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Considering Copyright
September 12, 2000 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Considering Copyright Mr. Powazek brings up a very good point about copyright and how it applies to web design vs. John Perry Barlow's idea's about how copyright applies to the future. From the tone of Derek's last few posts, I'd say someone's been ripping off his designs...again.
posted by Brilliantcrank (34 comments total)

 
yes, someone took one of derek's photos and had a site that was obviously influenced by powazek.com...derek had a link to the site but removed it later...the person also changed the design of his site...

taking the photo was wrong, wrong, wrong, that IS copyright violation, but the site itself didn't need to be changed...it was sufficiently different from derek's...the code was original as were the graphics (minus the photo)...the colors were different...the person was obviously trying to copy derek and didn't have the skills, but the site *was* different...

derek writes:

"And if you change the work, you are making a derivative work, which is still a violation. And guess what? That's illegal."

in some instances, changing a work is not a derivative work and is NOT illegal...a derivative work is when i take derek's words from his site and make an audio recording of it...a derivative work is when i print derek's words or pictures and base a painting around them...making a site that looks similar in design to his is not a derivative work...if anything, it is an homage.

according to artslaw.org, for something to qualify as derivative it "would include the adding new artistic elements to a past work" or copying it in another medium...therefore the person involved would have had to copy derek's site exactly and/or then done something like change the color scheme or add stars to it...the site in question was merely inspired by or influenced by powazek.com but not a derivative artwork...

i *have* seen sites that were actual direct copies or derivatives of derek's site with even the code copied...that is wrong...except for the photo, i don't think what this guy did was anything except unimaginative...

who has a lock on a photo in the left corner and a name across the top? if that's the case, then i'm in trouble too...

posted by centrs at 6:55 PM on September 12, 2000


fwiw, my ranting about derivative works was in response to a general perception that "if I take your photo and change it then it's not copyrighted anymore" which is false. I wasn't talking about site design. Overall site design is almost impossible to copyright.

And, yes, a recent altercation prompted me to put this stuff down in writing, but I'd been thinking about it for some time. Especially after reading the recent Wired, which is all about Napster and copyright.

I honestly believe that most people who violate copyright on the web do so not out of malice, but just out of a lack of understanding about the way copyright works. So this was my pebble in the pond.
posted by fraying at 7:39 PM on September 12, 2000


I was glad to see this, because I was curious how Derek would reconcile his campaign against design piracy with his enthusiasm for Napster and way-new distribution systems. It's not airtight, but he answered some nagging questions.

I disagree, though, with the notion of credit and to what degree it excuses theft.

The knucklehead who stole Derek's work, for instance, had credited Derek somewhere, but even if he were to prominently say where he'd copied from, it would still be theft and would be wrong.

Another example: My friend Neal just wrote and self-published a fabulous collection of short stories. He worked very hard on this and, with help, spent a lot of money to print the books. Now, if a publishing house came along and reprinted the book without his permission, yet gave him full credit and thus "retained a public awareness of its creator," it would still be theft and would be wrong. (What is a printing press but a "file-exchanging technology"?) If this rogue publisher (or copyright freedom fighter, depending on your stance on Napster) undercut Neal by a dollar or two, Neal would have to get a day job and would stop writing, his cats would have no food and would starve, and our planet would be a worse place to call home.

And although Barlow makes the case for why performers should use Napster and bootlegs as marketing tools, I'd still like to see that up to the performer (or, alas, her label) to decide, just as Derek would like to decide for himself who gets to use his designs.

posted by luke at 7:48 PM on September 12, 2000


I think Derek is wrong in one key issue. The issue isn't credit for one's work. The issue is permission.

One thing he misses in his comparison between him being ripped off (in his opinion) and, for lack of a better subject, Metallica getting ripped off isn't that his work could conceivably get ripped off and no one would know it but Metallica's songs could be redistributed freely and everyone knows that's still Metallica. It is whether or not anyone recognizes someone's style of writing, design or music, no one should have the right to seize their works without their permission.

Period.

If the only difference was recognition, then someone might take my designs or images or what have you, post them on their own site, credit me fully on the top of the page, watermarked in the images and again in the source, and according to Derek that's all right. If people know I did it, it's to my benefit anyway and the more people see (hear) what I make, the better off I am.

But if I lose control of where my stuff ends up (I would be extremely upset if I went to godhatesfags.com and saw my interface and images and name plastered all over it) then I lose control of everything. Why should I have to relinquish control of my own work because someone else thinks I'm better off?

It shouldn't be for the person doing the ripping off to judge whether they're ripping off, it should be up to the rippee.
posted by honkzilla at 7:50 PM on September 12, 2000


Urr, yeah, what he said!
posted by luke at 7:58 PM on September 12, 2000


It shouldn't be for the person doing the ripping off to judge whether they're ripping off, it should be up to the rippee.

When the VCR first became popular, TV networks believed it was copyright infringement for a viewer to tape a show and skip through the commercials with fast forward.

Opponents of Napster and similar services are wrong to leave the issue of copyright entirely with the creators of the work. Copyright is a limited right, and it is well within the boundaries for society to decide what copying is reasonable and what copying isn't. If the civil disobedience represented by Napster is a sign that the public believes MP3 trading is reasonable, and I think it is, the law should be changed to catch up with this belief. I think the argument that the recording industry is being hurt by file sharing is a dubious one -- things have never been better for them than they are now.
posted by rcade at 9:06 PM on September 12, 2000


Legally, Derek is correct where he says that making a copy of a work without permission is a copyright violation. He swerves off that correct path, however, when he suggests that giving credit to the author absolves the copier of wrongdoing:

But when you take a copyrighted image (or text) from one site and put it on another without credit, the game changes.

This is incorrect - legally, the game most definitely does not change. A copy without permission is still a copy without permission, and that's a violation of copyright law.

However, Derek is certainly correct when he argues that the morality of the circumstances is different. It's much different morally to try to pass off someone else's work as your own, than to engage in an imitation-as-flattery scenario, with credit. If I knock off Derek's site design, and credit him with the inspriation, I may add to his fame (because of all those many folks who visit my site that have never heard of him, natch...) which is a direct benefit to him.

Legally, though, it should be his choice whether he wants me to add to his fame or not. My personal choice? I hereby give Derek express permission to copy any of my web work provided he gives me credit. Heh.
posted by mikewas at 9:32 PM on September 12, 2000


While all creative work must be duly credited and compensated for, the ongoing gripe about source code and graphics/image "borrowing" is just petty. If someone is stealing web designs (and images) for their own personal and NOT FOR PROFIT web site, we as a community should be generous enough to let it slide. There is an Arabic term for this, Sadaqua (pronounced Saa' dha Kaa), which means an act of generosity towards the less fortunate. Someone who has to steal a design for his personal site is either an admirer of your works or just not as skilled as you. Be proud and show some class and treat this "theft" as your "charitable donation."

On the other hand, if someone is stealing your design/images and making money off of it, please, by all means, sue the bastard for theft.

I think Jason Kottke illustrated it best on his "Steal this website" episode of 0sil8:
You're a comedian. You tell me a joke. It's a funny joke, so I tell it to a friend. My friend laughs, tells me I'm a funny guy, and asks me to make her laugh some more. But, I only have the one joke so I can't. You, on the other hand, you've got tons of jokes...not to mention the talent to think up more jokes as you go along. You can make her laugh all you want. You're a valuable commodity; I'm just a hack with one joke.

Anyone who keeps on constantly bitching about code theft by people in Peru has serious doubts about his/her own creative abilities.
posted by tamim at 9:41 PM on September 12, 2000


I have no doubts about mine, and I'm going to bitch.

There's no difference between stealing someone's site for personal use or stealing it for profit. It's stealing. I've had my entire site lifted by someone, right down to the graphics. Twice. So what you're saying is that I should be flattered and feel sorry for the "less fortunate" and just let it slide, and if I choose not to, I have no class. Dear Lord. Why should I treat it as a charitable donation? I give away graphics, make free fonts, help anyone that emails me, make graphics for friends, moderate at a forum, design site templates to make web design easier for people who don't have the skills, and much more. I think I've already made my charitable donation.

I love the term "less fortunate" as applied to web design. These are people who just can't code websites, not people who have no food to eat. If they can't code, maybe they should hire someone who can. Like me, for instance. But no! If you can't code, just shop around for a site that you like and take what you want. No matter if it took the site designer weeks to fine tune that script, or a day to hone that graphic - you like it? Just take it, by God. It's not stealing, it's just flattery!

Don't tell me I have doubts about my creative abilities. What I DO have doubts about is the amount of time it will take me to keep redesigning my site after other people rip it off. I actually like having a site that is unique to me and no one else. It's a crazy concept.

And "Steal this Site" is "an experiment in self-promotion, branding, and advertising." Direct words from the site. Notice that he advocates stealing the site so that he may eventually benefit by it, thru publicity. Unfortunately for rip-off artists, not everyone is as generous, nor do we all want that kind of publicity.
posted by the webmistress at 10:44 PM on September 12, 2000


I think it's important to remember that copyright is not like property -- not like owning property, not like transferring property from one person to another. I mean the very fact that the product becomes public domain after a certain amount of time ought to be an indication that something unusual is going on. People can use your work -- provided they adhere to the standards of Fair Use -- and they can do this whether they have your permission or not. And guess what, this is a good thing. Not because godhatesfags.com can grab all our stuff -- which wouldn't be Fair Use anyway -- but because we can grab their stuff, again according to Fair Use, and use it against them.

This isn't theft. It's far more nuanced than that.
posted by leo at 10:57 PM on September 12, 2000


Far more nuanced.

I think people are so strongly wired to detect cheaters and have such strong propensities to reprove and penalize cheaters that their judgement is clouded about what ought to be law.

"People who ordinarily cannot detect violations of if-then rules can do so easily and accurately when that violation represents cheating in a situation of social exchange (Cosmides, 1985, 1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 1989; 1992)."* And the difference is really dramatic: poorer than 25% detection versus 65-80%.

Not only do we look out for cheaters, we are inculcated to hold them in some serious contempt. And "copying a design" (note that you can't ever, really, copy a design: just more or less of its components in one manifestation) does seem to be cheating.

But that doesn't mean that it should be illegal. Existing copyright laws already protect the gestalt, but protecting just, say, the layout, abstracted away from the content, would have terrible consequences. Imagine having to pay royalties to use a protected layout (or just the due dilligence research prior to publishing).

I agree that it is discourteous and worthy of some contempt to cheat by copping a design. But I think the consequences of making it illegal would be unacceptable.

Recently, I had someone violate my copyright by translating stuff I had written into another language and publishing it themselves. I didn't care that much about them copying the text; it was worse that they imitated the idea without at least telling me about it (giving credit would have been nice). But at the same time, I'm glad that I can't legally prevent them from using my idea without permission. Ideas ought to be free.

- - -
*Quoting from here; look under the heading "Reasoning instincts: An example") [Note: just for the record, I disagree with Cosmides & Tooby basic stance towards studying cognition, but I don't see any reason to doubt their empirical work.]
posted by sylloge at 2:48 AM on September 13, 2000


I think an interesting point of Derek's little spew is the one about Weezer -- If you download an mp3, you know it's Weezer and they get more famous and thus, make more money.

Well, sure. For Weezer. Maybe. For Metallica. Maybe. But for my band who put out a small run of CDs, who nobody has ever heard, who has no amount of recognition?

Now, I'm not saying it would be bad for my band to be heard by a wider audience, but who says that someone isn't going to come along and edit that little ID tag and say, This is MY band! Boom, I'm not gaining fame, I'm not being recognized, I'm not getting anything. And what happens if the altered version is the one that gets sucked down by everyone, and all of a sudden, I'm nobody, and Joe Blow gets a big recording contract from my fame?

The happy idealized system where you're immediately recognized only works for the people who are already ridiculously popular and thus, don't really need to worry about garnering a little more praise. Sure, it would be great if nobody ever took credit for someone else's work, but come on -- that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

If someone wrote a pretty, easy to use Napster-esque thing that traded entire website designs, I think Derek would be singing a different song. Type in "pastel + photos" and you get a nice little zip file of powazek.com, stripped of the text and ready to use! And from 35 sources too, each one of which could have slightly altered the information contained within. In the end, does it really matter if the title of the file is powazek.zip? I doubt it.
posted by benbrown at 8:15 AM on September 13, 2000


This is probably the most civil, enlightened, polite thread I've seen here in a long time. Bravo to all.

A few reactions:

Luke - your friend's book is a different matter. JPB is talking about the sharing of digital files. In an atom-based system, there is a scarcity of product, so a publishing house that reprinted books would of course hurt the artist. But in a digital product, the product can be duplicated endlessly. So a question: if we all started sharing digital copies of your friend's book, would it hurt or help him?

Honkzilla - Yes, permission is key. And the laws, as they stand now, fully support your point of view. But it's my opinion that the laws will have to adapt to function in our digital networked world. The laws, as they stand now, are all about protecting atom-based things. But reality is different now, and getting more so with every p2p client. As copyright changes, it's my hope that it refocuses not on products, but on ideals like credit, and, yes, permission, too.

Mikewas - You are of course correct. Right now, the trading of any copyrighted material is illegal. The portion of my piece that you're quoting from fell under the "future of copyright" subhead. Maybe this wasn't obvious enough, but I was talking about where I think copyright is going in the future. I wasn't talking about what's legal today.

Tamim - While we might hope that everyone would turn a blind eye toward someone violating copyright for non-profit means, we are not required to do so by law. Copyright protects the right to copy. It doesn't matter if the copy is for profit or not. Of course, you, as the copyright holder, can allow someone to use your work by whatever criteria you choose.

Leo - Fair use is tricky and has changed over time. Basically, if I wrote a design critique of your site and included a screenshot, that would be fair use. And, yes, if I did a parody of godhatesfags.com (godhatesfigs.com comes to mind), that would be fair use. But taking someone else's work for almost any other reason is not fair use.

Benbrown - You raise a really interesting point about big guys and little guys. I have a hope that Napster could be a boon to smaller bands. Small acts spread by word of mouth, and what better way to spread word of mouth than the internet? I remember finding out about a new band because you posted an mp3 (Mary Prankster - "tits and whisky"). As a result, I'm much more likely to go to their show or buy a cd. It goes both ways. And, yes, I think design is different, as I said in my babble on powazek.com.

As always, these are just my opinions (and justifications). Your mileage may vary.
posted by fraying at 9:07 AM on September 13, 2000


Generosity is all around us. The generous part is that the words and pictures are on display, free to be seen by whoever surfs by. If you have someone over for dinner, they do not take the plates home with them, and the host does not owe them. I steal little bits of code all the time, specific lines that tell me how to do something, not entire pages. There are concepts like copyleft to allow people to opensource their work, and the idea is intriguing. The rub is that it must be voluntary.Syllogue, it is cool that you did not mind getting ripped off, I am sure your lack of stress will allow you to live forever, but what if you had minded? Are we gonna have a situation where the only alternative to not sharing is to not create at all?
posted by thirteen at 11:32 AM on September 13, 2000


Tamim: as easy as it is for someone making a non-profit site to borrow your graphics and code, it's just as easy to write you an email and ASK YOU for your permission to do so. Then you can be "classy" and let them do it or "classless" and tell them no. But as the creator of the work, it's up to you whether you want to be "classy", and when getting permission (or not) is as simple as sending an email, there's really no excuse for stealing without asking-- nonprofit or otherwise.
posted by wiremommy at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2000


all I've ever done my whole life is steal. I'm not a very good person.
posted by SentientAI at 2:50 PM on September 13, 2000


Are we gonna have a situation where the only alternative to not sharing is to not create at all?

We certainly might end up in a situation similiar to that (of course, one could always create and choose not to make the creation available in a form that people can easily rip off). And because of that, pragmatism is the best stance.

Easy cost-free copying may cause society to rethink the (consensual) contract that entitles creators to claim property rights over creations (though maybe we'll continue in the direction we've been going and just keep adding more and more powerful legislation giving more and more power to holders of copyrights).

(Where did I just read this?): If I paint a painting, I own the canvas. But I only own the right to make facsimilies of the image at the pleasure of society as a whole. It is hard to predict what will please society as our means change.

I find these issues extremely complicated — I'd certainly urge everyone to read the article linked in the next thread. The reasoning behind traditional property rights (land, possessions, etc.) make sense to me, especially as I accumulate more physical property ;)

But even as a creator of things that come under the heading intellectual property, I don't find the issues at all clear cut. To whatever extent it is possible to prevent others from profiting from the work I do against my will without also preventing greater goods, I hope those possibilities are actualized.

On the other hand, nothing is truly original, creativity is only possible in the context of the great sea of ideas and, to me anyway, it seems neither possible nor desirable to try to stake protected claims to bits of a sea.

On the other other hand ...
posted by sylloge at 3:36 PM on September 13, 2000


I wouldn't want to say anything here about designers' opinions of what they do , but I think it's worth mentioning that, while the name of a typeface may be trademarked, the *design* cannot be copyrighted. Thus Monotype's Times New Roman(Tm) vs. Bitstream's Dutch, Helvetica(Tm) vs. Swiss, &c.

posted by Snarl at 10:12 PM on September 13, 2000


>I wouldn't want to say anything here
>about designers' opinions of what they do ...

Yes...but, with all due respect to the masters who came before, are we talking about designers in the traditional sense here?

I related to Derek's point in his essay about: "retaining a public awareness of its creator", and I duly noted the fact that he never used the term "designer" in his essay...he opted for the much more appropriate "creator".

I find this a very relevant point...especially from the vantage point of creating. Creating is a highly personal verb, as Barlow states in his article "Created beauty is a relationship, and a relationship with the Holy at that. Reducing such work to "content" [or "design" in this instance] is like praying in swear words." :-). So, when one has created something (especially something personal), they feel as though their identity has somehow been violated when others misappropriate their work, ESPECIALLY online when what we create becomes part of our authentic voice (to borrow from the cluetrain manifesto).

That is why respect for each other's work is so critical in the economy of new ideas. The old rules simply do not apply anymore.

"It shouldn't be for the person doing the ripping off to judge whether they're ripping off, it should be up to the rippee."

Exactly. Attitudes are as varied on issues such as copyright as there are stars in the heavens and people on the Web. When in doubt simply ask. This new technology makes it just as easy to send an email as it is to view source or download images. Chances are the person on the other end of the line will say "yes" if simply asked...and lord knows they'll have much greater respect for the people who do.

webchick

PS> For anyone interested, there is a similar discussion going on at dreamless...
posted by webchick at 9:05 AM on September 14, 2000


What I found interesting was that the person who ripped off Derek's site (you decide to what degree) had a copyright at the bottom of his page that said something like (I forget the exact words): "anyone who copies this site could be prosecuted under U.S Federal Law".

Surely any copyright on a site (and I know that strictly speaking the creator is protected even without one) is a clear expression that the creator doesn't want to be ripped off, and to go ahead and do so anyway is just plain manners.

To then go and copyright what you have taken without permission is just plain rude.
posted by c huber at 2:07 PM on September 14, 2000


i think we have to be really careful here when speaking of design, and, more especially, photographic imagery. On powazek.com, there are numerous images of architectual/industrial objects: bridges, cathedrals, airplane interiors etc. Are these architects and engineers who "designed" the original structures not creators? Isn't the photography of another's original work yet another form of "derivative work"? Or what if I simply photographed your photograph?

I myself have a hobby of taking photographs of movie theatre screens in the middle of feature film projections (without flash :) , which I later digitally manipulate to my hearts content before posting them to the web. Have I violated the copyright of the movie studio? of the actor?This question is just not so simple...
posted by prox at 4:11 AM on September 15, 2000


I'm wondering if Mr. Powazek got explicit permission from cdnow.com to use their photos for his cd reviews?
posted by bfmaat at 6:24 AM on September 15, 2000


bfmaat, don't be an idiot. Criticism falls squarely under fair use, not that cdnow.com owns the copyrights to the CD images.
posted by luke at 7:55 AM on September 15, 2000


As long as his site qualified for and is a member of their CDNow C2 Online Program, he can use them without getting explicit permission from CDnow.

Item #8 of CDnow's C2 Online Legal Agreement spells out the terms in which you can use product cover scans. In short, it reads "you can use our scans...[READ: we WANT you to because them because it promotes sales]...BUT we wash our hands of all responsibility. You should check with the copyright holder of the original art for the CD if you want to remain in full compliance with the U.S. Copyright Act." So, CDnow doesn't hold a copyright to the original imagery either. The artist who created the original artwork or whomever commissioned that artwork does.

It is a widely accepted practice for sites to appropriate thumbnail imagery of products such as album or book covers provided that they clearly support the primary objective of the artist, author, label, publisher, or retail outlet: to promote the original material. When someone like Derek reviews a CD, they are providing a service, not maliciously infringing copyright. Incidentally, do you think large music retail outlets contact each and every original copyright holder for permission to scan in all the thumbnails they create for their sites? It is UNDERSTOOD that this will happen when the art is created, and is generally represented in the form of a nebulous clause written into the contract that binded the artist who created the original art.

SO....I suppose if we wanted to conduct our behavior to the letter of the law...then, yes, the original copyright holder should be contacted just in case there is an exception to the rule. But this is the equivalent of asking for permission everytime you quote someone in an email. As long as attribution is provided (in this case, a link into CDnow so the material can be purchased), no harm...no foul.

webchick
posted by webchick at 8:47 AM on September 15, 2000


Luke, take the letters i,d,i,o, and t and shove them right up your rectal port. I was just wondering where the line gets drawn on these kinds of things.
posted by bfmaat at 11:30 AM on September 15, 2000


I assume you've seen this. a couple of weeks ago, the guy was ripping off the design of astounding websites and siphoning off some of the software functionality. it appeared we'd shamed him or his ISP had cut him off. he took down the site for a day or two. only to unveil this latest work. complete with javascript errors because it's referencing files he forgot to copy from my site.

i don't really care. it's kind of funny. i would care if he were running a real business (then he's a potential client stealing my design to avoid paying me ... and watering down my "brand" in the process). i would care if he were running a web design business (then he's a competitor who's stealing my design, such as it is, to promote abilities he does not possess).

but since he's just some guy who seems to like copying other people's websites, i don't care. in this case it is harmless. a bizarre obsession, perhaps.

the only other time it really bugs me is when somebody's work is painfully close, several times in a row (ie., their new redesign looks like one of my new redesigns), and only in cases where that person: (a.) never links to me (b.) gets tons of cred from people.

that particular set of circumstances happens rarely. when it does happen, it irks me. i once wrote to a guy who had done that, and who was a much-beloved figure in indie web content circles. he assured me it was a coincidence, and i bought it. it probably was a coincidence.

shortly afterwards, he redesigned his site and the new design looked exactly like a list apart (to which he also did not link). a second coincidence? i don't think so. i did nothing about it. he's redesigned again since.

this is an old topic and an old problem that may never go away.
posted by Zeldman at 3:07 PM on September 15, 2000


bfmaat -- Since you asked, use of a copyrighted work is allowed in two cases, called "fair use":

1. Comment and critique. When a newspaper (or a website) runs a cd review, they can use the cover art, so long as they're actually reviewing the cd.

2. Parody. Same rule applies: I can use starbucks logo to parody starbucks (but not to parody someone/something else). I'll still likely get sued, or course, but I'll be in the clear legally.
posted by fraying at 3:39 PM on September 15, 2000


Zeldman made a great point tonight regarding the recent (uh, shall we say) "borrowing" of the Astounding Websites/Zeldman layouts (recently happened to Internet Brothers too): "Why upload it to your site?".

Yes, I admit I see something cool on the web, I'll download it, dissect it, and give it my own twist. That's how I learned... and I suspect that's how many of us learned. But I'd never put it up on my site....

"Originality is the art of hiding your sources..."
Question is: Where does the line get drawn?

For example: I redid my weblog, and I have admired for the longest time, the sliding menu at Glass Dog, so I found a similar script at one of those "Cut & paste" java sites. Did I rip off Honkzilla, or was I inspired by his work?

Example two: I also loved the way Zeldman's Daily report always had the current date in the title. He uses Javascript, and I use SSI to get the same result...

Example three: I caught some heat once for right-clicking a picture off someone's site, used it in my newsletter, and notified them after the fact. Of course they were annoyed, as it was on their site and their property. This person scanned the pic out of an old book they bought at a flea market. (uh...hello? anyone see something wrong?)

If you ask me, anyone who claims to have a totally original idea on the web is kidding themselves. That's my opinion, of course... your egos may tell you otherwise. :0)

The recent Zeldman/AW one was plainly obvious...but sometimes I see someone scream "Foul!!!" and all I can do is raise an eyebrow at them....
So when does "inspiration" cross the line and become "blatant theft"?
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 2:00 AM on September 16, 2000


The only thing that irritates me about this whole issue is the "he who is without sin, cast the first stone" thing.

I personally can't think of many people in the world, much less people who are Internet savy, who haven't ripped someone off in some way shape or form. MP3's, shareware that is NEVER registered, purely pirated software, etc.

It's suddenly different when it becomes personal.

That's why I hate to see people publicly blasting anyone over this stuff.

By the way, did anyone see BadAssMofo.com, Solosier.com, Simpleminded.org, et all doing their "design theft" thing? They all changed their site designs (about 8 or 9 sites) to the exact same design and publicly accused each other of ripping off each other's designs. Hilarious.



posted by bfmaat at 8:20 AM on September 16, 2000


We've all jaywalked. That doesn't allow us to start stealing stereos. (If only!)
posted by luke at 10:38 AM on September 16, 2000


In your analogy, what is jaywalking and what is stealing stereos?

Doesn't pirated music, pirated software and lifted source code all fall under "copyright?"

That's like saying it's OK to steal fruit, but not OK to steal stereos. Or vice versa.
posted by bfmaat at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2000


bfmaat, you're obviously still confused, so let me try to help. When we do it, it's homage. When it's done to us, it's theft. Hope that straightens it out for you.
posted by byun at 3:20 PM on September 16, 2000


byun,

That pretty much clears it up for me. :)

Thanks.
posted by bfmaat at 5:24 PM on September 16, 2000


And the saga continues.
posted by Zeldman at 1:30 AM on September 17, 2000


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