This comment was recently posted on Fitzroyalty in relation to this post about art deco architecture in Bondi:

beaut photos… hope you dont mind if we use em to promote Bondi Beach Art Deco…
have a look at us at and send us an email… we have a meeting in May 2012 that you might like to come to. Paul

Oh dear. Amateurs who don’t understand copyright law. I responded:

Hi Paul

I note your comment on my blog Fitzroyalty. I absolutely do mind if you use my photos.

The photos are protected by copyright and are licenced, as my site clearly indicates, by a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. You can only use them without my written permission if you use them in a non-commercial manner and always attribute them to me by including a hotlink in every page containing one of my photos to the page on my blog where you got it.

Otherwise you must ask permission and explain the use. If it is commercial you will be required to pay a licence fee.

If you breach my copyright I will take legal action.

I suggest you learn a bit about publishing ethics and copyright, because your comment is presumptuous and unprofessional.

Paul’s response contained the kind of incoherent sarcasm that can only be produced by indignant morons:

Dear Brian (indolent dandy?),
I am so terribly so terribly terribly terribly sorry if what I wrote on your very fine and most excellent blog trod on your toes so clumsily.
What we are doing here is totally non-profit non-commercial and intended to support exactly the kinds of thing that your photos seemed to be celebrating.
We are taking on heaven and earth (well, the development industry in Sydney which is much the same thing) to prevent these buildings being buggered up.
Who are we? We are the Friends of Bondi Pavilion a totally volunteer group which gives time energy effort money etc etc to try to make Bondi a better place.
I thought that I had asked whether you might be willing to support us and thus to forego any income because of this.
We’re not making any money from this, and in fact it’s costing us money.
Your reply suggests that you are at the coal face in the battle between “the web” (digitalisation,global coverage, instant distribution, etc) and (ummm…) copyright claimers and holders (usually corporates but also struggling individual creatives like yourself).
Even massive moguls like Rupert Murdoch have their well resources hands full trying to manage this.
If Google is the enemy, then digital buccaneers like Julian Assange must be the devil incarnate to such like.
My hunch is that the genie is out of the bottle and all the lawyers in the world (terrifying thought) won’t be able to put it back.
Viz Apple’s iTunes success vs EMI/BMG/Sony’ failure. It’s an interesting discussion, with lots of consequences for lots of people.
Anyhow, if what I did was what you identify as un-professional and presumptuous, I guess there’s no undoing that.
But I’d ask you to regard my words there as an invitation to a broad community involvement in recognising and valuing the built heritage here at the beach.
And as well as being something that you were doing yourself with the photos and the blog, it is a very big part of what makes the world go round.
In Fitzroy and in Bondi, as well as in Mumbai.
Royalty is a marvellous idea, especially for the royals, and of course there have been arguments for and against every institution: even the defenders of slavery were slow to yield.
But given that the web is such a demonstrably democratising force, a little noblesse oblige would be appreciated over here.
If this is at heart a financial argument, maybe the balance sheets can be *ummm…) equalled a little if we can a credit instead of a crass cash payment, as you seem to suggest.
They are mighty fine pix. I wonder if the owners of the properties might also demand a cut? After all, it might be argued that you have (ummm…) “stolen” their intellectual property.
Anyhow: thanks for your prompt response, and best wishes,

My response:


You may be acting with good intentions but you evidently fail to understand the law or professional standards of business conduct. You did not ask for my help. You contacted me to tell me that you were stealing my photos in breach of my copyright and the licence under which they are legally available for reuse.

You then insult me with unnecessary sarcasm for asking to be treated with basic professional courtesy.

There is no right to privacy in Australian law. Photos taken on the street in public space can be made of buildings without their owners’ permission.

I am not concerned with earning money from the photos, which is why they are licenced by an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. The issue is attribution, which is how content reusers show respect for content creators. Theft is theft and failure to attribute is an insult.

I’m not offering you a credit in financial terms. To reuse content under such a licence you are required to give a credit, in other words an attribution or acknowledgement, to the source of the work and its creator.

The ugliness of your website suggests that you have no skills in publishing, which is why you don’t understand how inappropriate your behaviour is.

Permission to reuse my work is now revoked.

Literacy is wasted on some people…

correspondence with a moron

10 thoughts on “correspondence with a moron

  • 16 May 2012 at 3:27 pm

    You’re a snarky dick. This is boring, I’m unsubscribing from this blog.

  • 16 May 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I agree Daniel… The OP WAS asking if it’s OK, maybe not to a level of literacy which you respect. Get over yourself. Besides, for non-commercial use you state that he’s not even required to.

    My question is this; if they are from Bondi, what’s stopping them from taking photos of the same buildings themselves?

    • 18 May 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Hi: Good suggestion re our own photos, but the reason we can’t photograph those buildings ourselves now is this:
      the winter sun is not on the facade of these now, and light & shade are crucial in getting the Art Deco spirit. Campbell Parade curves round the bay and for next couple of months, the sun’s just not where we’d like it.
      There’s not doubt that Fitzrpyalty’s PIX are beaut, and dammit, we’d still like to use em…

  • 16 May 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Ooohhhh, what a catty dandy you turn out to be…
    ” If you are organising a community event (school fete, art exhibition, art and craft market, etc) in the Fitzroy vicinity and would like some free promotion please email me with the details.”
    However, if you are organising one in Bondi Beach, you can rotate on my oh-so-professional little finger.

  • 16 May 2012 at 10:40 pm


    Brian sweetie darling, daring sweetie:
    The “you” that you critique so readily is just a weird amalgam of a handful of community-minded people who try really hard to make a difference.
    I’m sure it can’t be easy dealing with people like us in the (umm) real world, and all of this must be a real pain in the butt.
    But if you want to be a force for good in the real word (maybe you don’t, you indolent dandy you),
    can I suggest you get yourself off your prancing high horse and think a little about how you might actually do something useful?
    FYI: I’ve worked as creative director of ad agencies in London, Paris and Milan.
    I’m no design and comms duffer, and yeah our web site could be better.
    But hey, I reckon this one of yours could do with a bit of design help too.
    ENOUGH already. No, too much already.
    This is going to be such fun when we publish…

  • 17 May 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Fuck’s sake. Can you morons not read?

    The photos are licensed in a particular way. Paul commented that he was just going to use them. He is clearly in the wrong and clearly an idiot. Whether it was for some shit community group is irrelevant.

    • 18 May 2012 at 10:50 pm

      HUH: shit community group?
      Umm: Is it the group that you think is shit, or the community?
      Yeah, lots of community work is voluntary and “shit” but valuable nevertheless.
      If we don’t have community, we ain’t got shit.

    • 29 May 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Why is it that the people who leave coherent and factual responses on blog comment threads always get the most “dislikes” and those who translate their mental mud into digital fly-turds get loads of “likes”?

      As Pollock said, Paul has no idea what he is doing, nor how to go about doing it. This could have been a learning opportunity for him. Instead, he turned it into a clown act.

  • 25 May 2012 at 1:44 pm

    You overreacted. There was no indication that the photos had or would be used in breach of the license at the time of the original comment and your subsequent response was presumptuous in that you assumed it would be used in breach of the license. One look at the website and it’s obviously for non-commercial purposes; if you had considered this you might have just politely informed them of the attribution requirements.

    Nevertheless, the first part of your response was acceptable, however your tone was unnecessarily inflammatory.

    Adding these parts to the end is just unprofessional on your behalf (good luck launching a civil case against a decentralised non-commercial body):

    “If you breach my copyright I will take legal action.
    I suggest you learn a bit about publishing ethics and copyright, because your comment is presumptuous and unprofessional.” Fitzroyalty – a hyperlocal blog about Melbourne’s first suburb: Fitzroy 3065 (Brian Ward) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

    Yes, I know this is a construct of your personality, and I would be tempted to respond in similar haste if the comment actually were from a commercial group or worthy of such cruelty.

    • 25 May 2012 at 5:50 pm

      I have learned from experience that those who have no understanding of copyright are most likely to breach it. My actions were appropriate in the circumstances.


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