Monday, 21 February 2011

It Never Rains, It Just Pours and Pours and Pours... Oh... And a Couple of New Links

Orage, having lamented the sudden and unexpected disappearance of a couple of weeks ago has written in to say that the site has now reappeared as
My thanks, Orage. (click blog name or pic on left - from the blog - or see blog list in right hand sidebar.)

Now too the serious stuff. My days running this blog may well be numbered - it is now in danger of being reported to Google / Blogger for copyright infringement. Going back some time, many of you will remember the debate (also ongoing elsewhere such as on Wikiart) as to whether the artwork that has been around on the web for some time under the name of 'Thorn' was in actuality attributable to 'Hobbs' and that this 'Thorn' chap had merely plagiarized the work by adding his own signature. Well it seems that particular debate has now been settled. I first came upon an example of such artwork signed by 'Thorn' on the web (I forget where) around ten years ago and was under the impression at the time that it was a scan taken from an old spanking magazine. Today I received an email saying that a certain internet-based company had left a comment on my first ever posting "Introduction and welcome message" - a posting dating back to August 2008:

"Please contact me via -------------- regarding the unapproved use of our copyrighted images on your site. The are thorn01.jpg and thorn05.jpg, [my italics] images for which we own the originals and, as they were commissioned from the artist Hobbs (not Thorn) by ourselves, for which we own the copyright. We shall give you 14 days to reply before reporting the matter to Google/Blogger"

Well, I don't want that - this blog and the books I have been writing constitute a major hobby of mine and practically the only distraction I have from the day to day grind of being unemployed. Many of us here in the UK use blog writing and creation as a social outlet - often our only social outlet when money is short; as it is right now, incidentally. If Blogger knocks me off then there would seem little point continuing with the book.

The really odd thing is that, having rummaged the blog archive with the archive search facility (see top of the right hand sidebar) I can find no sign of the offending images ie thorn01.jpg and thorn05.jpg. The only image I could find possibly attributable to 'Thorn / Hobbs' was the ten year old one that was the first I ever came across - this I have removed as a precaution. Generally wherever I use an image - and assuming I know it's origin - I credit it to its source and if a site address is included as part of the image I leave it be or add a link to it in addition. And that seems the way in the world of the blog. Few of these blogs we all visit are comercial ventures and though a little revenue may be raised through affiliate banners, the few a blog such as mine supports do little more than help pay for my broadband connection.

I think the point is that we all - meaning the larger blogger community, especially the spankers - are going to have to be more careful as to the origin of content. A quick run through a few of my favorite blogs this morning revealed a plethora of likely copyright material - all those stories and illustrations taken from 'Janus' et al for example that are spread all over blogger-ville! And as I think we all know: the powers that be behind blogger only need the slightest excuse to get rid of we spanking / discipline / bondage / fetish types - witness the number of blogs that have vanished of late (and don't be surprised if this one is next, by the looks of things).

Anyway, for those interested (and who have waded through thus far - well done, true believer) below is a copy of my (a little bit groveling) reply. Should the blog by some miracle survive this, rest assured that from now on the only pictorial content will be that generated by my own hand or my collaborator in the 'States or that provided by the affiliate sites I feature. If it comes to it I'll just have to increase the number of the latter to provide content, though I should have some more from the new book completed soon that I can post here. I urge you all to take a note of my email just in case and then if the blog falls and I can no longer garner the enthusiasm to finish the book I'll distribute it in its messy, vignette-style unfinished state, along with all unfinished chapters and roughed-out sections and notes to any who want it on my email list in the hope that it can be distributed around relevant places on the web where others may have the time and patience to complete it. By the way: any other of you bloggers out there had this experience and run into this trouble? Please ask around.
So, for better or for worse, here is the response I sent:

"I am terribly sorry if I have somehow inadvertently infringed someones copyright. I didn't realize the problem. Strangely I have not been able to find the illustrations concerned (thorn01.jpg and thorn05.jpg,) on my blog but many images attributed to Thorn seem to be all over the web and featured on various sites and blogs and many have been sent to me by email in the past. I have always been under the impression that the images were old and originated in some now defunked spanking magazine.

I think I may have featured a couple of others attributed to this 'Thorn' chap and had a dialog with someone who stated that this 'Thorn' was actually plagiarizing the work of this Hobbs of yours by simply replacing the signature. I have in the past discussed these allegations on my blog as a point of interest. But work signed by 'Thorn' has been widely spread across the web for many, many years and as I say, I have always been under the impression that the artwork was quite old.

My intention has never been to profit from anything on my blog other than through increased sales of the two books I have written and that have sold in the hundreds rather than thousands since their launch. In that way both the books and the blog constitute a hobby and nothing more ambitious than that; though I have added a couple of affiliate banners in recent times in an attempt, partly to generated content for the blog and partly to try and generate a little income to keep me going while I try to finish my third and final book (a little ambition of mine that helps keep me going). I am long-term unemployed with little income, little social life to speak of, other than visits to the local pub, and little more than writing my stuff and keeping the blog to keep me occupied.

As I say, this is a hobby for me, no more than that and certainly not anything that might be considered a commercial project. Maybe I have been a little naive but it has never been my intention to tread on anyone's toes.

I am more than happy to trawl through my blog and remove any and all images attributable to 'Thorn' and / or Hobbs and will get on with that task at the soonest opportunity.

Meanwhile; if you could let me know the location of the offending images - thorn01.jpg and thorn05.jpg – I would be most grateful.

I would also be happy to clarify on my blog that any images signed 'Thorn' that folk may come across on the web are in fact plagiarized from the work of Hobbs (as your claim to the copyright seems to validate that allegation once and for all) and paste up a link to your site for all those interested in that art work."


Madmonkey said...

Yeah, I don't understand people that post things on the internet and then try and keep people from posting them other places. If you put intentionally something on the internet I believe you are effectively giving it away and should recognize this.

Toyntanen said...

Well not really, Madmonkey; that’s a common misconception. You see, legally copyright still holds as regards redistribution, use etc. In this case the copyright owner has quite legitimately objected to the use of a couple of illustrations on this blog which I have now located and removed, solving the problem to the copyright owners satisfaction.

I have to say, though, that this whole copyright thing is a minefield that practically the whole blogging community (probably) has stumbled in to, to some degree or other. I mean; practically everyone pinches images off each other’s blogs and often without much thought as to the origin. What worries me is how much trouble is being stored up for the future when the come to tame the copyright Wild West that is the internet.

Orage said...

You might ask the owner of the new blog britishspankingmags called Jeremy since I have a strong suspicion he's Dmitry from the former blog.

You might also consider transfering your blog to with due previous notice to your readers.

I can't see why you should contemplate such suicidal measures as delineated in your paragraph "Anyway for those interested..."

Toyntanen said...

Hi Orage! I’m not sure about I’d never heard of them so I just took a quick peek using the usual search terms that I’d use in Google. It would be nice to run a parallel version there (or elsewhere) and it would seem a good fall-back if Google does start to crack down harder on Blogger spanking blogs but sexusblog seems all a little too ‘commercially hardcore’ for my tastes. But thanks for telling me about it; I’ll look into it a little deeper when I have more time.

As for those ‘suicidal measures’ you mention: I was panicking a little at the time and what with the noise in the café I was in - and the pain in my knee and foot – I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. Also I took a quick look around on the net for advice and came across a report of a company that, as the major part of their business model, looks for sites hosting large or complete chunks of text - news reports for example – buying up the copyright of that material before going on to sue the site owner and seeking to profit from the damages received. (At least such was their plan, but a judge in the ‘States seems to have put a halt to that, throwing the case out of court – but I read that bit much later.) Not knowing whom I were dealing with (is that good grammar?) and having read that, I’m afraid my mind went a little numb.

Anonymous said...

Madmonkey is talking bollocks.

Just because it is easy to steal other people work doesn't mean it is right, legal or moral.

Regarding the Thorn pix, the complainent needs to give the URL of the page the images are on.

And they need to do that to if they want to have a valid complaint.

They mightget the site taken down but all they can sue you for is the money that you may have made from using the images -- which I would assume is a little less than 1p.

If you want to take pix from other sites, just ask the owner. It is simple curtesy and I'll bet you won't get refused.

Toyntanen said...

Hi 'Anonymous'!

I think that's kind of what I said. But it is all sorted out now in any case. But I understand where that kind of stance that Madmonkkey has stems from in that just about everything up on the net on blogs that has been scanned in will be infringing someone's copyright.

But there is more to it in this particular case, though that you wont know about. There is a long running dispute going on over the plagiarism of an artists work at stake.

Namely that the work of an artist going by the name of Hobbs has had his work stolen in effect by an individual signing himself 'Thorn' who has, as far as I can gather, simply replaced the signature of the true artist with his own monica - definitely not the done thing.

Anyway, as I say; it's all sorted out now, perhaps it's time to move on from this correspondence.

Hopefully I'll be posting up something new tomorrow to get you all talking.

Anonymous said...

when you say "that just about everything up on the net on blogs that has been scanned in will be infringing someone's copyright."

Yes, of course. That is because they have stolen someone elses work. You scan someone elses work then you are infringing their copyright. And you know it.

You yourself are now doing some original art work with your artist in the USA. And you are writing original stories for your book. You know how much time and effort is needed.

So, I get a copy of your book, use the new ION Book Saver ($149) and scan your book in and sell it as an ebook or post it up for free download.

According to the Madmonkey that would be perfectly acceptable. I wonder how much original work Madmonkey has produced?


Toyntanen said...

Hi Rex!

That's always a risk - and of course I'd rather you didn't. But the point I was making is that I doubt there is one blog out there that is not guilty of some kind of copyright infringement, if one were to delve deep enough.

I mean, I have scanned in the odd reader’s letters page from old spanking mags and posted up some scanned in by others. And there is this defence termed ‘fair usage’, though it all sounds a little contentious. But I think there is a big difference – morally at least - between scanning and posting a small fragment or an image to share with others, particularly if it serves also to publicise the source - ie it for informative purposes – and posting up a work or article, say, in its entirety. For example, there are several blogs out there publishing entire storeys taken from Janus, Blushes, Whispers and the like (I am in the process of adding a couple of such sites to my blog role now in fact.) I think it is even worse, morally, when someone comes along, changes an artist’s signature to their own on an artwork and literally just steals it by taking credit for someone else’s work.

Anyway, it’s all sorted out now and gradually all those rogue illustrations of Hobbs’ but resigned and appropriated by ‘Thorn’ are being mopped up from the web. So ‘nuff said, I think. (As Stan Lee used to sign off in Marvel comics – I bet that’s just infringed a trademark or something.) Excelsior!
Now… enough about copyright already!

By the way, Rex; I hate to display my ignorance but what is an ION Book Saver?