Blown To Bits

Copyright as the imagined friend of the foolish

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 by Harry Lewis

This gentleman unwisely posted¬†some photos of himself waving a $20 bills as part of a Craigslist ad, and now believes that copyright law, as well as criminal fraud statutes, will come to his aid in encouraging Gawker to take them down. Gawker doesn’t seem to agree.

What’s interesting here is the gentleman’s confusion between public and private spaces, the conceit that the photos he posted on Craigslist were still “his” to control. Theoretically, Craigslist might have an argument with Gawker, since the Craigslist¬†terms of service state, “You ‚Ķ agree not to reproduce, duplicate or copy Content from the Service without the express written¬†consent of craigslist.” As a practical matter, Gawker is right: “Craigslist is a public place.”

Also interesting are the gentleman’s threats of legal action to respond to what might kindly be called a personal misjudgment. What people think might be done about the problems they have created for themselves has changed, not only with the litigiousness of society in general, but with the litigiousness about bits in particular. Before the RIAA and the MPAA started going after teenagers for music downloading, people like this might never even have heard of copyright law, much less have thought (however mistakenly) that it could protect their reputation. Another thing for which the recording industries can be thanked, I suppose.

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