Score one for the little guys: copyright infringement

posted in: Books, Creativity, Knitting, Web/Tech | 6

We just received an e-mail communication that relates to my post of February 14. It was written by someone for whom this is already Wednesday, February 20, but just barely. It says:

Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 02:43:53 -0000
From: "Picasa Support"
Subject: Re: [#242066335] Picasa DMCA Complaint processed
Hi,

We have completed processing your infringement complaint dated 2/14/08 in accordance with our Copyright Complaint procedure. We have removed from Picasa Web Albums the image(s) that formerly appeared at: [URL removed]

Please let us know if we can assist you further.

Regards,
The Google Team

Not only was the scan of our book taken down, but the other forty-nine books, magazines, and pattern collections formerly at that URL have also been removed.

Many items are still publicly posted at other locations nearby, and it’s highly likely that our book has been picked up by other people and may be posted elsewhere.

The person who had put up these linked albums had 290 books, magazines, and collections illegally posted. She now has 240. A number of knitting authors and publishers will be filing complaints about the illegal posting of their material. (The complaints have to be filed by the copyright holder or that person’s authorized agent).

Maybe we can make a dent in the practice.

Undercutting designers, publishers, libraries, and booksellers could truly damage the flow of creative ideas into and through the knitting and crochet community. In the short run, posting the books may look like a fantastic way to make great information widely available. In the long run, stolen material distributed free means that people who write and design lose the ability (and desire) to develop and share their work with other folks.

Special thanks to one blog reader in particular who helped enormously by tracking down the person who was posting this material, and other people with similar ideas. Now I know a whole lot about this person, who is probably not the scanner . . . which I can say in part because it wouldn’t be possible to knit as much work as is being shown on the poster’s blog and also scan as many books as are being posted.

The person who helped me out—someone who, by the way, I’ve known in the virtual and sometimes real world since the internet didn’t have a web and electronic communication occurred through green or amber text on a black screen—showed me in new ways how small the globe is and how much tracking can be done through internet clues. Quite amazing. And alarming, of course.

The issue of copyright is enormously complicated and profoundly important. There are no easy answers.

But just now there’s a bit of success to celebrate in protecting the work of a few creative souls. At least for today. And maybe, since the note from the Picasa team was written tomorrow, for a little while into the future, too. Every scrap helps.

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6 Responses

  1. Deborah Robson

    Indeed. The amount of money involved for each book-not-sold is not much, but everyone involved in publishing depends on the “not much” for each single book that adds up over multiple books until it’s enough to pay some bills.

    I am *thrilled* when libraries buy books and people use them through those channels! I like finding our books in libraries a whole lot. And I love the reviews Nomad’s books get in Library Journal. Librarians know what’s out there and don’t offer their praise (and purchasing dollars) lightly.

  2. Joanne

    Hurray! I’m so glad to hear this is a situation where the good people are succeeding against those whose ethics aren’t up to snuff. I find this sort of thing very troubling, and I’m glad to see your success. Now, about those other 240 things…

  3. Kristi aka fiberfool

    Yeah!!!!! Thanks Picassa for taking this seriously! Thanks to the blogger who tracked stuff down! Thanks Deb and all the other authors and/or publishers who are doing what they can to make a dent in copyright infringement on the Internet!

  4. Jo Wolynska

    Hi, I was watching the debate from the other side of the fence – I’m from Poland and have seen the Picasa galleries with scans, as they are plentiful and from all around the world. I enjoyed them. Why? First and foremost, because the stuff scanned is not available in Poland. There are no libraries where I can borrow an English knitting book, there are no bookshops selling the knitting magazines from all over the world, so I can’t even spend some time among the shelves, leafing through the pages. Believe me – if I could, I’d gladly pay for my own copy, to hold and cherish, and make notes on the marginswhen I convert inches into centimetres. And I’m not the only one. The books are the lesser problem, with amazon.com – if you want something, you can buy it, especially now. But the magazines? Can you find a solution to this conundrum? There are beautiful pictures of patterns published online, you want to buy a copy of a magazine, you are a holder of a valid Visa card, and then… it turns out you can’t, because they don’t ship outside US and Canada. That’s the Vogue Knitting case. I can’t subscribe, no matter how much I want to. Then some of the US online shops don’t accept credit cards issued in Poland.
    Yes, publishing scans is piracy and stealing and I don’t ask you to turn the blind eye and pretend the problem does not exist. Just try to understand that sometimes there is simply no other way to even see a design. And I guess that 99% of those who have visited the Picasa galleries would go out and buy the books and mags – if they could.
    Please, don’t rip me apart for this comment. Just try to put yourselves in our humble Polish shoes for a while, with three or four Polish knitting magazines available, an ocassional copy of VK available in the biggest bookshops in the country and publishing houses reluctant to publish anything that won’t generate instant, enourmous profits. I personally can’t see any easy solution, although I do understand and respect the action taken. I’d love to try and find at least a common point for discussion.
    All the best, Jo.

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