Monkey See, Monkey Cease & Desist : Ah, Mondays

Evil monkey from the movie about the evil monkey that smiles awkwardly by scragzNever a dull day at the Scoop offices…

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing on behalf of [REDACTED], its subsidiaries and affiliates ([REDACTED]).

[REDACTED] has become aware that there exists an unauthorized use of [REDACTED]’s copyrightable material on multiple pages of the scoop.co.nz website (the “Scoop Website”), which we understand to be owned and operated by Scoop Media Ltd.

The content in question is a series of financial text reports entitled [REDACTED], developed by or on behalf of [REDACTED] that it utilizes in connection with its financial businesses.

Below are some examples of the infringing content on the Scoop Website:

[REDACTED]

Copyright in the infringing content is owned by [REDACTED]. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials as described above is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

[REDACTED] requests Scoop promptly take down the [REDACTED] Reports (including all excerpts and links thereto) from the Scoop Website, and any Scoop affiliates’ websites. [REDACTED] also requests that Scoop takes reasonable steps to ensure violations of [REDACTED]’s copyright in the [REDACTED]Reports does not occur on the Scoop Website in future.

[LEGALESE, ENDS]

Our response (bolding is mine):

Hi Leo,

Thankyou for your letter. For your information the New Zealand copyright law is not the same as the DMCA and there is no provision for  takedown notices to be issued.

Before we remove the material requested I would ask that you go back to your client with our response below. It has been considered carefully.

Our view is that your material was sent to us unsolicited as press release content – and that we are therefore free to use it and publish it if we wish to do so.

Corporate content which is sent to the media as press release material contains with it an express copyright license to republish. In contractual tems the consideration for this license is  is increased exposure to material which your bank wishes to use to promote its services. It was sent to us with the intention of increasing exposure of the bank and that is what is achieved by our use of it.

As for the standard form copyright notice on the linked documents – these are contained on all manner of material distribued to the media – often mistakenly – so its presence on a document that we have linked to is no real indication of a desire to prevent republication by the agency issuing a release.

We fail to see how in any manner whatsoever your client is prejudiced by our publication of this material – especially as it links back to your full report and clearly credits your bank as the source.

On one reading the use of exerpts plus a link is completely within the bounds of fair use.

On another reading our publication of these reports is in fact promoting your clients business. According to our understanding of the law in NZ you would therefore find it very hard to make any claim in copyright for either loss of income as a result of our publication nor for income inappropriately earned by us (which is likely to be only a few cents anyway).

The link makes your clients material more findable on the web – increases its google ranking in search engine queries and in short is a positive to you not a negative.

Finally – as a matter of curiosity are you attempting to eradicate all cases of unauthorised use of your material from the web? I would think that seeking to do so for services like yahoogroups and discussion forums will likely prove impossible and very harmful to your organisation’s reputation.

Looking forward to your reversion.

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One Comment on “Monkey See, Monkey Cease & Desist : Ah, Mondays”

  1. Keith Ng says:

    LOL. PR + lawyers = double billable hours!


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