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Canadian anti-piracy outfit pirates photos for its website (torrentfreak.com)
189 points by vy8vWJlco on May 15, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 67 comments



What are the anti-piracy people supposed to do? They trusted the web design firm and apparently were let down. Should the site owner have to vet the content again?

I was on a site buying icons the other day and it occurred to me. There is no way for me to know for sure if this icon I am buying is being sold by the original author. Sure.. I have proof of purchase but if the guy is reselling without permission I have no idea where it leaves me.

Which brings us back to this. Photos from an image bank were apparently used. Well.. anyone can be at fault for putting the images in. Naive intern is just as likely as some rip-off merchant.

I disagree with what the Anti-Piracy people do but I sympathize if they had nothing to do this and were let down by designers / rogue image reseller.


> What are the anti-piracy people supposed to do?

In this specific circumstance: make exactly the same amends they would expect anyone else to make if they had found someone else inadvertently distributing unlicensed media, which would probably at least be:

* Immediate removal of the content until such time license to use it is arranged

* Payment in full at the author's chosen rate for licensing the content for the period they were using it

* Perhaps including a significant multiplier if the content creators chose to license per user not per server/service

* Definitely including opportunity costs (such as the interest the content creators could have earned had that money been in their accounts from the point it should have been, or interest they have paid out because the money wasn't)

* Willingly open their doors (or not moan when a law enforcer kicks their doors open) for a third party auditor to verify the state of other media they are using

If they are unable to pay immediately, a payment plan (with appropriate interest arrangement, increasing the debt by at least enough to recompense the creators for the continued inconvenience of not having the money and the continued risk of the debt never being paid if the group folds) should be arranged.

> I sympathize if they had nothing to do this and were let down by designers / rogue image reseller.

They would not accept the 3rd party responsibility argument if they were going after someone, so they should not be able to use it either. They should pay any costs directly. If they wish to hold one of their suppliers responsible then they can take separate action to be reimbursed for those funds.

Our sympathy should extend just as far as their's would, which is basically the "setting up a repayment plan instead of demanding all the money this instant or sending them to do prison time" thing.

That feels fair to me. If the content creators in question want to be more generous in their interpretation of the situation then that would be fine too of course, as long as the group doesn't expect them to be more generous.


If you disagree with what this anti-piracy group is doing, how is it fair to apply the standards they support? Isn't it necessarily, then, unfair to apply their standards to anyone, if you disagree with those standards?

It seems like you'd be agreeing with them if you asked them to apply their own standards to themselves. You either think they're right or they're wrong, and if you think they're wrong, some poetic justice shouldn't be enough to break your own moral code. That seems more indefensible than holding an incorrect set of views - to attempt to knowingly apply views you believe are wrong to someone because it satisfies a primal urge for vengeance.


If you disagree with what this anti-piracy group is doing, how is it fair to apply the standards they support?

I prefer to ask you, how isn't it fair? You are free to believe that 'You either think they're right or they're wrong'. I am equally free to believe that things are more complicated.

In this case I'll go by my own standard (which I apply not only here and now but whenever I have cause to consider such things in my interactions with others) - that of pragmatically holding others to their own principles even when I disagree with them.

If this group embarks on a journey of introspection and decides to profess a different set of principles, I'll gladly alter my opinion to suite. Until then they'll simply have to live with me being disappointed in them on the Internet. Or something.


He's pointing out that they're not adhering to their own moral code, rather than trying to hold them to his. That said, they might be able to assert an innocent infringement defense:

http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Innocent_infringement

Standard disclaimers about getting a lawyer if you need legal advice apply, as always.


I'm saying they should be applauded for not adhering to their own moral code by those who disagree with said code.


Not if they then continue to apply that code to other people after not adhering to it themselves. Experience suggests that this is most likely what they will do.

If this is taken as a voyage of personal discovery and they change their ways, then we can applaud their critical thinking ans self inspection. Otherwise we can justifiably cry hypercrit (for all the difference it will make...).


(replying to my own comment instead of diminoten's reply as HN seems to have a nesting limit)

> Either their moral code is something you agree with, or it's something you don't. Who they apply it to is completely irrelevant.

I didn't say they had to apply their own code to themselves to not be completely hypercrits - the other option (as I have already explicitly stated) is to modify their practises to account for their new found enlightenment.


There is nothing meaningful in calling a person hypocritical. It has literally no impact on the validity of their claims.


Their current claims, no. But it calls into question the validity of their previous actions which they are now contradicting.

I'm not commenting on which of the two situations is right (perhaps neither is), if railing against the "one rule for you, one rule for us" thing.


Either their moral code is something you agree with, or it's something you don't. Who they apply it to is completely irrelevant.

Furthermore, you can "cry" whatever you like. Personally, I find calling someone hypocritical to be utterly banal and entirely pointless. It means nothing for their argument. Man is flawed independent of his convictions.


> Either their moral code is something you agree with, or it's something you don't. Who they apply it to is completely irrelevant.

I do not agree. Showing that they hold themselves to a double standard undermines their credibility when they're trying to claim the moral high ground on an issue like this.

If, however, they own up and admit that they screwed up, I will give them due credit for that. I believe I've already mentioned the concept of innocent infringement which may be relevant here.


There is a certain amount of schadenfreude involved in seeing someone hoisted by their own petard. This is true whether or not you agree with the reasons for said hoisting.


Interesting point from more of a logical perspective...I upvoted you for sparking discussion, although I think there's a flaw there. Namely, I think your argument would only hold water (logically) if the anti-piracy group intentionally violated their own standards, which I don't believe they did. It was accidental violation, which just goes to support the anti-anti-piracy view, that pinning down "ownership" in the era of digital content can be so difficult that even anti-piracy groups mess it up.


He's simply highlighting their hypocrisy.


If they disagree with what they do, when it could be applied to themselves, how is their position fair at all either?

I made no statement as to whether I agree with what they expect of others - I simply suggested they should do what they would expect others to do, lest they be classified hypercrits.


>What are the anti-piracy people supposed to do?

Make it very clear when having a website designed that all images (etc) must be correctly licensed.

Have an independant person audit the licensing.

Keep records of the licences.

Have some clause about payments / refunds for improperly licensed images.

They hold other people to these high levels. They should hold themselves to the same level.


Oh the irony if their "web design" firm is using pirated software.


The article touches on that angle:

Canipre quickly took on the role of “innocent” infringer and blamed their web design firm for obtaining the photos. The design firm allegedly took content from an image bank, but that would have to be a rogue outfit as Houk never sold away his rights.

In any case, Canipre is of course ultimately responsible for the content that appears on their company website, just like they hold an Internet subscriber responsible for the infringing behavior of their neighbors.

"At least" with direct commercial copyright infringement, there's something to sue over (the profit made from the sale), but when people go so far as to hold ISPs (including individuals running open hotspots, or routing gateways, or Tor exits - which few people can afford to accept liability for) and online services (like Megaupload and the Pirate Bay which, based on my current understanding, are not selling anything they aren't entitled to, even if one could show they made money off of aggregation; they aren't claiming to have made anything they aggregate), for example - when we are effectively holding intermediaries responsible for other people's behaviour I think something is wrong, and service neutrality is effectively on the block.


If anything this is a more clear-cut case of the intermediary bearing responsibility. Even if the design agency is responsible for originally stealing the work, they paid for the design without demanding proof that they actually had the rights to use the design, and they put it up on the internet without having proof that they had those rights. And this is all done to directly enrich themselves.

A far cry from 'common carriers' that, despite responding promptly to DMCA takedowns and other requests, still regularly get badgered and legally abused by IP rightsholders.


What are the anti-piracy people supposed to do? They trusted the web design firm and apparently were let down. Should the site owner have to vet the content again?

Should Pirate Bay have to vet the content that it's users make available?


They should vet everything they host.


They host nothing except links. Should google be held responsible for what their search results contain?


They host nothing except links.

That was precisely my point. ;) (Basic math logic...)


They're supposed to be internally consistent. "I had no way to know the distributor of the content didn't have the rights to it" isn't an excuse most IP holders will accept, regardless of whether or not you happened to pay for the content.

It's almost as if IP rights for content in the modern era are incredibly complex, and it's very difficult to actually be certain you have the rights for anything, making it kind of absurd to threaten people and take them to court for minor violations that could be resolved through other means!


>It's almost as if IP rights for content in the modern era are incredibly complex, and it's very difficult to actually be certain you have the rights for anything, making it kind of absurd to threaten people and take them to court for minor violations that could be resolved through other means!

Yes, although this is not exactly the case.

It's not like they are getting people to court for cases like this -- which could be legitimate ignorance.

They do it for people downloading and sharing copyrighted content knowingly. Now, if somebody else was using their wifi, that's another thing (and it can be shown in court).

But they don't really do it for cases that are analogous to "i trusted a website company and they used pirated stock photos".


> But they don't really do it for cases that are analogous to "i trusted a website company and they used pirated stock photos".

No? At least Getty Images does [1]. You can try and sue your website company for damages, but that's another story. The copyright owner will sue you since you're using the images without permission.

[1] sorry, german: http://www.ferner-alsdorf.de/2013/04/urheberrecht-gettyimage...


The owner of a stock photo can charge any price they want. Canipre is just as hypocritical when they ignore stock photo violations. They should have a receipt for every copied resource on their site, or proof that it's free.


> It's not like they are getting people to court for cases like this -- which could be legitimate ignorance.

How do you know they aren't? It might be very easy for someone who's not technically knowledgeable to plug in a wifi router without configuring it, leaving their Internet connection open.


You mean The Pirate Bay isn't legal?! Oh boy, I feel stupid.

Can I also plead "legitimate ignorance"?


So if I buy a music player and it comes with 40g of music on it I should assume it's fine and trust the company that sold it to me.

Sweet.

No, the poster above had it right. It's not the specific remedies that're needed, it's them throwing open the door the way they would want if they were investigating.

Sure, this may be a mistake, but if it's an important issue as they make it out to be, they shouldn't brush it off.


>So if I buy a music player and it comes with 40g of music on it I should assume it's fine and trust the company that sold it to me. Sweet.

Yes, you should. If you were sold that, and it's not licensed, it's the companies fault. That can be easily be shown in court.


What are the piracy people supposed to do? They trusting the websites that provides full movies for them. Should the users have to vet the content again? I was on a site buying access to full movies the other day and it occurred to me. There is no way for me to know for sure if what I am buying is being sold by the original author. Sure.. I have proof of purchase but if the guy is reselling without permission I have no idea where it leaves me...


The situation seems even worse for free streaming services. If I go to Hulu.com and watch something, I am pretty sure they have the rights to show it to me. If I go to Megavideo (when it was up), I am pretty sure they do not. If I go to youtube (and watch something potentially copyrighted), I have no idea if they have rights.


Comments like this lacks context when discussing law, accountability and moral responsibilities.

The anti-piracy people proclaims that they are copyright experts. This is the domain that they are supposedly educated in, work in, and should have expert knowledge in. Its what they claim in courts all over the world. As such, yes, they should had vet any content that they host in their name or the service they outsourced. In this context, they should had known better.

A normal consumer is not however expected to do this. When I go an hire a lawyer, or a medical professional, or a construction worker, I am not expected to vet that they know what they are doing. However, if I own a law firm, I am somewhat responsible for those I hire or outsource. If I own a hospital, I must vet the doctors before hiring them. If I am building a bridge, I better make sure those construction workers know what they are doing or be prepared to face responsibility.

Contextless, responsibility is at those you buy a service from. With context, it can end up at the buyer. In this case, The anti-piracy people are more responsible for the content they host than the average person who post something on their blog.


This is normally inside a web contract, it's pretty easy to write a sentence saying "all media content will have the appropriate license and usage rights yadda yadda...", this isn't even due diligence, it's common. It's the job of the web developer to educate a client, in the case of a copyright infringement company you would think the operators have more knowledge of thier assets unless they were flat out lied too.

For a company that specializes in copyright infringement I find their stance unacceptable, how can you possible trust their business process if they are making mistakes which they supposedly enforce..

It's important to note they are also using copyright javascript that has proper attribution in the source, though it is not following the exact rules ( you could nitpick that it's not in the header as requested).


No sympathy is deserved when they're aware of the situation and pointing fingers instead of correcting the problem to meet the same high standards they demand of others. At this point the authors of the materials infringed deserve some compensation from Canipre.


I was on a site buying icons the other day and it occurred to me. There is no way for me to know for sure if this icon I am buying is being sold by the original author.

I've been buying 3D models and going through the same thought process. I pay and follow process to ensure that every i is dotted and t is crossed, but ultimately in the future I might find that I still have copyright issues because intermediary parties weren't honest.

This story, while allowing people to yell about inconsistencies and hypocrisy, is just not interesting unless someone, anyone, knows that they intentionally and knowingly used unlicensed content. When someone downloads a movie through a pirate bay link, they do know what they're doing.


> When someone downloads a movie through a pirate bay link, they do know what they're doing.

Do they? Would it make a difference in court if they didn't?


IANAL, but it seems that in US law, it can make a difference, but doesn't wave away the infringement completely. http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Innocent_infringement

In the case we're talking about, it seems like scenario #2 applies.


This reminds me of when the Conference Board of Canada was caught copying content for its copyright policy paper:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/think-tanks-approa...



I have to admit to a bit of schadenfreude whenever I see these "Copyright-Troll-Bites-Dog" stories; but I think as it keeps happening again and again I can't help but think that they just show a glimpse into human psychology en masse. A person may stop pirating content, but the nature of the internet guarantees that people will continue to do so.

Back when I was a hardcore pirate, (read: poorer than I am now, which is pretty fucking broke) I would download Gigs and Gigs of movies and music that I would almost never watch/listen to. I just found it soothing knowing that I had Terribytes of interesting data; all categorized, indexed and organized, and that could never be taken away from me if Content Producer A got into a corporate pissing match with Content Distributor X.


This seems common, someone should come up with a name for the phenomenon, similar to Muphry's Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law


Two names come to mind:

Irony[1], and

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?[2]

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custodiet_ipsos_custodes%3...


This headline just took me 45 seconds to parse.


Changing it to "pirated" would make more sense, since it would be more obviously a verb (I think you're like me and read "pirates" as a plural noun).


Really? It seems fine to me.


I read it at first as if somehow a pirate outfit (as in, a pirate costume) was being used in relation to Canada and anti-piracy, with photos involved somehow.


Same. I thought it was some kind of parody video they made where they dressed as pirates.


The Capitalization Made It Harder For Me.


Fixed the caps for you, though perhaps the OP was referring to the absurdity of the scenario. :)


Perhaps I'm better at ignoring the capitalisation, having had to deal with it for a while (my native language doesn't capitalise titles).


What's your native language?


Romanian. Of the languages I've encountered, only English (and German?) appears to capitalise titles.


something similar happened here in Italy/other countries... anti piracy advertising stoled music

http://torrentfreak.com/rights-group-fined-for-not-paying-ar...

oddly this article is not related...


How much, and in what ways do I have to modify an image (add features, delete features, change aspect) in order to make sure I don't get sued because I am using an image I found on the internet to create something useful for others?

If I can get sued for doing such a thing, certainly there has to be a law outlining it? Or is it the wild west like: "the cowboy with the fastest gun/lawyer gets the pesos".


Here's a step-by-step guide to modifying an existing image to avoid infringement:

  1. Download image to local storage
  2. Open the image in Photoshop (or editor of choice)
  3. Using the selection tool, select the entire image
  4. Fill selection area with white
  5. Create something useful for others


Actually that doesn't quite work, because you can create an image, and use a significant amount of color that's been copyrighted, I think motorola's pinkish purple is pretty much off limits.

So no, try again... Also, I didn't authorize that you look at my picture. The imprint you copied of it onto your brain is illegal, and you'll be hearing from my lawyer.


There's one simple trick: pay the copyright holder whose work you are exploiting. Once you have a license you have nothing to worry about.

If you don't do that, then any recognizable* use of someone else's image is a copyright violation.

*There are semantic games like "what if I shrink the image to a 1x1 pixel and use that in another image, is that illegal, HUH, IS IT?" But I don't think that's what you care about.


> If you don't do that, then any recognizable* use of someone else's image is a copyright violation.

Er, no. Fair use is actually fairly broad.


> Er, no. Fair use is actually fairly broad.

You are right, I didn't take fair use into account, and Fair Use does take "Transformative nature" into account.

Fair Use does not help the parent poster "make sure [they] don't get sued" though. Fair Use is a defense after you get to court.

I should have said "If you don't do that, then any recognizable use of someone else's image can result in a lawsuit."


Don't modify it, buy it.


I didn't give you authorization to read my comment. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.


Torrent freak should be auto banned.


Certainly biased - but I've read dozens of thought-provoking articles from them.


Why?




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