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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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  • 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: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 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.
  • Copyright by default (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:34AM (#8996742)
    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.
  • Get it (Score:3, Informative)

    by poptones (653660) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:39AM (#8996792) Journal
    I mean, the artist was standing on a street corner just singing this song for the price of a coin in the hat. It was something about "the GPL blues" so I thought surely he wouldn't care if we had p-diddy provide his own diddi-ized version on our next mega-pop talentless rap release...

    Copyright means all rights reserved. Publishers don't even publish "public comments" from usenet in their for-profit publications because they don't want the hassle of securing permission from all the copyright holders. The fact I release a limited portion of my rights to this work doesn't mean I release all of them - that's how copyright works. That's how GPL works.

    That's why it's called the GNU General Public License, and not the public domain.

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:40AM (#8996812) Homepage Journal
    The GPL doesn't forbid people from making money off of their software... let me repeat that ... The GPL does not forbid people from making money off of their software.

    The GPL basically says 2 things: First people are free to modify or redistribute however they wish (they can even charge money). Secondly the GPL program must come with (or at least have freely availiable) the source code to the program.

    The Creative Commons liscense is trying to do the same thing with artwork that the GPL has done for software. The difference is there really isn't a 'source code' for art other than the artist's head. So the stipulation is keep it out of commerical products unless you have a specific licsense to do so. Which really is the same effect the GPL has on software.
  • And so it begins (Score:3, Informative)

    by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:44AM (#8996856)
    Copyright is implict - he doesn't have to put a license up to be covered. His work == his copyright. Personal use of it on someone's desktop can fall under fair-use, but incorporating it into your product's main sales speel does not. Publishing a license for it would have helped clarify the issue of course.
  • Re:Ironic... (Score:3, Informative)

    by selan (234261) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:46AM (#8996885) Journal
    Every project, artwork, etc. that is released at kde-look.org can specify a license. Look for it under the Description section. The default is GPL.
  • Re:Ironic... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Klowner (145731) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:48AM (#8996912) Homepage
    http://www.kde-look.org/content/show.php?content=2 045 [kde-look.org]
    ^ notice the post date.. mid-2002

    Lindows wasn't a sponsor at the time I'm quite sure, if my memory serves me right. Also the submission system on kde-look allows you specify a license, and at the time the wallpapers were posted, they didn't have that feature.
  • by kinzillah (662884) <douglas.price@m[ ... u ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:53AM (#8996959)
    Did you bother taking a look at the side-by-side comparisons [migamer.com]? I mean, all they did was take the exact original image and plaster text over it.
  • Re:And so it begins (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:54AM (#8996972)

    Copyright is implict


    Correct.

    And Linspire was wrong. But the way that this story is being presented is dishonest.

    Linspire ignored the implicit copyright on material that was being freely offered for download by the owner (stupid and wrong)

    They did not ignore any explicit statement by the IP owner because the CC license was added after the (stupid and wrong) usage by Linspire.

    Linspire deserves a dope-slap (and accomodation of the artist's wishes from this point on) for this one, not to have their pants sued off
  • 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..)
  • 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:1, Informative)

    by iceborer (684929) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:28PM (#8997334)
    Uh, no shit Sherlock. If the artist's pre-4/24/04 license didn't forbid their use in a commercial medium, Linspire isn't required to get his permission

    Uh huh. He may very well not have offered a license prior to applying the CC license to his work. I'll try to make it simple for you. US Copyright law says that if you make it, it is yours. This means that nobody else has any right to use it.

    People only get the right to use the stuff that you've created if you explcitly [reference.com] say that they can.
  • by throughthewire (675776) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:28PM (#8997346) Homepage
    What I find more ironic is that this is coming up in the context of Free Software advocacy. Shucks, people freely share code that they spent hundreds of hours of their time on.... how about some artists doing the same?

    Umm... the artist in question did exactly that. These images are free for non-commercial usage (Creative Commons License.) The artist requires permission for non-commercial useage - if you're using his work to make a buck, you should share part of that buck.

  • Re:kde look (Score:3, Informative)

    by sir_cello (634395) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:33PM (#8997398)

    It's nice of you to "think" that, but that's simply not the case now so has no real bearing on this situation. The courts would not make such a social policy in ruling upon the outcome as they only interpret statutory law. Only the legislature could make such a change by changing the statutory law.

  • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:50PM (#8997590)
    How about actually listing some real complaints with the CC instead of some vague deragatory remarks. A creative commons licence depends on the terms you select, and does indeed meet Debians and FSF's definition of free for many of these options. In fact the free software foundation recomends [gnu.org] that you use a Creative Common licence for works other than software and documentation. Furthermore, I have talked to Richard Stallman about this and he agrees that different types of works need different types and amounts protection and that when he started the FSF he did was only concidering software, and does not project his moral beliefs of software copyright and patents onto all copyright and patent.

    The creative commons creates a common set of licences that simplify things for the creator, distributer, and consumer. It also creates a single umbrella movement for encouraging more open licencing of works. It is a valuable work.
  • Re:Questions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Klowner (145731) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:53PM (#8997646) Homepage
    I didn't give them permission, because they never asked for it.
  • by tiger99 (725715) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:04PM (#8997787)
    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 later, it is trivially simple to enforce in a court of law. But even without any of that, any country signatory to the Berne convention and its successors would uphold copyright if the author and date were proved.

    The GPL does not take away any rights, it in fact is a licence (contract) which gives you the right, subject to certain non-onerous conditions such as abstaining from restricting other people's rights, to do certain things, including copying and modifying, both of which would be illegal if the GPL was not applied. That is why, if the GPL were to be declared invalid, it would not result in a certain Convicted Monopolist being able to use ex-GPL code as part of his latest buggy OS, it would simply result in the situation where common copyright law prevented any copying until a new license was devised and applied.

    IANAL, which is probably why I find it simple and logical.

  • by Fedallah (25362) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:14PM (#8997913) Homepage
    Is it the "pissing Calvin" stickers that seem to adorn every pickup truck in the U.S.A.? That is a violation as far as I understand, and as far as the creator of C&H is concerned, but he doesn't give a rats ass aparently.

    Actually, Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes) threatened to sue the company that made those stickers, and the company has since changed the stickers to a different image which is apparently not considered derivative. Watterson is known to be very protective of his copyrights; he won't even license the images for merchandising. Some information here [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:24PM (#8998026)
    As of March 1, 1989 - thanks to the Berne Convention - No copyright notice is necessary. It does however make it difficult to collect damages in case of infringment since the defendant can claim that he was unaware that the images were copyrighted.
  • by JimDabell (42870) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:29PM (#8998082) Homepage

    How is it that Linspired contributed WINE, KDE, and Mozilla?

    You mean contributed to WINE, KDE and Mozilla? It's all there on the page I linked to. If you are having trouble reading, I'll quote:

    Lindows.com is the founder, maintainer, and lead sponsor for Nvu, a complete, easy-to-use Web Authoring System for Linux (such as FrontPage and Dreamweaver).

    Lindows.com contributed nearly a half million dollars to CodeWeavers, other 3rd-party developers, and our own in-house engineers to help get Microsoft Office to run on Linux with WINE. 100% of all the code we developed, as well as any code we've paid to have developed and continue to develop, was contributed back to the open source WINE tree.

    Lindows.com is a proud sponsor of the KDE League at the highest Corporate Affiliate level. All changes made to KDE are open source and the code is made available to be put in the main tree.

    Lindows.com is the proud sponsor of KDE-look.org. KDE-look.org is the premier site on the web to obtain icons, wall papers, themes, etc. for KDE.

    Lindows.com is a proud supporter of Mozilla. All changes made to Mozilla are open source and the code is made available to be put in the main tree.

    Lindows.com paid for the development of a "kids" theme for KDE which was then contributed to all as open source.

    Lindows.com sponsored the first wineCONF (http://lindows.com/wineconf) conference for WINE. (Video from the last conference, held at our offices in San Diego.) Additionally, we paid for the costs to have dozens of WINE developers from all over the world travel to this event.

    Lindows.com contributes all changes to Mozilla, Nvu, KDE, WINE, Debian, etc. back to these projects as well as making the source code available. (http://lindows.com/licensing).

    That looks like pretty substantial contribution to me. Yeah, they must really be assholes to give us all that!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:49PM (#9001456)
    Michael Robertson here - CEO of Lindows.

    Let me provide some facts. In a flash tutorial hosted at Linspire.com there is a chapter which talks about Linux in which we used 3 background images from the Kde-look site by the author Mark Klown [dugnet.com]. Lindows downloaded these images from Kde-look [kde-look.org] (coincidentally - a website which Lindows financially sponsors - that doesn't affect the licensing issue). There is no creative common license indicator on the web pages that host these images.

    From the email trail someone named "Jim" alerted Mark to the free flash tutorial on April 20th. Mark changed the license on his own website for the images in question to a Creative Commons license on April 25th. Then someone created a website accusing Linspire of violating the Creative Commons license and "stealing" the images. After which Slashdot prints a headline saying that Lindows is accused of violating the Creative Commons license.

    Mark never contacted us saying that he had changed his license. He never contacted us saying he did not like the way the images were used. I wished he would have because this whole soap opera would have been avoided. I did send Mark email once I read the Slashdot story to get his input which is when he told me that he just recently changed the license on his website. He said he was going to put notification on his website about our situation.

    It's disappointing to me because Slashdot runs this controversial headline then thousands of people read it and believe it. I think you should run the correction in the same place that you ran the original story. How about another story saying how easy it is to head-fake slashdot editors with a webpage and an email?

    -- MR

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