PIPA Supporters Violate Copyright, Too
Jan 18 2012
Last week, I wrote something about the hypocritical copyright violations on SOPA author Lamar Smith's very own website. You might have seen it when it was featured on the Forbes, Time or Huffington Post websites, or, most likely, when Tyler, the Creator tweeted about it just now.
I asked you guys to send me any other copyright violations you could find by supporters of Lamar's 'Stop Online Piracy Act'. To be honest, we thought the outcry surrounding the proposals had died down – there was talk that SOPA had been shelved, and Lamar's office hasn't been taking our calls – but earlier today, Lamar resurfaced to let us know that he still intends to use his bill to criminalise us all for posting the lyrics to "The Thong Song" on each other's Facebook pages.
But if SOPA does ultimately flop, as all, sane people expect it to, the slightly-less-bad PIPA bill is still waiting in the wings to gallop in and throttle all the fun out of the internet. So I'm moving the search over to PIPA supporters. (A full list of which can be viewed here.)
Thanks to everyone who sent me stuff. Sorry if you haven't heard back from me, I got A LOT of emails relating to this. Below are the copyright violations carried out by PIPA supporters that I was able to prove. There's many many many more (from almost every single PIPA co-sponsor's site, in fact), but without actually getting written confirmation from the copyright owners in question, I'm unable to post anything here.
A lot of people have also been getting in touch to point out to me that these people are not violating SOPA/ PIPA. Which is true. My point is more that, if these people aren't able to abide by EXISTING copyright laws, they clearly lack the understanding to create stricter ones and, ideally, should just GTFO.
This is a screencap of PIPA co-sponsor Roy Blunt's Twitter page from a couple of days ago.
The background image is by photographer Walter Rowland. I spoke to his wife Linny, and she told me:
"Wow, I'm so surprised to see that someone would do this. Especially a senator! It's even more of a violation because I'm actually in the photo so it's as if I'm supporting his beliefs. Yes, that's one of my husband's photos who is actually a semi-professional photographer, and no, they weren't given permission."
Roy has since changed the background on his Twitter in an attempt to cover his tracks.
This is PIPA supporter and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's Twitter page as it appears right now.
And this is the background image she stole from Flickr user J. Stephen Conn, who told me this:
"I do not recall giving the senator permission to use this photo on her twitter account. I have put the photo in the Creative Commons, which means anyone may use it for non-commercial purposes, however, proper attribution of the photo should be given because it is NOT in the public domain."
The above screencap shows the homepage of Florida congressman/ SOPA co-sponsor/ probable PIPA supporter Dennis Ross' website.
Which features the appropriately titled illustration "Overweight Government Pig" by cartoonist John S. Pritchett. You'll notice that Dennis cropped out the part where it says "© John Pritchett". We contacted John, and he told us:
"To my knowledge, I did not license the usage of my "Overweight Govt. Pig" illustration to Dennis Ross."
(Thanks to Chris Rodriguez for pointing this out to us.)
And finally, we have Ohio senator and PIPA co-sponsor Sherrod Brown. Who, as you can see from the above screencap, is using an image lifted from Google Maps on his offical senate site.
According to the Google Maps content rules and guidelines page, you are only allowed to use content from Google Maps if you credit Google, and "Make attribution readable to the average reader or viewer". At the time of writing, Sherrod's site does not credit Google Maps.
It truly saddens me to see this group of people using creative content that they did not create to further their own political agendas. Here's to hoping PIPA passes to offer the world some protection from these wicked, wicked people.
Follow Jamie on Twitter - @JLCT