Once again I get caught up in a copyright quandary. There’s this incredible photo of a “lost” flyer up on Flickr, and the guy who took it has it marked with a © All Rights Reserved mark, not a Creative Commons mark or anything, and even though the revered Bike Snob has posted the image on his site without any attribution, and even though I have a section on my site dedicated to exceptional notices about lost items, I hesitate to post this exceptional flyer here without seeking prior permission.
At my work, I spend all day listening to people say, “But I’m not making any money off it! I gave you credit! It’s just more publicity for you!” when they violate a client’s terms of copyright. It’s tiresome. Those things aren’t really the point of copyright. Control over the dissemination of one’s work is the point of copyright. I get that. I respect it. Often. Not always. But from time to time I do. In certain contexts. Argh. I don’t know. Thus the quandary.
Aw, fuck it. I need to share what’s not mine.
Seeing as he didn’t actually make the flyer, but just took a photo of it, I would argue that this flyer isn’t really Yankel Frankel‘s to copyright either. But he just copyrighted the image of the flyer, not the flyer. And the flyer doesn’t have a copyright notice on it, because obviously the guy/girl who made the flyer wanted it to be disseminated as much as possible.
If I could have gotten one of my friends in New York to steal one of these flyers and send the original to me to scan I wouldn’t be violating anybody’s copyright. And if I put a scanned image up of the flyer it would be good for everybody in terms of disseminating its message, even if I did have someone steal the original flyer… off public property, where no doubt it’s not legal to post flyers in the first place. It’s a slippery slope, this idea of intellectual property. Maybe somebody can buy me an ice cream truck so I can stop worrying about this copyright stuff once and for all.