Feeds

B3ta served DMCA notice for Photoshop Prince challenge

Satire to you, multiple copyright infringements to us

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Lawyers acting on behalf of Prince have sent out a flurry of US copyright infringement notifications to individual members of a popular UK website which encourages its community to create satirical images of well-known stars.

A number of users of b3ta.com have been slapped with DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) notifications after posting images that poke fun at the pint-sized popstar's ongoing crusade to rid the internet of unauthorised Prince material.

B3ta co-founder Rob Manuel told The Register that he was "surprised Prince's lawyers had bitten".

But the legal cudgels worked. In a posting on the site today, Manuel wrote.

Under threat of legal action from Princes legal team of "potential closure of your web site" - We have removed the Prince image challenge and B3ta apologises unreservedly to AEG / NPG and Prince for any offence caused. We also ask our members to avoid photoshoping Prince and posting them on our boards.

Users of the website had overwhelmingly voted for Prince as their "image challenge of the week" in response to his legal attempts to take down unauthorised fan sites.

The DMCA notifications claim that B3ta had infringed multiple copyright (pirate, unauthorised and libellous) owned by Prince, his record label NPG and entertainment group AEG.

But Manuel argued that the legal noise being made by Prince against his fans was counterproductive. He said: "It's what often happens online - web censorship blows up in the censor's face."

Although the notifications do not fall under UK legal jurisdiction, Web Sheriff, which issued the DMCAs on behalf of Prince's lawyers, claimed that the individuals could be sued in a US court if they failed to respond to the take-down request.

Indeed, Kim Walker, intellectual property head at law firm Pinsent Masons pointed out that while the DMCA itself could not be enforced in a British court, the claim itself still carried water.

He said: "The copyright laws in the UK are pretty strict. Many people assume that images can be used for parody or satire, but that's not the case.

"While the UK has a concept of 'fair dealing', it stops short of authorising parody and satire. Many people think that should change - but that's the way it is for now."

Web Sheriff's John Gaicobbi told El Reg that B3ta and its users had overstepped the mark.

He said: "I don't think the people who posted them would like to be on receiving end of that kind of treatment.

"There's poking fun and there's poking fun and people are clearly taking it too far and crossing over the boundaries of what is acceptable."

In recent months Prince has stomped on Pirate Bay, an 18-month-old baby having a boogie to one of his songs on YouTube and three of his most popular unauthorised fan websites. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.