A strange phenomenon of copyleft trolls is on the rise

During the last months we have been sharing a couple of news that until a few years ago they seemed like a joke and they simply would not have been taken into account with the seriousness that they have been taken today.

And it is the US courts have been registering the appearance of a strange phenomenon of "copyleft trolls", which use aggressive schemes to trigger massive legal proceedings, taking advantage of users' carelessness when borrowing content distributed under various open licenses.

At the same time, the name "copyleft troll" proposed by Professor Daxton R. Stewart is seen as a result of the evolution of "copyright trolls" and is not directly related to the concept of "copyleft".

En particular, copyleft troll attacks can be carried out when content is distributed under a permissive license Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC-BY) or under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA) copyleft license.

Photographers and artists who want to make money from litigation post their work on Flickr or Wikipedia under CC-BY licenses, after which intentionally identify users who violate license terms and demand royalties, ranging between $ 750 and $ 3500 for each violation. In case of refusal to pay royalties, a copyright infringement lawsuit is sent to court.

I was reminded of Stewart's warnings on this, and my own interest in writing something about it, recently when there was a semi-viral story involving the popular Twitterer @foone who had his Twitter account suspended for what appeared to be a similar guy of copyleft claim. Foone's explanatory thread (after his account was reset), noted that they had taken a CC photo by attribution, but had not added the attribution, leading to a DMCA claim. In the end, that didn't seem as bad as some of the trolling situations Stewart describes.

However, at the heart of all this is the fundamental nature of how Creative Commons works, and how some people are still confused about it. Creative Commons was always a kind of clever hack of the copyright system, creating new licenses that were much more open, but still relied on copyright as the backbone. However, the variety of licenses within the Creative Commons space has sometimes led to confusion, especially regarding its non-commercial licenses.

CC-BY licenses require mandatory attribution and linked license when copying and distributing material. If these conditions are not met when using Creative Commons licenses up to version 3.0, the license can be revoked immediately upon termination of all rights of the licensee granting this license, after which the copyright holder can search financial penalties through the court. for copyright infringement.

In Creative Commons 4.0 licenses, revocation abuse prevention has been added to provide a 30-day redress mechanism to automatically regain revoked rights.

Many users have the misconception that if a photo is published on Wikipedia and distributed under a CC-BY license, then it is freely available and can be used without unnecessary formalities in your materials.

Therefore, when copying photos from collections of free materials, many do not bother to mention the author, and if they do, they forget to put a full link to the original or a link to the text of the CC-BY license. When distributing content under old versions of the Creative Commons license, such violations are enough to revoke the license and take legal action, which is what copyleft trolls use.

Recent incidents include blocking of @Foone's Twitter feed for older hardware. The channel presenter posted a CC-BY photo of a SONY MAVICA CD200 camera taken from Wikipedia, but did not mention the author, after which the photo's copyright owner sent a DMCA request to Twitter about copyright infringement. author, which led to the account being blocked.

Source: https://www.techdirt.com


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  1.   Diego Vallejo placeholder image said

    Well, it is time to go through the lining free licenses have consequences.
    That later comes greats like Nintendo and after criminalizing the use of free emulators they use it for their benefit with their Nintendo Mini and they do not even respect the GNU license, then theirs are sacred and be very careful if you skip them.