This article sprung from the discussion in this
I pointed out to TopJedi that, for his Newsvine icon, he was using the image of Yoda without express written permission from Lucasfilm Ltd. He could get permission by writing to them. (http://www.lucasfilm.com/inside/faq) Initially he took it down and replaced it with the generic Newsvine logo. But soon, the little Yoda appeared again. He said that he had found other people using images without problems for over 10 years. He also found some disclaimer that someone had put on his web page and borrowed it. In the disclaimer (click on About Author from TopJedi's page here ), he says: This member highly recommends the viewing and enjoyment of all LucasFilm Ltd. Productions and will gladly spend any and all potential ad revenue gained via Newsvine exclusively on LucasFilm products. In other words, if he makes any money from illegal use of stuff, he will spend it on himself.
Brian Ford and Calvin Tang also participated in this discussion. Neither seemed to think that it was not ok to use copyrighted images illegally. Some of the things that were said to justify this is: (paraphrasing)
- Lucasfilm is not going to bother with such a small thing.
- The image is tiny - 3/4 inch. No one's gonna care.
- This issue is just trivial nonsense.
- It could just be a part of some experiment. (even though the above Lucasfilm link was provided for them to verify)
So, where do we draw the line? How do we decide that it is okay to use copyrighted images without prior express written permission? Does that decision depend on the size of the image, i.e., it's ok if it's only a tiny image? Does it depend on the size of the entity owning the copyright of the image in question, i.e., it's ok if it's a big corporation, they don't care. Does it depend on the likelihood of your being caught, i.e., it's ok to do illegal stuff if you know you're very unlikely to be caught?
Same questions go for Newsvine. How does (if at all) Newsvine decide whether the illegal use of copyrighted images is ok or not?
By allowing users to use copyrighted images illegally, is Newsvine setting a good role model?
What do other Newsvine readers and writers have to say?