The Author of SOPA Is Also a Copyright Violator (Sort of)

The Atlantic Wire
The Author of SOPA Is Also a Copyright Violator (Sort of)
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The Author of SOPA Is Also a Copyright Violator (Sort of)

Uh oh. Maybe the U.S. representative who authored the Stop Online Piracy Act should know better than to break the rules his law (if passed) would penalize him for. The intrepid Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of Vice magazine decided to do some sleuthing into Rep. Lamar Smith's website to see if everything was on the up and up with the content he's posted online. And he did, to SOPA haters delight, find some suspect photographs: two stock images from a photographic agency and another landscape photograph by one DJ Schulte. In the case of those two stock images, that agency told Taete that "it's very difficult for them to actually check to see if someone has permission to use their images." So we'll give Rep. Smith the benefit of the doubt there. But in the case of that last photo, which Taete found on an old version of Smith's site using the Wayback Machine, photog Schulte says he didn't have any record of Smith asking to use it before he put the image in Creative Commons.

"I switched my images from traditional copyright protection to be protected under the Creative Commons license a few years ago, which simply states that they can use my images as long as they attribute the image to me and do not use it for commercial purposes.

"I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me). So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith's organization did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against www.texansforlamarsmith.com."

Tech writer Dan Gillmor is one of the SOPA protesters enjoying the irony, tweeting, "It's not like we should expect the author of SOPA to follow copyright law or anything, right?" For the photographic evidence (we don't want to use the images improperly either), head over to Taete's article.

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