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Intellectual Property Rights on build logs, "How To" articles and gallery photos

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As we now have a new website and new data, is this not the right time to clarify the intellectual property rights of material added by users?  I strongly recommend that when subscribing / joining a user (or new member) is required to confirm a couple of issues:


  1. That all material submitted becomes available in the public domain under a Creative Commons licence (there are a number of different licence categories - see here for an example);
  2. I recommend the license to be that of "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported" which is represented by the license symbols represented in the below image.  This license means that:
    • You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work but only if they give you credit.
    • You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work for noncommercial purposes only.
    • You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  3. This protects the contributor's rights and also, protects the "owners" of the website from potential claims from contributors regarding improper control over works submitted via the forum(s);
  4. This should apply to images, "How to" descriptions, techniques and any item considered having intellectual property value.





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Thats not needed...most folks are good people.  They wouldnt do those things.  Those that would.....these types of agreements wouldnt matter.  If you post anything on the internet...beware of where it may end up.  Its really simple.  There is no way to protect yourself from crooks and evil people.  If you post any documents make sure you list your name and copyright.  Other then that...posting is open for all that "suck" to do their selfish deeds.  I have seen so many people ripped off (including myself) it is painful.   But those that are caught will be banned immediately from this site.



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It's interesting to think about this.  I consider the Internet to be the "Wild West" - when I put something out there, I lose control of it and what happens to it from there, so I don't put out things that I don't want the whole world to know about.  I like the idea of license statement up front, but I suspect there would be no enforcement (nor would I expect any) so it would have more symbolic value than any practical purpose.



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The issue is not enforcement - we all know that once something hits the web... it becomes almost impossible to control.  However, the issue / aim is to provide some form of legal protection - to the website administrator / owners as well as to the party submitting the material.  Some examples:

  • a contributor posts a copyrighted image without the administrators knowing the image is under copyright.  Without any such statmeent, the website / owners / administrators are guilty of copyright infringement;
  • a contributor posts a "how to" article.  Six months later he finds his text and images published in a book by some obscure author now being sold in his local hobby shop.  Without this type of licence, he could have some recourse to the website "owners/ administrators" for not properly controlling the material he submitted in good faith.

There are many more examples why this is a good practice.

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No thanks....I prefer to use my Uncle Pauly....


If someone posts something that is copyright...we are really good about that.  We almost immediately remove it.  I am not worried about that.  Most folks are reasonable and after talking to the original author we would certainly remove it.  Its folks stealing stuff that hard to deal with...But my uncle said its real easy....he starts with the pinkies.



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Sadly, Chuck is dead on.    The internet has done wonderfuil things, but one of the worst things it has done is completely devalue copyright and ownership rights.  Unless you are localized to one particular country, any kind of lawsuit or legal action is a giant ball of pain in the *** and hardly ever goes anywhere.


It is indeed the wild west - and 90% is on the honor system.    If someone is going to be a jerk and steal someone else stuff as their own; no verbage, agreement, eula (which nobody reads and hardly stands up in court anyway) - writte, implied or otherwise is going to stop them.


Although,  Uncle Pauly's method sounds like a pretty good one.

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You Uncle Pauly must work in the same field as my Uncle Guido...Guido is actually a kneecap specialist :angry:


Yup, in works with our neighbor Vito,  Vito "The Fish" from Southy.  He runs a charter fishing boat out of the back bay,  funny though - I always swear there were more passengers when they left port. Must be memory issues on my part.

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This whole thing is reminiscent of a situation that occured a few years back in the RC model aircraft world.  One or two manufacturers of full scale civilian aircraft started to make a big deal out of people building models of their planes.  Could you imagine being sued for building a model of a 2 seat airplane designed in 1958?  The movement apparently died ---- or at least no one paid attention and no enforcement ever took place.


In the vast majority of cases, this type of 'infringement' serves to give positive publicity to the original party.  Such as pictures of a kit box.  Plans should be a different story but only if they are distributed for commercial purposes.

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I am not trying to advocate controls or enforcement - my proposal is based on the following logic:

  • When joining, a subscriber should have to accept certain rules;
  • These rules should require the subscriber to:
    • respect the copyright of third parties - by putting the onus of refraining from posting copyrighted material on the subscriber, not on the website administrators / owners;
    • agree that images / articles / material is provided to the website under a creative commons license which affords the subscriber as well as the website certain protection under international intellectual property rights law;
  • Because of the crash and data loss, we now have a relatively small database - if we intend taking any action  it must be now.  Its impossible to implement any rules retrospectively once subscribers have posted images / articles / material under other or no conditions;
  • Although many above comments tend to imply that intellectual property rights can never be enforced...... they can!  And its better to have some form of defense / protection in the unlikely event of such an incident!
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Farawayman -


You make some very good points in your posts (I also apologize for going the humor side above).  I think that there may be some approach that would make sense - I am just not familiar enough with the subject to know what it is.  I tend to agree with Chuck - when copyrighted material is posted with out appropriate citation or permission, it needs to be pulled. Enforcing the onward distribution of content, however, is nearly impossible for a site.  Note that Google and Bing are frequently shown as online here as illustrative of the challenge.  While, as an individual, I can add a copyright notation to my pictures, posts and so on, knowing if any of them are actually being used by anyone else, whether for profit or whatever, is likely to be more time consuming to monitor than it is worth for me (plus, if they find any of my model efforts worth claiming, then more power to them - I ain't that good!).


I would suggest a look at the basic members agreement as a starting point, perhaps adding that posting of copyrighted materials without permission or in violation of the fair use doctrines will result in removal of the materials immediately (or something along those lines).


Back to looking at my model in progress across the room whilst doing my paid job (which has nothing to do with ships, wood, glue, or sails) - and thank you for bringing this topic up for discussion!

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The mere fact that you are able to post says you accept certain rules.  We have no authority over a user's pics.  They are his/hers.  The onus is on the poster.  We merely follow along and enforce it.


As far as your pointing out the pictures... there is in copyright, something called "fair use".  Loosely it means that you can use a copyrighted photo/article, etc.  in reviews, etc.  Also,  using the image of a manufacturer's ship in the context of a buildlog would probably be considered "free advertising" by the company.

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In seriousness.


The images used as examples are not infringing on copyrights. As none of them, in their context, are being passed off as the authors but rather a reference to the original.


Now, had someone posted a picture of a completed ship and posted it under the headline - look at my latest ship! Making us all believe that the ship and the photo was theirs;  that would be dipping into copyright murkiness.


Also, taking a photo of a box is not breaking copyright; mainly because the photo is yours - you took the picture, and the box is (as Mark pointed out) advertising the ship which you are about to build.  No company is going to complain about that.  However, if you took the contents of the box, removed the box (because you would have to be silly not to in order to try this) and said,  look at the parts I made to build my ship!   NOW we are into stealing someone elses work =)


Guess that is just a wordy way to try to help clarify fair use.   Pretty much as long as you are not making money or noteriety off the picture or work, passing the image or work off as your own original work, or using the picture or work in  a harmful manner to the original owner - they really are not going to make much a fuss over it as it doesn't benefit them and costs money for nor reason.


Another very large misconception to the interwebs, and I have been doing this a long long long .. oh my gosh a long time...while techincally internet copyright CAN be enforced; it rarely is as it is incredibly cost prohibitive.  If you really want to protect your work - watermark it,  just make sure you use a GOOD watermark, because watermarks are not hard to remove unless you make it hard to remove. 


This is why the majority of the time if someone is really bothered by it they send a cease and desist letter which in most cases ends it right then and there.  Then escalate it if it is financially profitable in some way. Which to major companies with money to spare tend to escalate it to the end more so than your average joe as they are protecting their copyright which in the long run is financially viable.


You also run into the hardship of enforcing it overseas.   How many copyright infringement claims have you seen won against foreign countries?  Not many because most do not care about copyright laws except their own. ;)


So,  it is great to bring it up.  It is good for folks to be aware. However, in reality, it is a post at your own risk kind of internet world :o  Where the villains have the upper hand, and the good guys are happy being the good guys :cheers:




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As Mark points out, all the posts linked to above fall under fair use law, at least here in the U.S.  The U.S. Copyright Office gives the following criteria for judging fair use:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

All the pictures linked to above are clearly posted for review purposes and not for commercial use, consist of only a small part of the copyrighted content (in the case of the JoTiKa pictures), and clearly do not detract from the commercial value of the material in question -- in fact, such use actually provides a valuable service to the manufacturers whose images are used.


I agree with Chuck -- our staff is pretty good at catching copyright infringement, and the chance of true infringement happening here, as such infringement is defined by law, is remote.

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Mark, in addition to your comments, I think most examples highlighted are the owner's own photograph of the box /graphic etc rather than a direct lift of a graphic; which is then the copyright? :)  We are also non-profit so there is no commercial gain ....  I am no lawyer but I think these companies would see this as a cheap way of advertising?





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Copyrighting is such an interesting thing. I've had my photos taken and posted on other folks sites and called their work. Of course in such a grey way as to not get any legal folks wanting to jump right in there. However that said these days if you watch any film movie whatever you get to see that FBI thing about it's a crime and whats going to happen if you do. Well in the case of photos in a clear cut case the FBI will step in and go after folks for you. Remember the words Clear Cut Case. 

In a nut shell I look at it this way if I really care about a photo or something then I put a copyright notice or statement on it. Then if I catch someone using it I drop the dime and let the big boys handle it. Also to copy from one person is wrong but to copy from a lot of folks it's a study.

As always the seadog lawyers are going to have fun with this. Look at the Royals in England and some of the fights they and others have been in.


From what I have seen the mods here have and are doing a great job on this and I hope that everyone gets what they want on this.


A statement on the sign up form requesting and informing about copyright is about the best that one can hope for I think.  Good Luck on this.


Later 42rocker

Edited by 42rocker
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Take the route you're taking.  Give credit where credit is due.  In the case of Wikipedia, for example, credit them.  They do credit their sources so that's a good thing. Same for encyclopedias.


One of the big issues is simply "intent".  And around here, out "intent" is not to make money off of someone else's work.

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