I don’t do this often but I felt that I should because of the reaction I got from some people who saw my initial tweet and then I realised that there is such a lack of knowledge and understanding of what is Copyright and how to respect it.
So here’s how it began:
So xin msn also googles for sj fan pics and crops the logo/watermark… Do u have any idea how much effort goes into taking those pictures?
— Joyce Sim (@jovenatheart) September 23, 2014
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsIt is an extremely big deal in the fandom (any Kpop fandom in fact) when we repost someone’s photo that they have taken of any Super Junior members wherever and we didn’t explicitly put a photo credit within the 140 characters. The amount of shit we get when we missed out on mentioning the photo credit even when the photo is tagged/watermarked. It is also major taboo within the fandom when you do any kind of modification to a photo without prior permission from the person who took the photo. If you even crop off the logo/watermark, you should just be prepared to abandon your SNS account and start afresh.
Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned
Note: You don’t have to register/patent anything to be copyright owners of a works. It is an automatic right of the works creator.
So imagine my surprise when I saw this tweet from XINMSN’s English twitter account.
— xinmsn.com (English) (@xinmsn_en) September 23, 2014
I got the hunch that the photos were googled and modified without prior permission from the people/fansite that took the photos so I went to message the various fan sites master and asked if they knew their photo was being used by XINMSN. Everyone said no.
I even saw that a fansite (kimheenim.com) replied to XINMSN and complained.
So after all the replies that a few of my friends and I made to XINMSN’s twitter account, XINMSN clearly just chose to ignore us because it was just a handful of us who were complaining and it is therefore not a big deal.
I know that XINMSN chose to ignore our tweets because they favourite a tweet I made, indicating very clearly to me that they read their mentions:
Just so you know, at 18.something K followers, it is possible to read every mention. We have 239.8K followers on our Super Junior fanbase and I still am able to read most of the mentions.
Furthermore, I maintain websites in the corporate world and we have offices across the entire Asia Pacific so I do have a rough idea of what are the various types of laws in each territory when it comes to anything relating to a website. I know what I am talking about.
While I am not the copyright owner of any of the photos in question, what really disappoints and irritates the hell of me (and a few more people) about this whole thing is how XINMSN is a large corporate entity and yet they disregard the Copyright of Individuals to make a profit/gain from the works of and effort put in by the Individual without due compensation/recognition; like a few words to credit the photo back to the source.
On top of that, anyone who has been to an SM Entertainment artist concert will know that cameras are BANNED from the venue. It’s so strict that even using your smart phones to take photos might get you thrown out of the concert if you get caught. So, those photos that XINMSN posted are not so legally taken in the first place.
I don’t even care if it was an Intern who made such a mistake like this, the Editor let it pass and how the article remains available on their website just shows the lack of quality control and ethics within their editorial team.
So all that said, I hope everyone can learn something out of this; ASK before you take any photo or content from anywhere on the internet BEFORE you use it for whatsoever purpose. If you cannot find a way to contact the owner to ask for permission, then put a link back to the source or at least spell out the entire URL. It might not be enforced strictly in Singapore but Copyright Infringement is a criminal offence punishable by law.
We website/blog owners know that there is little or no money being made by majority of the online publications so most of us are cool with letting you take the content for free, all you have to do is ask and put a credit note.
So finally, I leave you with screenshots/specimens of all the photos posted on the article in question, if you know the owners of the photos, please let them know.