Why I’ve Taken This Side in the Copyright Debate

A lot of our projects (like Take a Picture and DRM Box) poke fun at intellectual property. We do things to challenge, subvert or outright mock copyright and content protection.

Why do we take this side of the copyfight? Aren’t we artists? Don’t we benefit from these things?

I take the stance I do because of stories like this: Guy Gets Bogus YouTube Copyright Claim… On Birds Singing In The Background | TechDirt

Companies like Rumblefish claim copyright ownership of birds chirping in the background, and profit off of ads that are placed on these videos, depriving the actual content creator of income. And this isn’t a one off mistake. TechDirt has talked about this same company doing the same thing back in 2009.

Rumblefish has a long history of making false copyright claims against people.

They do seem to eventually drop their false claims after getting a ton of bad press, and being mocked publicly on BoingBoing, Reddit, TechDirt, Google’s own help forums, and Slashdot for several days, but the problem remains: Companies with long histories of profiting by abusing artists and creators go unpunished. And while the issues are being resolved, they are profiting from work they have falsely claimed as their own. This is not a minor mistake on their part; This is mass-piracy for commercial purposes.

According to American law, making a false copyright claim is supposed to be punishable by perjury.

So where are the charges?

As an artist, it absolutely disgusts me that companies push for laws that not only enable censorship and erode our right to free expression, but they also make it harder for me to create. Then they demand ownership of my ideas, strip me of my ability to make a living, try their damnedest to avoid paying me, and claim to be doing all this in my name.

No.
You do not speak for me.
You do not represent my interests.
You threaten everything I stand for and believe in.

That’s why I’ve taken this side of the Copyright debate.

Published by

Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.

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