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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Weasyl and copyright law

  1. #11
    I actually did ask the source to come on Weasyl and contact you. I will see if I can get his source, so as to verify it.

  2. #12
    Here's a link to at least one source which discusses the safe harbors:

    I want to draw attention to at least one section:

    The first safe-harbor provision relates to materials posted to your blog or website at the direction of a user. This could include a file (e.g., a photograph, a film clip, an audio file) that a user posts to a comment section on your site or to a forum thread. (There are many other potential examples, the important thing is that the material is posted by another person, not you). This safe-harbor provision is found in section 512(c), and it states that, as the administrator of a website or other service, you will not be held liable for money damages for infringing content posted "at the direction of a user," as long as you

    * do not have actual knowledge that there is infringing content on your servers, or know any surrounding facts that would make the infringing use apparent;
    This is the important part. Because Weasyl primarily relies on user posted content, you won't know that any of it is infringing until such time as the copyright owner informs you that it is infringing. You can suspect it, but you cannot know it. Having it reported by someone who is not the copyright holder is not sufficient, as neither they, nor you, know if the poster has not obtained the proper permissions. Expecting the user to provide them, except in the case of a proper DMCA takedown notice, puts you in the position of a copyright enforcer, and therefore no longer covered by this safe harbor.

    * do not receive any financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity if you have the ability to control such activity;
    This, BTW, is the reason why at least one site (I think it was SoFurry, but I could be wrong) suspended its ability to allow direct sale of images from their site, in order to maintain this safe harbor. Having advertising on the site does not constitute financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, since you receive the advertising revenue regardless of whether any user-provided content is infringing.


    * act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the infringing material upon obtaining knowledge or awareness that the material is infringing or upon receiving a properly drafted notice of infringement.
    This is also important. Not every notice you receive is a reliable notice of infringement. The notice has to be specific in what items are infringing (not a vague generality of "They don't own the rights to most of their icons" or "Most of their stuff is using pre-recorded backing tracks").

    While it is within your rights as the site owner to restrict postings however you wish, you do run the risk of putting off potential users for being overzealous in enforcement, which frankly, I feel has occurred here, since there is no way you could know that every item taken down (I was never given a list and assumed it would be all, which is why I did not say to take them all down) was in violation of copyright or your policies (clearly shown by the fact that submissions were removed with user-created icons and no backing track at all).

    While, yes, I do believe you have a duty to remove items that are clearly infringing on formal or informal copyright claims, they must come from the actual creator. The only item directly referenced at any time in my interactions with the admins was in regard to the submission of "Try Everything". Now, if Disney complained directly, that would be one thing. But I somehow suspect they didn't. Either some user complained (who, I have no idea, since the source of the complaint was never revealed) or someone in the administration took it upon themselves to enforce Disney's copyright which would, clearly, remove you from the safe harbor provision of the DMCA. I had already changed the icon for "Try Everything" to an icon I created myself, so the takedown of that was clearly because of the backing track.

    None of which addresses the other complaint that items were taken down based on suspected copyright-infringement/policy-violation of icons. I again question the legality of this, since an image that small and being incidental to the actual submission could fall under Fair Use, much as music clips of less than 15 seconds would. This encompassed the majority of the items removed. It is also clear that your method of discovering whether an icon is in public domain or infringing is poor, as not only were submissions removed with icons clearly in the public domain (details from famous 16th century paintings, for instance) as well as some self-created icons, others were left that were not of pictures of my characters and might have been construed as a violation of policy.

    It simply makes me think that someone, somewhere, saw me as a problem, and wanted me gone from Weasyl. If that is the case, they succeeded, and I am not happy about it.

  3.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #13
    The Lurking Wolfox Hendikins's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Sydney, Australia (usually)
    Your concerns about policy have been passed on to our legal counsel.

    Closing thread as the rest of the discussion relates to specific moderation actions rather than policy - contact should you wish to discuss these actions further.



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