Last week, I was in the middle of writing about the girl who quit her job with dry erase board, when I realized I can't get any pictures to illustrate the post. The only thing that would work would be one of the images from the original hoax, or some derivative of it. But all of them were copyrighted.
Being a nice and IP sensitive person as I am, I checked the ToS on the site:
Any authorization to copy Material granted by Rober Media LLC in any part of Rober Media LLC websites for any reason is restricted to making a single copy for non-commercial, personal, entertainment use on a single computer only, and is subject to your keeping intact all copyright and other proprietary notices. Using any Material on any other web site or networked computer environment is prohibited.
Translated from the lawspeak, they authorize me (and you) to see the website and to make a single copy for private entertainment on one computer. Nothing more than that. BTW, that "making a single copy on a single computer" is what happens automatically when you open any web page. Computer makes the copy on your hard drive and keeps it for a while. Without that sentence, each visitor of the site would unintentionally break the law.
Though there was nothing about it in the ToS, I guessed that I could send them an email asking for a permission to post one of their photos as an illustration to the post, noting that links and credits will be given, blah, blah… And then wait for an answer.
Which would, in the best scenario, took us a whole day. One day is a long time in the life of an Internet meme. And then, if every blogger that wanted to chit-chat a bit about the story sent an email asking for a permission for a photo, they would be in a deep pile of boring errands. I dropped the idea of sending an email and published the post with one of their images.
photo by Alec Couros
So, it's been a week since I willingly broke the copyright. I got no requests to put down the post yet. probably won't get any at all. For two reasons: I'm too small and under the radar. Second, they have no interest in chasing people for spreading the meme. On contrary. That post was meant to be shared around. That's how websites gain readers, popularity and higher Google pagerank.
But why they don't use some other copyright license then? Creative Commons would work perfectly in a case like this one. Creative Commons was invented for cases like this one.
This is not just The Chive. Large part of the web works on the same principle. It's easier to slap some lawspeak that forbids everything to everybody and then decide which cases really violate the IP rights and which not. Make everybody guilty then decide which are worth suing. No reason to start living in the digital world of the 21st century.