Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wild West Web... and Sympathy for The Charging Bull

On the subject of "www", pantsers and procrastinators might like to be reminded that your websites will be more searchable if you migrate from http  to  https.

Here's some info

Allegedly, if you (authors!!!) do not have https links, most of the popular browsers will flag your links as "not secure", which may mean that a few potential visitors will decide not to visit or not to follow your links.

At the same time, register your copyright agent!

This author needs to take her own advice!

Last Sunday, I wrote about the perils of curating content. If an internet platform starts to make active front end decisions on which user-uploaded "content" to post and which to suppress, (before any DMCA notices have been sent in from copyright owners about allegedly infringing files), those platforms may lose their Safe Harbor Protection.

I was reminded of this last week, when news commentators were discussing recent rapes and murders and other illegal activity being streamed on Facebook. The shocked commentators called for Facebook to actively curate "content" before it goes live, as most internet sites seem able to do for child pornography. Curating this or that might be the thin end of the wedge (or the camel's nose under the tent) for loss of "Safe Harbor" for sites whose business model depends entirely on "content" that other people provide at no cost to the sites.

The argument last Sunday, as I recall, was that if there is a copyright-claiming watermark on a photograph that a moderator actively decides to display, the moderator ought to be assumed to have "red flag knowledge" that the watermark says for example "Joe Doe owns the copyright", but Jane Blow has uploaded it purporting to have all rights.

As Joy R. Butler of the Law Office of Joy R Butler expresses it (in the context of featuring someone else, or someone else's property in a commercial advertisement )

"Ownership of a copyrighted work is not the same thing as ownership of the copyright in the work."

A lot of people don't understand that.

The same rule probably applies to internet memes, too. Most memes that I have seen, appear to be based on a copyrighted photograph of someone or something, with the addition of a quote.  Is that a "transformative use"? Or is it a "derivative work" and "copying", in which case, it is probably copyright infringement.

Ought you to be "liking", "sharing", and "retweeting" it? How about "memejacking" it? What if you try to monetize or make commercial use of other people's memes?

Claire Jones of Novagraf writes "One does not simply post memes without reviewing the IP issues".

Methinks some do!

Claire Jones recommends checking out the history of memes on

Finally, a puzzler. Does the placement of the statue of "Fearless Girl" infringe on any of the rights of the artist of "Charging Bull"?

I thank Joy R Butler for this thoughtful analysis of the legal and moral issues.

The bull used to be charging.  Simply charging. That's a good, strong, powerful, natural, even joyful activity. It symbolized "animal spirits" on Wall Street. (These are my thoughts). Now, that bull is charging AT a defenceless little girl. The bull has become a bully.

The Fearless Girl would not merit her title if she'd been placed on any other street in any other context. My view is, she should be displayed somewhere else, and her creator should create his or her own threatening animal as a companion piece.  What do you think?

But if you are pleased to comment, please use your own words and do not add copyrighted images or links without full and proper attribution.

Thank you.
And all the best,

Rowena Cherry

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