Some say that possession is 9/10 of the law. That would often be the case unless of course, you were holding that undisputable 1/10. That is the case with my copyrighted images that have been taken and used without my permission. One may be in the possession of a car. That doesn’t necessarily make it his. The holder of the valid title is the legal owner of record. My U.S. Copyright, registered, bought and paid for, is the “title” to my photographic images. Unfortunately, there are those in the media that don’t respect those rights or laws. All they know is, “Take! Take! Take!”
Many criminals, even those caught “red handed” will spew the sorry excuse of a defense, “There must be some mistake.” It appears that those that infringe on copyrighted material use the same ridiculous defense as well. This has got to be one of the oldest ones in the book.
YouTomb noticed my work
YouTomb is a research project of MIT Free Culture. The purpose of the project is to investigate what kind of videos are subject to takedown notices due to allegations of copyright infringement with particular emphasis on those for which the takedown may be mistaken. Although our initial focus is on videos hosted by YouTube, we are interested in other video collections as well.
My correspondence with YouTomb:
I noticed that my notice of alleged copyright infringement made your page. I thought you might like my side of the story.
As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no mistake about my identifying this as a copyright infringement.
I took the picture in question and acquired copyright registration with the US Copyright office. Unquestionable video exists of me actually taking that photograph. I'm also a member of the National Press Photographers' Association.(NPPA) As like with musicians and other artists, who own copyrights of our work, I have rights as a copyright owner. In this case, those rights have been stepped over time and again.
You may ask why it took me 243 days to ask for this image's removal. Being poor, I have dial-up internet access and never watch Youtube because it takes hours for that to happen. It wasn't until a friend recently brought this alleged infringement to my attention before I took action.
“Our system” is hopelessly broken
In further delaying my action, it took nearly three months for the US Copyright office to allow a reasonable accommodation for my disability. This caused a long delay in the registration process. During this time, my image was continuously exploited without my permission. I addressed a letter to the White House regarding accessibility for the disabled. Since I did not receive a visit from the Secret Service, I must have not have made my point clear enough.
As a disabled American Citizen living at or near the poverty level, I am barred from accessing the judicial system. Constitutional rights to due process of law are available only to those Americans who can afford to pay for them. “You have to pay to play.” That is the name of the justice game in the United States.
During this experience, I have come to the belief that low income disabled Americans have no rights at all. As far as I’m concerned, all those laws on the books protecting the disabled aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Justice is available ONLY to those with the ability to pay.
If you are disabled and thinking of trying to get off Social Security Disability by attempting to earn an honest living, don’t bother wasting your time. Stay home, goof off, have fun and collect your check. Enjoy your permanent vacation! The system is designed to keep you down at all costs. Take it from me. I learned this the hard way.
As a result of the behavior of the alleged “copyright violators“, many of the hundreds of photographs I’ve taken during the past few months will never see the light of day. Those include photos taken at the 2009 Oi Fest in Tonopah, AZ and of the November 7, 2009, Phoenix, AZ NSM(National Socialist Movement) “America First” rally and after party. If the media cannot share legally, I will not share at all. Remember, all they had to do was ask. They did not.
I have come to learn that the skinheads, those so-called “Neo-Nazis” and NSM members are some of the most honorable, trustworthy, respectable, polite and well mannered individuals I have ever met. The few neighbors that attended the after party have said the same thing. I certainly trust them more than any member of the media. Trust and respect are things you must earn.
Help Wanted: “pro bono” Copyright Attorney
Photo: This is a dried up worm. It's a meaningless photo that has nothing to do with my story. As a result of my copyright experience, I didn't want to post a meaningful photograph.
Fair Use is not an exemption to infringement: “It is an admission that infringement HAS taken place, and the defense of fair use is looked upon as a last ditch excuse to avoid responsibility.”