Blown To Bits

Copyright Follies

Monday, November 17th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

In a new low for abuse of copyright, Toyota has demanded that a site providing desktop backgrounds remove all images that contain a Toyota, Scion, or Lexus, even in a photography whose copyright is properly held by a third party. The site asked Toyota to identify which images in particular needed to be removed, and Toyota responded that if they had to go to the trouble of identifying what they were objecting to, they would have to be paid for their work.

What’s interesting about this case is what is being used is not the DMCA, but the threat of DMCA. To issue a DMCA takedown, Toyota would have to be specific. The company is apparently claiming that no one can use a photo in which one of their cars appears without infringing their copyright on the design of the car. Extraordinary (and stupid — don’t they want the free publicity of Toyota cars on desktops?).

Also, Professor Charles Nesson has been getting great publicity for his attempt to have the DMCA ruled unconstitutional, essentially because it is a criminal statute dressed up in civil garb. The penalties are extraordinarily high, and none of the protections available to criminal defendants are accorded to those the recording industry comes after. That is why so few cases make it to trial, and the industry can continue its attacks unabated by any risk of losing a case.

One Response to “Copyright Follies”

  1. Toyota Aristo Says:

    cool post. I have always enjoyed trucks. cheers