Lane Hartwell Controversy Heats UpDec 18th, 2007 | By James Lewin | Category: Podcasting Law
Hartwell is a professional photographer that publishes her images on Flickr, with all rights reserved. When she saw one of her photos being used without permission or credit in the video Here Comes Another Bubble, she contacted the video‚Äôs creator, Matt Hempey, about getting it removed or having it properly credited.
The video, a cover version of Billy Joel‚Äôs We Didn‚Äôt Start The Fire, is a promo for Hempey‚Äôs band, the Richter Scales. Their version has new lyrics about the boom of lame Web 2.0 sites. The video features a string of images, uncredited, that illustrates the growth of these sites.
When Hempey did not respond to Hartwell‚Äôs request, she contacted YouTube and asked for the video to be taken down.
Freetards vs Copyright Bullies?
The controversy pits two indie content producers against each other. Hartwell is a freelance photographer that just wants to protect the value of her work because it’s her livelihood. The Richter Scales is just a San Francisco men’s chorus that likes to have some fun.
“Copyright law isn’t really built for resolving disputes between individuals like Lane and TRS,” says LawGeek Jason Schultz. “It’s built for resolving expensive and highly profit-driven disputes between large full-scale commercial entities like movie studios, book publishers, software companies, or search engines — entities with long-standing investments in the copyright system and in-house legal counsel to negotiate issues like licensing.”
Some commentators refer to a ‚Äúfifth fair use factor‚Äù which hinges on good faith ‚Äî whether your conduct might be considered ‚Äúmorally offensive,‚Äù Judges and juries are human, and their decisions can be swayed by whether they think you are a ‚Äúgood or bad‚Äù actor.
Because the controversy pits two indie content producers against each other, and because copyright and fair use are often legal gray areas, the issue has polarized discussion among bloggers.
Here are a few of the more interesting takes on the controversy:
- Lane Hartwell says that “When I find someone using my work without my permission, I ask them to remove it or pay a fee. They usually remove it and we are finished. The band did not remove the image from the video when I brought it to their attention and instead they told me they had the right to use it. They could have easily apologized, removed the video from YouTube and re-edited without my image and reposted.”
- Tara Hunt: “I‚Äôm really put off that there are so many people spreading, but also believing, bad rumors in this case. I‚Äôm sure the many men behind the Richter Scales don‚Äôt want a mob sent out to harass a woman whose photograph they used. None of this was done in malice: the photograph used, the request for credit.”
- Derek Powazek: “As more attention is focused on social media, and people become more aware of the value of all that media, this kind of thing is going to come up a lot. It‚Äôs time that we develop some ethical practices for the creation of collaborative media. Simply asking for permission to use someone else‚Äôs work is a good place to start.”
- Matthew Ingram: “I think Ms. Hartwell needs to remember one thing: copyright law wasn‚Äôt designed to give artists or content creators a blunt instrument with which to bash anyone and everyone who uses their work in any form, for any reason. The copyright owner‚Äôs views do not trump everything, and never have.”
Lane Hartwell Image: Laughing Squid