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the art collectors » A Note on Internet Plagiarism

Monday, June 29th, 2009

A Note on Internet Plagiarism

Image: Chris Tait / The Gauntlet

For regular blog readers, the issue of plagarism should be a familiar one, especially when concerning image content. Blogs and other sites who pass stolen photos or text off as their own create a virtual frankenstein in cyberspace. As more and more sites (often unknowingly) re-report falsely credited content an ongoing and out of control cycle of continual plagiarism grows. Case in point  – recently we contacted close to 20 blogs who had mistakenly used one of our photos, crediting it to another website who knowingly took the image from us and passed it off as their own.

Why are we mentioning this now?  – Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting photographer Tod Seelie, whose work we’ve admired here at TAC for some time. Tod has been victim of this sort of property theft by many websites, including some very highly regarded and trafficked ones. In fact, many of you out there owe Tod a thanks (and a credit) for the stunningly inspirational images he has captured during his ongoing aquatic voyages with Swoon. While TAC is also no stranger to this unethical conduct, his case is far worse in our eyes. Its one thing to nic a photo that was originally published  as edititorial content. Its far more shameful to steal the art someone makes a living off of.

There is federal legislation protecting against Internet copyright infringement. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) holds ISP’s responsible for removing stolen content. We urge all bloggers who have fallen victim to copyright infringement and content theft to download this cease and desist letter (thanks for the tip Tod!) and start sending it to the ISPs providing service to the guilty websites (you can easily find out a site’s ISP using a site like register.com). It only takes a few minutes and the potential impact is an important one.

Oh  – In an ironic side note, while searching for an appropriate image to use for this post, we came across the above one on at least five different sites, all accompanying articles about plagiarism. It took us some time before we actually found one that attributed it back to the original source.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Legal

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