The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

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And Thusly, We March On

Or is that "Move On™?"

(Oh, wait... Maybe referring to them isn't the best idea right now.)

After receiving plenty of legal advice (plus some very insightful input from Jamie, Charles Johnson, Gabriel, and otoc, deacon, Cristoph), and considering the position I was in, I have come to the determination that it is in my best interests to comply with the AP's request to the fullest extent possible. Here is the response I received from their counsel at the end of our discussion:

Brian,

This should resolve the matter. Thank you again for you cooperation and immediate response.

Priti


Whew. With this being resolved, we are now free to continue blogging—Though as you can tell, some things are definitely different about the site. (With thanks to Ace for suggesting the excellent graphic. It's wholly-original content, incidentally.)So What Happened?
Going forward, I cannot stress enough that one must be very careful when dealing with "fair use" issues. Until now, I had been operating under the assumption that if the overall focus of the website is to highlight "bias" and "inaccuracy" in wire service reports, and I am not drawing any appreciable income from the website, then I was in the clear as far as the "fair use" of wire photographs. As you can tell, the wire services have a dramatically different opinion of the matter.

And frankly, I can't really blame them for it.

Their response isn't really all that surprising—and I definitely do not have any desire to put my and my family's personal finances on the line to fight it. Especially considering the extremely slim odds of a positive ruling in this particular case.

So anyway, as it stands today, every single picture on this website is removed. I will be going back through the archives to restore photos that are either original works, valid parodies of wire photographs (we had some real doozies here), or are otherwise posted within valid "fair use" limits. You know, articles that actually criticize photo-wire journalism.

That is what this site is supposed to be all about, after all.

Until I'm able to finish doing so (we're talking about going through nearly 1,700 entries, written over a one-and-a-half year period), things will obviously be looking a little "blank" around here. My apologies in advance.

If y'all would like any further details on what constitutes "fair use," I highly recommend consulting with Ace of Spades associate Gabriel Malor. He should be able to help resolve any questions that you might have regarding all of the intricate details of how things work in that regard. You might also try stopping by the P.C. Perspective forums, as they've got some people over that way that know how these processes work from personal experience, and have offered a most gracious helping hand to me in getting this whole matter resolved.

Again, my deepest thanks to all of you who have shown your support for me through this mess. I look forward to hearing more from you as this blog continues forward. I am truly sorry that I could not be the "banner case" for a fair use ruling that everyone had hoped for.

And please, if you have any hate-mail, by all means be sure to share it with me. Or with the rest of us. I always enjoy hearing from new "fans!"

I owe all of you who have written to support me my deepest gratitude. You have shown a compassion for the "little man" that's without comparison, even if the "little man" in question here didn't fully deserve it.

Thank you, everyone.

Oh, as a followup:
I've seen some crazy things attributed to this blog, so please let me do my best to correct the record while I have a chance.

* The Adnan Hajj photo forgery was discovered by the esteemed Charles Johnson, and served as the singular inspiration for the creation of Snapped Shot. Besides which, it was a Reuters photo, and not the fault of the Associated Press in any way.

* In fact: To my knowledge, the Associated Press has never been accused of photoshopping any photographs. They do, however, have problems with certain photographers embedding themselves perhaps a little bit too closely with terrorist (i.e., "enemy") forces...

* There was some discussion that Snapped Shot was responsible for discovering "flat Fatima." I can't find the exact blog that spotted her first, but the People's Cube had the parody up by the 9th of August, the day this blog was born.

(Besides which, there is no connection between "flat Fatima" and the Iraqi woman who was holding up the unfired bullets. Which actually was one of the things that Snapped Shot found first.)

Those are the biggest incidents I saw. I don't want to leave any improper credits hanging out there, so if you see anything else out there that's attributed to me, just be sure to let me know about it, and I'll get this page updated ASAP!

Thanks to Rooster for the updated "PICTURE KILL" graphic!

 Tags: copyright AP


Comments:

#1 Nigel 03-Mar-2008
Welcome back! You are the Rosa Parks of the blogging community...
#2 Sonjay Dutt 03-Mar-2008
Priti - if I were to take you out to dinner, would you be more lenient on my friend Brian.
#3 Christoph 03-Mar-2008
I think you made an excellent choice, Brian.

I've pretty much been in Gabriel's, Charles Johnson's, Jamie, Otoc et al. camp on this one, and let's not forget tireless "deacon" at LGF who is very knowledgeable.

As such, I've been fairly critical of your previous position and I hope you'll take me at my word when I say it isn't personal.

I don't like AP. I'm just a huge fan of intellectual property rights, and have made my views known many other times in the past. Heck, I convinced my [i]girlfriend[/i] not to do music downloading anymore. Consider me a fanatic, if you will.

Great [strike]luck[/strike] success through work, planning, and measuring results with the new site design! Use the free publicity to the fullest extent possible and figure out a way to sign people up on your RSS Feed and/or email subscriptions. Get 'em comin' back.
#4 Aussie Dave 03-Mar-2008
Welcome back, Brian!

Does this mean you will branch out from more than photo critique?

Also, is my separated at birth series now in danger?!
#5 jimzinsocal 03-Mar-2008
I'm happy it's resolved and it's been an education surely.
And I cannot express how pleased I am that otoc has helped with resolve in this matter.
Nice to be surrounded by talent and expertise.

JimZ
#6 Christoph 03-Mar-2008
Out of curiosity, any reason why the color around the commentators' names is so dark our names are all but invisible?

As always -- it's all about Brian!

:-P


(You could make the text there lighter.)
#7 Yishai 03-Mar-2008
Glad to see you're back. It sucks that it has to be this way, but I agree with your choice of action (as if you need my opinion). You can't take chances with personal lawsuits. Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to future Snapped Shot criticism.
#8 Brian C. Ledbetter 03-Mar-2008
Dave,

Definitely looks that way. I've got plenty of other things to talk about, so hopefully I'll keep busy. (Gives me a good excuse to start writing under the "Virginiana" section again, if nothing else.)

As far as your "Separated at Birth" series, I'm sure you're safe enough in the "parody" category. A lot safer than I was, in any event. :)


Cristoph,

Thanks for the reassurance - You were definitely an integral part in this decision as well.

And of [i]course[/i] it's all about me! ;)

Kidding, of course. The CSS template for this site was designed for black background, light text. This is the very first time I've booted it up full-time in the "alternate" dark text, white background template, and there are obviously some kinks I need to work out... I'll get that squared away over the next few days, with luck.

Thanks again for all of your support, guys,

Most Respectfully,
Brian
#9 deacon 03-Mar-2008
As much as I understand AP's position, I am glad that you were able to get you site back up and running.

Those that watch others provide the checks and balances that is the core of our system. Yet even as there are bounds on what each branch of the government can do, so there are also bounds on us. The true test is to figure out how to work within and around those bounds to accomplish your goal.

@Christoph, thanks for the plug.
#10 William Teach 03-Mar-2008
Welcome back, Brian.

Forget the AP, use Al-Reuters photos :)
#11 See-Dubya 03-Mar-2008
I've missed a lot of the debate, so maybe I'm way off base here, but it still seems awfully heavy-handed of the AP. Whether they were within their rights or not.

But in any case I'm glad you're back and in the game!
#12 Christoph 03-Mar-2008
[color=#DCFC68][i]"Definitely looks that way. I've got plenty of other things to talk about, so hopefully I'll keep busy."[/i][/color]

I'm glad to see you're finding the wet spot in the fat lady, so to speak. (I spend too much time reading Ace's blog.)

Keep doing what you're passionate about. Never quit.

Well, since I know she's not a terribly big believer in copyright protection, I'm going to lift Sara's full comment with a link back and attribution and post it here without asking her permission to criticize her and even criticize her parenting of her son:

[color=#DCFC68][i]"This whole thing sounds to me like a backdoor way to get rid of blogs. What use are blogs that can't 'fair use' images with attribution and a link to the original article? My son runs a sports blog with the philosophy that most men are as visual as he is, so the fewer words the better and the picture is worth a thousand words. He'd have to close up shop if all photos were off limits. AP needs to move into the 21st century.

"Maybe AP should stop publishing bogus pictures and then no one would want to critique them. The rest of use an image once and within a day or so, they've scrolled into that great bit bucket called 'archives' never to be seen again."[/i][/color]

In reply, I said:

[color=#DCFC68][i]"Sara, a few observations and questions.

"One, blog is short for 'web log'. A journal. Your son can write, correct? And writers have been known to paint pictures with their words?
Two, is his camera hand broken?
Three, did he pay the salaries or commissions of the photographers?
Four, did he put in the effort and time of the photographers in creating their images, and did he contribute toward the cost of their cameras, memory cards, training, gas, and airfare?
Five, why did you teach him its okay to take and use other people's property without permission or paying for it, merely on your son's say-so?
Six, does your son have any money? Can he purchase the rights to any of these photos on a small business license, which I know from experience is generally much less expensive?
Seven, why would your son have to close up shop if using other people's photos is off limits? Does he lack industry and resourcefulness, or does he was he just not given a useful model of personal responsibility and self-empowerment as a growing child?
Eight, limited fair use is allowed. Stealing isn't."[/i][/color]

Sara's a nice person. I've communicated with her before. If she had just talked about her son's sports blogging and using others' photos, I may have been much more circumspect in my comment.

However, the part that got to me and I'm hoping she'll pick up on it is how very self-limiting her mom apparently believes her son is. That if he gets a lawyer's letter, it's all over, no sense in even trying anymore.

So, I decided to risk being an unintentional asshole and make very pointed observations and questions. I'm hoping she'll take away the idea that there's more than one way to skin a cat and pass this concept on to her son.

I'm not optimistic about that. It's was my intention.
#13 Christoph 03-Mar-2008
Sara replies here. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't read it with my own eyes.
#14 Pirate's Cove 03-Mar-2008
Hey, good news, snapped shot is back, AP lite.
...
#15 William Teach 03-Mar-2008
Oh, man, you had to kill the Islamic Rage Boy photos. BoooooooO!
#16 Skul 03-Mar-2008
Glad to see you back.
#17 captainfish 03-Mar-2008
Brian, glad you are back. I understand any decision that you had to make.

So, let me get this straight...
I am in violation of copyright when I cut and paste a magazine photo to my posterboard montage for class?
I am in violation of copyright I cut and paste newspaper articles onto my montage for class?
If this is true then all of america's teachers are teaching our kids to steal.

I am in violation of copyright when I copy and download a photo I like and use it for my Instant Messenger emoticon or display image?
I am in violation of copyright when I copy and download a photo I like and use it as my computer's wallpaper?
I am in violation of copyright when I print out a story, and possibly related photos, and hand them to a friend to keep?
I am in violation of copyright when I print out news story and place it on my fridge?
I am in violation of copyright when I share a recorded publicly broadcasted show with a friend of mine?
I am in violation of copyright when I record and copy to distributable media and, either save it, or, share it with a friend of mine?

I am in violation of copyright when I buy a used book from a friend of mine?
I am in violation of copyright when I sell my used CDs to a friend or 2nd hand store?
I am in violation of copyright if I run a copy store and make money off of people photocopying copyrighted material?

Forgive the rant... I am in one of those moods.
#18 DJM 04-Mar-2008
Welcome back, Brian! When I checked in this morning, I was happy to see SnappedShot up and running again.

:)
#19 clark smith 04-Mar-2008
"And frankly, I can't really blame them for it." --Brian

Well *I* can blame them, and I do.

When the AP says, "This should resolve the matter. Thank you again for you cooperation and immediate response.", it reminds me of Bubba saying to Juanita Brodderick, "Better put some ice on that lip."

I don't blame Brian for submitting to media thuggery, but I do blame media thugs for forcing a blogger to submit.
#20 SFC MAC 04-Mar-2008
Gawd forbid a blogger should question the "journalistic integrity" of AP's balatant socialist agenda. Tell "priti" to shove it.
#21 MJ 04-Mar-2008
Very glad to see you back. You did what you had to do, and I look forward to seeing how creative you can be with these new challenges!
#22 mikep 04-Mar-2008
Well, it's nice you're back but, I'm worried about what this "Picture Kill" business means for your blog. The unjustified enforcement of copyright law (I can see AP's point too...and they're wrong) and your (understandable) acquiesence probably means the death of your blog. IMO.
#23 Brian C. Ledbetter 04-Mar-2008
Ouch, mikep, I resemble that remark!

Don't worry, this blog will live on. I'm going to bring back all of the valid "fair use" content. And going forward, I'll be changing my editorial direction to work around the AP's restrictions.

And believe you me—I will be watching them like a [i]hawk[/i].

Regards,
Brian
#24 Steven W. 04-Mar-2008
Don't forget a terms page - otherwise looks kosher :)
#25 sfcmac 04-Mar-2008
The bottom line here folks, is that the AP censored a critical blogger by forcing him to remove the very photos he analyzed. He cannot show the pictures in question, therefore, it's going to be difficult to compare and demonstrate the discrepencies.

As Brian said:

"How in the world can one provide analysis, commentary, and criticism on news photographs, if they are forbidden from actually showing said photograph? Did the Associated Press crack down on people who clipped newspapers out and shared them with their co-workers? Did they crack down on the thousands of fax-lists that powered New York through the 80's?"

Even if credit is given to a particular news source, what's to stop them from censoring criticism in the name of "intellectual rights"?

Again: Welcome to the media mafia.
#26 Christoph 04-Mar-2008
sfcmac, again you get everything wrong. It's highly funny. You're so reliable that way. But don't let a complete lack of knowledge of the subject matter stop you.
#27 captainfish 05-Mar-2008
Christoph, do you work for the AP?
#28 Robert D 07-Mar-2008
Glad to see you worked out something Brian. I'll update my site.
#29 Dashiell 26-Mar-2008
I'm a fan, and I miss the photos. Stay Strong!
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