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Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 21:07
This may be a difficult set of circumstances to explain, so please bear with me.

I own the domain name and license to operate a news/political discussion forum. The forum has been in operation for 2 +/- years. Recently, we had a member to pass away. At the time I heard the news, I requested my admins to create and install a memorial ribbon in his honor. That ribbon contained his name, screen name, and dates of birth and life. It was a touching addition to the forum. The installation was made incorporating the ribbon into the banner of the forum.

Here is where the twist begins to unravel. The two Admins I made the request of, also operate a vb forum. We recently experienced a split from my forum to theirs over hurt feelings, etc. Upon exit, one of the departing members copied the memorial ribbon before exit and presently uses it in their signature at the other forum.

In trying to take the proper steps to remedy the copyright infringement, I cordially contacted the admins and respectfully requested that the ribbon be removed, which they declined. To make matters worse, one of the admins started a thread at the forum condoning the theft, and the actions of the particular member.

Here is my position:

1) I personally commissioned the creation and installation of the memorial ribbon specifically to my forum. The ribbon was never displayed in any shape, form, or fashion at any other forum until this disgruntled member did so without permission.

2) The deceased member stated prior to his death that along with my forum, he only visited a couple of RV forums, but spent most of his internet time at my forum.

Question(s)

1) Is this in fact a copyright infringement?

2) Do I have remedy? I am not interested in filing suit, but I want the ribbon removed from the other forum and possibly the offending members banned for violating copyright infringements as spelled out in the vb licensing agreement.

Brandon Sheley
04 Sep 2007, 21:14
If you had it up first on the net, you have the rights.

Contact their host.

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 21:14
Is there a reason why you wouldn't want the guy memorialized by the signature? It seems like a nice thing for your friend to have it in as many places as possible.

Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 21:15
If you had it up first on the net, you have the rights.

As I thought, but what remedy do I have in having it removed from the other site?

Is there a reason why you wouldn't want the guy memorialized by the signature? It seems like a nice thing for your friend to have it in as many places as possible.

It was taken in spite, and is currently being displayed out of spite.

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 21:23
Ah, well that's different then. :D

In the end, if your friend is being remembered, that is the point of the memorial.

But I see your point, I sure wouldn't want my...say...ex wife with a memorial in her sig to my current wife.

Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 21:27
Contact their host.

How do I determine who the host is?

Whois is of no help. Comes back with a blank.

Paul M
04 Sep 2007, 21:29
If you had it up first on the net, you have the rights.


I wouldn't be so sure of that, since they created it.

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 21:29
That was my thought, it would be owned by the person that created it. Not by who "commissioned" it.

Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 21:30
I wouldn't be so sure of that, since they created it.

While they did in fact create the ribbon, it was done at my direction, and installed on my mboard.

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 21:35
Is there anyway to get the guy who originally made it to transfer ownership to you? I did that with all official images I "commissioned" on my site.

For instance, my banner was made by someone else and I got them to state in writing that it belonged to TheDarkTower.com

My wiki image is fan art, and it belongs to someone else, if he wanted me to stop using it and give it to someone else, totally acceptable. Since he wouldn't sign it over to me, I have to deal with that eventuality.

banner is here (http://www.thedarktower.com)

wiki is here (http://www.thedarktower.com/palaver/showthread.php?t=696)

Paul M
04 Sep 2007, 21:36
I doen't matter where it was displayed/installed first. Copyright rests with the creator of the work. If they created it, they own the copyright, not you.

Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 21:44
I doen't matter where it was displayed/installed first. Copyright rests with the creator of the work. If they created it, they own the copyright, not you.

I understand what you are saying, but somehow that doesn't wash. I requested the creation, so once completed and installed, does that not make it mine since I asked for it, or it was gifted to me, so to speak?

Secondary to that, by licensing agreement, any post made at that forum become mine as well. Is this not the same thing?

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 21:56
It wasn't gifted to you unless the creator of the image put it in writing.

If it was a case of simply posting it on your site for ownership, that would mean this banner would be owned by vbulletin.org when I posted it.

http://www.thedarktower.com/palaver/images/wow/misc/header1.gif

that doesn't seem fair does it?

EnIgMa1234
04 Sep 2007, 22:01
I don't think theres anything you can do. They made the image, they own it. They actually could make you take it down. The only thing you can do is to try and reason with the guy.

Newsy
04 Sep 2007, 22:01
that doesn't seem fair does it?

So, if I create a banner for you and install it on your site, all at your request, I can still take it back or claim ownership?

Not only does that not seem fair, it seems profoundly illegal.

EnIgMa1234
04 Sep 2007, 22:04
Asking for it isn't enough. You would need an agreement between you and they maker saying that you now own it.

Paul M
04 Sep 2007, 22:07
I understand what you are saying, but somehow that doesn't wash.


Wash or not, afaik, it's fact. :) If a legal expert can state otherwise then they are free to correct me.


Secondary to that, by licensing agreement, any post made at that forum become mine as well. Is this not the same thing?


Well that depends on what you agreed to when you joined, at CF we have a clause in our terms like this ;
You will acknowledge and accept that all content posted on this site becomes the property of the site owners, you acknowledge that You are the author of each message posted and CF are the publishers.


But yes, in the absence of such terms your post is owned by yourself and should not be reproduced elsewhere (I believe this is a dodgy area as far as search engines are concerned).

towermatt
04 Sep 2007, 22:26
So, if I create a banner for you and install it on your site, all at your request, I can still take it back or claim ownership?

Not only does that not seem fair, it seems profoundly illegal.

That's why I made him give it to me in writing. Otherwise, the scene you describe is totally legal.