We’re all aware that with the explosive growth in the Internet, blogging, and sites such as YouTube, copyright theft has seen a bit of an upsurge over the last few years. Some people let it go, but some choose to fight back, such as photographer Lane Hartwell.
A few weeks ago, a video entitled ‘Here Comes Another Bubble’ started making its merry way around the Internet, taking on the viral voracity needed to turn just another YouTube video in to a phenomenon.
The video was an accompaniment to a spoof song by a San Francisco based group called ‘The Richter Scales’. The song was about the web 2.0 bubble currently building up a head of steam, and mocked the last market crash.
It was a great video, and a brilliantly funny yet truthful look at the current trend, the only problem was, it turns out that some of the images used in the video weren’t copyright free, and one of the owners took exception to this.
Photographer Lane Hartwell reportedly flew in to a fit of rage when she saw one of her images being flashed on screen for a second, and made a copyright claim which eventually prompted YouTube to pull the clip of its site.
She told Wired News, who she works for amongst others:
I wasn’t upset by the video itself, [but] I thought, where does somebody just get the right to take this? It is stealing, I’m not a charity…. This is my living.”
The freelance photographer, who has been a victim of copyright theft many times in the past, got so fed up with this final straw, that she also changed her Flickr account to private, taking over 5,000 images out of the public domain.
Of course, Hartwell is entitled to defend her images, but on this occasion I think she is wrong, although I’m sure the publicity she has elicited from it hasn’t hurt. The band considered the video a parody, and so thought it would be protected under the fair use policy in the copyright laws, and I agree with them.
The video was massively popular, having been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, and to see it removed over a one second glimpse of a photo rankles. If that covers her under copyright law, then I think the policies should be looked at again, as it seems like overkill to me.
I wanted to use a picture of Hartwell to put alongside this article, but didn’t want to risk being accused of thievery, so you’ll have to make do with a big C instead.