What is "fair use"?
Sometimes I get into these "comment battles" with other bloggers with whom I may disagree. A recent such dialogue I had was with a new voice in the blogosphere, someone specifically dealing with "breaking news about PR and marketing communications". Her blog is certainly irreverant, which is borne out even in her background photo, shown here:
Now, I'm not going to say who this blogger is. I'm not going to give you her web site. I'm not even going to attribute this photo to her or her photographer (if this photo even depicts "her" -- there's extensive speculation about the real identity of this person/woman/nom de plume/Brian Connolly/Furthermore character). I know full well that I am not the creator of the above image. Am I violating a copyright? I think so.
The sassy lady blogger in question, however, says otherwise. Fair use, she would claim.
I'm trying to make a point. The point being, she copied an image from The Economist online magazine and used it in a recent blog post (without any permission, or even attribution). Then when three different people leaving comments questioned her about whether she had the "rights" to use the drawing in the manner she did, she replied in each case that she did. She's not an attorney. She didn't have the time to explain why she was right and the field was wrong. She only cited that there is a "four factor fair use test", and that this image use was covered by such a test, and that there should be no further discussion on the matter.
That's what frosted me the most. A subsequent comment of mine was notably "not approved" by the saucy blogger. She deemed that no more discussion on the topic of copyright needed to make its way to her blog comment form. Visitors, purportedly, would only be allowed to comment on the topic of the original post, not the underlying legal/ethical question of copyright. I think that's a pretty lousy policy for someone to have on their blog -- especially one that claims to be a "naked journal".
Before I open a big can of worms, I've checked out the images that I have ever posted in my own blog, and I sincerely believe that all of the photos are either: used with permission, used for the purpose of parody, or being re-used as the product of a public relations campaign where the original authors would be delighted to see more exposure for their product. I hope.
If you really, really must know the identity of my opponent, you can probably figure it out in my Technorati tags, below.
Tags: Amanda Chapel, Brian Connolly, copyright, fair use, Furthermore, Strumpette, The Economist