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Thread: Re: Don't Link - **INCLUDES MOD ANNOUNCEMENT - ALL MEMBERS PLEASE READ POST #2**

  1. #1
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    Re: Don't Link - **INCLUDES MOD ANNOUNCEMENT - ALL MEMBERS PLEASE READ POST #2**

    MacAllister wrote: " Guys, you'll notice I've made some edits to the posts in this thread. [another recent thread that I, jonpiper, am afraid to mention] That's because the webmaster those posts linked back to has apparently been sending me hissy-fit DMCA-takedown threat emails all day while I was, well, inexcusably WORKING instead of waiting by my email.

    "No matter what, no matter HOW tempted you are, please don't ever link to that site again. Don't quote that site here, don't refer to that site. I don't need the f***ing amateur-hour headaches from their webmaster."

    MacAllister, I'm sorry for causing you greif over something the webmaster should know would have brought much good traffic to his/her website.

    I may have posted too much material from the site. I would have gladly edited out the excess had the webmaster of that site posted a request on the thread in question.

    I will never again post material from that site. In fact, I promise never to visit that site again. Nor recommend it to anyone. It doesn't exist.

    jonpiper

  2. #2
    In the zone... clockwork's Avatar
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    Thanks joniper but I dropped the ball here. I saw the quote and failed to act which brought on a shit storm of emails.

    For the clueless, we're talking about an article joniper quoted from the wordplayer website which later drew the wrath of webmasters over there. See here for more...

    Two things to take note of;

    1 - We're no longer allowing links of any kind to any content featured on the wordplayer website. This includes copy/paste, URLs or your own paraphrasing of content featured there. I'm going to just play it safe and act like it doesn't exist as well.

    2 - This is an excellent time to revisit Absolute Write's (and pretty much everywhere's) fair use policy. If there's an article of interest or a source you want to mention, the usual technique is to copy no more than a brief paragraph as a sample and then provide a URL to the original article in situ on the owner's site. I'm going to add that paraphrasing content that can't be checked or referenced is also a no-go. In summary, this is the procedure for linking to copyrighted material. Provide;

    -Content title and author.

    -A working link to the content on the author's website, not a mirror or another board.

    -The first paragraph of the content or a brief, one paragraph summary of the content. The less the better.



    That's how it's going to be done every time from now on - wordplayer excepted. Do not link to any content on wordplayer.

    Thanks for your help and consideration in avoiding these problems in the future.
    Last edited by clockwork; 05-14-2009 at 04:33 PM.
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  3. #3
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. No long-term damage, and I appreciate your cooperation. When a copyright owner uses the term "DMCA" the law is very, very clear about my required response.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 05-14-2009 at 09:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Unabashed Mercenary dclary's Avatar
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    for the site mentioned, I have always simply said something to the effect of "author's article 'title' at site.com" -- because there is one article there I cite often -- but never quote.

    Should I, in the interests of this post here, not refer to said article in such manner on AW again?
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  5. #5
    In the zone... clockwork's Avatar
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    For the moment, Deek, no.
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  6. #6
    Unabashed Mercenary dclary's Avatar
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    Ok.

    But you know which one I'm talking about. It's a good'un.

    For now, I shall revert to source #2: JMS's book of screenwriting.
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  7. #7
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Here's the thing: their copyright statement, which I've been pointedly directed to, "expressly prohibits" ANY content or code from their site being reproduced on another server.

    That's pretty clear.

    Also, for the record, if you're posting on that message board? The meta-data specifically marks the content and or images on every page as copyright T-rry R-ssio. That's breathtakingly wrongheaded, in my own not-so-humble opinion--and legally pretty questionable. But in practical terms, it means he's claiming the right to reproduce or give permission to reproduce YOUR posts, for commercial use or not -- but you have NO such right to do the same. Anything you post there you're supposed to obtain permission to post anywhere else, you don't own your own words.

    That's got me spitting mad. You can verify it by viewing the page source on any of the message-board pages.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 05-14-2009 at 11:49 PM.

  8. #8
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    That's breathtakingly wrongheaded, in my own not-so-humble opinion--and legally pretty questionable. But in practical terms, it means he's claiming the right to reproduce or give permission to reproduce YOUR posts, for commercial use or not -- but you have NO such right to do the same. Anything you post there you're supposed to obtain permission to post anywhere else, you don't own your own words.

    That's got me spitting mad. You can verify it by viewing the page source on any of the message-board pages.

    Quick question -

    Would this mean that anyone who posted brainstorming or character development (or asked for help with either) wouldn't own their own plot/characters anymore?

    (I haven't posted anything on that particular site or even read much of it, but I saw some thread titles where people were asking for help/advice)

  9. #9
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Well, yes. Technically, that's exactly what it would mean. I doubt that's what they actually intend, but if I slapped a "Content on this post Copyright 2009 AbsoluteWrite" notice on every post on this board, I'd damned well better have the stones to put that in clear text, and in the TOS members have to sign before they can post, not just in the metadata, because it's an blatantly outrageous rights-grab, they ARE asserting ownership of all content on the site, regardless of their actual intention.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
    MacAllister wrote: " Guys, you'll notice I've made some edits to the posts in this thread. [another recent thread that I, jonpiper, am afraid to mention] That's because the webmaster those posts linked back to has apparently been sending me hissy-fit DMCA-takedown threat emails all day while I was, well, inexcusably WORKING instead of waiting by my email.
    It seems to me that sending more than one email per day on the same subject could be considered spam. Such a site could get added to a few blocking lists so fewer people could get to it. That sounds about like what the webmaster wants...
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  11. #11
    Unabashed Mercenary dclary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Well, yes. Technically, that's exactly what it would mean. I doubt that's what they actually intend, but if I slapped a "Content on this post Copyright 2009 AbsoluteWrite" notice on every post on this board, I'd damned well better have the stones to put that in clear text, and in the TOS members have to sign before they can post, not just in the metadata, because it's an blatantly outrageous rights-grab, they ARE asserting ownership of all content on the site, regardless of their actual intention.
    If you hang out on Facebook at all, you'll remember that FB tried to put exactly that kind of disclaimer in their TOS, and went through a shitstorm. They had to revert back to the original TOS that said "Um, it's your stuff, and thank you for letting us display it for you."
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  12. #12
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    The DMCA emails, including those sent to me as AW Webmaster, made it impossible to do anything else but remove the links and the content from the originating site from AW pages and forums. The facts that the notices were less than professional, and that the linked copyright policy was, at best, questionable, don't matter. At that point we must comply.

    You can't investigate first with a DMCA notice; you must respond immediately by removing the content. You can, if you wish, subsequently request more data, or discuss the actual rights, but you must begin by taking down the content.

    If the site in question has a copyright policy that, however deranged and deluded, asserts that they own not only all content but that you may not use any code etc. from the site without violating the copyright, there's really no point in continuing.

    I've removed, I think, all links from the static Web pages as well.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 05-15-2009 at 03:45 AM.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Quick question -

    Would this mean that anyone who posted brainstorming or character development (or asked for help with either) wouldn't own their own plot/characters anymore?

    (I haven't posted anything on that particular site or even read much of it, but I saw some thread titles where people were asking for help/advice)
    Wordplayer's posting policy precludes the posting of any "brainstorming or character development" questions that are specific to a writer's work, or any snippets from a poster's own work.

    Hence such discussions do not go on there.

    The questions that are posted involve things of a more general nature, whether on the business or creative sides, like someone might ask what the best approach would be to captioning a scene that's an unknown place or whether a writer should include their contact info on a title page or what the best contest to enter might be.

    But you never see questions that regard a writer's own work and any that are posted up in this vein are immediately removed by the site.

    Wordplayer is the property of Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, the writing duo that brought us "The Mask of Zorro" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," so they aren't slouches in this business, they're serious guys who have enjoyed a good deal of success in their screenwriting. Their site has been around for a very long time.

    Terry has penned several tens of essays on various aspects of screenwriting that offer a wealth of information on the topic, and they are up at the site for all to see and read at no cost. This I think typifies his character. I do think the whole copyright thing they maintain there is the product of their lawyer's minds, not either Ted or Terry themselves.

  14. #14
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goodwriterguy View Post
    Wordplayer is the property of Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, the writing duo that brought us "The Mask of Zorro" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," so they aren't slouches in this business, they're serious guys who have enjoyed a good deal of success in their screenwriting. Their site has been around for a very long time.

    Terry has penned several tens of essays on various aspects of screenwriting that offer a wealth of information on the topic, and they are up at the site for all to see and read at no cost. This I think typifies his character. I do think the whole copyright thing they maintain there is the product of their lawyer's minds, not either Ted or Terry themselves.
    I don't actually give a crap. The copyright statement on the site is quite clear, regardless of how poorly worded, wrong-headed, or stupid. There is a blatant and shameless and probably illegal rights grab in the copyright statement of the metadata on every page and every post on their message board. That's NOT my problem.

    That's fucking amateur hour on the part of their legal team and webmaster, no matter what kind of chops they have.

    We'll absolutely respect that statement here, because it's the law, and the webmaster sent an email invoking the DMCA and demanding the removal of material, with a specific link to their copyright policy. That part IS my problem.

    If I do not immediately comply with that DMCA invocation, whether or not it's phrased properly and legally? I'm personally looking at the possibility of a felony charge and a minimum of a $50k for any provable instance of my non-compliance.

    So I don't care if Terry is a good guy, with a stupid copyright policy on his website...it's STILL a posted copyright policy, and I have STILL been sent a message specifically citing copyright violations and DMCA regulations.

    No. I'm not inclined to be cavalier about that.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 05-15-2009 at 08:02 AM.

  15. #15
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goodwriterguy View Post
    Wordplayer's posting policy precludes the posting of any "brainstorming or character development" questions that are specific to a writer's work, or any snippets from a poster's own work.

    Hence such discussions do not go on there.

    The questions that are posted involve things of a more general nature, whether on the business or creative sides, like someone might ask what the best approach would be to captioning a scene that's an unknown place or whether a writer should include their contact info on a title page or what the best contest to enter might be.

    But you never see questions that regard a writer's own work and any that are posted up in this vein are immediately removed by the site.
    It doesn't matter what they intend to be posted there (and I could give you at least one specific example that's contrary to what you say here, but then again, I can't - it would violate the "no linky" policy) The point is that a person could (theoretically) lose legal control of their own intellectual property. Intent on behalf of the webmaster or blogger is beside the point. How's that person supposed to remove their specific material if they don't have control over their posts?

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    I think this thread should be a sticky.

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    Here's what I don't understand. Some sites don't have a policy of restricting the posting of exerpts from their webpages. They invite you to copy and post exerpts as long as you cite the website as the source, which benefits them, since it tends to build traffic to the website.

    Other sites lock you from copying the info that appears on their site. You cannot copy it even if you try.

    The site in question has a strict no copy and post policy (in legal fine print), yet they allow you to copy info from the site.

    At any rate, we corrected the mistake, as they requested. No harm, no foul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by krano View Post
    I think this thread should be a sticky.
    It will be, k. Right now it's a bit more visible as the lead thread (people tend to skim over stickies) and I want to make sure it's seen by everyone.
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  19. #19
    A woman said to write like a man. Plot Device's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post

    If I do not immediately comply with that DMCA invocation, whether or not it's phrased properly and legally? I'm personally looking at the possibility of a felony charge and a minimum of a $50k for any provable instance of my non-compliance.
    Mac, what constitutes "immediately?"

    The guy sent you "multiple" e-mails in less than one day (and they weren't even remotely gentlemanly from how you described them). And you still complied before midnight of that same calendar day. So what is "immediately" according to the law? Is it like ... 24 hours? They would seriously fine you and prosecute you if you held off for as long as 24 hours and 1 minute? What if you had been away for a few days? In short -- WTF??
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    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
    Here's what I don't understand. Some sites don't have a policy of restricting the posting of exerpts from their webpages. They invite you to copy and post exerpts as long as you cite the website as the source, which benefits them, since it tends to build traffic to the website.
    Here's what I don't understand. If properly cited, it should be covered by fair use. There is no such thing as "restricting the posting of excerpts". That's not up to them. They can still sue, but they'd lose.

    "Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. " <--- Wikipedia.

    In fact, to sue for copyright infringement, one of the things they have to prove is that it damages their commercial interests. And if anything, it brings more traffic to the site. And also, how can you damage the commercial interests of something freely available?

    It sounds like WP totally over-reacted here and ended up hurting themselves in the end. Now we all have hard feelings toward a site that has been useful to many of us.
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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeprosnepsid View Post
    Here's what I don't understand. If properly cited, it should be covered by fair use. There is no such thing as "restricting the posting of excerpts". That's not up to them. They can still sue, but they'd lose.
    Actually, no, they wouldn't automatically lose.

    First of all, Fair Use doesn't work the same way for digital data; digital data is covered by the DMCA. They invoked, deliberately, the DMCA statutes.

    Secondly, Fair Use is not a right, or automatic. It is decided in court, by a judge and jury. The court decides fair use on a case by case basis.

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    Mostly harmless SuperModerator dpaterso's Avatar
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    There's just no arguing with legal threats of this nature, whether they're justified or an over-reaction. Mac responded in the only way possible.

    I've recommended that site's articles to aspiring screenwriters for years but now we've had to delete the links, despite giving correct attribution and due respect to the authors. Emphasis on had to. Not happy, but no choice.

    I can't see much else to debate here. Tho' I could be wrong.

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    practical experience, FTW zeprosnepsid's Avatar
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    I asked Derek to open the thread back up because I felt it was important to talk about what is allowable and what is not allowable.

    I think everyone agrees with how the mods handled everything and that they had no other choice in the matter. No one was arguing with that. But I think it's good for us to continue this conversation so all of us can be clear about what's allowable. It's a good thing to know for sure.

    Medi said: "First of all, Fair Use doesn't work the same way for digital data; digital data is covered by the DMCA. They invoked, deliberately, the DMCA statutes."

    But in some YouTube cases, Fair Use has trumped DMCA I believe.

    I don't claim to know everything about copyright, and as Medi says, Fair Use is a defense, so we don't want anyone to get sued to prove they are right, but in general I think quoting with attribution is legal. And you would very likely win that case in court, internet or no. Fair Use Documentaries, which air on PBS, IFC and other television stations, use copyright work all the time, often work from the internet covered by DMCA.

    So my understanding of Fair Use is that in review/parody/informational situation that do not infringe on the copyright holder's ability to make money that digital or no, it's still acceptable -- and I'd really like to know if that's correct.

    It's a weird system by which we will all continue partial quoting with attribution on this board for every site but that one until we find out we can't. I guess there's no other way around it, but it's a bit odd.

    Once again, this has nothing to do with taking the mods to task or judging their actions, and I'm not trying to start a debate -- just a discussion, because it's a confusing issue.
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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Youtube is still disabling clear satire pieces just based on a request, so I don't think they have moved that bar.
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  25. #25
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeprosnepsid View Post
    I asked Derek to open the thread back up because I felt it was important to talk about what is allowable and what is not allowable.

    I think everyone agrees with how the mods handled everything and that they had no other choice in the matter. No one was arguing with that. But I think it's good for us to continue this conversation so all of us can be clear about what's allowable. It's a good thing to know for sure.

    Medi said: "First of all, Fair Use doesn't work the same way for digital data; digital data is covered by the DMCA. They invoked, deliberately, the DMCA statutes."

    But in some YouTube cases, Fair Use has trumped DMCA I believe.
    No. Not without going to court. YouTube may have decided in consultation with attorneys to go ahead and see what happened. YouTube decided since users posted the content they'd argue that they were covered by the The Communications Decency Act, which has some safe harbor clauses for ISPs and content providers, but I do not know.

    You can assert that your use falls within the Fair Use Guidelines--but you can be taken to court by the rights holder.

    YouTube is still yanking videos at request of a rights holder.

    There is no fair use without a decision by a judge, and often, a jury is involved. The wikipedia fair use article actually doesn't suck; notice this bit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_us...understandings

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