Let's remember the old dictum: never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity.
I'm not excusing NBC in any way here, least of all for SOPA (those who've read my comments and writings know I'm a huge opponent of the latter). But the likelihood that anyone in any position of power at NBC even saw that page is slim to none. I've worked for NBC in a past life, and I can tell you that the divisions responsible for these web pages don't even show up on the radar. They're so far removed from the power centers of the organization that many people probably aren't even aware they exist. (That, in itself, is a problem; don't get me wrong).
If you want to find much more malicious and intentional rip-offs of this logo, they abound on the interwebz. For example:
Had NBC been using something like that, I think we'd have far more cause for indignation and uproar. Something like that image bespeaks a rather deliberate and shameless attempt to rip off Apple's artwork.
A) Intent never seemed to matter in the SOPA debate.
B) A corporation is responsible for every employee, no matter how lowly, that's the way it works. Look at the FedEx employee who threw a monitor he was delivering over a fence on camera - even though he is but one of 20,000 delivery men, they still were completely responsible for that.
This episode is an excellent demonstration that this sort of casual use is part of the essence of the web. It's so fundamental that even a major corporation does it incidentally. And if you hammer this sort of thing down, you essentially kill the web.
I guess I just see this as a smile-and-raise-an-eyebrow kind of story, and not a break-out-the-pitchforks-and-torches kind of story.
I loled :) Saving that in the memory bank for later use. Reddit comment karma, here we come!!
But then I always tend to look at these issues from a human perspective. I can't help but take all the extenuating circumstances into account. If you look at this from a strictly legal or ethical perspective then its much easier to support the logic behind the criticisms.
So I understand the outrage but I just can't bring myself to see it in such black and white terms. Now I have to make the standard disclaimer: I don't and never have supported SOPA. (It's pretty awful we have to make those disclaimers to be taken seriously around here).
Of course, the larger point is that every one of these steps is expensive. Only organizations with a LOT of money can afford to operate like this. And that's exactly how publishers like it. If you have to have a LOT of money before you can put anything into the world without the risk of getting sued into oblivion, then suddenly, there are a lot fewer content sources for you to compete with.
Distinction without difference.
Googling the coolest image out there (for a given subject) and using it on a high profile website for a major company with zero concern for rights (in an industry which exists entirely on IP rights) IS intentional infringement. That the intent punches thru the core of deliberate and on to the uncharted waters of gratuitous disregard does not lessen the intent.
I would say there is a real difference, here. The point is, SOPA did not recognize this difference, and its promoters should be held to an even higher standard than that which they promote.
The real kicker is it's for profit AND they copied the full image. So, every time someone went to that page the web-server made yet another copy which is a separate case of copy-write infringement. So, just take the full penalty and multiply it by the number of number of downloads.
PS: Just immagine what would happen if some prosecutor actually took up the case.
Which is exactly the problem. The only reason that the web page wasn't reviewed is to save money/time. Which is a great thing!
However, with the SOPA/ACTA style of repressive laws that follow the "shoot first, ask questions later" principle, a lot of burden will be put onto companies to review/censor all their content prior to being published, and especially for small companies, the costs would be significant.
NBC were/are a staunch supporter of SOPA. They wanted others to be treated this way, it's only fair they're held to the same standard so that may see how ridiculous the situation is (not that blatant copy/pasting of images is ever condonable).
"This kind of casual copyright infringement, with no malicious intent, is exactly the kind of thing that SOPA was after. (...) SOPA covered so many cases of fair use, remixing, commentary and satire that it would have made a good number of the websites in the world immediately vulnerable to being taken down at the whim of ‘content creators’ like NBC."
Not to mention that the paintbrush "A" in the background is the app store logo! Did not a single person with an iphone or mac look at this before it went out? I'm almost inclined to think that they did license the image from apple, even though that really doesn't sound like apple.
Either way, this sounds like a joke from 30 Rock :)
Although I honestly expect that given NBC's interest here they would be willing to have their webpage completely come down, while they fixed the infringement if they thought that it would illustrate to everyone how infringement should be handled.
I think this is much ado about nothing given that it's just about the infringement and not so much about the enforcement.
> This kind of casual copyright infringement, with no malicious intent, is exactly the kind of thing that SOPA was after.
I really dislike posts like this that go all sanctimonious and apologetic when no one is making the outlandish attacks that you claim they are making
Sony PR was unable to clear all copyrights for pictures they had used in a exhibition about the past of the building. And publicly admitted it.
Can we please stop using the terms "stealing" and "theft" to refer to copyright infringement?
steal [steel] ,verb, stole, sto·len, steal·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
1. to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.
2. to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.
May I also suggest you look up the term 'colloquial.' This isn't a court room.
Infringement on someone's property is more like trespassing than deprivation of a good.
But funnily enough, in this case it may actually be "copyright theft", which in 95% of the cases gets misused when meaning copyright infringement. Copyright theft actually means taking someone's work, and saying it's your work. And this is what NBC seems to have done.
>Infringement on someone's property
You mean "2. to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment."
My god that's stealing!
>Copyright theft actually means taking someone's work, and saying it's your work
Since you're trying so hard to be pedantic, that would be plagiarism (act) and copyright infringement (legally). On the street, that is referred to as theft.
BTW, did you know you can steal water from the ocean?
I sincerely doubt that nothing would change in a discussion after an explanation like that one. Maybe if the discussion was already restricted to lawyers, nothing would change.
So if NBC was claiming they owned the Apple artwork, its stealing because that ownership (if uncontested) allows them to collect royalties, etc.
(at least in the UK, I understand the same happened in the US)
I'm surprised. When the issue of auto-theft came up (many years ago) the ruling was very different. Legally speaking if you took a car for a spin and dumped it (back with the owner, or whatever) this was technically not theft - as there was no intent to permanently deprive the owner of the car.
I'm pretty sure they ruled it was still considered theft - off the back of similar legislation changes in the UK.
- The law wasn't really reconsidered to deal with copyright infringement. It was changed to deal with situations where you broke into a computer and took copies of data (interesting to note that this was not actually a new issue at the time; if you broke into someone's office and took photos of data they couldn't charge you with theft - the reason it was changed this time I am not sure on, probably just the prevailing mood).
- Quite how much the extent of information loss on a public thing like an image (for which you have to undertake no infiltration or transformative process to recover) applies is largely untested, because this stuff is broadly dealt with under copyright infringement
- The extent to which money - both loss of, and the making of (by the infringer) - comes into it is undetermined.
- This is not a new change. It happened years ago (as in at least the 90's, perhaps before).
The real bottom line is that much of our laws are inadequate in dealing with the internet. :)
But; "theft" is no longer defined, in the UK at least, as the GP indicated.
We always complain about the fact that laws don't keep up with the modern world. So why insist that the definition of theft stays in the dark ages? :)
The analogy you bring up is more akin to vandalism in my mind. Theft, in the modern sense, means taking something that isn't yours.
(I'm not necessarily agreeing with the theory that this is theft; just putting out a data point I happen to know of)
This is a tough topic because the word steal does have a valid semantic meaning in this context, and anyone who argues with common use of language always comes off as pedantic ('what is an iTouch? It's an iPod Touch!!!'), but its important for those of us who understand how digital media works continue to continue emphasizing the real world differences between theft and copyright infringement.
Theft of services still implies the consumption of someone else's resources. By not paying for the service, the provider faces tangible losses (because the opportunity to service a paying customer is lost). In this particular case, Apple loses absolutely nothing. The designer is still wrong (and IMO, plagiarizing copyrighted design assets merits termination), but Apple's capacity to service their customers is not hindered by this.
I can dig up another one if you really want :)
While I don't disagree that there is some difference between illegally copying something digitally and physically taking something, the effect is so similar that getting hung up on the linguistics seems a bit silly to me.
FWIW, the current version (Blueprint Neue) is here: http://mantia.me/wallpaper/blueprint/
My eye was constantly drawn to the ever-incrementing counter, but because it was fixed, I couldn't scroll past it. Bad UX.
The real problem is the gulf between the law and perception on what is content "theft". There are many people who wouldn't see a problem using the XCode logo for other purposes (read http://clientsfromhell.net/ for several examples of people not understanding copyright infringement).
The article seems a little overblown in its tone. We should allow NBC the same latitude we would want if one of our employee's had made the same mistake. We should also ask NBC to support legislation that would allow for education and forgiveness.
It's pretty obvious then when you need to replace something before going into production.
I love it when a plan comes together.
In the later versions the site in question would have to be a non-US site (they don't need SOPA for US sites as we've seen with Megaupload) and the site would need to operate with the intent to promote copyright infringement.
Obviously that is very broad, but I don't think anyone could stretch it to one misappropriated jpeg in a site completely dedicated to something else.
Don't get me wrong, I'm completely opposed to SOPA and legislation like it, I just don't think this is relevant.
When the dept of justice (or whoever is tasked with prosecuting these sites) finds a site, they contact it and issue a invitation to participate in domestic proceedings, and the invitation is good for a certain period (30 days for example). During this time, the site can respond, realize the problem, maybe make amends or reach a settlement. If they do not respond within the time period, then they are considered in default, and US financial institutions, search engines etc. could be compelled block them. However, at any time they can start legal proceedings within the US, and try to get reinstated, until the statute of limitations runs out (a few years).
This would have introduced the proper concepts of due process (inviting them to participate and offer them an opportunity to resolve the matter before taking drastic measures), jurisdiction (only US financial companies would be compelled to stop dealing with them, and possibly search engines, etc.) And IMHO it would be a good compromise.
Finally, here is why it would work: it takes a while from a site to grow from an insignificant pirate hub (where people can download movies, etc.) to something that lots of people in the US know. Remember, the problem is only that US citizens are downloading pirated US movies & shows (which cost a lot to make) from abroad. Once lots of people in the US know how to get to it using domain X or method X, then the entertainment industry can take notice. By that time, the site has been operating for a while (probably over a year). What is another 30 days at this point. The due process should take place. The entertainment industry is presumably going after big fish, not fly by night file hosters. So there is no reason to shoot first and ask questions later.
I am probably going to get downvoted because I am talking about SOPA and saying it could work using some sort of compromise. But I try to be open minded. Those who know me know I criticize copyright, but I don't think our society is ready for a completely wikipedia-like approach to art. I have thought about the issue and in practical terms, copyright is actually quite useful as it enforces copyleft. And in fact, using copyright and copyleft, we have a competition of content creation by open groups and by proprietary interests. Which is good for society. Patents in software, on the other hand, should be abolished :)
The whole article seems like a lot of conjecture about something only vaguely related to SOPA in order to publish a story about SOPA.
I mean hell, all you have to do is google "blueprint icon tutorial" and you get over a million hits. There is absolutely no excuse for someone doing this with such a vast amount of resources at their disposal.
Government agents there are empowered to root through private citizens' trash without probable cause, to search for recyclables. Additionally they put small computers on private trash cans, to monitor their movements -- to continue the analogy: it would be as if SOPA mandated government spyware on your hard drive.