Home » Here Are All The Things We Do To Not Get Sued Out Of Existence: Tales From The Slack

Here Are All The Things We Do To Not Get Sued Out Of Existence: Tales From The Slack

David Lawsuits
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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago

I felt Patrick’s “…again” up in that first screenshot. It hurt. Physically hurt.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stef Schrader
HumanCola
HumanCola
11 months ago

Holy crap, I was noticed!
Granted it was an article written by one Jason Torchinsky back in 2016 that inspired me… should keep an eye out for that guy 🙂

Otter
Otter
11 months ago

I sure do wish you could spend more time writing fun stories and less time worrying about delusional fascist billionaires who also happen to openly date men but wish that the other fascists didn’t know about that.

Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago

Please don’t get sued, I just ordered 2 stickers.

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
11 months ago

Without parody, Weird Al would probably be an architect. He has a degree in Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. True story!

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
11 months ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Also, Weird Al gets label/artist permission and pays royalties to original writers on his tunes. Some of his songs he could probably get away with parody as he is commenting on the work itself but most would fall under satire and not be covered under fair use. Merely changing the lyrics (or in this case the inked text) of a work is not generally protected under fair use.

Per Acuff-Rose, a parody is a work that takes another’s existing material to create a new work “that, at least in part, comments on” the other author’s work. A parody must “mimic an original to make its point.” Conversely, a satire “borrows” from another’s work without having any “critical bearing on the substance or style of the original composition,” and thus the satirist uses another’s work merely as a method of drawing attention or “to avoid the drudgery in working up something fresh.” Thus, a “satire can stand on its own two feet and so requires justification for the very act of borrowing.” Opposed to a claim for fair use for a parody, such a claim for a satire “diminishes accordingly (if it does not vanish), and other factors, like the extent of its commerciality, loom larger.” Acuff-Rose, 510 U.S. at 580–81.

Del Pizzo, Nancy A. “Craft a Stronger Defense by Distinguishing Parody from Satire.” ABA Journal, 7 Jan. 2015.

Sorry for the pedantry. Copyright is a favorite of mine.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago
Reply to  Eric Smith

Heh, if it weren’t for a crushing recession where few of my law school friends could find jobs afterwards, I’d have probably gone into copyright/media law. It’s interesting stuff!

(Jury’s out if I’d still be unemployed right now if I went that route.)

Fun aside: You probably want to make sure the artist themselves has no issue with the parody as well—not from a legal standpoint, but from a “being a nice human” one. Weird Al was infamously apologetic when he found out that Coolio wasn’t, in fact, so coolio with his record company giving the OK for “Amish Paradise:” https://www.weirdalstar.com/uhf/txt/coolio.html

The record company held the rights from a legal standpoint, but they also made it sound like Coolio was OK with the idea when that wasn’t the case. That got awkward!

Last edited 11 months ago by Stef Schrader
Greg
Greg
11 months ago

Better to be safe than lose your new site I agree.

When you are big and old and part of the establishment, use some of that ad money to lobby our politicians to change these laws. Lawsuits in America are out of control and have been for years. Politicians are surprisingly cheap, most that get busted are doing an absurd amount of favors for 5-10k.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

David: You read my thoughts! You’ve got “the shinning”!
Jason: You mean “shining.”
David: Shh… You wanna get sued?!

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

Only half your job?
Did David get fired or did you just make sure to exclude all his shenanigans from business filings?

Auto Guy
Auto Guy
11 months ago

Great stuff, but now let’s talk about the times the Olde Webb Syte (many of you worked there, umkay?) published auto spy photos clearly taken on manufacturer / private property (i.e, not viewable from public positions). Good times.

Alex
Alex
11 months ago
Reply to  Auto Guy

Go research Jim Dunne and then come talk to us about trespassing for spy pictures.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
11 months ago

Parody is an legit reason, attributing credit to the original is good, if the article is about said material, also disclaimer on main page opinions in public posting are those of the poster and not Autopian, if you own copywrite of anything posted and wish it removed contact autopian. Then remove it.

A. Barth
A. Barth
11 months ago

If it’s helpful (and even if it’s not) parody is covered under 17 USC §107: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2011-title17/html/USCODE-2011-title17.htm

For a more human-readable description of fair use, look here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fair_use

The Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell is super handy IMO.

Up next: what are the four parts of negligence and how are they defined? 🙂

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

The four parts of negligence?
<points at David’s project pile>

Mercedes Streeter
Mercedes Streeter
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

*Hides deferred maintenance*

I don’t know what you’re talking about

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
11 months ago
Reply to  A. Barth

Parody under Fair Use is a valid legal defense, but anyone can sue for any reason, and even if you’re legally in the right, a lawsuit is a real pain — especially if the other side has a lot of legal firepower. Better to avoid it altogether.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

………and that’s the real problem with garbage judges who don’t put bad-faith lawsuits in the garbage bin where they belong. You can essentially buy a shutdown of a media company you don’t like by bankrupting them through the courts, and it has a chilling effect on free speech that comes afterwards.

In theory, there are usually extra protections for the media in any lawsuit that butts heads with the first amendment like that! But in practice, that requires the judge to have the tiniest shreds of principle or competence—as in, it’s a bad sign when your suit lands with the judge who has the highest number of reversed cases in the area, for example—and the media entity being sued having enough money to keep fighting back.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stef Schrader
Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
11 months ago

My wife is a photographer and she deeply appreciates the extent to which you all go to properly use images. It’s a frickin’ nightmare out there for artists when the vast majority of dipshits on the internet think that if they can copy and paste something it’s free for them to use, and they don’t understand it’s actually theft that can affect people’s livelihood. So THANK YOU for being paranoid about it.

That said, Peter is a genius and I would totally subscribe to “The Autopian 1974”

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Seconded. I’d subscribe to that as well.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

One of my cousins is furious at another cousin for copying a picture of common relatives she posted on FB. It’s so crazy. That said however, rampant thoughtless copying is a pervasive disease which needs to be eradicated. I’m really glad the folks here are careful.

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

I too appreciate the way images and videos are handled on this site, I like to know where they came from, I do look at that, so the attribution and careful curation is basic CYA.

You don’t even have to publish anything if you violate private property. How do I know? My first career was as a videographer and sometimes news photographer for a TV station. They decided to do a story about what were basically hobos who had an encampment near train tracks. Reporter and I went out and interviewed people there while we were standing along the side of the tracks.

A slow moving train just happened to come by (made a great shot), and we then wrapped up and went back to the station, thinking we had some great stuff. We didn’t even make it to the edit bay at the station before a VP called us urgently to his office.

A railroad special agent, in full uniform, and what might have been an attorney for the railroad, were there to arrest us both for trespassing on railroad property. Apparently a brakeman on the passing train saw us and the logo on the side of my camera and reported it. VP told us to head out the back of the station and get the hell out of there, but first wanted all my footage. I argued but basically was told to give it up or go to jail. I gave it up and we both got out fast.

The VP then told them we were not at the station, and then negotiated that they drop arresting us (they wanted our home addresses), and the station agreed to give the footage to them and not do the story.

Some companies take their property rights very very seriously.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
11 months ago
Reply to  Inthemikelane

Don’t mess around on railroad property.Their special agents have very broad powers and not much oversight. Look it up. They are basically modern Pinkertons

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
11 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Yeah, found this out as a teenager. Was parked near some tracks (like 50 feet away.. I wasn’t near the actual tracks), and a slow train went by, and not 5 minutes later a truck came ROARING down the side of the tracks and blocked me in, and was going to hold me and have me arrested. Thankfully I was just very apologetic and promised to leave immediately and not come back. So they let me.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

As an attorney for the estate of the late (great) Mitch Hedberg, I would institute legal proceedings against Matt for his use of the term “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.” in yesterday’s article about the Santa Cruz.
But Mitch didn’t leave me much funding for such proceedings.
All he left was fifteen dollars in a Velcro wallet and a few wampum.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

He also left me a cocktail napkin with a joke he never used in his stand-up written on it. It’s not great, and doesn’t really hold up. It’s probably just confusing to anyone who doesn’t remember when every pill bottle they opened was stuffed with cotton balls.
Just something he was working on I guess.

Matthew Binns
Matthew Binns
11 months ago

As a 10 yr old (47 yrs ago) the joke was ” time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas” Mitch gotta get in line to sue/be sued.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
11 months ago
Reply to  Matthew Binns

Looks like we’re the same age Globebuilder. Apparently it actually dates to 1966 and a computer scientist named Anthony Oettinger, who was trying to get a computer to properly parse the English language (so a link to early AI development, I suppose).

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/04/time-flies-arrow/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_flies_like_an_arrow%3B_fruit_flies_like_a_banana

Last edited 11 months ago by Dar Khorse
Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

Gosh, the lack of respect people have for photography work out there is insane to me. It’s work! It takes real skill to do well! Any ol’ schmuck with a crappy iPotato can’t get the same shot.

So, I appreciate that paranoia, too.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
11 months ago

Can I file a FOIA request to search you Slack for mention of my name? Please.

Have a great weekend everyone. I’m going to go sit on a riding mower for some time while I contemplate paranoia. 😀

AssMatt
AssMatt
11 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Just because you’re contemplative, don’t mean they’re not after you.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
11 months ago
Reply to  AssMatt

Oh they’re not after me, they might be sick of me, but not after me. LOL

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