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Linspire Accused Of Misusing Creative Commons Art 534

Posted by timothy
from the ask-and-receive dept.
SuperDuG writes "Seems that intellectual property and copyright laws are something that Linspire still doesn't seem to have a firm grasp of. Their flash intro has with it some popular Linux images made by a rather talented artist. An email to Klowner was the first notice he ever got about the images being hijacked, not once has Linspire requested permission to use these images in their ad campaign. They seem pretty similar to me, you be the judge."
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Linspire Accused Of Misusing Creative Commons Art

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  • I think everyone can acknowledge right now that we'd be better off without them, right?
    • I do not know. Linspire is trying really hard to gain a niche in the desktop market, and while Microsoft undoubtedly has shot their momentum down to nothing, they haven't given up. Im not defending their misuse of artwork or anything else but as a linux distribution, especially one that charges for the distro, I am sure that Linspire has a strong desire to correctly protect IP laws. And while I know I would be upset if someone misused my work, it was just a flash intro on the website. Honestly, it could
      • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:42AM (#8996842) Homepage
        And while I know I would be upset if someone misused my work, it was just a flash intro on the website. Honestly, it could have been much worse.

        Well, depending on how much the artist depends on art for his income, I'm not sure that it could be much worse. I use a great deal of commercial art in my work, and I think most of the people I contract with for artwork sell to me because they need to pay the rent (or enjoy RAII-approved CD now and then...). There is no excuse for a sizable commercial entity like Lindspire to be misusing other peoples work in even a small way (and, really, a flash intro on your flagship web site is not a small misuse).

        • The only flash movie I've ever created (done in 29 days, before my trial expired!) cost ~$350 for the images I used alone. That's $50/pic, for royalty-free rights.

          Since the guy's page is down, can anyone tell me what his copyright notice said? If it said "these images are free to anyone who wants to use them for any purpose" and they used them, then so be it. But I'm quite curious as to the actual terms. Also, it's always good to have a copyright notice watermarked in the picture. It doesn't have to b
      • by tommasz (36259) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:22PM (#8997274)
        Regardless of whether Mark derives income from sales of his graphics, it's clearly marked that his permission is required prior to use of the images. Not "if used in commercial work" or "free for individual use". They clearly didn't get his permission (or even ask for it) even though it was for use in a Flash movie.

        If they have such a cavalier attitude towards ownership of something visible, what might they have done with something not quite as obvious?

        Honestly, it could have been much better, too.


    • Yet another shining example of the "all information should be free, except for the stuff that I think I might make a buck off of" mindset. But how much do you want to bet that Linspire would start shrieking bloody murder if someone infringed on *their* hard work. Someone should start ripping off their designs (they *did* do some work on their own, right?) just to see what they'd do. Bastards...

    • by errxn (108621) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:20PM (#8997255) Homepage Journal
      It's just another example of some heartless corporation who runs roughshod over the rights of the "little guy". We should do everything we can to negate the influence of this EVIL corporat...what? No, this is Windows they're talking abou...oh, you mean it's just a Windows lookalike...ohhhhhhh....

      Nevermind.

      (Dammit! So much for picking up a cheap +5 Insightful...)
    • I think everyone can acknowledge right now that we'd be better off without them, right?

      Absolutely not. They sponsor many websites and open source projects [linspire.com].

      If you want to throw away the things that they've contributed to the Linux kernel, WINE, KDE, Mozilla, etc, then fine, but don't presume to speak for the rest of us.

    • by lcsjk (143581)
      I am copying this here because I don't think its fair to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts!!!!!
      ananicon writes (this is further down in the replies):
      This is extremely interesting on many levels since the artist changed the licensing terms for his art 2.5 business days ago. What were the licensing terms before then? The artist doesn't say, and neither does his web site. I'm not saying the artist is right and Linspire is wrong, but these questions are entirely unanswered:

      1. What were the pre-4/24
  • While you're on about this, you might also ask why the painting of the four rasta musicians used in the Lindows Rock [linspire.com] video isn't credited.

    I also see what I recognize as a stock Associated Press photo of Bill Gates, and I wouldn't be surprised if the other photos were borrowed without credit (or payment) as well.

  • by the balls!

    If I were him I'd play my cards right and ask for a ridiculous amount of preferred stock in order for them to not get sued.
    • ...and his damages are?

      Winning lawsuit != instant millionaire.

      The most he would get is removal of the images, and if he was lucky, repayment of his attorney's fees.

      • The most he would get is removal of the images, and if he was lucky, repayment of his attorney's fees.

        What makes you say that? The have already used it. They will end up paying fair value for it, plus any lawyer fees.

        I get the impression from your comments that you think this is a minor infraction. I take it you are not a commercial artist?

        • Re:He has them.... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101 ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:02PM (#8997069) Homepage Journal

          What makes you say that? The have already used it. They will end up paying fair value for it, plus any lawyer fees.

          It's all about damages. This artist has no reputation to damage. You seem to think that Joe Blow's art getting used is the same as Big Name Artist's art getting used. Sorry, it's not the same.

          I get the impression from your comments that you think this is a minor infraction.

          As a matter of fact, it is.

          I take it you are not a commercial artist?

          No, but I work with a real commercial artist. Very few artists make a lot of money from their art. Sorry, but this guy is not Wyeth. His art is worth about $100, and that's if I want to buy an original using traditional mediums

          • Re:He has them.... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Cecil (37810) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:40PM (#8997467) Homepage
            I get the impression from your comments that you think this is a minor infraction.

            As a matter of fact, it is.


            Why? Because he's not rich? That's a stunningly ignorant attitude. How do you expect someone to ever become 'big-name' if they can't afford to pay the bills because people ignore the copyright on their works? There is just so much wrong with that attitude I don't even know where to start.

            You can't just twist around the meaning of fairness and say "this guy is more important, so it's not allowed, but this guy is less important, so who cares." The law must be applied equally. We're all equal. There cannot be some people who are "more equal" or the whole damn system implodes.

            Copyright protects anyone and everyone who produces a creative work. If the judge decides that the "fair value" of his work is $100, fine. But he deserves absolutely every penny of that $100. Only the reparations scale with damages, his rights do not. As the previous poster said, "They will end up paying fair value for it, plus any lawyer fees."
            • You can't just twist around the meaning of fairness and say "this guy is more important, so it's not allowed, but this guy is less important, so who cares." The law must be applied equally. We're all equal. There cannot be some people who are "more equal" or the whole damn system implodes.

              It is applied equally. He can shut them down just like Big Name Artist. The difference is in what is actually damaged. This artist has no reputation to damage, therefore, he gets little compensation. As it should be. The

  • Linspire (Score:5, Funny)

    by cwis42 (563232) <{cwis} {at} {free.fr}> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:25AM (#8996629)
    Well, now we know the seven last letters of Linspire are just there by accident and do not denote a particular skill of them.
  • Marketing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:26AM (#8996631) Journal
    It seems that Graphical Artists in any Marketing division seem to run into this problem all the time.
    Aren't the images on kde-look public domain? Or is there a disclaimer that forbids this?
    • Re:Marketing... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:28AM (#8996671) Journal
      Whoops, yes it is...
      As of April 24th, the images are licensed under the Creative Commons License (Attribution/NonCommercial) which explicitly states that the work may not be used for commercial purposes, unless permission is provided by the author
      Bad Linspire, BAD!!
      • Re:Marketing... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by anonicon (215837)
        "As of April 24th, the images are licensed under the Creative Commons License (Attribution/NonCommercial) which explicitly states that the work may not be used for commercial purposes, unless permission is provided by the author"

        This is extremely interesting on many levels since the artist changed the licensing terms for his art 2.5 business days ago. What were the licensing terms before then? The artist doesn't say, and neither does his web site. I'm not saying the artist is right and Linspire is wrong,
        • Re:Marketing... (Score:4, Informative)

          by gathond (236744) <slashdotNO@SPAMgathond.dk> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:19PM (#8997246) Homepage
          The article states:
          Prior to the addition of the CC license on Klowner's wallpaper site, there was no specific copyright, although standard international copyrights still hold.

          And since (link on the article) the default with regard to copyright on works (art, or whatever) is that if there is no mention of something else things are copyrighted. It would stand to reason that if Linspire "borrowed" the art before the artist changed to the CC license, they were still breaking copyright laws, and so would anyone else who without the authors explicit permission copied the work in question.
        • Re:Marketing... (Score:4, Informative)

          by spitzak (4019) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:20PM (#8997261) Homepage
          According to the linked pages, he previously put no indication of any license on the images. This means they could not be reused for anything, per US copyright law. Everything you create is copyrighted by default.
    • Re:Marketing... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gordon_schumway (154192) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#8996715)

      Aren't the images on kde-look public domain?

      Why would you think that? Images in a public place, e.g. the internet, or for a GPL project are not public domain by default. They're under whatever terms their creator wants them to be.

    • Re:Marketing... (Score:4, Informative)

      by odie_q (130040) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#8996718)
      You do not need a disclaimer. If no explicit permission is granted to use the images, people have no such permission. As an extra heads-up, the kde-look pages are all marked with "All rights reserved," which is pretty much the opposite of an explicit permission to use the images as you see fit.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:26AM (#8996637)
    When you use their "Licrosoft Lord" program, Lippy (an animated pair of lips) says "You appear to be plagiarizing a document. Would you like some help?".

    Lawsuits from both The Rolling Stones and Microsoft are pending.

  • From the referenced site...

    As of April 24th, the images are licensed under the Creative Commons License (Attribution/NonCommercial) which explicitly states that the work may not be used for commercial purposes, unless permission is provided by the author. Prior to the addition of the CC license on Klowner's wallpaper site, there was no specific copyright, although standard international copyrights still hold.

    So, the CC license wasn't applied when the flash demo was created, in fact it was a response t

    • by Neon Spiral Injector (21234) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#8996720)
      No, since there was not CC license when the Flash demo was made, and there was no mention of copyright, then the default copyright laws apply. That is no derived works are permitted, period.

      The CC license now allows non-commercial derived works.
      • by Otter (3800)
        That's true and given that Lindows' primary activities are modifying other people's work and passing it off as their own and engaging in legal conflicts mostly of their own making, you'd think they'd know better.

        Nonetheless, the story would be clearer and Lindows' actions would seem less distasteful if it explained that they took the images off a site with no explicit copyright statement and that the Creative Commons was only invoked afterwards.

      • Yes, and that is how copyright law works in most other countries too. An Australian once told me that it was called "implied copyright" and it exists, in favour of the author, simply by creating a work. I looked it up in the UK, the same holds here too. However, the courts seem to prefer that a clear statement has been made, it is then quicker and easier to enforce, in fact if it says "(C) Me April 2004" (substitute correct name and date), and if a copy is filed securely where its date can be established l
    • An absent statement of public license policy equals "All Rights Reserved" under the law.

    • Copyright by default (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In the US, *everything* is copyrighted by default. This means that unless there is explicit permission given (in the form of a license, or a grant of rights), copyright must be assumed. In other words, the fact that it was on a web page means nothing, the fact that there was a 'download' link means nothing, the fact that there was no mention of copyright means nothing - in the absence of a license or grant of rights, copyright law holds that you cannot use the work without written permission of the author
    • by NetDanzr (619387) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:35AM (#8996752)
      If you offer items for download, but do not state your intentions, does this allow commerical vendors to make a profit out of your work. I think that now that he has applied the CC license, future uses in presentations would be protected, but I am not sure of the offending one.

      Actually, the Creative Commons licenses work the other way - they allow the artist to forfeit some of his rights. Unless explicitly stated, every content published on the Web is the exclusive property of the author. As such, Linspire would have to approach the author and ask for permission to use his work. The CC license limits the ownership of the author, and in some, clearly stated cases (in this case the use for non-commercial purposes) other may use the author's work without prior permission.

  • polite (Score:2, Funny)

    by thebus (158196)
    But the host of the demo sounds so polite. That's got to count for something. right?
  • by Ingolfke (515826) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:32AM (#8996717) Journal
    is just to use art that nobody would want to copy anyways. OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] figured this one out earlier this week.
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thewiz (24994) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:33AM (#8996727)
    If Linspire believes they have rights to Mark's images because they sponsor www.kde-look.org where his images are available as backgrounds?

    I'm not saying they are right for taking, altering, and using the images without his permission. I, too, think they have violated the Creative Commons license. But I have seen cases where companies have appropriated images, information, and physical property from groups or organizations that they sponsor.

    The companies believe they have paid for it with their sponsorship (wrongly, IMHO)
  • Bait and switch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:34AM (#8996744)
    This title is misleading because the artwork had no CC license when originally posted. If your offer up your creative material with no copyright protection and state that it is free for all to use, why shouldn't Linspire (or for that matter Microsoft or SCO) feel free to use it?

    Changing the license afterwards like the author did in this case is also your right, but it is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

    FWIW, I've seen the same artwork in other Live CD's (Slax comes to mind) so Linspire aren't the only people who grabbed it.
    • If your offer up your creative material with no copyright protection and state that it is free for all to use, why shouldn't ...

      Previous to the recent application of license, WAS there a specific disclaimer that it was "free for all to use"? Or are you speculating that merely publishing an image on a website is an abandonment of rights of authorship?

    • Re:Bait and switch (Score:5, Insightful)

      by .com b4 .storm (581701) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:57AM (#8997007)

      If your offer up your creative material with no copyright protection and state that it is free for all to use, why shouldn't Linspire (or for that matter Microsoft or SCO) feel free to use it?

      Because if no specific license is offered, then basic copyright applies. This means you have no right to make derivatives, commercial or otherwise.

      Prior to the addition of the CC license on Klowner's wallpaper site, there was no specific copyright, although standard international copyrights still hold.

  • by consolidatedbord (689996) <brandon@nOSPAM.ihashacks.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:36AM (#8996765) Homepage Journal
    It's a shame that this company who is supposed to be bringing the spotlight to desktop linux, is bringing it in such a way. First, we had the Microsoft mockeries on the website, and now blatant stealing of someone else's work. The sad thing, is that there are those out there who will start to think that open source software is about stealing other's source, and that that would be the only reason to keep it open. Sad, but probably true. It's companys like these that we don't need bringing a bad name to linux. I think it is time for the Lindash/Lindows/Linspire, whatever people to mature up a little bit.
  • Mousey (Score:5, Funny)

    by krumms (613921) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:36AM (#8996771) Journal
    I'd post a URL to the demo but the Mac I'm on has inadequate mousing abilities.

    Come, let us all softly tremor with sorrow, for the one buttoned mouse has gotten the better of this poor soul.
  • He's going to need some of Mr Robertson's cash to pay his overage bills... It's slashdotted already.
  • by YankeeInExile (577704) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:39AM (#8996795) Homepage Journal

    I really respect that Lindows^WLinspire is doing what it can to give OSS an outlet to the non-/. public

    That being said -- there is something about that organization that rubs me the Wrong Way

    Another fact about this story that leaves me wondering -- the Klown website very sneakily says (paraphrased) as of 24 April is licensed under ... Well, inquiring minds want to know: PREVIOUS to 24 April, under which (if any) license was it released under?

    Of course, I am sure I don't need to point out that under US Copyright law (assuming for the moment that the artist is producing his work in that country -- and Linspire is definitely based in the US ofA ), the mere production of the work attaches copyright to the creator of the work, and s/he is under no obligation whatsoever to delineate the ways in which it can be used by others.

    This is important people: Whatever you write is copyright by definition. In absence of verbiage to the contrary (i.e. GPL, CC, BSD), nobody can usurp your product. Another question: Can someone who Is A Lawyer quote some caselaw on active-protection as applied to copyright? (I know how it applies to trademarks, but copyright != patent != trademark )

    • by Daniel Boisvert (143499) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:07PM (#8997126)
      Another fact about this story that leaves me wondering -- the Klown website very sneakily says (paraphrased) as of 24 April is licensed under ... Well, inquiring minds want to know: PREVIOUS to 24 April, under which (if any) license was it released under?

      It's not sneaky. He released his stuff under the CC effective April 24. Previous to that he granted permission on a case-by-case basis to folks who asked if they could use his work, and standard copyright protections applied.

      (FYI--I know him; I'm not just pulling this out of my ass..)
  • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:41AM (#8996830)
    But they're still using "LindowsOS" in much of the presentation. Good grief.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:43AM (#8996853)
    It's really too bad that this company seems to be doing everything the wrong way. It could be a great way to bring OSS-related computing power to the masses, especially with the Wal-Mart machines.

    However, they goad Microsoft with the Lindows name (Hint: if Baba Wawa pronounces the names of both softwares in an identical fashion, you blew it) and then changed to a name that is Lame in everything but the name itself. And now this...

  • not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wobblie (191824) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:52AM (#8996952)
    If a spammer were to start a linux distro, it would be a lot like Linspire.

    The guy who owns Lindows is a confirmed scammer. I really wish this company would just go away.

    * cheesy, stupid names
    * raping debian's bandwidth
    * taking much, not giving back anything
    * uninspired, copycat mentality
    * loudmouth
    * no attention to security (everyone runs as root)

    Can anyone name anything good about these people?
    • Re:not surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by m1a1 (622864) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:11PM (#8997158)
      * cheesy, stupid names
      These abound within the opensource community. GNU anyone? How about K-everything or G-everything? Gnometris... Same Gnome. My god, you can't really single out Linspire here.

      * raping debian's bandwidth
      How? They have their own Click'n Run Repository. If users choose to use a Debian repository that's their perogative. You know, just like every other Linux user. I guess if you buy Linspire you can't play with the other Linux kids?

      * taking much, not giving back anything
      Let's see, they fund kde-look.org they've written several opensource apps, they pay everaldo [everaldo.com]. Yup, those lazy bastards. Just remember, Michael Roberts may be an ass, but he has already contributed more to Linux than you ever will.

      * uninspired, copycat mentality So? Ever used Evolution or Kontact? How about rhythmbox or juk? Lots of copycatting happens. And you know what? It's necessary. There really is sometimes a best way to do things. You can't innovate every day. I don't see you bitching that KDE and Gnome use the desktop analogy. That was invented a Xerox-PARC! That's old shit! It just works.

      * loudmouth
      You got me there.

      * no attention to security (everyone runs as root)
      And there.

      So only 2/6 or your points were really valid. Nice work though. Have you considered getting job writing FUD for MS or some other major corporation?
  • Knee-Jerks... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mage66 (732291) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:54AM (#8996974)

    Does anyone here think critically?

    Does all this Knee-Jerk, Anti-Lindows/Linspire trolling ever once take into account that as a corporation, Linspire/Lindows didn't say: "Hey! Let's go rip off as much stuff as possible, and not pay people for it..."

    Can anyone consider the possibility that someone who made up that Flash Presentation used the material and didn't happen to mention they lifted it?

    It happens all the time.

    It doesn't require Linspire to be an evil company looking to rip people off, and make a buck off someone's work.

    It just takes one person who isn't clear on copyrights, and assumed they could use that artwork without permission. They might not even have realized they were doing something wrong.

    How many people do YOU know, who totally understand IP and Copyright laws?

    I'm getting tired of the automatic Anti-Linspire sentiment expressed by most Linux people. Linspire has given back A LOT to the Linux community. They've donated big bucks to WINE, KDE, Reiser-FS, and other projects. Go check their website.

    And if you read their financials in the item about their upcoming IPO, if they are making money... They've sure fooled everyone.

    • by Syberghost (10557) <syberghostNO@SPAMsyberghost.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:47PM (#8997553) Homepage
      Does anyone here think critically?

      New here, huh?
  • Difficult Position (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ickoonite (639305) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:14PM (#8997188) Homepage
    Another day, another example of the cavalier attitude that Robertson has regarding IP, the community, everything...

    Michael Robertson is a strange creature, bucking the trend like Steve Jobs, but only in very, very bad ways. The funny thing is (funny in a really perverse kind of way), Jobs is generally the guy Linux zealots love to hate (he was the cool kid in school). Robertson is the Linux-popularising martyr for FOSS, the almost untouchable.

    Back in the day, MP3.com was lauded as visionary, a chance for the music companies to make something of online distribution, and so on. When the RIAA poo-pooed this and went after MP3.com, he played the prima donna and we all boohooed together - Michael tried so hard, he really cared about us, he identified with us, he wanted to free intellectual property. He was on our side. When MP3.com died, defeat reverberated around the geek/FOSS world...

    So then this thing Lindows appears on the horizon, with talk of full Windows application compatibility, something that was later dropped when the WINE [winehq.com] team realised what a prick Robertson was. When any other company [infiniumlabs.com] makes crazy claims like that, someone [hardocp.com] will get on the case. In this case, the Lindows team rewrote history [8m.com] to erase this little hiccup from their PR. There are murmurs on the Internet about how source is not posted and so on, but somehow Lindows carries on.

    Then Robertson takes on Microsoft. Robertson is the Man again, the Good Guy fighting against every true geek's arch nemesis. When he loses, Microsoft are evil bastards beyond reproach (I am not suggesting that this isn't the case, but bear with me...).

    I think perhaps this could be put a clearer way - ask yourself only "Is my enemy's enemy always my friend, no matter what?" Personally, my answer to that would be no, but I suppose YMMV. Put it this way, I have no desire to ally myself with a person whose sole motivation to free the world from the shackles of IP (which would of course undermine the GPL) serves only to allow him to continue to profit off the unpaid labour of others.

    Robertson is not a visionary. He's the asshole who was never tough enough to beat all us Slashdot-reading geeks up, but never missed the opportunity to hurl abuse from just round the corner. And he strikes me as being from the same sort of management school as McBride - his ethics are about as loose.

    iqu :s
  • kde look (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sir_cello (634395) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:14PM (#8997192)

    There are some questions to ask:

    Where exactly did Linspire get the works from?

    When they did get the works, what was the copyright notice?

    I look at kde-look.org and there are no explicit copyright notices; yet the purpose of the system is to allow people to download and use backgrounds, suggesting an _implied _license that anyone who puts a background there is making it available for fairly unrestricted use. You like to argue this, but I am trained in Law and this is how it is intepreted. The "hairy" questions are always over "just what are the terms of this implied license", usually the courts have to argue about it.

    Note that if you just put an image on your webpage, there is no implied license that you're allowing anyone to use it, so any copying other than the intended purpose of viewing and so on is infringement. However, when you put an image into a system that is _designed_ to allow people to download it, it can be said that you are agreeing to an implied license.

    In fact, if you go to the kde-look and choose "Upload", you have to choose a license (GPL, LGPL, "Other", etc) for your work, but when you are a downloader, there is no display of the license. This is a problem that kde-look needs to fix.

    It seems to me:
    (a) the author (Klowner) and kde-look.org have a few issues to sort out regarding the proper clarification and visibibily of copyright licenses for their works;
    (b) Linspire may be acting within the law, but we need to know more information;

    In fact, in this case, kde-look could be liable: because if Klowner did apply the appropiate license on upload, but didn't display it for downloaders, yet Linspire relied in good faith upon an implied license, then in fact, neither Linspire or Klowner did anything wrong: the fault is with kde-look who negligently didn't indicate the proper rights for the work.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:16PM (#8997217) Homepage
    ...although, under present copyright law, everything is "born copyrighted" whether there is any notice or not--to put up material on a public website without a copyright notice, as was apparently done before adopting the Creative Commons license, seems to me to be inviting infringement.

    Sure, the Lindows folks should have known better--but so should Klowner.

    Just how hard is it to write "Copyright [year] by [so-and-so], all rights reserved?"

    When in doubt, add a copyright notice. Whether or not it actually changes the legal situation, it definitely changes people's behavior. Even if you plan to grant permission to just about anyone for just about anything, putting a copyright notice on your work greatly increases the probability that people will ask.
  • by drew_kime (303965) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:21PM (#8997262) Homepage Journal
    The submitter writes:
    Seems that intellectual property and copyright laws are something that Linspire still doesn't seem to have a firm grasp of.
    Do you mean that Linspire doesn't have a firm grasp of intellectual property and of copyright laws, of that they don't have a firm grasp of intellectual property laws and copyright laws?

    If you meant the latter, there's no such thing as intellectual property laws. If you meant the former, then what do you mean by "intellectual property", and how is that different from copyright? After all, you did list them as two distinct things.

    This has been your words-to-avoid [gnu.org] public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
  • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:26PM (#8997319)
    I myself have noticed alot of confusion concerning the usage of the creative commons licences. The original idea seemed simple to me - pick which clauses you want and list them. They even provided simple icons to help mark what your licence allows. But apparently alot of people just don't get it. I don't know how many sites I have seen that simply state that thier works are available under a creative commons license, without bothering to mention which one.

    However the problem is not entirely the fault of the artists. I went back to the creative commons site today, and it took me ten minutes to find the original simple page explaining [creativecommons.org] the different licences. Before that I went through their "Choose a licence" path it and they actually encourage people to mark the works on their websites vaguely as being under a creative commons licence. To get the terms of the specific license you must click on the link.

    This is bad practice. People are used to the name of the license telling them roughly what you can do with the licence. GPL, BSD, Open Source, Shareware, Freeware, these all give you at least a rough idea of what you can do with the work. Therefore someone stumbing on the Creative Commons Licence for the first time would naturally extend what they know to think it is yet another licence. But it isn't - it is a collection of licences.

    Consider the first time someone encounters a creative commons licence. Unsure of what it is suppose they actually do click the link on the bottom of the page and read the (very nice and clear) human readable creed. They will then think "okay that is what they creative commons licence allows" and never bother to click on any other link again, because they think they already know what the licence allows.

    I do not think that creative commons concept is too confusing for people, but it is different, and the way it is being handled does nothing to indicate to people that it is different. At the very least people should display the applicable clause icons next to the creative commons link, so that people may notice that there is something different.

    PS:
    This does not directly apply to this case since prior to April 24th these had no licencing information, and after that the notice was clearly displayed, and in either case Lindows should have contacted the author to get permission. It is just a side discussion.
  • Questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:45PM (#8997539)
    1. Where is the confirmation from the author that he didn't give permission? I see only one website which claims he doesn't
    2. Where is any kind of response from Lindows regarding this? Do they even know that it's copyrighted?
    I'm all for protecting peoples rights, but I don't think we should go around making accusations until all the facts are in.
  • Ohhhhh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:46PM (#8997549) Homepage
    Ohhhh, it's Wednesday, 'Copyrights are good day.'

    SCO and Eolas should use this to their advantage.

    I wish slashdot would just publish a schedule, "Ok, yea, MS, we'll like you on alternate Thursdays."

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