Feeds

B3ta served DMCA notice for Photoshop Prince challenge

Satire to you, multiple copyright infringements to us

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.