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George Riddick — the One-Man RIAA of Clip Art

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the sue-you-sue-anybody dept.

The Courts 175

An anonymous reader writes "Pages at ireport.com and extortionletterinfo.com have been documenting and researching the activities of George P. Riddick III, previously known for his lawsuits against IMSI and Xoom at the turn of the century. In 2007 he issued a largely-ignored press release claiming the majority of clip art online infringes a copyright and has ranted about how Microsoft and Google are stealing from him. In recent months, he's apparently made a business model of going after web site operators who were using clip art they believed to be legally licensed or public domain, telling them they're infringing clip art collections he hasn't offered commercially in years and making outrageous settlement demands. He seems to have tested the waters on this some years back, but emboldened by the passage of the PRO-IP act, he's gone aggro with it. A few dodgy anonyblogs had popped up to 'out' him as a copyright abuser, but these recent ireport.com and extortionletterinfo.com reports go much deeper in documenting and researching Riddick's recent one-man campaign to be the RIAA of clip art."

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I've patented a method of trademarking a copyright (3, Funny)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050865)

I'll make millions!

Growing network of victims! (4, Informative)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050919)

A very large and rapidly growing network of Riddick victims are organizing and sharing information. A large compilation of his threats and extortion tactics, which he tries to keep secret, are being assembled. You can find some here [blogspot.com] .

Re:Growing network of victims! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051079)

But... but... HE'S GONE AGGRO! How can we possibly fight back?!

Re:Growing network of victims! (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051263)

By going gartul?

Same way as usual... (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054967)

Give one person with high HP all the health powerups and defense boosters, get that person to tank, get a healer to stand nearby to assist, and everyone else wails on him, duh.

Re:Growing network of victims! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051143)

the majority of clip art online infringes a copyright

Notice, too, that he doesn't state outright that it infringes his copyright, only implies it.

I wonder if he has a copyright on a single black pixel, and is trying to count everything else as a derivative work......

Re:Growing network of victims! (4, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051279)

Yeah. I've found in my cynicism that when you're dealing with somebody with a vested or political interest in something like this, what they don't say is much more important than what they do say.

Re:Growing network of victims! (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051719)

Seems like bad economies spur this sort of thing. You'll recall Mcbride, or that company that claimed to own the shopping cart last time around.

Re:Growing network of victims! (3, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051893)

Quick! Somebody copyright a single white pixel and save all the greyscale clipart at least!

Alternatively, don't use any black pixels, just really really, really, really, really dark blue ones!

Re:Growing network of victims! (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052959)

Hah, I'm off to patent a method for substituting very dark blue pixels in replacement of copyrighted black pixels.

Re:Growing network of victims! (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053777)

Someone should create a chronicle of all these Riddick threats. Who knows... it might someday make a great movie too.

And why am I not surprised that someone who insists on using such a pompous, bloated name has been accused of such tactics? Also see "Colin James III" who was the single most voted person for the "Kook of the Month" award years back:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.cyberspace/browse_thread/thread/4531d778be9f0bf9 [google.com]

And they called it (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050895)

"Pages at ireport.com and extortionletterinfo.com have been documenting and researching the activities of George P. Riddick III

they call the document "the chronicles of riddick"

*bad-dum-dah*

I'll be here all week

Re:And they called it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051369)

maybe that document will be more interesting than the movie!

Re:And they called it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052157)

The game [wikipedia.org] was fun though, for once.

Re:And they called it (2, Funny)

matang (731781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052485)

the whole thing is riddickulous.

Re:And they called it (1)

DeskLazer (699263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053291)

why riddickule us all with that statement?

Re:And they called it (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054189)

cabin fever causes bad puns, riddickorating your home can help

Re:And they called it (3, Funny)

MegaMahr (788652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054311)

As a representative of Universal Pictures, a member in good standing with the MPAA, and owner of the copyright and trademark for the motion picture "The Chronicles of Riddick," I hereby demand that you pay a fine of $1 BILLION USD for willful, malicious, and deliberate copyright infringement.

Re:And they called it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055103)

Laughs, I just found a court case that dismissed his rights to some of the images already: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=4th&navby=docket&no=021121p

Sadly, it's this type of sue everyone for everything attitude that places the US in a bad light.

Riddick.... (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050911)

Time to sicc Toombs on his rump.

No jail that serves waffle-eating pussies will be for him.

Re:Riddick.... (2, Funny)

dasunst3r (947970) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051109)

And the Internet would be a better place if we get RID of this (insert last four letters of his name here).

Use the web (5, Informative)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050975)

Although the web makes this sort of thing possible, the same web will help to mitigate the damage. I'm very happy people post this thing for all to see.

After reading all of these letters, I don't think that anybody would really take this guy seriously. He is running the equivalent of a modified 419 scam (pay us a little to prevent a big payout in the future.) The repeated requests for confidentiality should be a tipoff.

Hopefully not too many small websites without proper legal counsel to advise them on this sort of thing have not been taken....

Re:Use the web (3, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051671)

Although the web makes this sort of thing possible, the same web will help to mitigate the damage.

Riddick's thought of that. He's a domain squatter too:
http://www.islandview2.com/index3A.htm [islandview2.com]

Usually, when someone takes advantage of one facet of the World Wide Web [what-is-what.com] , they take advantage of all of it.

Re:Use the web-Nailed It! (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054711)

After reading all of these letters, I don't think that anybody would really take this guy seriously.

You've nailed the point. Most people don't see all the letters. They only see the one they received and few know the actual history of any art they might be using.

And that's not a 419 (Nigerian) scam. It's the classic mob extortion line: "You've got a nice little web-site here. Be a shame if anything happened to it - along with personally bankrupting you for copyright infringement. Remember those huge statuary damages the RIAA is always suing for...?"

How to call it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27050979)

Let's call it The chronic LES (Lawsuit Egocentric Syndrome) of Riddick

Mr. Johns should have just killed the bastard (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27050989)

Never did trust him.

Ahh, fair use (4, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051029)

make no mistake, this is an assault on "fair use" of work.

The logos and art in question are not representing Google or Microsoft, they are mere representations of what was found on the external sites which are assumed to be displaying lawfully acquired content.

Google and Microsoft are not the police or the courts. If you have a valid issue with their display of an image, issue a take down notice.

Re:Ahh, fair use (4, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051153)

This is one of the first things I noticed when my SO was looking at sewing machines. We looked into the extra costs in doing embrodary and was appalled at the total lockdown of the artwork for any of the machines. It resulted in a simple no sale as the machines were unusable for any hobby applications as everything was tied up in royalties and legal risk.

This is a field that could have had lots of interest, but due to greed and closed formats, etc, it appeals to very few.

Re:Ahh, fair use (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051475)

We looked into the extra costs in doing embrodary and was appalled at the total lockdown of the artwork for any of the machines.

Is there no one who's hacked them yet? Home CNC paper-cutters which don't have built-in support for custom patterns have had third-party software published that lets you e.g. import SVGs.

Re:Ahh, fair use (4, Interesting)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051915)

Actually, this is an often under-noticed area of copyright infringement (It looks like actual illegal infringement to me, but IANAL). My mother has several CDs full of images that she uses to decorate shirts, blankets, etc for her grand-kids. They cost her ~$5 apiece and are filled with lovable Disney characters that have been copied out of movies or TV shows, interpretted into embroidery patters, burned in bulk to CD, and then sold. My mom, of course, uses the logic that, since she paid for the discs, there's no way that she could be doing anything wrong. I'm sure that Disney is aware of the situation and is frustrated that they can't suck the blood from these spinster pirates because of the bad PR involved with suing confused grandmothers. At least that's my take on it.

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053031)

If anything, they'll go after the people selling the discs in the first place. Confused grandmothers are not known for their deep pockets.

Re:Ahh, fair use (2, Insightful)

fyoder (857358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053855)

If anything, they'll go after the people selling the discs in the first place. Confused grandmothers are not known for their deep pockets.

That wouldn't stop the RIAA. The Embroidery Inustry Association of America is obviously not made of the same stuff.

Re:Ahh, fair use (5, Funny)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053343)

Actually, I believe your Mom hangs out in alt.binaries.embroidery* and is in fact "Yenc-PP-A&A". The same "Yenc-PP-A&A" who posts countless music and movies.

Your clever attempt at deflecting the pointing finger has failed.

*(of course it exists!)

Re:Ahh, fair use (2, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053903)

There have been charges and convictions on this one in the past. Disney polices their IP very stringently. As one Grandmother told me, "You don't fuck with the mouse."

Re:Ahh, fair use (-1, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052235)

I guess you should create your own original art instead of using other people's art.

Oh, wait, that would require you to actually CREATE something instead of just taking other people's work for free.

Re:Ahh, fair use (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052861)

I guess they should just create your own original garments instead of taking other people's garments.

Oh wait, that would require them to actually CREATE something instead of just taking other people's work for free.

Oh wait, they are. Somebody creating an actual physical garment out of somebody's stupid immaterial clipart seems somehow more utilitarian.

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052913)

My guess is you've never actually seen the automatic sewing machines that do this, because if you did, you'd realize what a stupid fuck you sounded like just then. The point is that if you do "actually CREATE something" as you so shittily put it, you can only do it on proprietary tools that aren't cross-compatible across manufacturers.

Being a copyright troll doesn't bother me. Being a stupid shit copyright troll does.

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052803)

No, it's due to the insane lengths of modern copyright. Why should copyright outlast a patent?

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053639)

Why should copyright outlast a patent?

Good question. I've never seen or heard an answer to it.
Twenty years protection at most, then into the public domain. That's long enough to allow inventors to profit from their inventions, and would be a tolerable term for copyright also.

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054715)

I agree that copyrights are too long, but ... A patent deprives the public of something that is useful. A copyright only deprives the public of something pleasureable (software excepted). There is a quote somewhere about invalid patents serving as scarecrows in the fields of innovation; I don't think the same can be said of copyright because I doubt people refrain from writing a story or song or game for fear of infringing the work of some obscure author.

Re:Ahh, fair use (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053373)

The late Ed Foster talked about this on the [now defunct] Gripelog.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (4, Interesting)

alansingfield (257819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051061)

In the UK, it is highly advisable for any business to take out Professional Indemnity Insurance. This covers this type of eventuality - and faced with a professional legal opponent these type of people will invariably back down.

Re:Professional Indemnity Insurance (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052477)

Isn't this making matters worse? If any insurance companies are paying him to settle, it only gives him more ammo to fight more battles.

Re:Professional Indemnity Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27053837)

Wow yet another way of extorting money from people.

Even stupider... (4, Informative)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051085)

Riddick's designs are so simple and generic [imageline2.com] that they could easily have been drawn (or typed) by someone else from scratch without ever having seen Riddick's version.

Re:Even stupider... (4, Interesting)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051213)

Riddick's designs are so simple and generic [imageline2.com] that they could easily have been drawn (or typed) by someone else from scratch without ever having seen Riddick's version.

It's also highly likely that versions of at least some of them were around before Mr Riddick's businesses claim to have 'designed' them. In the early days of graphical computing clip art got copied around even more than it does now. In this case if someone had authentic prior art, and could demonstrate it, they could sue Mr Riddick for copyright infringement, which would be deeply sweet.

If you were producing graphics on a computer before about 1986, it could be well worth scanning your collection for images which match any of the disputed images...

Re:Even stupider... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054439)

There's a difference between 'looks like' and 'is'. Most notably in terms of fonts where using copyrighted fonts, even for 'generic' looking fonts can easily land you on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

Given that vector Clip Art shares a lot of parallels to fonts, why should they be different?

Re:Even stupider... (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051259)

Isn't that kind of the point of clipart?
That, and being so ugly that people who actually use it deserve getting sued.

Re:Even stupider... (3, Interesting)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051291)

Oh, I don't know... I can think of a few pretty brilliant uses [mnftiu.cc] of clip art...

Re:Even stupider... (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051479)

The hand graphic could have been copied out of any Beagle Bros. book, or even the math book that came with my old TI calculator.

Re:Even stupider... (2, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052087)

Not too keen on their RIAA-style tactics, but his other artwork is more detailed and colorful if you look. Example: http://www.imageline2.com/pages/ipics2_AnmalTOONS.htm [imageline2.com]

Re:Even stupider... (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054775)

Does he have this image copyrighted?
Bird [wordpress.com]

I believe I have proof of Prior Art [johnnycashonline.info] !!!

Merciless quotation: (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051095)

Quoth: "Merceneries. Elementals. Necromongers. Shit, I've never been so popular. I should probaly slip these chains and open up a few arteries. But why drive when you can get driven? Free ticket to Crematoria. Thanks Toombs. Got me some business there, named Jack. And once we settle up, I walk away forever. So I'll just wait... all back-of-the-bus for now."

=Smidge=

Taking credit for clip-art, and not clippy? (4, Funny)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051155)

Is there any way he could take credit for Clippy the dancing paperclip? I think most of us would enjoy it if he was made illegal to install on new computers.

Re:Taking credit for clip-art, and not clippy? (4, Funny)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051773)

"I see you are writing a pointless lawsuit. Would you like help with that?"

Re:Taking credit for clip-art, and not clippy? (1)

DarKnyht (671407) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054733)

Yes, please use SCO vs. IBM template as the basis of the lawsuit, but with pretty embroidery and a shrubbery on it.

let me be the first to say... (0, Troll)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051193)

What a douche bag. Our economy is falling apart, our courts should be handling more sinister crimes like rape/murder and this guy is off law suiting away (yes, I know the courts are different for copywrite vs. criminal acts- thank you for pointing that out wannabelawyers on slashdot) on some "oh i'm the victim, the internet is against me" crusade.

Re:let me be the first to say... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051233)

What a douche bag. Our economy is falling apart, our courts should be handling more sinister crimes like rape/murder and this guy is off law suiting away

Just so you know, the courts are different for copyright vs. criminal acts.

Re:let me be the first to say... (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053225)

Our economy is falling apart, our courts should be handling more sinister crimes like rape/murder and this guy is off law suiting away (yes, I know the courts are different for copywrite vs. criminal acts- thank you for pointing that out wannabelawyers on slashdot)

Actually, murder can wind up in civil court - OJ was cleared of criminal murder, but found liable for his wife's death in the civil case IIRC. Dunno about rape, but I'd suspect it's the same case.

IANAL. IAAWL.

BTW, what courts handle copywriting? I didn't even know it was illegal...

Re:let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27053601)

Rape does indeed go to civil court. That is where "mental anguish" and stuff are transformed into $$ for the victims. Some women have been known to make a business out of it...

What's the problem? (1, Insightful)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051249)

If this guy really owned the clipart, and they are being used commercially without permission, then he has every right to go after any involved party. Obviously they can then choose to settle, if under reasonable terms, or just remove the damn clipart.

I really don't see what's so evil about this guy. *As long as he can prove his assertions.*

[ Notice how slashdot folks rail against people who steal personal videos, photos, artwork, etc. for commercial use... ]

Re:What's the problem? (2, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051413)

What's to stop him from copying an image, placing it on his site, then claiming he owns the image? He'd be hard pressed to prove he owned the image to begin with.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

dornbos (804376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051659)

I worked for George back in the mid-80s as he was shifting the sales of his clip art library from large corporate Videoshow users (General Parametrics) to the emerging desktop publishing market.

He had illustrators and computer artists on staff generating clip art from scratch. He paid our wages at times when I know he wasn't keeping up with his own personal bills. (banker in the front lobby waiting to collect a mortgage check)

If there are other matching images out there for free - great, the copyright shouldn't apply and the folks that originally sold those images for use should have an easy time defending themselves. And there really are boatloads of public domain clipart out there. On the other hand, if they can't point to a free source for that image - then they outta be ready to repay George for the all that he invested in creating that image.

It's not the end-user embroidery shop that's the problem - they're being legit, buying rights to use artwork from the real scumbags here - the folks that are grabbing art libraries from whatever source they can find and putting them up for sale as if they own them.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Interesting)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052417)

(Umm, you just triggered my "astroturf" alert. This is the only comment Slashdot has you on record for, so I can't get a grasp of whether you are real or not.)

Your argument is wrong in that it tries to place a burden of proof on every amateur website out there, something that is silly. Cliparts from the Eighties have changed hands many, many times; disks sold at garage sales and copy/paste make it impossible for a hobby webmaster to keep records. If we were to use your metric, then almost all of the web would be easy prey to copyright lawsuits.

No, I have to disagree with you there, Mister Former Riddick Employee. If someone is actually selling cliparts, well, OK. That's worthy of legal action. But merely using a picture and not remembering if you bought it or not? Please. You may as well accuse me of shoplifting because I can't produce the receipt for the jeans on me arse.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053249)

Your argument is wrong in that it tries to place a burden of proof on every amateur website out there, something that is silly. Cliparts from the Eighties have changed hands many, many times; disks sold at garage sales and copy/paste make it impossible for a hobby webmaster to keep records.

That's not a real solid defense. I would say not to use discs sold at garage sales if you're running a professional operation. Using an image when you have no idea who the rightholder is would be a bad idea.

No, I have to disagree with you there, Mister Former Riddick Employee. If someone is actually selling cliparts, well, OK. That's worthy of legal action. But merely using a picture and not remembering if you bought it or not? Please. You may as well accuse me of shoplifting because I can't produce the receipt for the jeans on me arse.

That mixes the notion of copyright (where images can be duplicated) with actual objects that can't. But, just for fun let's say I can prove only I make/sell those jeans. Well, if I know I'm the only one who sells the jeans, and I didn't sell you the jeans, and you're wearing the jeans...

...Then yeah, you either stole the jeans or are in receipt of stolen property. Just like in the current scenario.

Now, if it were me I'd send a C&D to people who are using the stuff before actually pursuing litigation, because it is kind of a d*ck move to demand money. But from a legal standpoint, I do believe he has the right to do what he's doing, though I'm most certainly not a lawyer.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053437)

But, just for fun let's say I can prove only I make/sell those jeans. Well, if I know I'm the only one who sells the jeans, and I didn't sell you the jeans, and you're wearing the jeans... ...Then yeah, you either stole the jeans or are in receipt of stolen property. Just like in the current scenario.

Or he bought them from your client who resold them.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053699)

Or he bought them from your client who resold them.

That's where the "comparing physical objects to copyright" thing breaks down. In this case, I'm guessing he didn't provide relicensing rights to his customers. Certainly if he did, that would be a defense.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053993)

Even if he didn't provide relicensing rights, companies and assets can change ownership through restructuring, M+A, court settlements, etc. in ways which may not be limitable through commercial license agreements.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054665)

Even if he didn't provide relicensing rights, companies and assets can change ownership through restructuring, M+A, court settlements, etc. in ways which may not be limitable through commercial license agreements.

All of which would be extremely easy to document. Certainly "we acquired your client" should quickly end the conversation.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054807)

But, just for fun let's say I can prove only I make/sell those jeans. Well, if I know I'm the only one who sells the jeans, and I didn't sell you the jeans, and you're wearing the jeans... ...Then yeah, you either stole the jeans or are in receipt of stolen property. Just like in the current scenario.

To make this about clipart again (since physical items aren't the same as data on a disk), let's say I can't remember where I got the clipart from, but I'm reasonably sure I got it from a backup of an original disk (that had been destroyed) that a friend of mine gave to me because he no longer had any use for it, and he bought the original disk from some guy ages ago, doesn't remember who this was and that person most likely doesn't have a receipt anymore? Would you say it's a clear-cut "YUO STOEL FROM ME!!!111" situation then?

Because that sounds a lot like what's going on, and to take it to the jeans analogy: I got a pair of jeans from a friend of mine, he got them from some guy in his dorm who most likely bought them years ago and now a Levi's just sent me a threatening letter telling me that I've been spotted wearing a pair of their jeans in public and that they have no record of ever selling me a pair of their jeans. Does that sound even remotely sane?

/Mikael

Re:What's the problem? (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055155)

You're basically proposing we go off the honor system. We might as well scrap the entire copyright system in that case. Not that I'd be opposed to that. But I do understand that you can't have copyright and just trust someone when they say they bought it at some point.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Informative)

dornbos (804376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053269)

(Umm, you just triggered my "astroturf" alert. This is the only comment Slashdot has you on record for, so I can't get a grasp of whether you are real or not.)

I realize there's a required minimum number of posts before becoming real - for the moment, I can only aspire to be real with post #2 here.

I just wanted to stick my nose into the conversation to vouch for the effort that I know firsthand George put in to creating the image libraries that he sells in various forms.

From reading tfa & links, I got the impression that the individual embroidery sites were doing the right thing and pointing back to the vendor(s) where they purchased the artwork. To me, they're off the hook at that point. I wasn't always wild about the licensing agreements that were used with the clipart libraries & I don't support blanket scare tactics to weasel money from mom-n-pop embroidery shops, but I do think whoever is collecting the money for use of the clipart libraries ought to hand some portion of it over George.

Re:What's the problem? (0, Troll)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053583)

From reading tfa & links, I got the impression that the individual embroidery sites were doing the right thing and pointing back to the vendor(s) where they purchased the artwork. To me, they're off the hook at that point. I wasn't always wild about the licensing agreements that were used with the clipart libraries & I don't support blanket scare tactics to weasel money from mom-n-pop embroidery shops, but I do think whoever is collecting the money for use of the clipart libraries ought to hand some portion of it over George.

Yes, I also have no personal stake in the matter but nonetheless feel obliged to stick my head above the parapet and put on the public record my unbiased opinion, namely that you need to suck the very fattest part of my asshole.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053917)

Medical analysis seems to indicate that your entire body is made out of asshole but the head is particularly dense.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27053967)

Oddly enough as another artist who has been ripped off by internet using freaks like you, I think you could suck mine! And then die, yes that would be quite nice. Perhaps a few parasites, as well.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Funny)

deets101 (1290744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054267)

I realize there's a required minimum number of posts before becoming real - for the moment, I can only aspire to be real with post #2 here.

There is also a 2 car analogy minimum.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054289)

I just wanted to stick my nose into the conversation to vouch for the effort that I know firsthand George put in to creating the image libraries that he sells in various forms.

The problem is that it doesn't matter that George put a lot of work into creating his stuff. Instead, what matters is that he is trying to claim copyright on stuff that is so generic as to be impossible to work around. A hand pointing? A crown? I've seen those around long before George. I'm sure he has clip-art for arrows, and buildings, and all kinds of generic shit that everybody who ever drew a symbol has pretty much drawn before.

My beef with George is that he doesn't care that his stuff isn't unique or even difficult in any sense of the word. He was merely the first to copyright stuff that has been around for a while without copyright, and now wants to extort money from everybody.

Mind you, it's a valid business plan, but it also makes him a money grubbing asshole.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054457)

> On the other hand, if they can't point to a free source for that image - then they outta
> be ready to repay George for the all that he invested in creating that image.

First he must prove that he owns the copyright in that image.

Re:What's the problem? (1, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052117)

Sorry, George. This is the Internet age now. If it isn't nailed down nothing in the world will keep people from stealing it. And then making use of it however they see fit. This is part of the new bargain we are striking with people everywhere - creativity is now a "mashup" or a "remix" of older works because it is impossible to create anything new - it has all been done before. Therefore, there are no legal rights to anything.

It also means that if I can take something, I can sell it. If you are stupid enough to buy it from me rather than just taking your own free copy, you are the loser. Trying to involve the courts simply means that you don't understand the Internet. Of course, the courts don't either.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054339)

creativity is now a "mashup" or a "remix" of older works because it is impossible to create anything new - it has all been done before.

that's a really huge thing to say, my dear sir!

Re:What's the problem? (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052319)

If this guy really owned the clipart, and they are being used commercially without permission,

Imageline, Inc registered copyrights on clipart in 1996. The copyright office's search page does not display the actual subject matter of the copyright registrations, so it is hard to tell if the claimed images were in that collection.

What a joke. (5, Informative)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051381)

The letters at extortionletter.info are hilarious. As Walter would say, "Fucking amateur! George Riddick you're out of your element."

One of my fav lines:

"I would be happy to send you a rough draft copy of our standard Settlement and Release Agreement, which we have used over 100 times over the past few years (unfortunately)."

Is it really a "rough draft" if you are using it?

Or how about:

We are very disappointed that you have chosen litigation for you, your family, your business partners, your distributors (i.e. XXXXXXXXX), and your end user customers. The amount of money spent bringing all of these people and companies to court is going to be enormous. But since our designs are all registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you will end up paying every dime of these legal expenses on all sides, in addition to all infringement and DMCA (Section 1202) penalties as well. These penalties could easily exceed $35,000 per design infringed. What a shame!

What a shame? What a dick! and what's an "end user customer?" Isn't an end user a customer? I love the fact in his letters he always "hopes to keep this confidential." That always works when the internet is involved.

fucking lamer.

Re:What a joke. (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051527)

I love the fact in his letters he always "hopes to keep this confidential." That always works when the internet is involved.

I think you may misunderstand the reason he writes that he "hopes to keep this confidential".

It's not about protecting himslef, it's part of the threat package: "Pay me now or spend a fortune paying me later... oh, and by the way... nice reputation you have there. It would be a shame if anything *happened* to it."

But can he see clipart in the dark? (1)

Glowing-Wind (786539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051465)

-Insert Chronicles of Riddick Clipart Here-

The obligatory joke... (1, Redundant)

Timosch (1212482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051493)

That's simply riddickulous!

copyright lawsuits the new "Nigerian Scam" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27051727)

When I clicked on the link to the letter in the article

http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list/cyberia-l/frm25609.html

Reading this letter the thought came into my head "this reminds me of a Nigerian Scam letter " or its got to be a con.

Is the Law so currupt that it supports con artists?

When I searched on google I came up with this gem.

http://www.legal-info-legale.nb.ca/showpub.asp?id=9&langid=1

Thats what this is, its a con propped up by some dodgy legal paperwork.

What has been produced here ? Did he even produce any of the copyrighted clipart ?

So if I cut and paste some "public domain" clipart on to some copyright legal documents I can make money?

Holy sh*t maybe I should copyright some banknotes as clip art I could make a killing ..

 

Re:copyright lawsuits the new "Nigerian Scam" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052961)

Please mod this up if read the second article the letter fits the definition of a scam. Nigerian scam was just a catchy heading

The man is an expert on the subject (0, Offtopic)

Teun (17872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051899)

Just look at his name: "George P. Riddick, III, the founder and CEO of Imageline." This means his name is the third copy of the original!

Because his family clearly lacs the fantasy to find an original name for their kids it wouldn't surprise me they've also failed to pay the dues on this now illegal name.

re:Riddick. (1)

SeijakuShin (1491177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27051963)

Part of me wishes I were in a position to be contacted by Mr Riddick, there are a couple of things I would want to ask him namely if browsing the internet and making bullyboy threats is a good business model and secondly if he has ever actually sued anyone successfully.

Having been through various sites since reading this entry I see sort of a pattern, a cohort of his emails the victim and sets herself up as a friendly warning, Mr Riddick comes along and makes threats to which our new friend suggest we pay up to, it's obviously a scam and you'll notice every dated email from the past 14 months mention how he has just got a new legal team etc etc.

I feel sorry for the people who take him seriously.

A Neutral Observation (4, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052249)

claiming the majority of clip art online infringes a copyright

I'm actually fairly willing to believe this.

Of course, that's not the same as proving that HIS clip-art is being used at all the sites he sues. If it is, then I'd find it hard to actually get mad at him.

Did anyone read the linked to "rant"? It's actually fairly cogent. First he basically says "If I was to steal your copyrighted stuff, you'd sue me into the ground because you're a huge company. Yet you steal mine all the time. That's rather unfair." Doesn't this sound like the Official Slashdot Position? Next he goes on to say he's mad at Google and Microsoft's image search tools because they continue to cache the image even after the site has removed it. Microsoft claimed they weren't caching them and he showed them an example that proved them wrong. Isn't this also a very Slashdot thing to do?

All in all, it sounds like he wasn't pissed that the image search features exist, but that they kept caching them even when he got people to yank his clipart off their server. Then they get money for ads on pages with the cached picture. And then people would copy the clipart again from the returned image results, making it easier for people to continue copying his clipart.

I've went to the links in the summary and they actually make me sympathize with the guy MORE. And I'm a bittorrenting fiend. One of them posts a picture of him accompanied by "Maybe if he makes enough money, he can go on a diet course, or at least buy a bigger belt to hold up that fat, obese stomach." Especially petty considering he looks like just about any old man his age, not actually spectacularly obese or anything.

I haven't been able to find widespread claims that he sues over clipart he doesn't own the copyrights to. Just that he's a jerk because his letters say "you put our clipart on your page, pay up" and don't give the target a chance to say "I'm sorry, I'll just take it off and we can pretend it never happened." The only other thing I can find other than personal insults was that they claim his clipart sucks anyway (sour grapes, anyone?). True, he does sell a lot of clipart that looks straight from the 80s, but there's also things like this:

http://www.imageline2.com/pages/ipics2_LOGOSNature.htm [imageline2.com]
http://www.imageline2.com/pages/ipics2_OTHERWorldRel2.htm [imageline2.com]
http://www.imageline2.com/pages/PRESENT_Index.htm [imageline2.com]

This looks like prime fodder for a lot of business use today. It looks better than 90% of what I see in powerpoint presentations even now.

And the last point I can find people make against him is that he has clipart of the UN flag and the Sydney Opera House and those have some very specific copyrights attached to them. First, the UN flag is not protected by copyright but simply by a UN resolution that says "don't use our flag." A resolution that has no actual legal backing. And the question of how much the SOH can legally limit the use of their image is murky at best:
http://www.freedomtodiffer.com/freedom_to_differ/2007/06/photographing_t.html [freedomtodiffer.com]

So really, I just don't get the uproar. Yeah, I wish copyright law was MUCH different to align penalties with actual profit being made by the infringer. But this guy hardly seems to be in the same league as the RIAA and their whole "making available" bullshit.

Re:A Neutral Observation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27052745)

I'd wager most of the outrage is over the way he is pursuing legal action, not whther or not he is acctually being wronged.

I don't care whether he is wrong or not - attempting to strongarm people with legal tactics into paying you a settlement smacks of abuse of the legal system, and I think he should have the book thrown at him regardless of whether or not his rights are being infringed.

Entitlement again (3, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27052855)

From the ImageLine website: [imageline2.com]

How many of these people who believe our copyright laws are outdated and should be abolished do you think work in one of the copyright-dependent industries? Better yet, how many of them have ever given a dime, let alone a cup of hot coffee, to a starving artist, musician, painter,or writer who has lost their job due to piracy?

And here again we see the Entitlement Mentality. The "starving artist" can't earn a living at his chosen profession. Exactly why is the artist *entitled* to make a living at said profession? If his chosen career path isn't economically viable, why am I suddenly obligated to support him? Perhaps the "starving artist" wouldn't be starving if he made better choices in his life.

Further, I work in an industry that relies heavily on copyright law. It is plainly obvious that copyright law is broken, and is detrimental to society in it's current form. The "temporary monopoly" was never intended to grant a semi-permanent revenue stream for you and your children. Copyright Rebels, my ass.

tags? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27053277)

Shall we tag chronicles_of_riddick? Please?

And this is different from Getty images how? (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053279)

Except for the less polished langauge, it's the same thing that happens if you happen to grab an image off a CD from ten years ago which unluckily happens to be in the Getty imagebank and use it in your website. They'll send you a bill for a couple grand for an image they license at $30/yr. And you'll send a check, because if not they'll haul you to court, and any lawyer worth his salt will tell you you're fucked.

The problem is that there is no way to determine if the clip art (or images) you have infringe on anyone's copyright, because there is no way for an individual or small business to match images against the sea of information out there. Your only recourse is to have a physical paper of license in your hands before you do anything. Somehow, I don't think that was the intent behind Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the United States Constitution - that Congress shall have the power: "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." You may as well just lock up the web and throw it away.

Re:And this is different from Getty images how? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054355)

Pretty much. The story of the goose with the golden eggs comes to mind. There are some people who just don't understand and don't care that they're killing a larger downstream revenue for themselves and everyone else. They just want cash now.

Imageline ? smells to Fruityloops! (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053393)

Isn't Fruityloops (the music sequencer) made by Imageline ?

behind every douche is a ... (1)

onionlee (836083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27053661)

douchey lawyer. i dont know how much you must blame him or his bloodsucking lawyer.

....yes... (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054205)

uhg

In Soviet Union... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27054399)

He'd be a corpse... then... NO PROBLEM!

What?!! You were expecting:
Art Clips YOU!

George Riddick - the one man RIIA of clipart (0, Flamebait)

GRiddick (1158935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055005)

Wow! My Google "clip art alert" system really does work! Checking my e-mails at lunch today, I noticed this Slashdot article devoted entirely to me and my small electronic graphic arts content development company, Imageline. We are honored. First of all, I would like to say "thank you" to those of you who chose not to simply jump on the "sensational" bandwagon, but took the time to carefully read what we are saying and understand what we are trying to do here at Imageline. We believe that our efforts, our experience, our creativity, and our tenacity, will benefit practically everyone who wants to participate in the wonders of the digital art world and the Internet legally. And "hello, Jim!" ... it was great to hear you are still 'active and kicking' after all of these years. I always admired the fact that you were not reluctant at all to speak your mind. That's what successful companies are made up of ... excellent, dedicated, and intelligent people ... with a great work ethic and a common cause. There's a huge difference between what we trying to do here at Imageline and what the RIAA has been doing for the past few years. I do not believe that the appropriate way to curtail digital piracy over the Internet is to simply try to throw a few college students, uninformed end-users, and/on single moms into bankruptcy ... or into jail. At Imageline, we ALWAYS go after the "middlemen", exclusively. They are the most flagrant infringers, by far. Not the actual end-users, who, by and large, are the innocent recipients of stolen property, and the victims of the various distribution scams organized and orchestrated by these so-called legitimate "middlemen". The industry calls them "digital pirates". The "middlemen" I am referring to here are the dealers, the distributors, the "pushers", the web site operators, and the product bundlers (even the counterfeiters), who try to feather their own nests by sub-licensing and re-distributing the hard-earned digital artwork and other property owned by others. From my own personal experience, most of these "middlemen" not only do not respect copyrights or the laws of this country, they do not respect property rights in general, unless, of course, that property is theirs or something they have stolen. It is all very shameful, in my opinion. Those that have made an honest mistake (and we all do that on occasion) are ALWAYS treated with respect and given several reasonable options by Imageline in an attempt to resolve our disputes and protect their end user customers at the same time. In fact, some of our best friends, and best customers, are people who inadvertently were caught infringing at some time in the past, but certainly do not do that sort of thing anymore. By and large, they are happy people, as well, and have no trouble looking at themselves in the mirror each day. Every single company we have contacted over the past few years is a "middleman" trying to earn money from goods and services (and sweat and tears) of others, to which they have no rights. Most of the people responding to this web posting apparently have not even bothered to take the time to read our various communications carefully. Yet they are not hesitant at all to criticize what we are doing. That is a very dangerous, and not particularly useful, way to interact, in my humble opinion. Imageline owns one of the largest archives of digital vector-based artwork in the entire world, and we have just recently doubled our exclusive libraries with the acquisition of the Image Club Graphics libraries from Getty Images. All of our artwork had previously been developed in-house by talented artists, designers, animators, and digitizers, and by a number of what I consider "world class" independent illustrators under tight "work-for-hire" agreements. The new Image Club libraries begin an entire new chapter for Imageline, and we are all very excited about our future. Unlike most of our competitors, all of Imageline's digital artwork is also registered with the U.S. Copyright Office (thanks, Adobe, for teaching up the importance of copyright registrations back in the mid-1990s). This should be very important to our end users, as they should never have any concerns about infringement liabilities as long as they license Imageline's digital artwork from an authorized source. I'll wrap things up by saying this to some of the Slashdot "art critics". We have always tried to include a wide variety of unique and original images in our libraries. We are not trying to win an art contest with each design. We are trying to give a very diverse group of customers the choices they need to communicate more effectively. We NEVER criticize artwork for being "too simplistic" or "too complex". Everyone has their own individual taste when it comes to digital artwork and designs ... and that's the way it should be. The one thing I can tell you, however, is that you will NEVER experience a technical problem with any of the digital artwork acquired legitimately from Imageline. We test, re-test, and then test again, to make sure the digital artwork files work everywhere they are supposed to work, for our customers' complete satisfaction. I always encourage people to communicate directly with me if they have any suggestions as to what we might do to improve the image archives, complaints, and/or ways to improve the way we service our customers. I hope to hear from some of you Slashdot readers, as well. Thanks for listening! George George P. Riddick, III Chairman.CEO Imageline, Inc.* * supporting the creative community of digital artists, designers, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, programmers, and digitizers since 1981.
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