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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 KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:23PM (#29208395) Homepage Journal

    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?"

    Mabye it was Barack Obama?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:26PM (#29208445)

      You mean Barack Hussein Obama?

    • by JohnnyComeLately (725958) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:26PM (#29208455) Homepage Journal
      The lack of evidence of a conspiracy PROVES it's gotta be one!!
      • by Starlon (1492461)
        Yeah, I'm sure it was Alex Jones [infowars.com] who has adopted the poster for his own.
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:21PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tuoqui (1091447)

          Unfortunately not. FOIA only deals with the government from what I understand not private businesses.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Atario (673917)

          Yes, I'm sure Flickr has a full-time staff of people whose job it is to sift through random photos all day long, looking for ones that fall under several categories of things to get politically upset about, e.g.:

          • mocking Our One True Savior, Barack Hussein Obama
          • failing to properly glorify the Soviet paradise
          • showing Rush Limbaugh without requisite swastika, "666", or other evil identifier branded on forehead

          After all, they are out to get you. BOO!

          • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:54PM (#29211363)

            Yes, I'm sure Flickr has a full-time staff of people whose job it is to sift through random photos all day long, looking for ones that fall under several categories of things to get politically upset about

            Of course your statement is absurd. Plenty such images are on Flickr.

            But the image taken down was very well known at the time, having got a ton of press and being bandied as proof of some kind of racism.

            It doesn't take a "staff of people" in that case, it takes one vigilante at Flickr deciding to take matters into his (or her) own hands and hide behind the shield of the near-unversally reviled DMCA, figuring the real rights holders would want it that way... only they didn't. Oops.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014)

          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 alway

    • 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?"

      Mabye it was Barack Obama?

      You're probably joking (as we're running out of possibilities) but might I remind you of Hustler Magazine Vs Jerry Falwell [wikipedia.org]? In which Falwell was considered a public figure [wikipedia.org] and in a "unanimous 8-0 decision (Justice Kennedy took no part in the consideration or decision of the case), that the First Amendment's free-speech guarantee prohibits awarding damages to public figures to compensate for emotional distress intentionally inflicted upon them." I'm no lawyer but I heavily doubt that the DMCA would make th

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ae1294 (1547521)

      Mabye it was Barack Obama?

      No clearly, this is the work of The Joker..... To the BATCAVE!

  • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:25PM (#29208423) Journal

    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?

    Batman?

  • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:26PM (#29208447) Homepage Journal
    • I look forward to the day when an entire Slashdot submission is just a blog's URL.

      Just imagine if they used the IPv6 address instead of the domain name! ;)

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)
      Well, it seems that the server there is too busy trying to cope with that huge URL and has too little resources left to actually display the page. It's Slashdotted as slashdotted can be.
    • People won't even read the URL then!

  • by Unoti (731964) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:27PM (#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.
  • I admit (Score:5, Funny)

    by aicrules (819392) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:29PM (#29208507)
    It was me. But I did it by accident. I thought I was clicking the Digg It link and must have just missed and clicked the DMCA It link. I did think it was weird that they asked me to provide justification for why I thought it should be expunged. But I just kept typing "The quick brown fox jumped over the ...etc..." till it said I had typed enough and then it let me submit.
    • This raises a HUGE problem. Companies barely even read DMCA notices before acting on them, you could probably write just about anything in them and it would still get enforced.

      I am actually very surprised that artists (visual and audio) have not started submitting fudged DMCA takedown notices to the ISP/Web Hosts of rival artists.

      In fact, this could be used against political parties posting ads and speeches on third party sites (youtube, etc). VERY SCARY!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Psyborgue (699890)
        There are provisions in the DMCA to deal with that:

        (f) Misrepresentations. - Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section - * (1) that material or activity is infringing, or * (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner's authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

  • I meant to hit the Cancel button.
  • Actionable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:31PM (#29208539) Homepage

    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?

    • It doesn't matter if the notice is valid if the host fears the issuers lawyers more than the poster. That's one of the worst parts of the act: it encourages hosts to assume infringement solely on the basis of one accusation.
      • Re:Actionable? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:06PM (#29209033) Homepage

        Er.. Technically it doesn't "encourage" hosts to assume infringement so much as it -requires- hosts to assume the legitimacy of the takedown notice. If they fail to, they lose immunity. That's why the notice gets promptly forwarded to the user against whom the takedown is perform and its also why the user gets to send a "put back" notice which -requires- the host to restore the removed material until such a time as ordered to remove it by a court.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Psyborgue (699890)
          Should be modded informative. Service providers wanting to maintain safe harbor immunity have to take something down if they recieve a DMCA. Section 512 of the DMCA [chillingeffects.org]. It has some cool caveats, though such as:

          (f) Misrepresentations. - Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section - * (1) that material or activity is infringing, or * (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys' fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner's authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

        • by Psyborgue (699890)
          There's a problem with this, though. When you respond with a put-back notice you're required to give your name and address. If you're trying to remain anonymous you're effectively silenced. Effectively this means that if I see something I don't like, it's posted anonymously, and I know the poster wants to remain anonymous and will never file a put back, I can simply send a false DMCA claim and make the information go poof. Cults love the DMCA.
    • Your proposed criteria

      the complete notice had to be provided to the user against whom the takedown was performed

      Was, most likely, met. If there was a DMCA takedown issued (and that is speculative at this point) it would have been issued against Flickr, not the artist. After all the image was being hosted by Flickr, not the artist.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > 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

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:31PM (#29208543)

    Why so serious?

  • Well.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:34PM (#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.

    • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) * <`jmorris' `at' `beau.org'> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:52PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        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 brkello (642429)
        Uhh, no offense, but I think some college student removing a picture from flickr is a bit different than labeling people "un-American" for opposing a war that turned out to be bullshit and killed tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people.

        That being said, the image shouldn't be removed. Free speech and all that good stuff. But with that in mind, I still think the people who do this and the Hitler stuff are tools who have no idea what they are talking about.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VShael (62735)

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

        FTFY.

    • by sootman (158191)

      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.

      I think I found the flaw.

  • i seen that ObamaJoker pic all over the intertubes so taking it off Flicker is about like removing the poster from one telephone pole when it is all over town and not able to do anything about it = lame and futile effort
  • by geekoid (135745)

    we ahve something worth discussing. Before this info was out it was kind of worthless to be spouting off on the evils of flickr.

    Now you can go right ahead.

    Flickr sucks

  • I pointed out the actual reasons given [slashdot.org] last week. Go read that comment if you don't want to RTFA; consider it your Cliff's notes to what is actually happening.
  • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:50PM (#29208811)

    ...if they fraudulently claimed a DMCA takedown notice when there wasn't one.

    Committing fraud via the DMCA, if that's what Flicker has done, is major bad mojo. Diebold Election Systems paid over $125,000 for a wrongful DMCA takedown notice:

    http://www.eff.org/cases/online-policy-group-v-diebold [eff.org]

  • It was just some prick at Flickr with no sense of humor.
  • Easy. If it wasn't Time it must have been Space.
  • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:12PM (#29209105)
    Who, me?
    Yes, you.
    Couldn't be.
    Then who?

    The photographer <strike>stole the cookie from the cookie jar</strike> issued the takedown notice
    Who, me?
    Yes, you.
    Couldn't be
    Then who?

    etc.
  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:20PM (#29209257) Homepage Journal
    If nothing else this proves how easily it can be abused to stifle people's legitimate first amendment rights. With such a high profile case, I can see Joe Public starting to become concerned about this issue.
  • Par for the course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 @06:37PM (#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?
  • * Flickr took down the whole page. The DMCA complaint was about a single image on the page. This would seem to be far from the most focused means Flickr has at its disposal to respond to DMCA complaints. Is this its typical response?

    * The person whose page was taken down *should* have gotten the DMCA notice from Flickr. It *should* have included the identity of the complainant. Either a) the DMCA notification was not properly made, or b) folks haven't gotten the answer from the poster. Either option i

  • What they parties denying any DMCA takedown notices aren't saying is that they didn't threaten any potential action under the DMCA. It is just as likely that Flickr was responding to a threat of a DMCA takedown notice. If this is the case, then no one is telling any lies except for Flickr... and even in that case it's not a complete lie. But they do need to tell precisely who demanded that the material be removed or else they will lose in the public opinion of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnasher719 (869701)

      What they parties denying any DMCA takedown notices aren't saying is that they didn't threaten any potential action under the DMCA. It is just as likely that Flickr was responding to a threat of a DMCA takedown notice. If this is the case, then no one is telling any lies except for Flickr... and even in that case it's not a complete lie. But they do need to tell precisely who demanded that the material be removed or else they will lose in the public opinion of them.

      You can't threaten with a DMCA takedown notice. A DMCA takedown notice is absolutely no problem for an ISP, all they have to do is check whether all the necessary elements are there (what material is allegedly copied, where can the copy be found, who is the copyright owner, who is its agent, how can the agent be contacted), take down the material, send a copy of the request to the person uploading the material, that's it. How would that be threatening?

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