Yesterday I read the article ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeahs release a new stimulus package‘ on The Punch. It included a photo of singer Karen O from the band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs taken by Joshc from Flickr. Besides the typo where she is named ‘Karon’ (sic), what really annoys me about the use of this image is the apparent breach of copyright.

punch1 is The Punch breaching copyright?

A screen capture of The Punch made on 2 June 2009

The image is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, which by my understanding means that it should not be used by News Ltd on a commercial site like The Punch.

The terms of the license itself state that ‘For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.

The attribution used here by News Ltd is inadequate and does not provide a hotlink to the original image, which is considered professional best practice in terms of copyright attribution and courteous blogger behaviour acknowledging content you reuse.

Apparently none of the journalists thieves at News Ltd can read. As we know News Ltd does not care about the copyright of bloggers or citizen journalists. It’s policy is to steal from non-commercial content creators to build its media empire.

punch2 is The Punch breaching copyright?

Karen O by Joshc (this is how attribution should be done)

Their misuse of Joshc’s content is similar to their misuse of my content. I took News Ltd to the Australian Press Council earlier this year and I won. I will be contacting Joshc and encouraging him to do the same thing.

Unless Joshc waived his copyright specifically for this image in an agreement with News Ltd, this example is clear evidence of a breach of copyright. If News Ltd received a waiver from Joshc, it should state alongside the attribution that the image is being ‘used with persmission’. News Ltd’s failure to state this makes it more likely that its use of this image is not legitimate.

The Punch describes itself as ‘not a fancy, la-di-dah site aimed at people with three university degrees‘. Many people with even one degree would have a better understanding of copyright than The Punch exhibits in this example.

I suggest that if you have one or more degrees and don’t want to waste your time reading anti-intellectual mainstream mediocrity, then don’t read The Punch.

Update 3 June 2009, 11.20am: I contacted Joshc late last night via Flickr about the misuse of his image and he posted a comment on the story. I also posted a comment but they did not publish it. They did however quickly changed the attribution once I posted my comment, though they still failed to provide the courtesy hotlink.

punch3 is The Punch breaching copyright?

A screen capture of The Punch made on 3 June 2009

The Punch’s claim to link to the best content, whatever its source, is revealed by Crikey to be a complete failure when most of its links are to other News Ltd drivel.

Everything I have seen about The Punch so far is typical of mean, greedy, slimy old school corporate media. That’s quite an achievement, but I suspect it will be a relatively short one. There’s likely to be an internal deadline to pay its way, cover its costs or even be profitabe, it will be unable to meet this and it will be gone within a year or so.

is The Punch breaching copyright?

2 thoughts on “is The Punch breaching copyright?

  • 3 June 2009 at 11:42 am

    I think we’re missing the real point here, namely the caption: “the very cool and very hot Karen O”

    Clearly, that woman is most definitely not hot.

  • 3 June 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Interesting article, and good on you for raising the issue with News and the artist. Although, I don’t think it is only News who have the arrogant notion that ‘citizens’ are grateful for publication – I think that is a very old media notion that needs to be addressed on an industry level. After all they (journalists) do call it citizen journalism, as though there is a dividing line between us and them…


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