In 2005, record producer Timbaland found a piece of music by young Finnish musician Janne Suni on the internet, took it without permission to use in his own work, made a lot of money out of it, and shrugged it off with a sarcastic comment when confronted about it. This hasn’t been covered by BBC News yet.
In 2007, adult DVD producer TVX Films found a picture by young British photographer Lara Jade Coton on the internet, took it without permission to use as the cover of one of their DVDs, made a lot of money out of it, and shrugged it off with a sarcastic comment when confronted about it. This was covered on BBC News yesterday, in a report that concluded with the reporter saying something to the effect of “The case is still ongoing, but for now this underlines the dangers of posting pictures on the internet.”
No. It. Damn. Well. Doesn’t.
Clearly, when putting a photograph or any other personal information online people need to consider the possibility of it falling into the wrong hands and being spread further than intended, but “what if some thieving scum come along and illegally repurpose it in a way that I don’t approve of” should not have to be part of those considerations. Ms Coton did nothing irresponsible in posting that photo. It wasn’t pornographic in any way – it was an elegant, professionally made shot. Good enough to be put on the cover of a DVD, in fact. Definitely not something she should regret putting her name to on the internet.
So what does that BBC reporter think she should have done? Just stuck to taking photos of bunnies and flowers? Or better, just stayed in and watched MTV? This is what copyright law is for, guys. You use someone’s work without permission, and you get your ass handed to you in court – as I sincerely hope will happen in both these cases. Don’t try to paint it as if the original artist did anything wrong by publishing that work for free on the internet… the suggestion that they should curb their artistic expression, just because there are a bunch of law breakers freeloading off it, is just offensive.