The Punk Vault

Attention would be thieves

In case there may have been any question in the mind of all these image stealing assholes, let me make something perfectly clear.



I just discovered a bunch of offenders. Christ people, doesn’t a copyright mean anything these days?! I didn’t spend my time going to shows and taking photos to spruce up other people’s websites unless they want to pay me for them!

Fuck, if I had the time and money, I’d do a Jay and Silent Bob and travel all over the place to give these people a much deserved beating.


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  • Apparently I am not allowed to use your images as my desktop. I believe I recieved a threatening message from you stating you would molest my IP Address… Yeah, so as long as I dont post your images on the internet or anything, I really dont think you have much to complain about.

  • I like how I am looking for a picture for my desktop and you decide to threaten my IP address when I go to the image. I technically did nothing wrong so if anything happens, I will pay it back threefold you emo fucker.

  • NO ONE should be using other people’s images without permission. It is no different than stealing a photo someone took and publishing it in a fanzine or a book and taking credit for it as if you took the photo yourself. In academia when you do not cite your sources it is grounds for expulsion. I used to have a somewhat laid back view on whether or not to put in measures to stop the stealing of my photos; many of which were taken in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Los Angeles/Orange County punk scene. I just didn’t think people would steal my photos. However, this summer after moving to a real server where I could track my stats, I discovered several people from MYSPACE were decorating their web pages with photos from MY site. MYSPACE apparently does not provide storage space for images for its members, so in effect, it encourages members to do something called “hotlinking” in which they don’t actually steal the image outright and host it on their own server, but they “borrow” images from other websites by putting a link to the photo on their webpage. This practice uses up MY bandwidth to display MY pictures on THEIR webpages (without permission). Consequently hundreds of hits from MySpace users were (and continue to) show up on my website host. Linking to my photos without permission is blatant stealing! What really angers me is that the offenders don’t even give me credit for my own photos! I was able to block their users from continuing to hotlink, however, my website stats have been continually screwed up since this summer by the practice since the original offenders have not removed the links. Differences between right and wrong seem to get blurred on the internet, due to the fact that it is so easy to get away with doing things like stealing from people. But because you CAN do something, does that make it right? I COULD go rob that liquor store around the corner, but does that make it right?

    Michele Flipside
    Flipside Fanzine

  • Although I’ll probably get flamed, I must play devil’s advocate. I’m a lurker here and I’ve always enjoyed your writing (esp. the wrasslin stuff) and photos (and mp3’s) BUT I think that a lot of bands whos mp3’s you post COULD have a similar ethos. (Did the effigies write you a letter awhile ago?)
    Granted Otto’s Chemical Lounge probably never sold too many records back in the day and aren’t blazing up the charts now but to think that its ok to post someone’s mp3’s without asking and then getting all mad when some one does the same to your photos sounds kinda hypocritical.

    “Christ people, doesn’t a copyright mean anything these days?!” I hope you meant that as a joke.

    Now before people get all to rationalizing about mp3 blogging, I actually am down with the whole cause.

    I’ve got mp3’s from here and elsewhere that pretty much have 0% chance of being re-released and I do believe its cool of people who own the vinyl to rip em and post em.

    But youre still jacking someone out of a potential payday, just like kids who post your photos to their myspace account.

    I feel for both of you and especially Michelle but I’ve had stuff I’ve put out there ripped too and its a shitty feeling but at the end of the day if you dont want any possibility of people dloading or scanning your stuff dont publish it.

    The cops say the difference between vandalism and art is permission…

  • I can see yr point, however I did not ever do a feature on The Effigies and never got one of those letters. If and when I do a feature on them, I’ll be asking their input first as I have access to get in touch with them pretty easily. I always try and track down someone from these bands I post mp3s of and even when I don’t and they discover my site and their mp3s, I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from them and they are usually quite flattered and what I’ve documented.

    It is apples and oranges in your comparison to stealing images and posting a mp3. First, I make my own mp3 files from my records and post them on my server that I pay for, thus I’m not in essence costing anyone any money but myself for doing it. Also, in most cases, the music I’m posting and writing about is unavailable on any format, and hopefully if I write about it and people show and interest, that could get remedied someday and the stuff won’t be relegated to only being in a select few houses, unheard to the rest of the world. If the stuff is in fact available on a CD somewhere, I let that be known and link to where a reader can buy it, and they often do based on feedback I’ve recieved.

    Also, unlike other sites, I almost always post only one sample track from a record and not the entire thing. Its much more akin to playing a song on a radio show instead of freely distributing someones entire record.

    And just like Michele, I have had violators on myspace. myspace encourages it with their editor they make available, it just asks for the link to the image you want to steal for yr background and it hotlinks to it. That is pretty fucked up. Just yesterday I found one person who stole one of my since by man photos for his myspace profile and had to write him and let him know of his crime.

    I also discovered someone hotlinking to one of my mp3 files in their own blog post, which is nearly as bad. When I emailed him and told him of his wrong doing, he verbally attacked me and called ME the asshole, stating his 20 readers probably didn’t put a dent in my budget. What the shitheap fails to realize, I shouldn’t be bearing the cost of even ONE of his readers downloading one of my files from a link on his page.

    Just thinking about it and writing this is getting me all pissed off again so that’s all I’m gonna say on the matter for now.

    And to the guy above talking about the desktop image, I did not “attack someones IP address”. I don’t even know what the hell you are talking about.

  • Rock on thanks for your well thought out reply. You keep writing I’ll keep a reading.
    Onita! Onita!

  • Just make sure you differentiate between “lookers” and “stealers”. I just did an image search via Google, clicked on the “See full-size image” link and was greeted with your threatening message, promising a world of hurt on my IP address. No hotlinking. No downloading. Just trying to take a look.

  • Dumbek – I have hotlink protection turned on for my server now, which is now seet to not allow someone to directly enter a url to just an image file. That message that comes up is the default one for such things, it doesn’t know the difference between someone with good or bad intentions.

  • Heya Dumbek – I do the same on my server – and you can always leave the google image search page and view the image in the site the way it was attended.

    I prefer exchanging the image with a banner telling people to visit my site but I have seen some great hotlink images – such as offensive images, and ones that state whomever is using the image is a thief.

    Many sites do this so we don’t end up with wasted bandwidth and our sites slowed down.

    I have people contribute stuff to my website as well, and I will not take anything from another site without permission – and I have pulled material because I found out someone took it off another website.

    People seem to think anything found on the web is public domain, but it isn’t – photographs are copyright of the person who took them.

  • Oh, I definitely understand wanting to protect your images. You certainly have every right to do that. I just wanted to point out that not every direct connection to a picture may be as malicious as you think. The threat of retaliation on my IP for doing nothing more than clicking on a Google link was just a little disconcerting.

  • i have the same problem with band pages/myspace. i recently went through all my pictures and re-uploaded them with the name of the website across the bottom of the pic. thatw ay if anyone wants the real version they have to contact me. plus it’s more advertising that wouldn’t have been there previously.

  • Posting mp3’s without permission is exactly the same as some one taking your images, it is apples and apples, punks will be punks, get over it.

  • Dean – Perhaps, except in as many cases as possible, I do get permission. I alwasy try and find the band or label owner first. Some of them simply can’t be found. In the case of my photos, it is rather easy to find the owner of them since these people are stealing them off MY website.

    And I fail to see what “punks will be punks” reall means. Punk or not, there is still copyright issues.

  • MXV,
    punks will be punks means, punks don’t usually conform to society’s standards, so, dealing with punk rock, you might have expected people to not pay attention to copyright laws.
    it seems you have been around for a while, do you consider yourself a punk?
    i am not being disrespectful, i am curious.
    by the way, I really like your site.

  • They may not conform to society standards, but I think there has been plenty of instances where punk bands have protected their own copyrights. The law is the law, even if you are against most laws. Bottom line is no one like having their works stolen and used without permission, and even worse when they attempt to steal your bandwith in the process.

    Thank you for the kind words about the site, it is very much appreciated and it is the reason I do what I do.

  • I’m guilty. I saw Bauhaus a few days ago and was making a scrapbook (non-internet) page….was looking for cool image to print and put in the book, sorry. You’re right. I feel terrible. It is a cool picture of Peter Murphy. 🙂

  • I have toyed with the idea of using one of those nasty disgusting anti-hotlink photos in place of the URLs from my website which keep getting pinged because they are STILL up there on various MySpace pages. That would probably at least get the person’s webpage to remove the dead link… but then I thought, hey, if I use one of these anti-hotlinking photos, I’m stealing it … those are pretty good though, thanks for posting!

  • Ah! But if you take the pictures that appear in your own anti-hotlinking photos, then it’s perfectly all right!

    Then again, I admittedly did not take the pictures featured in mine (thank goodness!), but that is a fair point…

    If I ever get an e-mail from some gigantic-wienered forest dweller and his Breck-scented nymphette, I promise to give them proper credit!

  • The digital age is here. Nothing is yours anymore.

    I found this site from various links that started from a New York Times story on the Grateful Dead limiting their free music.
    I’ve been through some very cool and strange sites on my way here.
    I used to be a photographer of bands and women. When the digital age hit some years ago, my photos were stolen and used for the promotion of others’ interests. Haven’t found a way to stop it yet.
    Doubt that anyone will.
    Capitalism is due for a revision or more preferably, a demise.
    Read your societal history folks.
    Punk is anarchy. Not dollars.
    Punk used to be polite misfits. Then they got violent. Now it’s pretentious people. Most of which seem to come from and/or have undue amounts of money and are just bored.
    I ask all, whose photos I use on myspace, for permission and I link to them or their myspace page.
    I have a punk page and a pinups page, devoted to the networking and exposure of the aforementioned.

    Now that I’ve said my piece, I’ll go check your site.
    Remember though, You control nothing anymore as far as images and where they go. Only your lighting, subjects and final execution, do you control.
    Barter is probably better.
    Dan O.

  • you know what? I don’t give a fuck if people want to use my work… sometimes, they do ask permission, sometimes they don’t… I have no copyright on my photos or articles. I do prefer if they cite where it came from. But I’m flattered if they want to use something I did… the idea for me is to get the information out there. Giving back, because many have given to ME over the years and didn’t expect anything in return.

  • It is one thing to use something and cite where it came from, that is certainly forgivable, but to outright steal it, and attempt to hotlink to your images on your server, thus stealing your bandwith (and costing money) is unforgivable.

    Beleive me, I’m beyond flattered when someone likes my stuff, but I draw the line at theft, especially when it costs me money.

  • MXV, thanks for the head’s up about the Weirdo’s. It’s good to know who to avoid.

    It’s interesting to read the comments in this post, especially the comparison of mp3’s to photos. The difference is that the mp3 song is ALWAYS credited to the band who is playing it… Even without a written credit– you can recognize their voices. Whereas the photo, if not specifically credited to the photog, cannot be creditied to the person who labored to get the shot.

    There’s no $$$ in old punk rock photography– all you get is a warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing you were there and knowing that others know that you managed to get that impossible shot. Not to mention that you HAD to be in the scene to get the shot– because “normal” people weren’t crazy enough to wade into the slam pit to do it.

    Instead of people getting all pissy with photographers– they should be thanking us for risking life and limb to document it. Obviously, there weren’t many who were willing cause it’s relatively undocumented.

  • Here’s some feeback from a website owner. All of our work is copyrighted. The fee to use our work is how we support our family. We will provide some free website postings with special permission so that we can get the SEO linkage. Our company’s product are our images.

    When began hotlinking it started to affect no only our bandwith usage but the performance. We had to double our processing speeds (and costs) to support all this extra hotlinking. To add to this, a lot of the images aren’t being viewed because they are at the bottom of a page but it’s still pulling from our site.

  • Redirected here from another site dealing with Copyrights.

    I understand both sides of the fence. On the one hand there is this new era where data sharing (which, when boiled down to it’s essence, is all the internet is) is the ultimate manifestation of the human experience. Then on the other hand, there are the old rules that told us that you cannot use what you haven’t given permission to use.

    The problem that is ultimately arising here, is the fact that the internet is for the purpose of sharing. You take safe gaurds when and where you can. And you take the safe gaurds by choice. But because this system is for the purpose of sharing information with others, we’ve mistakenly come to the conclusion that it is also for pimping our work (whatever that work may be). It’s not. It’s for sharing.

    But the potential to advertise on the web is a resource that we cannot affordto ignore. No one in his right mind would deny the viability of the internet as a way of getting his work seen by the eyes of people that might NEVER have seen it.

    I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is, if your really concerned about something that is yours being stolen, the internet is not the best place to put it. And if you must, then take the safegaurds you can. But be prepared for the simple nature of the place you’ve put your work.

    Bandwidth might be another issue entirely. I think the real issue might lie more in this little technicality than in the issue of the use of the images themself.

  • Who has decided that the internet is in fact for the purpose of sharing information? This is just one of the uses. Like any other invention, it’s purpose and usages change and evolve over time. You see it as a sharing experience, I see it as tool to sell an artist’s work that I represent.

    We offer our visitors viewing of our cartoons, provide a daily cartoon, and send-to-friend email services all free of charge. We spend thousands of dollars each year enhancing our website. Once you remove or hotlink one of our images, it’s just plain theft.

    You can’t go into a store and steal a comic book, nor if you pay for a comic book, you are not supposed to be allowed to copy a picture in the book and then use it on a flyer. Just because it’s easy to steal something doesn’t make it right to do so.

    Now onto the comment about taking safeguards. We don’t actually mind a little bit of hotlinking and if you want to use a few of our images on your non-profit website, we have free options available when you ask but we have one website, that has so many of its using hotlinking (they make it so easy to do) that we’ve had to double our hosting package.

    We have been trying for over a month to get the website to contact the people we have identitifed and also trying to block this site from hotlinking. We haven’t been able to find the coding script yet that actually works. If we stop all hotlinking than we might effect search engine image linking which we don’t want to do. I’ve spent at least 20 hours on this problem and about $500 so far.

    My final point is please artists and writers copyrighted work. Just like you and me, they work hard putting out their product and should be compensated. Without the internet, the artist I represent wouldn’t be able to follow his dream and earn a living doing something he love.

  • Who deided the internet was for the purpose of sharing data? The orginal developers of it.

    We have altered it’s orginal use to our benefit. But let’s take a look at the internet and the computers we use to peruse it. Your computer is designed to load a page into your browser window. Your not just viewing the image remotely, but the image is actually being stored on your computer for a time. There are right click features that allow you to save an image. A copy and paste function that can work from a drop down menu, a right click or through the use of keyboard shortcuts. An entire page can be saved, or is automatically saved in a temp folder somewhere on your hard drive. Just visiting a page can automatically create a copy of it somewhere on your computer.

    Clearly the internet and your computer were not designed with the intention of preserving ownership. Everything about it and the internet waaas desgined for the purpose of communication and sharing. But becuse it is such an effective form of communication, it’s also an invaluble tool for, not just the artist, but for the entrepanuer in general.

    But because of the issues of ownership, now we try to find ways around the internet’s orginal function by creating features that disable funtions that are there by default. I’m not disagreeing with you by saying that the interenet isn’t evolving. I’m saying that it’s basic nature is not, at the moment, condusive to preserving ownership like we do in the real, hard-copy world.

    For the time being, we are taking our chances with imagry and info placed on the internet. It’s a claculated risk to be sure, but a risk nonetheless.

  • Interesting discussion over here. Might as well throw in my 2 cents…

    I see the internet as all of the above, for communication, sharing and as a business tool. As a matter of fact, I envision the internet as eventually evolving into a virtual reality sort of thing, maybe even ten years from now. The only thing missing from the internet is that see, touch, taste, physical sort of experience. That would definitely be a boost for online sales.

    As it stands now, it mostly is a communication/information/sharing tool.

    The thing that’s really important to take note of is the fact that, we, the users, are the ones who are defining and developing it. It’s future is in OUR HANDS. How can we use it to best meet our own needs?

    The corporate music industry has the resources to go after college kids in their dorms for downloading copyrighted music. The software industry has the resources to encrypt code into their materials that can play big bro on your hard-drive.

    What resources do we, the ordinary creative professionals, have?

    We have each other…

    We can easily join forces to pool information about who the copyright violators are, so that we know not to do business with them. We can unite to flood the copyright violators with nasty emails. Stuff like that.

    Ok it won’t stop young Timmy from grabbin’ some pictures off your site, but young Timmy isn’t really the problem.

    The problem is with bands or promoters who want to take our images to benefit themselves financially at our expense. I recently had a problem w/a guy in a band who hi-jacked my photos. I emailed everyone I knew, I posted on messageboards, I blogged about it. Pretty quickly, it got back to someone else in the band, who was able to resolve the situation.

    If we help each other out we can absolutely create/define the future of our own internet experience.

    And here’s another crazy thought– why shouldn’t we expect people to behave in an honorable and respectful way in relation to our copyrighted materials?

    Life is what we make it, reality is what we define. It’s up to us to steer it towards whatever we want it to be…

  • I think Marie made some great points. Thank you. I’d like to go back to Digital Jedi’s comments and add my 2 cents too.

    First – Over time things change. Often, things will be created for one purpose but new uses will be found. That’s the nature of the universe. I think that to use this argument to justify copyright theft is a very weak argument. For example: Aspirin was originally used for headaches and pain and now has been found to be effective in reduced secondary heart attack risks. Should heart attack victims not be allowed to use Aspirin as a form of treatment because that was not the original intents of use?

    Second – Just because something is created with the ability to copy images or sound doesn’t mean that this is an open license to steal these images and sound. For example, did photocopy machines allow the user free rein to photocopy books and resell them? Did VCRs allow people to copy movies and then resell them? Based on your argument, it’s ok to steal something at a store because the store didn’t have a good theft prevention system.

    Finally, in regards to Marie’s comment, I’m happy to say that people do fink other people out. Last night I hosted a holiday party for a bunch of cartoonists and we talked about this and found that there’s a site called anonymous .com that does report unauthorized use. These cartoonists have also reported that people from time to time do let other’s know when their work is illegally posted.

    Happy Holidays!

  • I think you misunderstand me, Lynn. I was never trying to create justification for the theft of copyrighted material with my statements. I never intended that.

    I was trying to make a “what do you expect?” statement without the inflamatory tone that the expression carries with it. But it seems I’ve failed miserabley. 🙂

    Okay, basically, what I was trying to say is, we are placing our work on a vast networking information database. The largest in the world. It is a database that was designed from the beginning for the purpose of sharing files and transmitting data to the entire world, quite literaly, at the push of a button. This is markedly different from placing your images in a book or magazine.

    We place our work on this network, that clearly wasn’t designed for protecting copyright and is open to all kinds of abuse, knowingly and willingly (in most cases). And then become indgnant when someone “steals” usage of our work. But, and I didn’t want to phrase it this way, what do we expect?

    Say for example, you had this magical resource to pimp your work. In a single day, your creations were going to be mystically placed on top of every single photocopy machine on the planet. Public, School, Office and Home copiers. Would anyone deny that there is possibly going to be some copyright infringment in that case? Bu that is essentialy what we ARE doing. Placing our work into every “copy” machine across the globe.

    I’m NOT trying to justify copyright infringment on the internet in any way, shape or form. But thieves will be thieves. It’s important to take the neccessary safegaurds, and I encourage that you do what you feel is appropriate, but by placing your work on the internet, your placing your work into the hands of the both the honest AND the dishonest.

    You/we are taking this step knowingly, eyes wide open, so it troubles me just little to see so many people angry about it as if this had never crossed thier minds. The internet is, to be sure a great place to promote yourself and your works of art. It is also a great place to have your works of art plagurized. One should really consider this if they want to use the internet as a source of promotion. In some case, a person might decide that the internet is not where he wants his work to be.

  • DJ, I’m going to have to throw in my 2 cents again with an observation. Doesn’t the “what do you expect?” attitude itself actually provide the justification for the theft of copyrighted material? If you take a defeatist position that people are going to steal anyway and you are powerless to stop them– that statement, in itself, provides the justification. The message is– it’s smart to steal– BECAUSE I CAN… I will get away with it.

    Before the music industry went after the college kids, the attitude was that stealing music was ok. Now people are aware that music theft can buy you a costly lawsuit and maybe some jail time. The same goes for the software industry. My point is that it is up to us to set the standard of what is or is not acceptable. If you give up in powerlessness and despair, then yes, it’s all up for grabs. It doesn’t matter what the internet was originally designed to do, what is important is to define how we can make it work for us NOW. The internet is new– we’re just making it up as we go along. There are no tried and true solutions, other than what we can work out through our own trial and error. It’s up to us, we are the pioneers…

    How can we make it work for us now?

    Personally, I only use small size, low-res images online, and I embed my copyright logo in them. That way, they aren’t valuable for commercial use. Really, they are only good enough for little Timmy to rekindle his memories with. I’m ok about little Timmy’s usage… However, if I happen to find out that someone is trying to misuse the images. I go after them with everything I have. It’s the principle of the thing. I am trying to set the standard that it is NOT OK to steal my photos and there will be consequences for their misuse.

    It’s about setting a standard. We Americans don’t have the attitude that we can expect to be murdered if we step outside because our society has set the standard that murder is not acceptable. We expect to be safe… murder is an abhorrence from the norm. It is not an acceptable action. If you kill someone, you can expect to be prosecuted for your transgression.

    It is a defeatist attitude to claim that we should not expect any better… We CAN expect more from people and we SHOULD expect more. We can’t do it alone though… we need each other. Together, we can set a new standard to aspire to.

    Remember, we have higher brain functions and we are not mere victims of whatever primitive impulses strike us…

  • It’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to use the phrase, Marie. It gives the impression that there is nothing you can do. That’s not what I mean, however.

    What I mean from the “what do you expect” statement is that there is [b]currently[/b] no effective way of preventing your work from being stolen if it is placed on the internet, nor is there a satisfactory legal alternitive to deter it.

    At this point in time, a person should seriously consider if placing his work on the internet is the right thing for him to do, because he is putting his work right there where the dishonest people can take it with little or no reprisal.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t continue to develop safegaurds and to work at it. I’m saying for the time being it is a clear and present danger. It shouldnt’t really surprise us that it can happen. What I’m endevouring to make clear with my statements, is that the danger is so prevelant that each of us should reconsider if this is the right place for us individually to present our work. For me it is. I have differning opinons from other on what actual theft of my work is and what is merely free advertising. But I have weighed the costs and I think its worth the risk at prsenet. At some point in the future I may not consider it worth the risk. If that ever happens, however unlikely, I would discontinue using this as a resource. Another person might be more possesive with his work and decide he doesn’t want his work presented here in any official way.

    The only things I mean by my statements are, not take defeatest attitudes, but to take cautious attitudes. Buyer beware, for lack of a better phrase. Think it through and prepare yourself for the dangers. Just like you would/should if you were entering into a contractual arrangement with a distributor or magazine. Weigh the risks before you make a decision that you may regret.

  • Both Lynn and Jedi are right…. unfortunately there is no way to totally protect your images. however at the same time, theft is theft.

    I had my photos up for months without any watermark on them. I really didn’t think people would steal them. They are images from my personal photo album going back 20 years. I wanted to “share” them with the world, but I didn’t think people would steal them. Fortunately I do not have issues where I need to allow some hotlinking but need to block it for the photos. I just put up a code to block ALL hotlinking. End of that problem. I have ruined the images now in my on-line collection by branding them with an ugly watermark – now they are perfectly worthless to thieves (unless s they want to spend hours and hours removing the watermarks in Photo Shop!) But it really spoils the viewing experience and implies to all visitors that I look upon them as thieves. In my mind there were only 2 options: it was either put the watermarks up or take the photos down.

    As for the hotlinking problem; is it just MYSpace? What about the other sites like Friendster, etc? Do they also inadvertently encourage hotlinking?

    There should be a class action lawsuit against Myspace to encourage them to be a bit more responsible to the rest of the internet community.

  • Hi Michele,

    To answer your questions –

    1) Yes, there is other sites hotlinking but it’s not abusive (maybe a total of 1000 page views a day). Myspace can be as high as 75,000 page views a day. It’s so much that we have had to double our hosting fees to make sure our website works correctly for the legitimate users.

    2) While every cartoon has our branding on the top of the image, my husband refuses to put a large copyright watermark on his cartoons. While I know that is would help, he is unwilling to deface his artwork.

    3) We try to think of hotlinking as a form of advertising and my SEO consultant says it helps with website rankings so it’s not all bad. Unfortunately, the myspace site isn’t’ our target audience in terms of reprint sales and we have not noticed an increase in quotes or orders from this additional hotlinking.

    4) Class action lawsuit – I’ve actually gone online searching the keywords to see if anyone has started one against myspace but no luck so far. Anyone know of a class action lawsuit on bandwidth or copyright theft? Truthfully, I’d always prefer to find an amicable solution instead resorting to a lawsuit. I no longer get call backs or email replies from the legal department at

    4) I’ve been working with my hosting company to try to find a way to block hotlinking on specific sites not all hotlinking. So far, the codes we’ve found online for the .htaccess files hasn’t worked. We can redirect to another image but it would still effect our bandwidth and processors. (We use php scripts to run a lot of our website. ANYONE FIND CODE THAT WORKS THAT BLOCKS SPECIFIC SITES?


  • I know the feeling Lynn about defacing the artwork – my photos aren’t art but it sure ruins how they look! I dont even know if I’d want to look at the photos that way if I was a complete stranger visiting my own website for the first time… And with art, it is more of a tragedy to have to watermark them from top to bottom.

    Hotlink Blocking/Rankings:
    We were able to drop in a simple Java code that stops the hotlinking. You probably already know about that one. My husband says that my “ranking” appears to suffer somehow from this…. that is ok. I am not going to sacrifice all my images for a rank! My website was found by enough people even before when we had major technical problems and none of the search engines could crawl the site. I don’t sell anything, so it is no big deal if I loose rank.

    The other script I ran which prevents the right-click/copy function only works if you are using the IE browser so it is no good for blocking theft from users who use Mozilla (which is even what I use now)… that is why I resorted to the ugly top-to-bottom watermark.

    But for your problem, is there a way to partition your website, then load the photos only to the one section, and then set up the hotlink blocking for that section of the website only? This would be a question for your hosting company.

    So it sounds like MySpace has decided that they are not going to do anything about it, since it is more trouble than it is worth and there is no price to pay if they don’t do anything. I understand they want to make money too, but they created the problem so they should at least be somewhat pro-active in responding to complaints like yours and then be working towards a solution.

    My father is an attorney; I’ll ask him about class action lawsuits – how to do it, etc. It seems since there is no threat of legal action, that MySpace is not going to do anything about it.

  • Hi Michele (and everyone else who has been participating in this discussion), I hope everyone had a nice holiday.

    I’d be very curious to see what your father has to say Michele. Truthfully, I feel like it’s more about educating the public. With, they make it so easy to hotllink without warning their users that’s it could be copyright and bandwidth theft.

    I know with my cafepress webstore, every time I load an image I have to acknowledge that I’m not using someone else’s image.

    I’d like to see had to do something like this too.

  • i totally respect what your policy is on taking images from this site. im sure plenty of people take them and use them for their sites without giving credit and that’s fucked up on their part. im sure your policy is because of them and it unfortunetly effects other people who are using the images for personal purposes. i know this sounds lame and emo but i’m been giving awards on my…um…livejournal…and i wanted to use your picture of THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES to go along with my “best live band of 2005” award. i wanted to use it because it was a rad picture and i thought it would help with word of mouth promotion. it wasn’t anything shady. i totally understand where you’re coming from though. im sure plenty of people rip you off and that’s unfair. in any case though, it’s a good photo.

  • I understand the need for permission to use the photos, because I take a lot of them myself and would hate for people to use them and claim that the photos are theirs. The only reason why I was looking for photos is because I’m looking for a couple pictures to draw of The Adicts and I liked the photos I found from this site. If I could use them, then that would be greatly appreciated.

  • Well it was not encouraging what my father had to say and since it was not good news, I didn’t want to post it. Now remember he is only a general attorney and suggested we contact an attorney that specializes in internet law. He says that we have no way to copyright “candid” photos because they are not art. They have to be considered artistic to be copyrightable. So therefore someone like Jenny Lens (myself included here, since I was trying to protect my photos of bands, and people) our work according to him is not protected. However, if you put the photos on a webpage – the webpage itself can be considered art and therefore copyrightable. Sounds weird, I know. He is no expert and I suggest someone do some research on what is copyrightable material in order to discern whether or not what my dad is saying is accurate. His answer is that you would have to copyright your webpages. As it stands, what we are all concerned about is just called plagiarism or stealing, and we expect that a certain level of decency is maintained in the internet community (eg people not steal or plagiarize) but in terms of the legal aspects, we would need to copyright the material in order to have a way to sue someone to stop using it. That is my understanding of what he was saying.

  • Michele,

    There are some variables that change that equation. There is a difference between candid photos and posed photos and performance photos. Candid photos may or may not be copyrightable, depending on the circumstances. However, posed photos and performance photos require a level of skill and knowledge, which is copyrightable. I know that posed photos in public places are owned by the photog, but in order to present them in print-form publications, the photog requires a signed photo release from the subject of the photo. That is to protect the private citizen from unwanted publicity. Whereas, performance photos do not require a signed release from the subject because by performing publicly, they are voluntarily relinquishing their privacy. As long as the venue itself has no restrictions against photo taking, the photog has all rights to the images and can use them any way they choose.

    Those photos that you have on your site– “Punk Retrospective” page, do appear to be purely candid, BUT if they were used in your zine Flipside– then they are journalism photos and are protected under your zine copyright. The photos of Jenny Lens are clearly posed shots, not casual ones, and obviously required a level of skill on her part that IS copyrighted, the performance shots too. Personally I also feature both candid and performance shots on my site. Although I’m confident in my ownership of the performance shots, I’m not too sure about how it would work with the casual ones. If I wanted to print them in a physical publication, I would be required to get a signed photo release from each person. There are no laws regarding internet publishing as yet, so the photo release form isn’t required. But… I believe that they would still constitute “artwork” because I did have some formal photographic education at the time and everyone knew I had a zine and was documenting the scene.

    Ok… those pix might be a little cheesy cause it was a party and who hasn’t heard of having a business cocktail?

    Anyhoo… I’m pretty sure that your father is right that you wouldn’t have a case against Myspace itself because they have notices on their site that users shouldn’t hotlink because images may be copyrighted. They covered themselves with that statement and can’t be responsible for what individuals do. You would have to go after the individual who is using your image. It would be difficult to find a lawyer to prosecute that because there’s no money in it, you would have to go to small claims court.

    Hotlinking can be turned off on your part because they’re stealing your bandwidth. However, you can’t stop Myspace users from grabbing your images and housing them on their own servers. Personally, I don’t really mind so much if some Joe Average type gets some enjoyment from an image of mine and wants to put it on his page. It’s not really any harm done to me because I only put small, low-res stuff online. And I have my name and copyright logo imprinted in an unobtrusive, yet visible location. I think it’s good advertising. Actually, when I get around to it, I want to include my web address on them too. Other strategies are to create a table and place your image as a table background– they can’t grab it. Or you could make a table with a bunch of columns and rows and break the image into bitty parts– too annoying to try to grab.

    The only real harm and insult is when someone steals our images for their own profit making endeavors. Those are the people that we need to fight with everything that we have because it’s not right to disrespect or disregard our contributions.

  • Wow, Marie! Thanks for explaining the difference between the various types of photos – candid, vs. posed and performance, I never knew this. In terms of Flipside and my photos, half of the photos on my website are performance (bands playing) and then the rest would be candids, but would they still be candids if they knew I was taking the photo of them? If they are looking at the camera then technically they posed for it, correct? The other interesting thing that you mentioned – in my case, most people gladly posed for my photos because they knew there would be a good chance I’d publish them in my monthly column – so consent was “a given” with these shots (all except the ones were the person obviously had no idea I was shooting a picture of them). As for Flipside ever having a copyright, that is an interesting question that I will have to ask the owner of Flipside about. I don’t know if he trademarked Flipside, got a copyright or what… I don’t know what type of legal ownership he had over it. If something is just published, like a fanzine, is it automatically considered copyrighted or do you formally have to apply for a copyright, and if the later is the case, then would you have to formally apply for a copyright everytime you published an issue? I can’t imagine for example that everytime the LA Times publishes an issue they apply for a copyright, yet they’d get on your back if you mis-used or re-published something from the Times without permission… so it seems that copyright at least is assumed automatically everytime a newspaper or magazine issue is published….. I really know nothing about copyright laws.

    BTW, my husband, awhile back had come across a webpage where they were talking about protecting the photos from being copied by putting something like a clear block/film over the webpage. You cannot see what it is, I assume it is some sort of code…. When the theif right-clicked and did a “Control-C” to copy and then pasted to another blank page, they got nothing. Unfortunately he didn’t save the webpage and says it would be like a needle in a haystack to find it again. I wish he’d saved that page, because ultimately I think that would have been the best defense for people like us and solve all our problems without us having to resort to ugly watermarks across the pictures. Maybe that is what you are referring to here where you say create a table background but I am not sure exactly what you are describing here in terms of making it a background to a table… but couldn’t they just right-click and see the webpage codes?

  • Fact is you’re using other people’s copyright works to attract visitors to your blog, so it’s a bit much to complain when someone lifts a few of your pictures. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Except you fail to realize that in every instance possible I will get the band’s blessing and participation. It is only when I can’t find anyone related to the band that I do it without, and in every single case where someone from the band has discovered it after the fact, they have been nothing but supportive and appreciative of my writing about them. I also provide any links to where a reader can buy their music if it is available anywhere on a CD or reissue.

    The case of my photos, people know where to find me to ask permission, it is when they just take them and use them without credit or a link back to where they took them that pisses me off, that and when assholes try and hotlink to them in an effort to steal my bandwith.

    So I’m sorry if you are offended that I take issue with the possibility of you lifting my photos, but your comparison is apples and oranges. Plus I don’t do this as a gimmick to get readers, I am actually trying to document something that is important to me and give people a small sample of what it is, which is why I post one track from a record and not the whole thing like other sites.

  • “It is only when I can’t find anyone related to the band that I do it without…”

    Believe me, I have absolutely no interest in lifting your photos. I’m just amused by your selective application of copyright law.


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