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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Satire Website - how far can you go?

    Looking at creating a satire website. Kinda similar to Perez Hilton, but not so much only based just on celebrities. It will involve more photo manipulation, which brings me to my questions:

    1) When manipulating photos of people to make them appear to be doing something they're not really doing.... do I ever need to be concerned of actually being sued by these people even though it is a satire site? So, basically - how far can you go???

    2) I do not intend on using copyrighted photos, but I was under the impression that if I manipulated the photo enough from its' original state, that it would not be infringing on copyrights? I could be wrong.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    1) You always have to be concerned that you may be sued for such activities. That's not to say that what you've done is wrong, just that someone (or their representatives) may take offense and decide to fire off a lawsuit. Even if you win, you'll be spending a lot of time and resources.

    2) What you're talking about are "Derivative works", and they are covered under copyright law. These become the subject of all sorts of strange and complex lawsuits. (One man was sued because he put 4 bars of silence in one of his songs, and then credited John Cage).

    Satire is a legitimate defense for many actions. However, the way the law works right now, it's a defense, not an immunity. Before starting the site, I'd suggest hiring a copyright lawyer and finding a really good business insurance plan.
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  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I totally agree with BlazeMiskulin. You should also read up on copyright. Here's the link.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
    Serial Entrepreneur
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    You'll also find that laws in other countries -- e.g., UK or, say, Turkey -- are vastly different than laws in the USA, which show more leniency toward non-obvious satire.

    Yes, you'll likely get sued if you annoy someone bad enough. In USA, you'll likely win, but are you prepared to defend yourself in, say, Turkey or UK or Brazil?
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  5. #5
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    I'm in Canada. I'll do more research before I think about launching the site. I knew there could always be the chance of getting sued, but I thought that it is always a case where they first demand that you take it down, and if you do so right away, they won't pursue suing you...but perhaps they can skip the 'warning you' phase altogether?

  6. #6
    Serial Entrepreneur
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    No warning needed. Although some people will have their lawyer request a take-down and apology, that's just one tactic. The other would be to sue the Wii out of your hands to ensure you never do it again. Both are legit ways to get back at you, depending on whether the person cares about how they are portrayed in the press when word gets out about what's going on. Figure politicians and celebs will go the easy route; people with money who want to be more anonymous will be more vindictive. Your mileage may vary.
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  7. #7
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Copyright infringement is intellectual property theft. It's no different than any other kind of theft. If you pick someones pocket and get caught, you can give their wallet back, but you can still be prosecuted. It's the same with intellectual property. When you steal someone's intellectual property, it doesn't matter if you take it down or not, they can still prosecute you for damages incurred before you "gave it back".

    Moreover, in any country that accepts the copyright guidelines of the Berne Convention, intellectual property is copyright with or without the copyright symbol or other acknowledgement.

    If the damages are great enough, there are criminal remedies as well as civil. Since most web hosts are aware of copyright guidelines and remedies for infringement, they are very agreeable when asked to suspend a site for copyright violation.

    All in all, when you steal someone's intellectual property, you stand to lose a lot more than a picture or an article. You stand to lose everything... right down to your website and a pile of money in court costs, penalties, and fines.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  8. #8
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    I think it could cost you alot more in court fees than the site would be worth. It cost very little to file a lawsuit but costs you alot if you go to court. It is a no win situation.


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