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Linspire Accused Of Misusing Creative Commons Art 534

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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  • "Please note" (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:30AM (#8996691)
    "Limited Bandwidth"

    (From the email, about the wallpaper site!) Good job Slashdot. Poor some salt in this guy's wounds.
  • by The Ultimate Fartkno ( 756456 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:30AM (#8996696)

    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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:31AM (#8996708)
    Lindows just proved the M$ lawsuit was justified. They shot theirselves in the foot. As a matter of fact, Lindows is very bad about giving credit to the original authors of software too. The even rename some packaged apps to make them seem like it is their own...
  • 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.

  • 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 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)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:35AM (#8996748)
    From the "linux images []" link:
    As indicated, the images in the left column are screenshots from the product promotion flash animation on Linspire's website. The demo may be found here. The images on the right are original background images made by Mark "Klowner" Riedesel, his site is available here (please note, limited bandwidth).
  • 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.

  • by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:35AM (#8996762) Journal
    Okay, Linspire = assholes. However, they are NOT breaking copyright. Think Calvin & Hobbes. These images DID NOT previously exist as exact duplicates. Image copyright protects EXACT duplication, and this did not happen. Nothing illegal here, just another company stealing ideas from someone else.
  • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:37AM (#8996776) Homepage
    It's so hard to keep track! Let me see...

    copyright is GOOD when protecting the GPL

    copyright is BAD when protecting music

    copyright is GOOD when protecting Linux art

    That about right?

  • 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 FinestLittleSpace ( 719663 ) * on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:39AM (#8996804)
    > Is it really proper to allow artists to make money off of GPLed code?

    If we went by that ideas, you'd be implying that every book to do with GPL/OSS things should be free and that the authors should make no profit...
  • by ericspinder ( 146776 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:41AM (#8996829) Journal
    so a good business model is...
    1. Create images for an OS product
    2. Post said images on the net for download
    3. Encorage other to copy you work onto their sites for download
    4. "forget" to mention anything about a copyright.
    5. Find an offending business who uses your work for a presentation on the OS product benifits.
    6. Implement license
    7. sue (profit !!!)
  • 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).

  • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:42AM (#8996844)
    I mean, I hate to sound heartless, but the artist drew pictures advocating a completely free and open source OS. It would just therefore stand to reason that his artwork would be free as well.

    I don't think that's reasonable at all. If I'm a journalist, and I cover a free concert, does that mean I can't claim that time with my employer? Are my stories and photos public domain? In any other context, that doesn't make sense.

    It's like the new Firefox logo. I don't get that either. Is it really proper to allow artists to make money off of GPLed code? It may very well be legal, but I don't think it's right.

    Why not, anyone else is allowed to. You may have noticed Red Hat charges for GPL'd linux too. GPL doesn't necessarily mean free as in beer.

  • 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...

  • by SWroclawski ( 95770 ) <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:43AM (#8996854) Homepage
    There's no hypocracy here at all...

    Copyright is generally a neutral thing. It's neither good nor bad.

    Music is generally considered something people want to share and is good. The problem is how expensive and restrictive the music has been and worse, how the RIAA has chosen to go about enforcing the copyright. Instead of addressing people's concerns, they've decided to sue people and create technology which limits freedom.

    But no one that I know is against artists getting compensated.

    Here, we have someone who is giving his art away, but with the restiction that if you use it to make money- you have to negotiate something with him. A company has decided to use his work for just that purpose. So now people are upset.
  • Re:He has them.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:47AM (#8996897) Homepage
    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?

  • by m1a1 ( 622864 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:50AM (#8996934)
    I think you guys are all missing this guys point. His point is that we should be putting gpl (or whatever the gpl for art is called) art with gpl software. Not CCL art. Why? Because it avoids this confusing shit. Seriously, what is the difference between the CCL "give credit" clause and the X11 "advertising clause" people threw such a fit about? Not a fucking whole fucking lot as far as I'm concerned.

    It's just a little ridiculous to be mixing the licenses together like that. It creates confusion. If these artists want to play with the open source kids then they need to embrace it too.
  • by Vicegrip ( 82853 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:51AM (#8996947) Journal
    Not only is kde-look sponsored by Linspire (they pay a large chunk of the bandwidth), I distinctly remember when kde-look was going to the toilet because they couldn't afford their bandwidth. They were saved by the sponsorship of Linspire.

    kde-look is appreciated and actively used by users of KDE for enhancing the look of their KDE desktop. Many theme writers and icon developers use it exclusively to post their KDE material.

    It should also be made clear that a lot of the art of kde-look is given under a free license, not a none-commercial license.

    Unless I see a post from the artist complaining about the use of his art, I'm going to consider this article a troll because of the weak tie-in to the Microsoft trademark dispute.
  • Re:Bait and switch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:52AM (#8996951) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • 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?
  • 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 m1a1 ( 622864 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:55AM (#8996983)
    I'm not going to waste my time worrying about the CCL being abused by Linspire or anyone else. Not that it isn't illegal or maybe even immoral, it's just that I can't make myself give a rats ass. Creative Commons is a wart riding on the ass of open source.

    CCL isn't free. It just wishes it was.
  • 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 .com b4 .storm ( 581701 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:59AM (#8997034)

    copyright is BAD when protecting music

    No, DMCA is bad when protecting bogus copy protection mechanisms. :) I don't think anyone here would seriously argue with you about the validity of the musicians'/RIAA's copyright on their own music.

  • by phurley ( 65499 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:02PM (#8997057) Homepage
    I agree completely about the GPL and profit; however, I would have to add that the Creative Commons license is more restrictive than the GPL. Otherwise I would suspect that the use in question here would be allowed.

    They took an image (no argument here - illegally), made minor changes to it and are now commercially distributing it. If the Creative Commons license was similar to the GPL, then as long as the source to the image (the flash presentation could be considered a compiled work) was available - this would be allowed. The Creative Commons is more restrictive than the GPL.

    If find it interesting that a license like Troll Tech's is considered so terrible (when it is much like the Creative Commons), but everyone is so understanding about artists rights.
  • Re:Marketing... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:02PM (#8997062)
    "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, but these questions are entirely unanswered:

    1. What were the pre-4/24 Creative Commons licensing terms? Did the artist change the terms after Linspire had already grabbed the art and used it? If so, it's pretty oily for an artist to change the licensing terms for their art *after the fact.* I'm not saying this happened, but to be blunt, there's no documentation either way.

    2. By default, the user isn't obliged or required to notify the person whose art they're using as long as they abide by the CC license. Look it up and see for yourself on

    3. The person posting this story says "not once has Linspire requested permission to use these images in their ad campaign." 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 - it's self-evident in the license.

    Sorry, but until there are more details, the person posting this story may either be 100% right or 100% f*cked-in-the-head. For now, I'd hold off on crucifying Linspire until all the details are reported. So far, they haven't been...
  • 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

  • So, it's like this (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kunudo ( 773239 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:05PM (#8997097)
    They grabbed the images that weren't at the time coverd by the CCL. The law still applies. That's what it's there for. I think Lin(spire/dos) will have a hard time if they keep going like this, I mean, they don't come across as very professional. I certainly wouldn't want to do business with them, and I wouldn't touch their stock with a ten foot pole...
    Too bad these people get so much attention...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:09PM (#8997140)
    Copyright infringement is ok if *I* do it, but not some company.

    This guy should sue their pants off, but when the RIAA does it, they are evil.

    The GPL is the only license that should be used, but these images have severe restrictions, but that's ok, because stopping commercial use is somehow more noble. I wonder when that gets added to the GPL.

    We are all for compensating the artists being screwed by the RIAA, but since we don't know how to do that, we just download it for free, ensuring that the artist will receive no money, instead of the percentage they would have gotten had you purchased the CD.

    I actually find Slashdot to be more of a comedy site at this point.
  • by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:13PM (#8997177)
    "Copyright is generally a neutral thing. It's neither good nor bad."

    So you agree that limited copyright per the U.S. Constitution should last 500 years per work? That wouldn't be bad, eh?

    "But no one that I know is against artists getting compensated"

    As long as you don't count the millions and millions of people who've used Napster, Kazaa, LimeWire, etc, to get free music, but if Linspire does it, HIGH HOLY HELL!, that's copyright infringement! Baaaaad, baaaaaaad!

    "Here, we have someone who is giving his art away, but with the restiction that if you use it to make money"

    Well, the artist changed his art license on Saturday, 4/24/04 - just under three business days ago, and there's nothing indicating what his license was before then. So, in actuality, there were no known restrictions before then, thus nothing to negotiate.

    "A company has decided to use his work for just that purpose. So now people are upset."

    No, people are upset because paying attention to details is a lot less convenient when you want to assign blame to a situation where the full story isn't known.
  • 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 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 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.

  • Re:Bait and switch (Score:0, Insightful)

    by m1a1 ( 622864 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:14PM (#8997199)
    Because if no specific license is offered, then basic copyright applies. This means you have no right to make derivatives, commercial or otherwise.

    It also means you have no right to download it seeing as downloading a file technically copies it (and yes, that technicality matters until a court rules otherwise). It's just plain sloppy to put a file up for download with no license.
  • 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 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....


    (Dammit! So much for picking up a cheap +5 Insightful...)
  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:21PM (#8997262) 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 [] public service announcement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
  • by Beatbyte ( 163694 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:22PM (#8997277) Homepage
    has this guy been accused of increasing the prices of his product (for no good reason)?
    does he have a monopolistic hold of the airwaves and the mainstream?
    does he go after people that use his art (not for profit..) and sue them?
    does he lobby the US government in order to make unconstituional laws that protect their monopolistic position?

    apples and oranges my friend ;-)
  • 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 [] 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.

    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.
  • Re:Knee-Jerks... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mage66 ( 732291 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:36PM (#8997437)

    Your reply is still in the domain of "Lindows, Inc. a corporation did something wrong and ripped off a 'little guy'."

    So, that means you didn't read what I said.

    I'd be sure that this issue will get settled to the two parties satisfaction.

    Whether it will satisfy all the Anti-Lindows/Linspire people, we can pretty much predict the answer to that.

    If you've never put 10 million dollars of your money on the line, to create an alternate consumer operating system to Windows. You just don't understand what Lindows, Inc. is all about.

  • 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."
  • by tiger99 ( 725715 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:43PM (#8997509)
    I think you have misunderstood. The GPL is a Licence Agreement, not a copyright. The copyright is the statement, usually at the top of each source file, or shown on the screen when the program starts, or printed in the manual, or in some other conspicuous place, that it is copyrighted by some real person, on some date (year at least) and it may, or may not, assign the copyright to someone such as the FSF, or say what you can and can not do. It may even say that you can make copies as long as you comply with the GPL, but it does not have to, it may instead attempt to take away all your legal rights to do anything at all, or it may say nothing, in which case you can not make copies.

    Copyright is neither good nor bad, it is simply a legal way of protecting anything from illegal copying, for a very long, arguably far too long, period of time. Amongst other things, it makes a claim that you made that thing on that date, so that it can be enforced from a time period starting from then, or a different period from the date of you, the author's death. Copyright does not protect the GPL, it is enforceable as a licence agreement (i.e. a Contract) which you accept when you use the software, and has recently been upheld in a German court. (Copyright laws internationally make more or less teh same set of provisions, as they are based on the Berne convention, the US also being a signatory, so it would most probably also he upheld by a US court if someone such as Darl McBride was stupid enough to challenge it, as we may soon see....) With no GPL, the copyright would in fact prevent you from making copies (everything which is created is copyright unless explicitly stated otherwise, although it is best to make the satement), but the GPL, like all contracts, gives you some, in fact lots of, rights, in return from you accepting that you will not limit anyone else's righs as far as that piece of software is concerned.

    The only way that copyright would support the GPL in any way is that the GPL is a document. It gives you rights to make verbatim copies, so no problem there, but copyright law would disallow making, for example, perverted versions of the GPL, containing a clause which assigned all rights to Sir Bill Gates, and passing the copies off as real.

    BTW I have rerely if ever seen anyone here say that music should not be subject to copyright protection. It is fair that the artists should earn a living. What is usually debated is that most of us think that you should be free to play your DVD anywhere, on any equipment, so pernicious laws such as DECSS are very wrong indeed. Copying the DVD is an offence under copyright law, it does not need encryption to be enforceable, and why should someone with a room full of Linux computers have to buy a Windoze box or a DVD player, just to play the thing, which he has paid for? The music and cinema industries are very wrong on that point, the RIAA are clearly fascist, and the law is an ass.

    Likewise if you own a piece of music, it might even be an old, delicate and valuable LP, you ought to be allowed to make a copy so you can enjoy it in the car, or on a portable player. Again the fascists say no, you can't, but you are not making a copy for anyone's use but yourself, and not depriving the artist of income. Hence the frequent debate about music, it is about not being able to make copies for legitimate use, or even for backup.

    As to linux art, I have not seen the items in question, but if they were not put in the public domain, any use contrary to copyright law, or as allowed by a licence such as the GPL,is quite wrong.

    IMHO most people here will want copyright to be applied fairly, sensibly and reasonably.

  • Re:Bait and switch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maximilln ( 654768 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:45PM (#8997534) Homepage Journal
    I'd still like Linux even if Linspire didn't promote it. Honestly speaking, I don't want every MS user out there to migrate to Linux and whine for the developers to work on features. I like Linux for functionality without having useless features crammed onto my desktop and opening security holes in my memory space whether I like them or not.

    I value efficiency and the longer Linux stays clean of the public's demand for features and virtual kisses from their OS the happier I'll be. It's either a testament to the business scam or a symptom of a seriously dysfunctional society that everyone wants friendly and attractive computers but no one does much more than write e-mail and complain about spam.

    Professional chefs have functional kitchens. Professional construction workers have functional trucks. Professional scientists have functional labs. Professional artists have functional studios.

    Let the home users keep Microsoft. Maybe they'll eventually get MS to tighten up all the code holes and secure their OS. Maybe we'll get pushed to bigger and bigger hardware locks like Trusted Computing and DRM. Getting the masses to switch to Linux isn't going to stop corporate greed. Corporate greed will never stop Linux users from using Linux. Trusted computing is just another hardware algorithm. Eventually someone will figure out a way around it and then we'll have the same cycle as network admin tools: who's good and who's bad?

    Even if promotion is the excuse greed is not acceptable.
  • 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.
  • by JimDabell ( 42870 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @12:55PM (#8997678) Homepage

    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 [].

    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.

  • Re:Knee-Jerks... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mage66 ( 732291 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:01PM (#8997759)

    There are a LOT of assumptions in this.

    You assume that at 10am Wednesday Morning, that people at Linspire at the right level know, and made the decision to pull it or not.

    You don't even know what time the meeting to discuss this has been set for, or if a meeting has been set.

    None of us have a clue at the inner workings of Lindows, Inc. and how fast this process to deal with this issue will take.

    I sure notice a lot of people jumping the gun, and having opinions without data...

    Let's wait and see.

    By the end of the day, it ought to be clear.

  • by zbuffered ( 125292 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:09PM (#8997857)
    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 be big and obvious. My favorite example is this [] picture of $20,000 my friend took.
  • 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 law is not intended to be a lottery, it's intended to be fair, based on what is actually damaged.

  • This is a major thing when you are talking about advertizing because the effects are unknown (did all of the sales derive from the advertizement?)

    ...which makes it a minor thing. The burden of proof is going to be on the artist to prove that his art was instrumental in creating income. Since that's particularly absurd in this case, I doubt that he has a big pile of money waiting for him.

  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:42PM (#8998248)
    The question would come down to whether Creative Commons has any value in the eyes of the court. Copyright law is pretty clear on all of this. If you create it it is yours whether you put that little symbol next to it and register it or not.

    Unless Linspire can prove that he had the license under the general Attribution license when they used it then they are out of look. I just checked the google cache and it showed non-commercial. Either way - no matter what CC license you use they must always give credit where credit is due.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @01:50PM (#8998368)
    You are missing the point. It is one thing to use the image without permission. It is totally another thing to not even credit the creator.
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) * <> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:02PM (#8998558) Journal
    err are you just trying to be obtuse or is it a natural gift. While I don't support pirating music in any form, I've not seen anyone on ./ EVER advocate ripping tunes and then using them for commercial gain. The core of the ./ argument rational or not, is the PRIVATE PERSONAL USE involving format shifting, and the PURE OUTRAGE at the music industries monopolistic market manipulationn and continued gouging of both the consumers AND the producers.
  • by jkazor ( 240014 ) <(jkazor) (at) (> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @02:28PM (#8998925)
    Other than the copyright issues, the Linspire presentation was actually pretty well done...too well done for your average internal marketing dept.

    It is possible that those images were hijacked by a outside marketing/production resource without Lindow's knowledge! If this piece was outsourced, chances are that Lindows was unaware. If that is the case, who is ultimately responsible;
    -Lindows? or
    -the Marketing firm? or
    -the Indian labor pool that the Marketing firm subcontracted the coding and creative work to?
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @03:26PM (#8999701)
    What's the difference?

    A very good question, and one which people like RMS incorrectly answer when it comes to the GNU FDL. The problem comes when we consider the nature of the work in question.

    Software is clearly a tool-- no matter how fine the craftsmanship of the code, ultimately software (more to the point, the source code) is a means, not an end. Especially because to use software generally requires the software to go from a human-readable form to a binary form. The binary form then "runs" on hardware to do stuff. Some of us believe that free software is an essential part of progress (open source attitude)-- a pragmatic question. Others believe that sharing the ideas that code expresses is something that should not be restricted (free software movement attitude)-- a moral question.

    Writing and art are also tools, but very different tools-- the "source" code for any visual artwork or written work is indistinguishable from the work itself. Non-fiction is clearly a tool to express ideas. When we find technical documentation encumbered with partially free or wholly un-free licenses, this is as bad as the case of the non-free software, whether for pragmatic or moral reasons. Some of might extend the need for this type of freedom to all sorts of non-fiction, especially when it comes to the right to copy and share.

    Where we find the most ambiguity is with creative works and fiction. Some might argue that these types of works serve no purpose other than enjoyment or enhancement. There is also a sense that these types of works require a greater sense of "creativity" than non-fiction works. But the biggest danger is that of dilution, either of a known style, or of a story line or what have you. If everyone can use and modify an existing artwork, this may diminish the effectiveness of the original. Obviously famous works (like the "Mona Lisa") get used all over with no danger to the original work because the original is so famous in its own right. But what about an artist trying to establish his work's place? What about a mesage that gets distorted by reuse? Example: what if everyone were free to write their own sequels to the Harry Potter series? Or even to take the existing works and change the endings?

    This is the difference. Personally I don't agree with it. I hold the belief that property is property and expression is expression and that expression cannot be treated like property (although I do not support plagiarism or other forms of fraud). I find it especially confusing when artwork is intended to accompany free software that it would be encumbered by trademark or dissimilar copyright license terms. That sort of thing could make it very difficult to share the software in any modified form. In this case, the restriction is on commercial activity. Does that mean that non-profits are exempt, even if they sell a product using the image? What if the profit-making entity makes no direct revenues from the use of the image? It's a grey area, and I don't know if the CC license really answers those kinds of questions.
  • by ZoneGray ( 168419 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @05:38PM (#9001337) Homepage
    Well, those are certainly more restrictive terms than most Free Software licenses impose. I've used software that was beer-free for non-commercial use, but where they charged a fee for commercial use... that's commercial sofwtare to me.

    If Linux or *BSD had been licensed on such terms, they would have languished in obscurity.
  • ROTWTF!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by antic ( 29198 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:25PM (#9001888)

    Can we change ROTFLMAO and all similar expressions to SOAC(PIMU)SBAPC*?

    Because I really don't believe that anyone actually sees a moderately funny item on the internet and promptly falls off their chair, only to proceed with the action of "Rolling on the Floor".

    Actually, ROTFLMAO is a bit like eBay respondents writing "AAAAA++++++++" just because someone successfully shipped them a fucking product. If the package arrived and you weren't overcharged, then that's an A.

    Save the AAAAA++++++++ for when they send their hot wife over to personally deliver the package in her bikini and then have her proceed to fuck your brains out.



    Back to eBay...

    * Sitting On A Chair (Probably In My Underwear), Slightly Bemused, And Perhaps Chuckling

  • by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @12:47AM (#9004331) Homepage Journal
    Copyright infringement is ok if *I* do it, but not some company.

    Yes, "*I*" do not profit by it, they do so they should share the profi.

    Anyway I, and a lot of other people here, are not against copyright, just unreasonable copyright laws (excessively long terms, inadequate fair use provisions)

  • by Odinson ( 4523 ) on Thursday April 29, 2004 @01:38AM (#9004529) Homepage Journal
    First off thank you for listening. I hope you realize that I am misguided at worst, not that I think so. :) I am deeply interested in the future careers of the creative and deeply fear a country/world where the best ideas are strewn aside. I imagine that will not be a kind world to me.

    This is second only to my fear of the systematic failure of the 4th branch of the government, the press. Unfortunatly the risks have become systematic and the problems created by the overfunded movie industry have soured the quailty and diversity of the information crossing the airwaves. You only need to combine knowlage of how Clear Channel operates with the recent failed attempt by the FCC to localize more of radio and tv bandwidth to understand how diversity and competition has become all but extinct. When was the last time you saw a non-PBS nightly news show completely devoid of entertainment news? When was the last time you saw an copyright counterpoint on any news program? The press is as important as public schools at maintaining the knowladge to keep the republic funtioning fairly well.

    I play the drums, and went to music school for a year. Even in the early nineties the doors where closing for talented musicians as contracts became more impossible to satisfy and end. Good musicians can't get attenion without the industry, until the Internet that is. After reading an earlier edition of the book All You Need to know About the Music Business [] I realized what a weak position artists crawl in from. Only the very best break even. Although not the authors intention, I realized what a waste of time it was to do business with Hollywood. Of course they where the only game in town until about 1995. Right around the time I decided on a career in computers.

    "And I've seen firsthand how long it can take for a property to go from being a zero-money, self-published labor of love, to being published by a small underground publisher (for no money), to being optioned and developed as a possible TV series (and if you're not aware, you don't make much money at all from something "in development", not until it actually makes it to the air.) It's been pretty close to twelve or thirteen years."

    Personally I believe this is due to a lack of competition. If the companies couldn't afford so many middle men, due to unearned money going to blatent nepitism, then things would move much faster. You may like working with some of those people, but if they aren't making the actual show better, they are overhead. This is likely to end pretty quickly. In about another 3 years individual PC's with have the horsepower to do decent homebrewed special effects, another 3 after that rendering semi realistic people at film quality level. Also 2-4 hour flash card based cameras can be used for gritty live action now. Combine this with creative commons licenced/original music and amatuer voice acting, and teenage punk's will be writing directing and "acting" whole home sitcoms. You already see these home series parents in flash cartoons. The age of 4 year legal holdups to licence a book into a movie is ending one way or another. Even now you see the industry grudgingly plucking successful net artists up in shorts and series. I even expect Internet TV to become popular as the (real)cost of creating regular shows goes down.

    Even if new compitition from home doesn't scare TV as we know it dead, there is nothing special about 14 years. 28 years would still be a major improvment. According to your numbers that would still give the company 14 years of DVD sales.

    "And, money aside, it's just as important for the copyright holder to have a say over what's done to their property. If anyone can edit a book, or turn a book into a movie, then anyone can edit it and completely change the meanging."

    But think about what you are sayin

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.