Pop “star” Rhianna wins court case against Topshop… in other news she needs a new hats to fit her swollen headJanuary 27, 2015
Really annoys me when “celebrities” kick off cos a photo of them has been used without permission. In the Rhiannha v Topshop case, the mediocre singer complained because the shop was selling t-shirts bearing her photograph. She claimed that Topshop were making out that she had endorsed the use of the photo. Rihanna won because the High Court decided that despite the copyright licence a substantial number of purchasers would have believed that Rihanna endorsed the sale of the product shirt with her image– because the image was taken from her current album – Talk That Talk – and Topshop had collaborated in the past with trend setting celebrities (from www.fashionlaw.co.uk).
This kind of crap is ridiculous, and demonstrates how $$$ is more important than the facts and the law in courts. When a photographer shoots a photo of an individual, the copyright belongs to the photographer, whether the subject of the photo likes it or not (this is English law). As for this nonsense that the public might think Rhianna endorsed the t-shirt in question – that has nothing to do with it. The t-shirt did not bear any lettering suggesting that the crap pop star liked the t-shirt.
Rhianna, probably realizing that she would be broke in a few years, decided to get a few extra bucks suing Topshop. Stupid (as you might expect from a pop bimbo with less brain than a stick insect) – instead of taking Topshop to court, she could have got her lawyers to arrange for her to be paid royalties. But no: the twat tries to occupy the moral highground (and how in hell did she manage that?).
At Shmoosmiths.co.uk, it was reported that Judge Justice Birss was at pains to point out that no new law was being developed as a result of his findings:
Unlike other jurisdictions (including many US states) there is no such thing in English law as ‘image rights’. In some jurisdictions it is possible for celebrities to rely on extensive statutory protection for their personal brand covering everything from their voice to their signature. In Guernsey it is possible to register such rights. However, in the UK the courts have refused to extend the law to prevent the use of a celebrity’s image if they consider that the use is simply fair competition without misrepresentation.
In the UK celebrities may be able to use existing law to protect their images and reputations in certain circumstances.
So, were those “certain circumstances” met in this case? I think not. Basically, Rhianna’s singing skills are leaving fast. All the silly cow has going for her are her looks. It won’t be long before those fail her and she ends up looking like the back end of a bus. So she’s making the most of them while they last. Hence the court action.
As a photographer, I have the right to take pictures of just about anyone I want to, so long as I am standing on public roads/areas or have permission of the landowner that I’m standing on, and so long as the subject of my photography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as far as I can tell, Rhianna did not have a reasonable expectation. And, also very important, Topshop had obtained a licence of the copyright in the photograph. Topshop owned the copyright, the photo was taken legally… yet Rhianna still won. English courts are ridiculous. Rhianna (and her legal team): a bunch of pillocks. Fuck Rhianna and all who sail in her.
Here’s another blog post about Rhiana from Mind of Malaka “What do Rhianna and my daughter have in common?” It’s not about this story on the photos… but if you don’t want your kids to grow up seeing Rhianna as some kind of role model, click of the link and read it. Stupid dopey Rhianna fool, she is one big mass of idiocy-with-money…
Copyright trolls are a nasty phenomenon of the internet age. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF):
Copyright trolls try to make money by suing Internet users under various copyright laws. Their tactics include targeting large groups of anonymous “John Doe” defendants for downloading files on BitTorrent, seeking their identities, and exploiting the massive damages in copyright law in order to pressure defendants into settling quickly.
Copyright trolls are currently targeting two blogs caught up in a bizarre lawsuit filed by Paul Duffy and Prenda Law LLC, Duffy’s copyright troll law firm. The complaints claim the bloggers and their commenters defamed Duffy and his firm, despite the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech. At the same time, they Duffy served a subpoena on Automattic Inc., the company that owns the WordPress blogging platform. The subpoena seeks the IP addresses of everyone who ever visited the two websites, threatening the privacy of the bloggers and their readers. On Friday, Automattic rejected the subpoena in a letter to Duffy, calling it “legally deficient and objectionable” and a violation of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously. In other words, WordPress aren’t folding at the first sight of an aggressive subpoena from Duffy, they are saying NO!!! to Duffy’s scare tactics.
“Not only is the subpoena improper under the First Amendment, it fails to comply with the simple rules for pre-trial discovery,” EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo added.
A lot of blog and website hosting companies back off as soon as letters from lawyers are unleashed. But not WordPress/Automattic.inc. They recognize the first amendment rights to freedom of expression, and are prepared to take this before a judge.
Automattic has stated unequivocally that it will not turn over any information until the bloggers’ challenge to the lawsuit has played out in court. In order to protect this right to anonymity, EFF and the Mudd Law Office will not publicly release the names of their clients in this suit.
“Critics of the copyright troll business model have the right to speak anonymously without their identities being exposed to the trolls,” said Kurt Opsahl, EFF Senior Staff Attorney. “These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against Prenda.”
Infamous copyright troll John Steele previously filed a similar lawsuit against the two blogs but dropped the suit last week without giving any reason why. I suspect it’s because he knows he doesn’t stand a chance in court. So I urge all bloggers to say NO!!! to the trolls. They won’t take their frivolous cases before a judge as they know they’ll just be handed back their asses. Don’t let the copyright trolls take your hard-earned bucks. Screw ’em. They’ve got nothing.
Aaron Swartz before they killed him… Look, he’s smiling
Don’t you know who Aaron Swartz was? Shame on you! Go read about this modern-age hero now!! Aaron Swartz believed in free access to publibly-funded science and other documents. He helped fight SOPA. And now he’s dead.
He wrote “The Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” which clearly outlines why it’s wrong to commodify knowledge. Rather than give you a link, I decided to reprint the Manifesto here.
Guerilla Open Access Manifesto
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for
themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries
in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of
private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the
sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought
valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure
their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But
even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future.
Everything up until now will have been lost.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their
colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to
children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.
“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they
make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal —
there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s
already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been
given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world
is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for
yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords
with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been
sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by
the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or
piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a
ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only
those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.
Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate
require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they
have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who
can make copies.
There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the
grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with
the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need
to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific
journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open
With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the
privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?
July 2008, Eremo, Italy
The name Aaron Swartz should never be forgotten. Neither should the date 11 January 2013, the day he died. We should remember Aaron Swartz every day, by following his manifesto. Copy and distribute documents and other material as part of a global struggle against those who would keep us down and teach us our “station in life”.
I got an email today from the nice people at Fight for the Future, reminding me that a year ago today, “you, me, and 24 million people defeated SOPA and Internet censorship. It was the largest online protest ever.” SOPA was the Stop Online Piracy Act, a proposed US law that would have impacted horribly on all our freedoms online. But it was stomped, one year ago today, and now many people are calling for 18 January to be known as Internet Freedom Day.
The email suggested one way we can celebrate Internet Freedom Day:
How is Fight for the Future participating? Since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up, we’re reminded that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is copyrighted, and often censored on sites like Youtube. We realized that watching and sharing this speech (which could be considered illegal) to celebrate Dr. King’s work and the freedom we fought for is exactly what needs to happen.
To honor Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolent civil disobedience and to celebrate our historic defeat of SOPA, we made this video that contains the entire 17 minute speech.
If SOPA had passed, you could have gone to jail for sharing a video of it, and entire websites could have been shut down for linking to it.
But even more than that, there’s a bigger question: Are you okay with a world where when someone just learning about race and civil rights goes to the web to see MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and is confronted with a notice that says “this video has been removed”? It isn’t until 2038, when the copyright on this speech is over, that you’re even allowed to share this video.
If you haven’t done so already, send this video to a friend, tweet it, talk to your friends about it, and celebrate MLK’s work and our ability to fight back online censorship that can keep the things we love and need from us.
Nice sentiment. And if you click that link to see the Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech, you will see that there’s still a lot to fight for.
The email also said:
Last, but not least, our friend and Center for Rights board member, Marvin Ammori, just wrote a book called On Internet Freedom that you can download *for free* today. He describes it as “a sort of love song to the First Amendment and the Internet.” (You can download the Kindle app for free to read on your computer, phone, or anything else, and we think he’d approve if you removed the DRM to read it on other devices.)
But anyway: 18 January as Internet Freedom Day? Hell yeah, I’m up for it.
Let’s try and make sure the Internet is, and remains, Free.
HAPPY INTERNET FREEDOM DAY!!!