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THIS MEANS WAAAAR!!
January 9, 2006 7:40 AM   Subscribe

A revolution is the solution We talked about how Ebaum's World sucks before in the Blue, but it's looks like things have been taken a step futher with Eric Bauman's latest theft of an animated GIF of Lindsey Lohan. While script kiddies have already been concentrating on wiping Ebaum's World off the net completely, the latest swipe from ytmnd.com (NSFW?) has caused a 'massive' DoS war against Bauman as this wonderful writeup from Vitalsecurity.org explains.
posted by daHIFI (59 comments total)

 
I'm at work right now and scared to click on ytmnd right now. Dunno if it's NSFW or not.
posted by daHIFI at 7:40 AM on January 9, 2006


ytmnd is all text basically, I'd consider it SFW.
posted by SirOmega at 7:50 AM on January 9, 2006


Turn your speakers down before you play with ytmnd.com.

and i wanna see the lindsey lohan gif.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:52 AM on January 9, 2006


Cripple fight!
posted by fungible at 7:58 AM on January 9, 2006


So what you're saying is that he had it coming.
posted by wakko at 8:01 AM on January 9, 2006


I think everyone is saying that ebaumsworld had it coming. I mean... it's not like SA and YTMND are paragons of internet virtue or anything. But ebaumsworld is just an aggregation point for content other people have made. It leeches other peoples' content and bandwidth, and generates ad profits for its creator. That's pretty much the gravest of internet sins, y'know?
posted by verb at 8:03 AM on January 9, 2006


Wow, I don't know if I've ever really enjoyed mob justice like this before.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:09 AM on January 9, 2006


Lindsay Lohan GIF.
posted by brownpau at 8:10 AM on January 9, 2006


s/Lindsay/Lindsey
posted by brownpau at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2006


If they really have "an alliance of 7000 hackers already" what the hell is ebaums site still doing up?

(besides, all it takes is 1 actual hacker, and maybe 7k zombie machines)
posted by dabitch at 8:15 AM on January 9, 2006


That link doesn't go where you think it does brownpau.
posted by oh pollo! at 8:15 AM on January 9, 2006


People are little bitches on the Internet now? I can't believe it!
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:18 AM on January 9, 2006


Here are the original images, as an animation from the original author.

http://lohanoriginal.ytmnd.com/

Lifted from Wikipedia:
YTMND is one of the most recent targets of eBaum's World for content theft. The image content of the Lindsay Lohan Doesn't Change Facial Expressions page, which has since been edited in response to the theft, was hosted and displayed by eBaum's World without the consent of the site creator and edited to display the site's watermark. A large number of YTMND users were infuriated by the theft, creating anti-eBaum's World YTMND sites and organizing a raid on eBaum's World regardless of YTMND's lack of a static forum. As of January 7, 2006 YTMND users have enlisted others from Newgrounds, 4chan, adult swim, KNova, Fark, GameFAQs, LUElinks, LivingWithStyle, and D-Day to help with the raid, although no direct link can be made from the other web communities to the attack as of yet.
posted by shoepal at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2006


okay, I didn't realize how much ebaum's world sucked, I guess. I've never thought he actually created or owned any of the clips he's provided, he merely collects all the drek for those who want a sniff of it.

putting java in the code to cripple hotlinkers is neat, though.
ytmnd's response to hotlinking, as brownpau attempted, seems more tame/less destructive, at least. (or is my machine about to get crippled by something now?)

but is the hatred of ebaum's world stemming from anything besides his financial gains, really? I just always thought of him as an internet middleman for less adventurous surfers.
posted by Busithoth at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2006


I should mention that this link was via Digg.com. I think the best one is the person that said:

Begun the Nerd War has.

Also it looks like all the links to the Lohan GIF have been changed to a 'special Ebaum edition' which is just a picture of the YTMND logo.
posted by daHIFI at 8:25 AM on January 9, 2006


Here is the image that used to be on YTMND.
posted by shoepal at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2006


further, having checked out YTMND's site, I saw this:
Hello gents,
I thank you for your devotion to the site and the comradery you have all shown, but it's time to be done with the "down with ebaums" mentality.
It's over, can we move on now?

Hmmm. What I find funniest is that I still haven't seen the goddamed GIF, though the premise (Lohan's face doesn't change) is less valid than the same accusation put to Paris Hilton, isn't it?
posted by Busithoth at 8:29 AM on January 9, 2006


but is the hatred of ebaum's world stemming from anything besides his financial gains, really? I just always thought of him as an internet middleman for less adventurous surfers.

Well, it's copyright infringement. It pissed the RIAA off enough to sue a 12 year old girl, or weren't you paying attention? Its also rank plagiarism, which is even more infuriating. Ebaum doesn’t credit the original author at all, and puts their own watermarks in. How would you feel if you spent a couple of days writing a goofy little flash game, and then someone copied it, added their own watermark and advertisements?
posted by delmoi at 8:30 AM on January 9, 2006


edit: thanks, shoepal.
I can die now.
posted by Busithoth at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2006


Here is the newly watermarked version on ytmnd. Just imagine it without the watermarks.
posted by delmoi at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2006


But ebaumsworld is just an aggregation point for content other people have made.

... which in this case is something made up of content that other people have made ...

Not that that makes it OK to steal it and represent it as your own.

Query: If eBaum is so infringistically evil, why hasn't anyone sicced their lawyers on him? I'd personally be a lot more scared of lawyers than hackers.
posted by lodurr at 8:40 AM on January 9, 2006


BTW, that hotlinking blocker is a pain in the ass. Unlike simpler techniques, you can apparently only see the image if you linked to it from within YTMND. Which means that most people aren't going to bother. And which further means, in the minds of many net.geek types, that they are therefore justified in circumventing the protection....
posted by lodurr at 8:42 AM on January 9, 2006


Well, it's copyright infringement.

Well, so is the original. I don't think YTMND had permission to make a derivative work from the images he did. I don't think it constitutes a fair use.

So, that Ebaumsworld guy is a dick. But the guy that got ripped off, he also infringed copyright.
posted by teece at 8:45 AM on January 9, 2006


two wrongs don't make a right but two wrights can make an airplane!
posted by dabitch at 9:06 AM on January 9, 2006


I don't think it constitutes a fair use.

Are you talking about the original Lohan collage? That certainly would fit in any definition of fair use I've ever seen.
posted by mediareport at 9:07 AM on January 9, 2006


Look at it this way.

If the original chopped up images are on the ragged, bleeding edge of what constitutes fair use, at least time and energy has gone into creating them.

ebaumsworld:
  1. Does not credit Creator X.
  2. Often hotlinks to the original site, increasing hosting costs for Creator X.
  3. Puts his own ads on the site, deriving profit from the endeavor.
  4. Refuses to remove content when Creator X requests it.
Any one of those things is usually enough to annoy folks on the net. But a long history of doing all FOUR of those things is enough to make one despised. If he even hosted the content locally, rather than hotlinking, he could pretend that he's providing a service by easing traffic on busy servers.
posted by verb at 9:31 AM on January 9, 2006


Hack posers bitching about other hack posers is nothing but a joke on all snotnose kiddies.

STFU and bring my my fries ya little whiners.
posted by HTuttle at 9:46 AM on January 9, 2006


Incidentally, this is a model post, in so many ways. Well done daHIFI.
posted by Aknaton at 9:53 AM on January 9, 2006


It's not so much that Ebaums steals content. Part of it is the watermarks, as if they actually had something to do with the content. More of it is the ads, making actual money from other people's content. Even moreso is hotlinking, actual resource theft that has real-world dollar costs. Refusal to remove content is just spitting in people's faces.

The Lindsey Lohan gif was not only edited, it was posted without intent of making money or leeching bandwidth from unwilling hosts. It's much easier to classify something as fair use when it's not done for profit.

The biggest reason Bauman hasn't been sued into the ground is that he apparently makes so much money from the site, he has a lawyer team of his own. Still, between the online attacks, the raw hatred, and the very real likelihood that some idiot is going to take this vigilante justice a bit further than most, I'm surprised Bauman doesn't at least tone it down a bit. Apparently, the money is that good, and his ego is just that big.
posted by Saydur at 10:04 AM on January 9, 2006


"Hack posers bitching about other hack posers..."

Pot, meet kettle...
posted by wsg at 10:30 AM on January 9, 2006


Fair use includes parody, as well as the ridicule of 'public figures', so the original creation certainly fell within fair use doctrine.
posted by PigAlien at 11:00 AM on January 9, 2006


«««««

5'd for pure pwnage! swoit loop. H8 eb4ums. Long live YTMND! OMG.

Honestly, YTMND can be fun... but after a while it becomes pretty juvenile. This particular case has really damaged the creativity of YTMNDs and probably assured that I wont be visiting it for a while. I really do dislike Ebaum's world, though.

Its children fighting over intellectual property that never belonged to them in the first place.

Even worse... they are fighting over Lindsay Lohan.
posted by thanatogenous at 11:25 AM on January 9, 2006


Well, in their defense, she does have some big-ass titties.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:26 AM on January 9, 2006


Wapner's gonna have a field day with these two.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:42 AM on January 9, 2006


I'm not a lawyer, but the original work entailed the wholesale swiping of someone else's photographs. Said photographs were copied, without their author's permission, and made into a derivative work (and he's now hosting what he claims are FULL images on his site). I don't really think it's a fair use. But maybe, I guess. I'm not sure how it works with photographs -- it wouldn't be fair use if that was text. (The analogue with text would be taking the entire text of 10 news articles, pasting them together end to end, and calling the new work your own. That's not fair use. Unless the resizing of photographs somehow parallels the "small portions" proviso of text fair use, I don't see this as falling under the doctrine).

The original photographs aren't even given an attribution, for crying out loud. Regardless of the legality, the photographers could very well feel about YTMND in the same way that YTMND feels about ebaum.

I think there are a lot of uses of photographs on the 'net that people assume are fair use, but that are actually not, under current copyright law. I'd be happy to be proved wrong, as I think works like the one of Lohan should be encouraged.
posted by teece at 12:02 PM on January 9, 2006


Lindsey Lohan is hot.
posted by oncogenesis at 1:24 PM on January 9, 2006


The analogue with text would be taking the entire text of 10 news articles, pasting them together end to end, and calling the new work your own.

No. The analogue with text would be reformatting them such that identical words overlap each other to make it clear that the author reuses phrases and sentences, as if, for instance, a particularly popular author were found to copy from his old works. Example: David Foster Wallace, phrase: "Graphix bong" and variants thereof. Here is a compilation of his repetition (from memory; I've already spent way too much time on this):



It's a demonstration of the new artist's observation of Lohan's static facial expression, not a demonstration of claimed photographic skill on the part of the new artist. No one sane could possibly imagine that I'm taking credit for Wallace's work, so how is it logical to claim that the ytmnd artist is taking credit for the photos?

Further, the artist of the Lohan compilation gif does not assert that each photograph belongs to him. He takes credit for the act of compilation, not the individual elements. By your logic, we should tear down mixed-media collages in public and private art galleries.

Eric Bauman, however, is taking the whole work, and rather than create something new with those elements, merely strips the attribution and claims the work as his own. He then makes money from advertisers on those pages. This is theft and not fair use. You don't have to be a lawyer to see the huge fucking distinction between these cases.

You just can't be blind.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:29 PM on January 9, 2006


Optimus Chyme: No. The analogue with text would be reformatting them such that identical words overlap each other to make it clear that the author reuses phrases and sentences, as if, for instance, a particularly popular author were found to copy from his old works. Example: David Foster Wallace, phrase: "Graphix bong" and variants thereof. Here is a compilation of his repetition (from memory; I've already spent way too much time on this):...
Maybe. If so, I think that actually might demonstrate that it's not fair use, because your example isn't really sufficient to encompass what's happening.

The analogous situation with text would, in fact, be to use the whole text -- perhaps with sections highlighted. You've chosen to highlight by overlapping them; the "artist" at YTMND has chosen to highlight by positioning Lohan's fce in the same place on the screen. There isn't really an analogous situation for text, unless you, say, take all the little Marilyn's in that famous Warhol screenprint and layer them on top of one another, and call it commentary.

It may be commentary; and it may be non-infringing satire; but it's also derivative work, and it's also not very interesting.

As for the Lohan GIF: It was funny when it was Paris Hilton. It's just not funny as Lindsay Lohan.
posted by lodurr at 1:55 PM on January 9, 2006


You've chosen to highlight by overlapping them; the "artist" at YTMND has chosen to highlight by positioning Lohan's fce in the same place on the screen.

I used the exact same technique the ytmnd artist did. Take a work, position it precisely, that's frame 1. Next frame: hide frame 1, position a similar work precisely, that's frame 2. Repeat until finished. They're the same thing.

It may be commentary

It is.

and it may be non-infringing satire

It is.

but it's also derivative work

So is Disney's Beauty and the Beast or Pinocchio or Snow White. That doesn't mean they're not masterpieces in their own right.

and it's also not very interesting

Your opinion of the work's merit has no bearing on whether or not it infringes on the intellectual property rights of the original photographers. I am glad you've retracted that assertion.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:12 PM on January 9, 2006


For a while I was wondering how "The Amazing Racist" guy fitted into this stuff.
posted by Citizen Premier at 2:29 PM on January 9, 2006


Is it possible that THIS is taking it too far?

Bauman, E
67 Wilmington St
Rochester, NY 14620-1929
(585) 473-4662
posted by wozzwinkl at 2:51 PM on January 9, 2006


note: that may not actually BE Eric Baum.
posted by wozzwinkl at 2:52 PM on January 9, 2006


Optimus Chyme:

You are confusing the author's intent with what he actually did, and I'm confusing his original release with his later defense of that work.

What he intended to do is irrelevant. What he did do was copy several photographs, wholesale, and host them on his web site, sans any authorial attribution (linked here).

That is why I said the parallel with text would be copying the whole text: because this author copied the entire picture. Without even an attribution.

There is no way in hell this is fair use, unless fair use for photographs contains some clauses that I am very unfamiliar with (which it may, IANAL).

And, I was looking at the link posted above, in which he shows the entire pictures on his site. That is copyright infringement, I am almost certain of it. Those are not his photographs, and he's copied them.

But I see now that the work he originally posted does include crops of the originals -- does that make it a fair use? I can copy a portion of a work in text. Can you thus crop a picture and use it for editorial content? If that's the case, his original work may be fair use. But a hell of a lot more of the original photographs is preserved than I would guess fair use would allow, but I've not much thought about "quoting" photographs. His explanation for how he was ripped off makes no use of photo "quoting", which is what I was thinking of, sorry.

And I understand exactly what ebaum did: that's not what interests me. What interests me is that the original is also on pretty shaky ground, it seems to me. He's making a derivative work from someone else's work, without permission. His outrage at ebaum indicates he's really keen on getting a boost in reputation from this work. So it's not like he's just screwing around. He does intend to reap a form of profit off of another's art. It's just not commercial profit.

(And yet again, I would much rather this was legal, but I'm not convinced that it actually is).
posted by teece at 2:59 PM on January 9, 2006


FYI: Lindsay
posted by fred_ashmore at 4:10 PM on January 9, 2006


Lorne Michaels staged my intervention first. So suck it, hatas.
posted by bardic at 4:35 PM on January 9, 2006


Just a few questions:

I've just noticed the line "If you are the original creator of material featured on this website and want it removed, please contact the webmaster." at the bottom of the eBaum's World front page; is that new or has that always been there & ignored?

I've just read through the wikipedia entry about the site; if SA had evidence that eBaum was hosting/launching a DDOS attack against them, why didn't they get law enforcement involved?
posted by d-no at 4:42 PM on January 9, 2006


But I see now that the work he originally posted does include crops of the originals -- does that make it a fair use?

No. What makes it fair use is the statement the author makes by compiling and shifting the pictures to make a statement about the subject of the photographs.

He's making a derivative work from someone else's work, without permission.

Let's burn all of Shakespeare, then. We'll also have to burn the Warhol Campbell's collection. Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions goes straight to the dumpster. I understand that derivative work does not enjoy special legal protection, including the collage example I mentioned above, but it should, and I think that it's culturally important to allow free expression of the kind the ytmnd author created. I also think it minimizes Bauman's crimes when you attack the original author, who at least made an effort to create something instead of just slapping that goddamned watermark on there and charging two bits a gander.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:57 PM on January 9, 2006



Dennis Lillee never changes expressions either.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:52 PM on January 9, 2006


teece, read up on the four-prong test for the fair use of copyrighted material. You don't have to be a lawyer to get a simple grip on the law under discussion, which notes that only one prong is necessary to satisfy fair use. In the Lohan case, we have a couple of choices, but I'd go with the last prong to start: "The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." Bottom line: your feeling that the Lohan collage is on "pretty shaky ground" is pretty much wrong.
posted by mediareport at 6:34 PM on January 9, 2006


um, wozz, indeed it's possible. DId it occur to you that replicating that here might possibly be a headache in the making for Matt?
posted by mwhybark at 6:45 PM on January 9, 2006


mediareport, I've read on the four prong thing, and I think this one violates in the amount reproduced. In one case, it's all of it (clear violation of copyright, regardless of intention), in the other, it's a substantial enough portion of it that the work is largely reproduced.

I don't think it's fair use, at least not obviously so. I sure as hell wouldn't be comfortable publishing such a thing.
posted by teece at 7:40 PM on January 9, 2006


Optimus Chyme: No. What makes it fair use is the statement the author makes by compiling and shifting the pictures to make a statement about the subject of the photographs.
As you (ought to) know, that's not sufficient to establish Fair Use. You can't just appropriate the entire work, and a simple transformation of format is not sufficient to make the reproduction "partial" for Fair Use purposes. If it were, it would be sufficient to translate to a lossy format (e.g., JPEG) from bitmap. Or even to resize & resample the original. It's not.
Let's burn all of Shakespeare, then.... I also think it minimizes Bauman's crimes when you attack the original author, who at least made an effort to create something instead of just slapping that goddamned watermark on there and charging two bits a gander.
You do get that Shakespeare is out of copyright, don't you? I think it minimizes the weakness of your Fair Use arguments if you exploit the status of a literary demigod.

As for whether it minimizes ebaum's crimes: Who cares? We're not the court. And in a properly functioning court, it wouldn't matter: Crime would be crime would be crime, to paraphrase an old criminal.
posted by lodurr at 5:44 AM on January 10, 2006


wozzwinkl: note: that may not actually BE Eric Baum.
If it were (and I'm not saying that it is, though I suspect that I do know whether it is), it would indeed be going too far.)
posted by lodurr at 5:45 AM on January 10, 2006


You do get that Shakespeare is out of copyright, don't you?

No shit. I was referring to the fact that Bill didn't exactly come up with those plots all by his lonesome.

You can't just appropriate the entire work, and a simple transformation of format is not sufficient to make the reproduction "partial" for Fair Use purposes. If it were, it would be sufficient to translate to a lossy format (e.g., JPEG) from bitmap. Or even to resize & resample the original. It's not.

That's not what I'm saying. The transformation from RAW to TIF to JPG to GIF isn't what makes it a new work; it's the act of compiling several photos from (I would bet) several different photographers and sequencing them to overlap such that the expression is identical that makes it a new work. I'd also bet that the photographers wouldn't give half of a shit that their work was used in this way.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:53 AM on January 10, 2006


Optimus Chyme: I used the exact same technique the ytmnd artist did.
... which was my point: You used the EXACT SAME technique, when what you should have done was use an ANALOGOUS technique. The "exact same" technique DOES NOT APPLY FOR THE TEXT CASE. Text is not images. Use your imagination, for pete's sake.
posted by lodurr at 5:53 AM on January 10, 2006


... it's the act of compiling several photos from (I would bet) several different photographers and sequencing them to overlap such that the expression is identical that makes it a new work. I'd also bet that the photographers wouldn't give half of a shit that their work was used in this way.

As I understand Fair Use, sequencing and positioning the image, even if you crop the margins to enhance the subject, would not be sufficient to make the borrowing "partial" for Fair Use purposes. It still constitutes "complete reproduction", and that's not regarded as acceptable under Fair Use, regardless of the intent or of the work's position in the final artistic context.

As for what photographers think, I can only tell you that I've been STERNLY dressed down for suggesting the VERY IDEA that I might want to own the pictures I paid a portrait photographer to take of me. As a professional class, photographers tend to be very protective of their work. Viz the famous case where an American photographer sued an Italian sculptor, and won (big), because the Italian was making sculptures that "reproduced" his photographs without acquiring permission or paying royalties.

Whether that's right or not is not the issue. When discussing things like this, it's always important to distinguish ethics from law. Is Bauman behaving like a greedy snake? Sure. Are YTMND's satires non-infringing use? Not so clear.

I personally think that YTMND's use ought to be regarded as non-infringing. I'm leaning toward thinking that it is, in fact, infringing use, and that no one cares enough (or that the positive effects on picture sales are deemed offsetting, or the legal costs not cost effective, or the threat to ownership insufficient) to formally take offense.

If there is a "Fair Use" exemption for YTMND, it's probably not anything at all to do with what he does or doesn't do to or with the images. It's probably to do with (a) whether he profits from them, and (b) whether his actions have an impact on profits that might accrue to the owner. (a and b are not necessarily related.)
posted by lodurr at 7:15 AM on January 10, 2006


You do get that Shakespeare is out of copyright, don't you?

No shit. I was referring to the fact that Bill didn't exactly come up with those plots all by his lonesome.


I'm sure why you're being such a blowhard here, but you're wrong whatever the reason, on the old Will Shakes part.

Firstly, there was no notion of copyright in Shakespeare's time. Secondly, Shakespeare in no way that I'm familiar with actually copied texts of fellow authors. He based almost every play he wrote on plots and ideas of other authors, but such things are not even copyrighted today. The ideas in a work are not copyrighted -- merely the actual work. So it's a total red herring.

The thing is, even if the Lohan GIF is a fair use work, it's still unethical. It does not even have attribution to the original photographers. That's very uncool, and to me it shows both sides to be somewhat sleazy. The ebaum guy is a total dick -- I think he should be sued out of business, and what he is doing is clearly illegal. But I've rubbed elbows with some fashion photographers online, and I'm pretty damn sure they'd think about the YTMND guy in exactly the same way he thinks about ebaum.

He's created a derivative work which would be 100% impossible without said photographers, and I bet he doesn't even know their names. I find his righteous indignation more than a little bit strained.

But you don't need to lecture me about the creative commons -- I'm really down with it. Every (minuscule) bit of code I've written is under GPL. The (minuscule) writing I put on my web site is under a share-alike CC license. Every one of the hundreds of pictures I've put on Flickr has a CC license that allows others to use them.
posted by teece at 9:37 AM on January 10, 2006


teece, what the hell? Acting in a manner consistent with your ethics?! Looking for balance and moderation in your views?! How unfashionably mature...and damn near un-American, if I may say.
posted by lodurr at 9:45 AM on January 10, 2006


Yeah - next thing you know, you'll start a trend and we'll end up Canada.
posted by FormlessOne at 3:31 PM on January 10, 2006


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