

  • by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:11PM (#29212237)
    You're spouting that it's not. I find your spout less believable.

    I thought that after this last campaign cycle, nobody with open eyes would doubt the bias of the majority of major press outlets. Their behavior was just pathetic. Although, to be fair, I don't believe it's strictly a Democratic bias; a lot of it was just self-serving shallow groupthink. It tends to benefit the Dems more, but occasionally benefits the Reps (like after 9/11).
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:30PM (#29212345)
    No, I bet he thinks Fox news is right leaning, and the rest, making up the majority, are left leaning. Are you lumping all media outlets in with Fox? Be sensible.
  • by m50d (797211) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @02:29AM (#29213203) Homepage Journal

    They also happen to be *extremely* left.

    As a European who occasionally reads the newspapers in question, I just find this exceedingly hilarious. I've never seen a single US paper that could be called anything other than extreme right.

  • Re:Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VShael (62735) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:36AM (#29213957) Journal

    Remember Citizen, Dissent is Patriotic... unless your party is in charge then you must Doublethink; To Question the State is Treason.

    FTFY.

  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:04AM (#29214445) Homepage Journal

    Definitions are subjective; left is one step left of me, far left two. Extreme right is three steps the other way.

    So if you've lived all your life under socialism you'll see communism as slightly left and anything else as far right.

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:00AM (#29216213) Homepage Journal

    The management probably felt offended by the image against their favorite man, yanked it off the site, and then made-up a story about a DMCA notice that doesn't exist.

    OK. So do you have any evidence of this? If not, why should we lend this statement any credence: "The most likely answer is that Flickr, like television media, is left-leaning."? If you are allowed to create evidence out of your preconceptions, you can argue that most television media are satanist.

    I am a bona-fide leftist. I wasn't always. I used to be center-right in this country, but now I'm a leftist, without changing my political opinions very much. I don't think of myself as extreme left, or radical, but if the country shifts much more to the right I guess I will be. So I know a leftist news outlet when I see one, and I've never seen a left leaning news outlet that was mainstream. Alternative papers, web sites, sure. Television networks, no.

    What I look at when I see the television news is the squishy complacency of a money making machine that doesn't want to rock the boat. As such it is repugnant to anybody, right or left, that wants to see change. It is a profoundly *conservative* medium -- not "right wing" but "conservative". It is too timid to tell people anything that contradicts their opinions. A "left leaning" medium wouldn't have rolled over for the Bush administration's Iraq invasion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 27, 2009 @09:59AM (#29217099)

    As a European who occasionally reads the newspapers in question, I just find this exceedingly hilarious. I've never seen a single US paper that could be called anything other than extreme right.

    How it is meant in the United States:

    left = Big Government
    right = Small Government

    What we want:

    left = responsible social programs
    right = responsible fiscal spending

    What it really is:

    left = Nanny State
    right = Big Brother

    It doesn't really matter if the type of Nanny State or Big Brother is implemented differently in Europe. The terms left/right have been redefined and you're applying European definitions to them. If you try to order eggy bread* in the US, you will get funny looks. By that same token, if you try to apply whatever you think is left to what we think is left, you will get funny looks.

    *UK is not part of Europe; apologies for linking the two.

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