Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things I Dislike About Bainbridge Island

They say that Bainbridge Island has the highest per-capita number of lawyers of any city in the state. Possibly the country. I mostly like BI, the small-town feel, driving at night with my high-beams on because there are almost no street lights. All the trees. What I don't like is the self-important hypocritical nasty-ass gits who seem to flock to the place. Take, for example, the blog Let the dog in, that Google Reader was kind enough to suggest to me. I looked at the first post in Reader and thought, "meh." Then I got to the bottom of the post, where it says this:

"Copyright © 2009 Let the dog in!. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement and in BIG, BIG TROUBLE. Please contact legal@www.letthedogin.com so we can take legal action immediately."

It reminds me of the story I heard of a guy from the city who was putting up a fence at a park, and was greeted pleasantly each day by one of the neighbors, and when he was just about done with the fence was told that that same neighbor was suing the city because the fence was too high. Number one: who the hell would be taking posts from some random housewife (and I mean no disparagement to housewives, but usually what goes on in their house is of interest only to the people that live there) and putting them on their website? Number two: if someone were foolish enough to do that, who would be such an idiot as to reproduce such a notice along with the content? Really? You're going to set up a special email address for people to contact you about copyright infringement? Really? Really? Puhlease.

5 comments:

Wendy said...

Hi Adam!

I was out of town when you posted this and just noticed the link. Thanks for reading my blog. I'm sure it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I believe I have over 100 subscribers, so someone seemed interested at one point. Of course, I subscribe to lots of blogs I don't read... And dooce.com is just a housewife, too, and look at her success. Go figure, eh?

As for the copyright notice, it's up because, yes, someone, more than once, has stolen my content. Amazing as that sounds. And, like you, I do enjoy photography and post photos that I have taken. I notice your website also has all rights reserved for your photography, and I think words as well as pictures have value (how much? who knows). Granted, online it's easy for people to steal content, esp if you're like my site with a full feed format, but I, like you, wanted people to be on notice that it's not a free-for-all site and it's not my intent for them to take whatever they want.

And part of that notice was a joke--"big, big trouble". Not saying it's funny, but....

I'm sure we could get together at the dog park and agree on many other items to add to a list of "things I dislike about bainbridge", excluding blogs.

BainbridgeIslander said...

All images and content Copyright © Adam de Boor 2004-2009. All rights reserved.
Nothing may be reproduced without prior written consent.

ardeb said...

Looking back at my post, I confess to having been somewhat obnoxious. As Wendy notes, there are many blogs and many different interests, and who am I to imply her content isn't worth stealing. My apologies.

Yes, I copyright my photos, and I have the advantage that I can embed a digital watermark in them to demonstrate their origin. Wendy and other authors on the web have far less access to proof of authorship, without sending a CD to the copyright office periodically with the material.

If the RSS feed simply said "Copyright 2009 Wendy Wallace. All Rights Reserved." I would have thought nothing of it. Or even "Copyright 2009 Wendy Wallace. All Rights Reserved. Please don't re-use without linking back." But it doesn't. And it's not the only Bainbridge-based blog that threatens dire consequences for people who appropriate content. I've not yet seen other blogs that do so, and I maintain it's consistent with the culture of Bainbridge Island. The dysfunctional city government is another example of the culture. People on Bainbridge talk about what a great community they have and how welcoming they are, but that's not been my experience; I've even met newcomers in the parks who are close to tears because of how far from welcoming the general culture is on Bainbridge. I went to a solstice festival, which you would think would be full of open, pagan cheer, and so many folks came in looked right at me, looked me in the eyes, and dismissed me without even a nod or a glimmer of a smile. My wife went to an envelope-stuffing affair at BPA and no one, I mean no one, introduced themselves or said welcome.

Anyway, I've strayed far afield from copyright. Two points: (1) if you're going to publish on the web, I believe it's reasonable to note that the content is copyrighted and you expect attribution if it's used -- remember there's the Fair Use aspect of copyright law -- and (2) if you're going to publish on the web, I believe you have to expect some amount of appropriation of your content. I copyright my images, and if one were used commercially and I learned of it, I would absolutely go after the person for licensing fees, or simply to give me credit or remove the image, but I don't threaten legal action as a matter of course: I think that's over the top.

Wendy said...

Apology accepted, Adam.

I think there's a term for what you describe for the unfriendliness--the "Seattle Freeze." We've been here about 7 years and definitely have felt it from time to time.

As for copyright (yes, I was a lawyer and worked in that area), don't think that the Fair Use Doctrine allows anyone to take your work without your permission. Yes, they could review it, comment, even parody it but all that implies acknowledging someone other than them created it in the first place. And you have rights in your work, whether you send it to the copyright office or not.

That being said, the internet is a hard place to enforce these kinds of rights. No doubt about that. That's when threats of lawsuits come in! ;-)

(And it was a Seattle blogger who first suggested to me adding the copyright warning.)

eM said...

wifey the one time envelope stuffer here.

Wendy: Funny, you meant it as a joke. I get that. But after dealing with so many self important and hypocritical (I might also add startlingly and sweepingly mediocre) Bainbridge Islanders for five years,it came off differently. Guess its one of those "judged by the company you keep" instances. The crabby attitude of the over priveleged on BI goes beyond the Seattle Freeze
IMO. At this point, if a person lives on BI, I assume they're a jerk until proven otherwise. Sigh. that's too bad.