upnorth

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Twitter users in Japan are facing uncertainty after the Supreme Court ruled that people who retweet copyright-infringing images can have their details passed to copyright holders. The case centered around the posting of an image that was posted to Twitter without permission and was then retweeted in an automatically cropped format.

With more than 330 million active users, Twitter is a true internet giant that gives anyone with an internet connection and an account to have their say on whatever they like. Whether insightful, provocative, or even thoughtless, the overwhelming majority of tweets cause no legal issues. Every now and again, however, cases can attract the attention of lawyers who believe their clients’ rights have been breached. Of course, copyright infringement is one of the most common issues and a case in Japan has put Twitter users on notice, not only concerning what they post to the platform but also what they can safely retweet to others.

The controversy began in 2014 when a photographer found that one of his images featuring a lily had been copied from his website and posted to Twitter without his permission. Additionally, he found that other users had retweeted the image from their own accounts. A Twitter feature meant that the retweeted images were cropped, removing the photographer’s name. The photographer wanted to discover not only the identity of the original poster but also the retweeters so took the matter to court. The Tokyo District Court found that the original posting of the image infringed the photographer’s copyright but dismissed the claims against the retweeters. Dissatisfied with the decision, the photographer took his case to the High Court handling intellectual property matters. That court agreed with the lower court that the original image posting had breached the photographer’s copyright. In respect of the retweeters, however, the High Court found they had violated the photographer’s moral rights, due to the Twitter cropping feature that removed his name, identifying him as the creator of the photograph. As a result, the High Court ordered Twitter to hand over the email addresses not only of the original poster but also those of three other Twitter users who retweeted the image.

Twitter appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and essentially took responsibility for the cropping of the images, a feature that wasn’t under the control of its users. The company argued that any decision against them could have a chilling effect on its platform. The arguments fell on deaf ears.

In a decision handed down yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered Twitter to hand over the email addresses of the three retweeters after finding that the photographer’s rights were indeed infringed when Twitter’s cropping tool removed his identifying information.
 
twitter did this to itself. it has censored voices it does not like and has essentially declared it has editorial control over its content. as such, it is liable for any content that is published on it. you can't have it both ways, either you are a public forum, meaning twitter must publish any user's content, and the content poster is then liable (and twitter is protected) or you are like a newspaper with editorial control and are liable for what it publishes. in truth, the social media companies have played this to grow rich off of protected content for decades. but they have increasingly been hardening their editorial control and opening themselves to liability.
 
dunno. i have a book i am writing. i have spent 3 years on it. let's say someone buys it and puts it on twitter for free. i ask twitter to remove it and they refuse. and then another puts my book up for free, and another. all my work and i'm no longer able to make any money off it. let's say twitter uses this (hypothetically) as a business model. they have users that go to amazon and chapters bookstores and buy one copy and publish all the books as tweets for free. twitter is now the free source of paid ebooks and generates a lot of traffic. they would then sell advertising and makes a killing off all the authors' stolen work, and the author' would make nothing. this is a metaphor, but it seems to me only people that take unlawfully would side with twitter on this. i mean, what would stop someone from copying MalwareTips content and publishing it all as a competitors site? well, the law stops this and rightfully so. you can not steal another man's labour. yet this is what twitter has been doing. and google. it's no different than iobit stealing malwarebyte's sigs.
 
A restaurant once caused an uproar by reprinting an image of a dish without permission. What was malicious was the fact that the restaurant had processed the image to include the name of their restaurant.

legally, you have to prove that you suffered financial damage/loss from the infringement (basically, you have to prove that their action cost you a lot of money). if someone posts my image against my wishes, but i didn't suffer financially because of it, there is no breach of law. as in my book example, i would have to prove that i suffered a sizable loss of sales. and if that loss of sales was less than my lawyer costs, i wouldn't bother. if someone posts the restaurant menu and says it's all poison, and the restaurant loses customers, that is liable, you can not lie or slander to purposefully destroy someone's livelihood. to simply post the menu is not liable. damage must be had and proved.
 

show-Zi

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legally, you have to prove that you suffered financial damage/loss from the infringement (basically, you have to prove that their action cost you a lot of money). if someone posts my image against my wishes, but i didn't suffer financially because of it, there is no breach of law. as in my book example, i would have to prove that i suffered a sizable loss of sales. and if that loss of sales was less than my lawyer costs, i wouldn't bother. if someone posts the restaurant menu and says it's all poison, and the restaurant loses customers, that is liable, you can not lie or slander to purposefully destroy someone's livelihood. to simply post the menu is not liable. damage must be had and proved.
In this case, it seems that there was no financial issue because there was no citation from a peer.
The restaurant was criticized for the company's attitude of converting photos without permission.