Wednesday, December 07, 2011

FAIR USE ?

I received my first ever "cease and desist" letter from Blogger this week. Blogger, of course, is responsible for the content published in blogs it hosts, so any official complaints are received first by them. The letter told me that Blogger has "taken down" (i.e. reduced to a draft that remains unpublished) a post of mine from August this year.

The notification advised me that something in my post allegedly infringed on the copyright of others.
The letter didn't give me any detail of the complaint but linked to a site called Chilling Effects where cease and desist notices are filed for perusal. I was advised to see detail there. Unfortunately that site hasn't been updated since 4 December and Blogger's notice to me was dated 5 December. So I am not sure what part of my content was the source of a complaint, nor was I told the name of the complainant (which would be a clue, at least). I immediately informed Blogger Support of this, asked for further detail of the complaint, but 48 hours later am still in the dark.

I try to be very careful about the "Fair Use" guidelines in respect of copyright. In the relevant post I had used a paragraph from an astrologer's website to illustrate a point made with regard to a musical composition. I was careful to use a minumum of copyrighted content and added a long link to the astrologer's website with a very clear recommendation that readers go see the whole article there.

Maybe (if he be the complainant) that astrologer is especially sensitive about having a small amount of his content copied, even when intended as "fair use". But I'm not absolutely certain that the astrological quote was the problem.

I had also copied some extracts of song lyrics, which, again were used to help "prove" a point, as well as a couple of lines from another website about musical composition - also very clearly linked back to the original site.

All the linked content was, to my mind, being used fairly, and in accordance with Fair Use guidelines, in the interests of "education" or clarifying information - about astrology and how it "works". My blog's title: "Learning Curve on the Ecliptic" should give a clue as to what I try to achieve in many of my posts. I try to illustrate astrology "working" in real life, in such a way that those skeptical about the subject might pause to think about their objections, and wonder for a moment or two whether there could be another side to it after all.

As my profile declares, I'm not a professional astrologer. I offer nothing for sale, ask for no donations, carry no commercial adverts. I refer often to books or websites of "the pros", simply to illustrate a point or to add substance to my own, less-experienced, less astrologically-educated views.

Whichever brief quote I used in the "taken-down" post was the subject of complaint, I do not feel unjustified in using any of them. However, since I do not know to exactly what the compainant referred, I must leave the post in draft or delete it. I'm unable to modify it by removing the offending portion, without further information.

PS ~~ These lines are a means of "letting off steam"! If I have sinned, then I am entitled to know details of my sin, and the name of the person or body I have offended, it is unfair to simply have my post removed with no further detail offered. Still no response from Blogger.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

GP: My commiserations, T. for you running into such stupid trouble. Must be once more "lawyers governing the world" - i.e. working to get rich. Defending no client most of the time, it's them who create "cases".

These baggers have become a pest. Not even Monsanto has yet invented the right poison to eradicate them.

As far as I intend about all this, just ignore. Don't justify or give away any details, let them first explain in full what's the problem, if there is any real problem. Chances are that there isn't. Mercury retro right now may be the answer.

live psychic readings said...

Shaking my head. You gave the rightful people credit and used it for further knowledge and speculation on a topic. We have indeed become such a litigiousness society

Wisewebwoman said...

Wow, T. I've always noted how you give full accreditation for any material you reference and had the passing thoughts that you always so meticulous.
I can only surmise the complainant is super sensitive and egotistical in the extreme.
Nasty little business.
My commiseration.
XO
WWW

Starry Night Astrology said...

Probably was the song lyrics. Song composers are especially sensitive to copyright infringement.

I wouldn't sweat this. Its disappointing to have to take down a post, but its only one.

Admittedly Blogger's vague notice doesn't inspire confidence. If it was me, that would be the source of my annoyance.

With Mercury Rx all sorts of this nonsense can prevail.

anyjazz said...

The trolls are restless, it appears. Glean the benefit of the experience; move on. You have more to contribute.

Diane said...

Just curious: were there any transits to your chart which might account for this "transgression"? Sounds like Neptune to me--false allegations.

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~

Yes, thanks - I agree. Copyright law is a well-justified and needed protection, but of late it's getting to the "silly" stage.

I'm beginning to think that, if a person doesn't want their work referred to or briefly sampled by others, then they should desist from presenting it online at all -ever.
There is so much information and disinformation online now - an unimaginable amount - that you'd think someone would be glad of an up to date mention sending readers to their site.

Never mind! ;-) Yep - Merc Retro it could be!

Twilight said...

live psychic readings ~~ Yes, things now seem to be going too far, in the wrong direction. Thanks for commenting.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Thanks WWW.
Yes. I have a sneaking suspicion of the source of the complaint, but can't be sure without evidence.
That person has other cease and desist notices recorded at Chilling Effects. Maybe it's a hobby of theirs. ;-)

Twilight said...

Starry Night Astrology ~~
Yes, the lack of detail in the notice is my source of annoyance. It ought not to have been sent to me until details were available to read at chilling effects - if that's the only way to find out who and what is the complaint.

It's not a big deal - agreed - just something to feel annoyed about for an hour or two then forget.
:-)

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~~ Thanks. Yes -we live and learn (even at this late stage of the game). ;-)

Twilight said...

Diane ~~~ Hmmm - hadn't looked at that. Thanks. Saturn in Libra is currently opposing my natal Aries Moon - maybe that's a hint of something of this sort.
;-)

Juno said...

Me thinks it is a way of getting back at you because of your politics, which for most Americans (and I am one) would be considered to the left because of how much it has changed in 10 years -- that was my first hit on what it was about. Ignore it and please continue - I love your posts! I am reminded of a Shakespeare quote (also in Willy Wonka) "How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world." We need your "good deeds" :)

Twilight said...

Juno ~~~ Awwww - that's so sweet of you! Thank you. The thought about politics being the cause had crossed my mind, and that, if correct, would make me feel more unrepentant than ever!
:-)

theoligarchkings said...

Hi! As someone whose blog is slightly more political and therefore contentious than yours I sympathise. I have not had a blog "reduced" to draft but was the victim of quoting someone without remebering to stick the suitable credit on, and oh boy was he pissed off! Normally if one quotes or uses a picture forgetfully (hey we all do it we are busy people and its happened to me as an originator) one might get a nudge from the originator to credit them, and that is the end of the matter. You even get an extra reader if you are lucky!

You got hit by an idiot. He probably gets off on this sort of thing. Its irritating but put it (and him) behind you and pleeeese dont let it put you off your blog -its such a good read!

Twilight said...

the oligarch kings ~~~ Why thank you, sir! Your comment is much appreciated.

I'm still in the dark about who complained and why - and quite honestly I'm past caring now. As you say, that's possibly the way they get their kicks. It takes all sorts!
:-)

Vanilla Rose said...

For me, this has been a record year for trolls, and some of that bullying has come from administrators themselves. I don't think that would apply here, but it is amazing.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Hi!

A bit different slant on a similar issue, and I do know what you mean, VR.
I've encountered moderators on message boards who grew "too big for their boots" in the past. I wandered off when that happened and didn't return. Mini-dictators are a huge pain in the backside!

Vanilla Rose said...

The second best thing about using my own pictures to illustrate my blog is that nobody can complain that I am infringing on their copyright. The best thing about it is ... well, it's great fun.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ I agree.

I do use our own photographs where possible, and pay to subscribe to iclipart for small illustrations, royalty free.