Member Rara Avis
> Thanks for your patience.
> It looks like the admin of the board has already responded to your
> request. Let us know if you still need help.
> If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.
> Jeff Levy
> Helpdesk Administrator
Thanks for the follow-up, Jeff. Yes, the admin of the board removed the plagiarized work when one of the poets posted a response to her OWN poem. :-) I certainly appreciate your quick response.
I'm writing again because many of our poets have recently started using search engines to find instances of "borrowed" work, and the ezboard system seems to come up fairly frequently. So far, our poets have had little difficulty getting their poetry removed, but they are complaining about the attitude they are seeing. I know your TOS includes this language: "You agree to not use the Service to: Öinfringe the rights of any third party, including but not limited to intellectual property rights and privacy or publicity rights," but we're finding that some of your people apparently don't understand what they have agreed to follow.
For example, Tempered Steel < Grabowms@aol.com > at the Steelville board mentioned in my previous email, responded with the following (copied verbatim) :
"Copy rights... on the Internet, as long as proper author identification is
given, (or as best can be achieved) I believe it is not a copy right
violation, but will admit, it is pushing it. It falls under public domain."
This person obviously doesn't understand that something published with proper accreditation, and especially with a copyright notice, is NEVER in the public domain (at least not for the next 70+ years). We appreciate that Tempered Steel removed the poetry, and we know he can't be expected to recognize everything his members post as original or stolen, but we do not appreciate him trying to argue the laws involved. His ignorance of what constitutes intellectual property rights suggests a problem that, while resolved for now, will only result in further violations. The admin of this ezboard was polite and helpful, but should be made aware of his responsibilities.
The admin at LatinaBarbie < http://server3.ezboard.com/blatinabarbiesmessageboard.html > was equally ignorant of the laws involved, but considerably less polite. Michelle Curiel's < firstname.lastname@example.org > response to one of our poets was:
"I have no problem deleting your poem, as it does not affect me and i'm sure people on
my board will not miss it either. This is the first time I even see your poem. Can I
have the link to where this poem is at so I can delete it "IMMEDIATELY!"
"I understand you have your rights, but as much as you have your rights, people have the
right to post things such as poems they have found on the internet on boards, etc. It
is not as if he is using your poem for money. And it is not as if he is using your poem
on a website. It clearly states '(c) 1999-2000 WhtDove Please respect the rights of the
author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to use this poem on your own web page,
please use the Mark button. Thank you.'
"They said webpage, not message board. They are two different things. If you don't want
people copying your poems, then i suggest you not post them on the internet!"
Jeff, we don't expect your users to be lawyers, but we do expect them to be aware of their responsibilities. We don't expect them to be omnipotent, but we do expect compliance and common courtesy. Passions in Poetry gets just shy of two million visitors a month, and all of our poets KNOW their poetry is going to be shared by many - but nonetheless wish to maintain control over where and when that sharing takes place. That's their right. The admins of your software have agreed, through your Terms of Service, to support that right. I think your company has a responsibility to insure they understand what that means. While ezboard might wish for the traffic of Napster, I'm sure you don't want the reputation.
Thanks for listening, Jeff. I will soon be adding software to Passions so that any of our poets or visitors can report copyright violations for follow-up activity, and I hope I can count on your help should the ezboard name again surface. One of our writers has expressed an interest in putting together an article for our newsletter and, with your permission, I would like to give her your name as a contact. I'm sure everyone would like to know your company's official stance on matter of this nature. Again, thanks for your time, and I hope I've helped make you aware of a serious problem.
Passions in Poetry http://netpoets.com/
The above letter just went out to the EZBoard company, with carbon copies sent to both of the admins mentioned (so they know they're busted). Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go write some software for the promised copyright violation reporting system. And one of you needs to get started on our newsletter article.