Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Response to a Complaint by Bitcoin Socially

The owner of Bitcoin Socially has complained about this page on one of my websites.  Here's his email:
You did not ask to use our images nor to post our email address on badappreviews.com/apps/150044
You will be given 10 days to take down our content or our lawyers will attempt to have the entire site taken down via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We will also file a suit for the illegally used content.
Please take this matter seriously,
Bitcoin Socially
Since his email server appears not to be functioning and I can't reply to him, I've decided to post my response here.

To start, I find it highly unlikely that I've violated any of your copyrights.  Email addresses are likely not copyrightable.  According to the US Copyright Office, "Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed."  An email address appears to me to be a fact, just simply an address at which someone can be contacted.  Regardless, I've written to them regarding the matter and should hear back next week.

My use of your images seems to be protected based on the decision in Perfect 10 v. Amazon.com.  According to this decsion, "the owner of a computer that does not store and serve the electronic information to a user is not displaying that information, even if such owner in-line links to or frames the electronic information."  This is exactly the case on my website.  My servers neither store nor serve these images, I simply provide browser instructions to display images Bitcoin Socially has made publicly available.

Update:

The US Copyright Office got back to me.  As I expected, you cannot copyright an email address.

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