Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
The Courts Twitter Your Rights Online

Developer Exposes Copyright Infringers On Twitter 164

snitty writes "Wil Shipley, developer of Delicious Library, found some applications on the iTunes App Store that were using without permission some images from his popular desktop application. He outed them on Twitter. The team at Technically Legal broke down the story and the take-home messages for using other people's images."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Developer Exposes Copyright Infringers On Twitter

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @03:57PM (#29430303) Homepage Journal

    Macbook, Starcraft, Peggle... Are those fair use applications?

    More to the point: did he try to pass them off as his own? No.

  • The Image (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FornaxChemica ( 968594 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @03:59PM (#29430331) Homepage Journal
    The copyrighted image is actually the "woodgrain background", quoting Technically Legal. Is this a joke? The whole story is about a background texture being stolen? Some actual artists out there who've been ripped off must be feel pretty distressed right now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:04PM (#29430373)

    ...someone "stealing" a wood-grain texture. On Twitter moreover, because in Court he might have to explain exactly where the creative work is in a wood-grain texture (in the tree), or what harm he's suffered as a result (none).

    And yet, his own software, that he sells as $40 shareware for the Mac (...why?!), is designed specifically to display copyrighted and/or trademarked cover art of other people's software/music/etc, in its entirety, without the permission of the copyright/trademark holders. Did he ask them? I doubt it. Is it Fair Use? Pretty clear "no" on that, it doesn't check any of the boxes.

    And yet, he gets pissy over a woodgrain texture. Good grief. Damn control-freak shareware authors. Bloody hypocrites. Let's move on, now, please, this really doesn't deserve screen space here.

    Next on Slashdot: Neighbour mows 2cm of next-door neighbour's lawn. Hilarity (and feud) ensues. *yawn*

  • Re:The Image (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:09PM (#29430413)


    Why didn't he just email them and ask them either not to use his pictures, or to pay him for them?

    Seems to me like the real reason for him being angry is that the iPhone application he's complaining about looks to be basically an iPhone version of his desktop application. Someone beat him to it on the iPhone and he's mad..

  • Re:The Image (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmigaHeretic ( 991368 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:26PM (#29430633) Journal
    >>Why didn't he just email them and ask them either not to use his pictures, or to pay him for them?

    The guy (who's texture was "stolen") sells a product that lets you scan a UPC of a CD, DVD, etc and then "downloads" a digital image of the cover.

    So did this guy contact EVERY company and artist about offering to sell the cover images online? (His product is $40)
  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:40PM (#29430837) Homepage Journal

    It sure sounds like a joke, doesn't it? I mean, come on, he's all bent out of shape over a woodgrain texture? It's not like they took his logo or something distinctive about his application. It sounds pretty petty to me.

    I hate to say it, Mr. Shipley, but this is not the kind of trivial copyright stuff that we're constantly railing against. From TFA:

    If the owner of the image has registered that copyright, it can open you up to RIAA v. The People sized damages: thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per infringement.

    Congratulations Mr. Shipley, you're now being compared to organizations like the RIAA. Were you Right(TM) (as in, technically correct in that your copyright was violated)? Sure, I'll concede that, and if they knew that the texture came from you, they should have checked if it was okay before using it. But where you right (as in, responding in an ethically appropriate way)? Absolutely not. Again, from TFA:

    So I'm going to call them thieves publicly and embarrass them. Skip the lawyers, let's go back to shaming people!

    Mr. Shipley, it strikes me that you decided to publicly call someone a thief and unilaterally decided to shame them without really knowing the circumstances of the situation. Did they simply decide that they didn't want to pay for a texture, and maliciously rip yours off? Maybe. But I find it just as likely that they may have simply assumed that it was a public domain texture.

    Or just maybe, being a small outfit or independent developer (which I can certainly empathize with), they got it from a third party who represented that it was either public domain or their texture. I know that for community projects I'm involved with, being as artistic as a two-by-four, when I need a resource like that, I usually post a message somewhere saying something like, "Hey, does anyone have an icon/texture/whatever that I can use?" If someone sends me one, I usually do the due diligence of asking them if I have the rights to use it (e.g. if it's public domain or, if they created it, if they are willingly giving me the rights to use it), but it's not like I hire a lawyer to do a detailed search of everything that's ever been copyrighted to verify it. I simply don't have the time or money to do so.

    So according to TFA, "there are really two important take-away messages from this story." Actually there is at least one more. Some people can really be stupid and petty about such things, making mountains out of molehills, and unfortunately, the legal system today favors those people. Oh, and maybe another is that it's getting harder and harder to be a small, independent developer these days because of idiocy like this. Every time you turn around and no matter what you do, there are people out there who want to squash you like a bug, people ranging from other small developers to giant corporations. Everything from "Hey, you used a button, and we use a button, so we're suing you!" to "You thief, you stole my generic-looking woodgrain texture, waaah!"

  • by diamondsw ( 685967 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @04:50PM (#29431009)

    Delicious Library is one of the most popular Mac shareware apps, and is exceptionally well-designed. Those wood bookcases are central to its UI look and feel []. And he's already written an iPhone app [] - except Amazon decided to yank all mobile licenses [] to their data. Yes, that's right, he pays Amazon for access to their data, so it is legal use and paid for.

    So your entire post is written like a true asshat who has no idea what's going on, and has contributed nothing. But that never stops Slashdot.

  • Re:The Image (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wannabgeek ( 323414 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @01:21AM (#29436353) Journal

    Have you seen this site? []
    The look is very similar. I wonder who took from whom?

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.