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Topics - lucia

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Getty Images Letter Forum / Lucia's Statute of Limitations Reached
« on: December 03, 2014, 03:51:37 PM »
It's a bit late, but I wanted to let people know the statute of limitations for the infringement alleged in my 2011 Getty Image letter has passed.  No action on their part which was not too surprising since I hotlinked and hotlinking is not infringement. But still... it's a milestone. I'm in the "SOL" club!

Getty Images Letter Forum / Hacker blog discussing picscout.
« on: November 10, 2014, 09:14:40 AM »
The following post discusses  a response to a Getty Letter from a blogger who keeps track of his logs and looks at them:

It appears picscout may be using user agents like

So, blocking 'picscout' in .htaccess or some other way would be wise.

Those familiar with the sorry for partying case:
Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker also ruled the shirt was not an infringement because of the “transformative nature” of the work, according to Vosseller.

This should be a blow to Tim McCormack's theories of parody.

The ruling itself

Getty Images Letter Forum / Canada and Copyright Trolls
« on: July 08, 2014, 02:52:10 PM »
From time to time, Canadians stop by asking information on copyright in Canada. We have no one here with particular expertise on Canada. However, I dredged up a site from the University of Ottawa Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.  This is their page discussing Trolls:

Interstingly, that site mentions the same actors we discuss at ELI
So far, trolls have mostly targeted works that can be easily identified in online searches, such as stock images and news articles. In Canada, Getty Images and Masterfile are the most active companies engaged in this scheme. Increasingly, film production companies, especially in the adult entertainment industry, target movies downloaded using peer-to-peer software such as BitTorrent clients. While trolls in this area are most active in the United States, one company issued demand letters in Canada before dismissing its claim.

It's interesting to note that sites advice to Canadians includes  list of options when negotiating with Trolls.
    Accept & pay the fee demanded.
    Negotiate for a lower fee.
    Offer a fee in line with what the company could expect for statutory damages (in Canada, $500 per work).
    If you qualify as an innocent infringer, offer the company $200 per work as an equitable settlement offer.
    Tell the company that the work has been removed and say that ends the matter (and risk being sued).
    Ignore the company (and risk being sued).

There are lots of other interesting tid bits. But as I don't know enough to put then in context of any Canadian rulings, I'll just let people read the site themselves.   For what it's worth, I found this site through a Canadian BLAWG. That site indicated one of the attorney's associated with the clinic was interested in collecting together information on demands from Getty; that was written in 2008. I've emailed the attorney to learn whether he remains interested. If he is, I will post his email so Canadians who come here can learn of the resource.

My hosting service was recently sent a DMCA take down notice for my blog. I won't go into the details here, but while formulating responses, I discovered a useful new tool for responding to take down notices or cease and desist letters.  That is: Submit them to Chilling Effects so that the existence of these letters enters a public record. Specifically: the information will become available in a searchable database so others could search for similar letters.  You can also enter your responses to the letters.

This is what you do when you receive a DMCA takedown, or Cease and Desist letter.

1) Collect together your information so it is handy.
2) If you received a C&D or DMCA letter visit:
3) Read the categories, select the appropriate one and click. In this instance, my hosting company (Dreamhost) had been sent a DMCA takedown notice.  I chose
" I was told that my ISP had recevied a "DMCA takedown notice."
and clicked " submit C&D in topic DMCA Safe Harbor" which sent me to  One should click whatever is appropriate in their case. (For example, if you received a Demand letter from Getty, pick "submit C&D in topic Copyright" 
4) A form appeared.  I entered details about the person who claimed copyright and made a demand under "Information about the Sender of the C&D Notice: "  (For you this could be Getty Images, or BWP or such like.)   Even though the notice was sent to my ISP (i.e. web host) I entered details about myself under Information about the Recipient of the C&D Notice:  After all, I am the one being asked to desist.  In C&D Notice Body , I entered the text of the letter the person claiming copyright sent my ISP.  (BTW: I asked them to send me the letter she wrote and the attachments. They initially sent me their form letter telling me she had sent them a letter and instructing me with how I am to complay and my rights under the act. So you may need to ask them to send you the appropriate letter, and all attachments.)
5) I clicked to "submit".  When this was done, a second form appeared asking me to provide additional informaiton I might have. I did so and clicked. Prior to clicking, I also read that entire 2nd page.  I noted that I had been assigned an "ID number" which was, in my case NoticeID 1532105.  I also noticed that that page suggested I could submit attachments by sending email to "" using the subject line 'NoticeID xxxxxx'. (One would use the ID number that is appropriate for their submission. 
6) After clicking, the page told me "Thank you for submitting your cease and desist notice to the Chilling Effects database. It has been given NoticeID 1532105. Please refer to this identifier in follow-up communication, for more rapid identification. Your notice is now in the submission queue. It will be made visible to the public after it is approved and verified by an administrator. "  I noted the number for future reference. 

I'm now waiting for my notice to go live! 

When the time comes, I will also submit the response I sent to the DMCA and I plan to blog as Chilling Effects encourages that.  I don't know how much back and forth they permit one to enter.  But if a lot is permitted, it might be useful for people to scan their Getty Images letters, enter at Chilling Effects and also enter response to Getty, and if possible enter any follow on correspondence. Because the database is searchable, and the entries can be linked and displayed, this could potentially be a very useful tool to help the public better understand what is going on with these letters.

#chilling effects, #DMCA takedown. 

This is interesting as it touches on the meaning of "willfully!"
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California
James Ware, District Judge, Presiding

The panel vacated convictions and sentences on three counts of criminal copyright infringement and one count of trafficking in counterfeit labels in a case in which the defendant’s company commercially replicated CDs and DVDs for various clients on a scale that subjects the defendant to substantial criminal liability if a client – and, by extension, the defendant – lacked permission from the copyright holder to make the copies.

The panel held that the term “willfully” in 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) requires the government to prove that a defendant knew he was acting illegally rather than simply that he knew he was making copies, and that to “knowingly” traffic in counterfeit labels under 18 U.S.C. § 2318(a)(1) requires knowledge that the labels were counterfeit. Because the district court improperly instructed the jury otherwise and the errors were not harmless, the panel vacated the convictions and remanded.

The panel concluded that the district court should dismiss one of the copyright infringement counts on remand because counsel was ineffective by failing to raise an obvious statuteof- limitations defense.

Getty Images Letter Forum / failed to load page: Some regulars blocked
« on: April 29, 2013, 11:17:08 AM »
Sorry to put this here but I don't see an category for "technical glitches".

April emailed me. She and two other regulars appear are receiving "failed to load page" messages and so can't read, visit or comment at ELI. I told her it's working fine for me, but maybe something got tweaked in .htaccess or in the software.  Perhaps the moderator can look through the error logs, see the sort of errors being thrown, and fix the issue.  Meanwhile, I can try to advise April and others.

Getty Images Letter Forum / Probable Picscout or Image scanner
« on: March 26, 2013, 04:25:40 PM »
I got hit by something looking for images today:






All hit images with a blank referrer and blank user agent.
These IPs are with this:

Reverse DNS (PTR record)   not available
ASN number   29791
ASN name (ISP)   VOXEL-DOT-NET - Voxel Dot Net, Inc.
IP-range/subnet -

I'd previously noted that voxel seems to be related to the picscout image search tool.  So is the combination of "blank referrer" and "blank user agents'. (I advice everyone should block all "blank user agents" requests. )

They are all my own images so I don't have to quake in fear about any visits from the copyright police. :) 
I'm going to make the tag #picscout  to help people search on topics that might be realted to suspected picscout sightings. Bear in mine, we can't be sure. But I do suspect.

I noticed something even weirder. All of these were forwarded from ''. So, not only did they visit-- but they bounced through two IPs. I hadn't previosuly seen that.

   not available
ASN number   29791
ASN name (ISP)   VOXEL-DOT-NET - Voxel Dot Net, Inc.
IP-range/subnet -
Network tools   external website Ping
external website Traceroute
The first address is also Voxel!

Getty Images Letter Forum / Another copyright bot for hire.
« on: November 16, 2012, 11:25:52 PM »
I've been compiling a database of things that got blocked by ZBblock. I noticed a connection that was blocked -- and it looks like an image copyright enforcement bot.  The useragent string is:

Mozilla/ 5.0 (compatible; musobot/ 1.0;; +http:/ /

Their services include
Piracy detection right to the furthest corners of the Internet, simultaneously scanning millions of blogs, message boards, streaming sites, websites and P2P channels.
Translation: The will send their bot to scrape your site.

Disrupt & destroy illegal file distribution by quickly removing each and every instance of illegal files discovered, with a market leading average removal time of 3.5 hours and over 50% instantly removed once discovered.
Translation... they claim they are going to remove illegal files. How? This sounds like it might not even be legal-- and it sure is scary.   
(OK.. it later reads "Automatically issue takedown notices direct to source - cyberlockers, p2p torrents, streaming and auction sites". If that's the mechanism for removing in 3.5 hours, it's not quite so scary!)
Other claims here

As I noted: I blocked this thing. The rule that blocked it was that it was using Amazon to crawl through the site. But I'm not blocking by user agent.  I advise others to do similarly. (Note: Bots can fake user agents, and the company can use other hosts. So this might not be effective. But if their business plan is to burn up my cpu and bandwidth, I'd prefer to make them do it using a high cost service rather than lower cost amazon.)

Getty Images Letter Forum / Picscout sighting.
« on: November 15, 2012, 09:15:38 AM »
I thought some of you would be interested in reading a log in my "kill" file:

#: 111122 @: Wed, 14 Nov 2012 06:13:24 -0800 Running: 0.4.10a1
Score: 1
Violation count: 1 INSTA-BANNED
Why blocked:   ;   Image scraper, sharing or copyright enforcing host      INSTA-BAN. You have been instantly banned!  |-|   (1: pics )  check host   || ( ax=0)    [IL]  ; ( 0 )
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; rv:16.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/16.0
Reconstructed URL: http:// /protect/2011/12/four-steps-to-slow-down-image-scrapers/

This is definitely picscout. Most likely, it's someone at picscout wanting to read my advice on how to slow down image scrapers.

Of course, one of the steps is: Block anything on a host containing the word 'pics' in it from your logs.  I do this-- which is why the host 'picscout' was blocked.

Other useful information: This IP is on bezeq servers. Specifically, it's on

inetnum: -
netname:        BEZEQINT-BROADBAND
descr:          FIXED-IP
country:        IL
admin-c:        BNT1-RIPE
tech-c:         BHT2-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
remarks:        please send ABUSE complains to
remarks:        INFRA-AW
mnt-by:         AS8551-MNT
mnt-lower:      AS8551-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered


I block many bezeqint sites-- mostly because way back around the time I received a getty letter, I coincidentally had my site absolutely hammered by an IP on bezeqint. It took my blog to it's knees-- crashing and restarting all day. Naturally, I will now be blocking the full range above-- at Cloudflare.

(Unfortunately, I have concluded it's very difficult to block image scrapers. It can be done-- but it can't be done by people with near zero programming skillz. It also needs to be custom based on one's subject matter. But there are some things that really help.)

Getty Images Letter Forum / Image scraping: The Newsblur angle.
« on: August 17, 2012, 09:10:47 AM »
I want to stop a moment and explain how a trove of blog "snapshots" (aka full copies of html) displayed by a third party (like Newsblur) can be used by a a picscout / getty / image scraper / copyright troll to efficiently find and inspect image. There are two ways I thought of relatively quickly and there may be more. Both are methods would be much easier to code and implement and would save a bot a lot of time relative to what exists absent a trove of conveniently supplied "snapshots". 

If I were an image bot owned by a copyright troll, I would do this right now:
Method 1) Write a crawler to progressive visit copies of site with addresses like (Give it a try. ) 

I would compare each image at that site to my trove of images.  That would essentially show my bot the header and "decoration" images that display in any blog plus any images that happen to be displayed on the top page on the day my bot visited.

After visiting 1, now load . (My site number is up above 1,000,000. So you'll want a bot. But it really is a trove.) 

So, the existence of all these copies displayed publicly is a very handy thing for copyright trolls.  The copy of my site is unauthorized. And this sort of thing is one of the reasons I am really  pissed off.

Method 2) If copyright troll, I would also do the following:
Program a bot to visit    Code whatever is required to make the site believe you have clicked "feed".  Cause the "scroll bar" to scroll down... keep scrolling... keep scrolling.  (Both could be coded but requires programming. I'm a poor programmer, it would likely take me a day.  A good programmer could do it more quickly. I'm sure the guys at Picscout can do it as soon as they read this post.  That is assuming they haven't already learned of the existence of Newsblur in which case, figuring out that they could do it and how to do it would take them... on... 2 hours? )

Once this is done, the bot can them load every image in every blog post the blogger every posted.  It "sees" every single address for every image and loads them the way a browser would.

None of this should make us happy.

That fact that I could think of these methods very quickly (and did) contributes to why I am very, very upset by the possibility of losing control of how my site displays.  To the extent that the copying is involved, this is a copyright issue. But to the extent that it facilitates images scraping, it is a "getty copyright troll" issue.

With some trepidation, I am going to risk the wrath of all those who have received copyright letters from Getty to ask advice on how to copyright my blog in anticipation of sending a DMCA notice that potentially has some teeth in it.  Specifically: If I send a DMCA notice I want to have registration and evidence in place to demonstrate that a violation or violations did occur and to do so in a way that could potentially make filing a suit something other than a costly futile exercise on my part.

As some read on

I believe my blog content is being copied. I did not authorize this copying.  blah. blah.    But now, I'm contemplating what sort of files etc. I should collect, and what sort of actions I might take in the event that I file a DMCA and the person copying files a counter-notification forcing me to sue if I want my stuff taken down.   (I don't think it will come to that-- but I don't see much good in filing a DMCA if I'm not prepared to deal with a counter-notification.)

Now for the questions:

1. Are my blog posts 'published' as far as copyright law is concerned? I ask because registering 30 posts would be cheaper if they are all considered "unpublished".  Obviously, under the circumstances, I do want to keep my sunk costs low.  But there would be no point in registering as "a collection" if a hypothetical case benefits greatly from having things registered 'individually'.

(I read an online circular describing registering for online content.  It discussed different requirements for "published" vs. "unpublished" works.  Reading it I can't figure out if my blog posts are "published" or "unpublished". (The requirement seemed to suggest that merely "displaying" doens't make it published. Publication happens if I sell it, lease it or offer it for sale or lease.)   I know I've displayed. Last week I added a script to include "google ads" in the sidebar.    I think the script would be the closest thing to offering for sale or lease. (I'm going to take that out as there are no clicks anyway.  )

2.  What sort of information should I log and collect? I plan to collect the following each day:
   * serverlogs to show the bot visited.
   * screenshots of the page as it displays at the business entity.
   * screenshost of my page.
   * html of my page downloaded each day.

Is there other stuff I should try to collect?

Does any one else have advice on what steps would be prudent "just in case"?

Getty Images Letter Forum / LuminateBot
« on: July 16, 2012, 11:01:55 PM »
Out of caution I am kicking a bot called "LuminateBot/1.0" off my site.   It's am image bot:

"The LuminateBot/PixazzaBot is a robot that retrieves product images, publisher images and related information in order to perform our service. If this robot is causing problems, or if you are not a publisher or merchant that is affiliated with Luminate please contact us and let us know. "

I'm not sure what their service is. But since I don't sell products, I figure blocking them can't harm me.  Merchants might want to look into this before making a decision.

Getty Images Letter Forum / Another copyright bot: 80 legs.
« on: July 08, 2012, 07:50:59 AM »
I've been blocking 80 legs for a long time because they crawl too aggressively. I read it's blog -- it too is doing some copyright snooping (for fonts.)

Their user agent is: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; 008/0.83; Gecko/2008032620

You can try robots.txt first.  They claim to obey it.  (I can't say. I now have a dynamic robots.txt and just ban anything I would forbid.)
This is a distributed agent using a wide range of IPs. So you must block by user agent.

Getty Images Letter Forum / NASA? Or Masterfile?
« on: June 14, 2012, 12:04:03 PM »
Can anyone tell me if this image is NASA? Or Masterfile?  Here's the scoop:

With picscout image search activated, I visited a blog that I know nearly always hotlinks (good way to avoid copyright snafus!)  While there I found this image:

Note the image suggests it is from NASA.  The picscout tool suggested this image (or a very similar one) is managed by four groups. One is Masterfile:
It is evidently a picture of hurricane isabel

You can also get it from (Who is offering licenses for an amount I would dub "a shitwad of money".)
(The other agency had a coding error when I tried to load.)

Now, it seems to me rather likely that an image taken from space could-- quite likely-- be taken by NASA.  Does anyone know how to figure out if this image really belongs to the US taxpayer?   And if so, is there some reason anyone should pay Masterfile, mediabaker or anyone else anything to use these?

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