Category Archives: google

Patisserie update!

Insert your own “copyright / “piece of cake” caption here

I’ve come across some interesting copyright-related Twitter accounts lately: @copyrightgirl, @copyrightlaws* and the CLA’s own “ProtectingCreativity‏” account (@CLA_UK) are are all good for keeping up with news items, legal developments and some of the wider issues with getting the copyright message across.

In an attempt to persuade you that there’s more to copyright than turgid legalese, here are some of the more entertaining stories I’ve seen on Twitter lately. As always I’d be interested to know if any of these strike a chord with you.

In time honoured Pick of the Pops-style fashion, this month’s Top 5 copyright stories come to you in reverse order:

5: Users of social photo-sharing website Pinterest may be walking into a copyright minefield.

4: Some interesting–and rather late (sorry ’bout that)–Halloween-related copyright facts. Zombies, vampires and such…

3: News of an optimistic law suit fired Sony’s way about the (mis)quoting of a William Faulkner line in Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris”.

2: A story here to back up my “Beware Google Images!” mantra. If you steal images from the internet you can get yourself into serious trouble on prime time TV news (with apologies for third party profanity).

And this month’s Number One copyright story is…

…about cakes. Bad cakes to be precise. It features a cynical attempt by the bakery department of a major supermarket chain to stop people adding photos of its badly-designed cakes and invoking copyright law to justify doing so. Are cakes covered by copyright? A heated debate ensues!

(Image: Creative Commons Licence courtesy of alalsacienne.)

Is it OK to shoot the messenger?

And if so, should Google be taking some bullets?

I’ve just been reading this interesting news story. It seems that hundreds of thousands of copyright owners every week are spotting websites reproducing their content without permission, then complaining to Google about it.

Should a notice like this be posted at the entrance to the Library?

It’s not surprising that website owners are taking umbrage at this. What maybe is noteworthy is that it’s Google they complain to and not the owners of the offending sites. Is it because people now use “Google” and  “the internet” as interchangeable terms? As in: “I found it on Google”? Do they think that Google actually hosts all this material in the same way as YouTube does with video clips, whereas in fact all they are doing is indexing it? Isn’t it a bit like someone finding sexist or racist material in a library book and complaining to staff about it?

Or do they see Google as some kind of internet policeman? It’s unlikely that historically Google has solicited complaints of this sort, although it seems that they’re now prepared to acknowledge that copyright infringements are an issue with material posted on the web: they’ve added a copyright section to their Transparency Report, detailing the take-down requests they’ve received along with a list naming and shaming repeat offenders. What I can’t find on any of these pages though is an assurance that offending material will be removed…

(Image: Creative Commons licence from ALA – The American Library Association)

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