Defend Your Copyright At Your Own Risk!

I received a comment from someone associated with Bookjive, a new “book summary wiki” where “actual readers” can share summaries of their favourite books.  I had a look at the website and found that this is no ordinary wiki. Compare it’s copyright policies with a more well-known wiki:

Bookjive: “All content on The Web site, including but not limited to design, text, graphics, other files, and their selection and arrangement (the “Content”), are the proprietary property of this Web site or/and its licensors. All rights reserved. You may not modify the Content or copy, distribute, reproduce, republish, download, display, post, transmit, or sell in any form or by any means, in whole or in part, without this Web site’s or owners prior written permission. Although you may download or print a copy of any portion of the Content solely for your personal, non-commercial use, present that you keep all copyright notices or other proprietary notices intact. You may not republish content on any site of any kind anywhere or incorporate the information in any other database or collection. Any other use of the content is strictly prohibited.”

“By providing any Content to our web site: (a) you agree to grant to us a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive right and license (including any moral rights or other necessary rights) to use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, distribute, perform, promote, archive, translate, and to create derivative works and compilations, in whole or in part. Such license will apply with respect to any form, media, technology known or later developed;…”

Wikipedia: “The Wikimedia Foundation does not own copyright on Wikipedia article texts and illustrations. It is therefore useless to email our contact addresses asking for permission to reproduce content. Permission to reproduce content under the license and technical conditions applicable to Wikipedia (see below and Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks) has already been granted to everyone without request; for permission to use it outside these terms, one must contact all the volunteer authors of the text or illustration in question.”

“…Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.”

Clearly not all wikis embrace the open source, creative commons ethic. Fair enough. But what happens when previously copyrighted material somehow makes it on to one of these wikis? I’ll present the answers in reverse order:

Wikipedia: “If you are the owner of content that is being used on Wikipedia without your permission, then you may request the page be immediately removed from Wikipedia; see Request for immediate removal of copyright violation. You can also contact our designated agent to have it permanently removed, but it may take up to a week for the page to be deleted that way (you may also blank the page and replace it with the words {{copyvio|URL or place you published the text}} but the text will still be in the page history). Either way, we will, of course, need some evidence to support your claim of ownership.”

Bookjive: “WE CAUTION YOU THAT UNDER FEDERAL LAW, IF YOU KNOWINGLY MISREPRESENT THAT ONLINE MATERIAL IS INFRINGING [your copyright], YOU MAY BE SUBJECT TO HEAVY CIVIL PENALTIES. THESE INCLUDE MONETARY DAMAGES, COURT COSTS, AND ATTORNEYS’ FEES INCURRED BY US, BY ANY COPYRIGHT OWNER, OR BY ANY COPYRIGHT OWNER’S LICENSEE THAT IS INJURED AS A RESULT OF OUR RELYING UPON YOUR MISREPRESENTATION. YOU MAY ALSO BE SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOR PERJURY.” [original caps, bracketed comments mine]

I’ve had troubles with sploggers, those criminals who reproduce other people’s content on their websites to sell ads, but I’ve never been legally cautioned against trying to defend my copyright. Who would “knowingly misrepresent” that their copyright has been violated? Are people running around accusing websites of splogging just to cause trouble? This seems strange to me.

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8 comments on “Defend Your Copyright At Your Own Risk!

  1. Sam Houston says:

    Sounds like a site that I won't be bothering with…all take and no give.

  2. Stefanie says:

    Wow, quite the difference in copyright there. Wikipedia seems so casual and friendly and communal. The other is all bristles. I wonder why Bookjive chose the bristly route?

  3. verbivore says:

    I am with Stefanie – why would they feel so compelled to be so strict. Especially if the idea is to follow the Wiki model?

  4. Whoa. Stay away from that one.
    Best start a blog and write your thoughts there! At least you know you own them. Yikes.

  5. Susan says:

    Sylvia, I said on my blog that I'd read Daniel Deronda ever so slowly if you'd order a copy to read along with me, but the truth of the matter is I. will. not. start. at. all. until you're ready and tell me it's time to start.
    Read with me, read with me, read with me!
    (How's that for arm twisting?)

  6. Sylvia says:

    Awwww! OK, I've put a hold on a library copy, which should get here Saturday (unless there is more strike action, which is possible). In the mean time I can get started reading online at the U of Adelaide (very nice online books there). 🙂

  7. hfd;aghuhfv says:

    Wikipedia is committed to free content. Thus anything that helps in rapaidly indentifying copyvios is good. By comparison Bookjive is interested in getting as much content as posible with it's copyright status being only a secondard consideration

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