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jeffrey rowland

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Get Em While They're Lukewarm [Oct. 18th, 2007|11:22 am]
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        Mr. Rowland:

        My name is John White. I am the photographer and
        copyright holder of the snowy owl image known as
        the "Orly ? Owl". You are using my image without
        permission or compensation on your products on
        the following page:
        http://topatoco.com/ouija.html#mouse

        You have 24 hours to remove my image from your
        products or I will take further action.

        Regards,
        John White


I actually thought it was fake when I replied, telling him that it is a drawing, it is fair use, and asking if he plans to sue the entire internet. His reply --

        Mr. Rowland:
        Thank you for the reply.
        If you do not remove my image from your products within
        the allotted time, I will file a complaint against you
        with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Theft
        of intellectual property is a crime.

        Regards,
        John White


We'll see what happens, it seems to me that once something is let loose like that stupid old owl then there really ain't nothin' you can do about it? Whatever.

I sort of believe in ownership or whatever but it's kinda bollocks to just go around trawlin' for bucks when somethin' you done is become ubiquitious. Dude has a rep since every cyberjerk has made off with hefty lulz based on his gig, why he got to get off on some fake-ass litigiuos bullshit is all I am saying.

Also I was already planning a store overhaul and this design was going to get the axe at the end of October anyway.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: [info]happymrlocust
2007-10-18 03:42 pm (UTC)

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To be a pedant, shouldn't his attorney be contacting you concerning this?
From: [info]vi_hart
2007-10-18 03:43 pm (UTC)

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Is he for real? You can't copyright owls.

That could be any owl, and certainly doesn't use his photography. Also, parody. Also, what an ass.
[User Picture]From: [info]swirl_girlx
2007-10-18 03:44 pm (UTC)

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..oh, really?
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
[User Picture]From: [info]bax
2007-10-18 03:44 pm (UTC)

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Lame.

[User Picture]From: [info]antar05
2007-10-18 03:45 pm (UTC)

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No!

I can't believe that!

Fight it--fight the Power. Down with Copyright Laws!

Or, whatever.

Makes me glad I already bought my mousepad (and LOVE it!).
[User Picture]From: [info]heartfeltrobot
2007-10-18 03:49 pm (UTC)

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I'll have to shadowbox my t-shirt. That'll break the hearts of everyone on my league who love to play Glow-in-the-dark Oijaboobs.
[User Picture]From: [info]opopanax
2007-10-18 03:54 pm (UTC)

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Oh God, not the IC3! Jefferey, they will DISAPPEAR YOU!
[User Picture]From: [info]deathcircle
2007-10-18 03:55 pm (UTC)

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what
[User Picture]From: [info]dansbluerose
2007-10-18 03:57 pm (UTC)

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Wikipedia to the rescue!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_RLY%3F
"The original "O RLY?" Snowy Owl image macro is based on a photo taken by nature photographer John White, which he posted to the newsgroup alt.binaries.pictures.animals in 2001.[2] The snowy owl image was Photoshopped on 4chan after the word filtering of the word "repost" to "owl".[3] The owl image macro was posted or linked to on other websites, spawning many more image macros..."

So he posted to an alt. newsgroup 6 years ago and now wants all of the Intertubewubs to pay him for it. I don't think it's legal thing that he'll win.
[User Picture]From: [info]kawaiikiwi
2007-10-18 04:00 pm (UTC)

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I'm pretty sure Something Awful and/or 4chan created the famous macro, so there's a lot of context he can't take credit for. I don't know how well meta stands up in the court of law though. :0
[User Picture]From: [info]elkippy
2007-10-18 04:08 pm (UTC)

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lol. you should have just replied with the O RLY macro. Don't think he will get very far.
[User Picture]From: [info]goraina
2007-10-18 04:09 pm (UTC)

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Argument's sake: You are making a profit off of the image, technically. It might be better to just take it down, and flip the bird to the legal system. If he's intent on putting you through the ringer for this, he will.
[User Picture]From: [info]steidhe
2007-10-18 04:14 pm (UTC)

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Hmm. I'm not a lawyer but I think there are a few different things at play here.

Derivative works: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ14.html

On the other hand, copyright law only protects the original photograph not the subject. That could be any snowy owl.
[User Picture]From: [info]cataplum
2007-10-18 04:21 pm (UTC)

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Is it just me, or is a complaint to the IC3 completely inappropriate? The IC3 is much more concerned with phishing, identity theft, etc., and not stupid, trolling, highly suspect copyright violation claims. Right?
From: [info]duckbar
2007-10-18 04:22 pm (UTC)

DMCA

(Link)

I normally avoid this crap like the plague, but a friend linked me here. You are obligated to take that down if he sends your ISP a DMCA takedown notification. You should go ahead and take the preemptive action, because your webhost may simply terminate your account for "causing problems." Go ahead and ask him for a properly formed DMCA takedown notification, since that puts him on the line for perjury.

This is most likely not fair use.
[User Picture]From: [info]cavorite
2007-10-18 04:24 pm (UTC)

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Refer him to the Attorney's at LOL on Encyclopedia Dramatica. If it's really him and he's serious then he really does need some ED attention.
[User Picture]From: [info]orsouthought
2007-10-18 04:29 pm (UTC)

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Store overhaul? Does this mean you'll be putting out the new Catbank shirts? I've been waiting!!!!
[User Picture]From: [info]finn2
2007-10-18 04:39 pm (UTC)

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IANAL.
Mr. White needs to be, IMHO, going the DMCA route - which would then allow you to counter-notify your ISP, and then he can file a civil copyright claim, except that IMHO no lawyer in their right mind would risk their bar membership filing over fair-use derivative parody work of a publicly released digital image, and would have to prove that the source of your work is his work and not one of many other possible almost-exactly resembling snowy owl photos or /your own reproduction of the ORLY owl/.

The IC3 is for reporting phishers, crackers, and spammers, as well as Warez runners - but primarily, for ongoing fraud. They'll put his complaint behind the other five million "they ripped off my copyrighted works" complaints. And then, you can cite the nastygram he just sent in the anti-SLAPP motion tacked on to the response to his copyright-violation claim. All hypothetical, of course.

All aside from the fact that the civil judge will not be sympathetic to the fact that he himself published the image to USENET.

He might have approached you with a mention that the work is copyrighted, and an offer to license the image - instead, he's just flailing. Fah.
[User Picture]From: [info]xinit
2007-10-18 04:41 pm (UTC)

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Isn't the IC3 about FRAUD? It would be more appropriate to threaten with a DMCA take down...

Request proof of ownership of the image.
[User Picture]From: [info]attilatehbun
2007-10-18 04:43 pm (UTC)

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Damn, I was complimented twice in the past week and a half on that particular design, and I directed both people to your store. Now I am le sad that it was apparently all for naught.

sue the entire internet

If he actually did that, it would bring far more lulz than the ORLY owl every did. To me, at least.
[User Picture]From: [info]capnkjb
2007-10-18 04:52 pm (UTC)

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Jeffrey, I can't say anything people up here haven't already said other than you are far more awesome to me than some dude who took a picture of an owl ages ago and is now making silly threatening emails to you (instead of the aforementioned "hey I took that picture, would you please maybe mention me or something, because my career could use the infusion of new interest, thanks"). Don't stress too much over it.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
[User Picture]From: [info]piratezim
2007-10-18 05:11 pm (UTC)

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i honestly think you're on the wrong side of the fence on this one. Copyright on subject matter is different from the copyright of the recording of the subject matter, in this case the copyright on "snowy owls" is seperate from his copyright on his picture of a snowy owl, which is what he's claiming. Your 'drawing' doesn't look like much more than a photoshop filter. The grounds that it's parody is not well established in your product. I really doubt any judge would side with you regardless of any of this, because most of them aren't familiar with the "internet" and in cases of familiarity they tend to side with the plaintiff.

if you want to fight it more power to you but this case is murky enough that lawyer fees alone would likely be not worth it.
[User Picture]From: [info]wetzel
2007-10-18 05:21 pm (UTC)

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Is there any way to know that's even the real John White and not just some troll from 4chan?

I DEMAND DIGITAL SIGNATURE
[User Picture]From: [info]thegoebel
2007-10-18 05:32 pm (UTC)

Grumbles

(Link)

What bothers me is this is not Todd Goldman-esque type of infringment. You didn't paint it up and call it original art, you (assumingly) are not making money hand over fist on the product that is not licensed out to Goth n' Gos across the country, you didn't refute claims that it is indeed and owl and from the internets, you are, in general, not a dick. Why bother? Seems like a fight just to fight. Ofcourse I a waxing on the bigger issue over the subject at hand, not getting your ass handed to you by ignorant court judges and skidish ISPs.

My advice, lose it. Bowing to this Jackass or fighting this Jackass isn't world changing, it's just a waste of time.
[User Picture]From: [info]tikistitch
2007-10-18 05:34 pm (UTC)

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My husband, the owner of toysrgus.com, has received a number of C&D; letters from Toys R Us. Evidently, they own the letter "R."
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