Thursday, 7 January 2016

Luftwaffe groups on Facebook - reporting copyright infringements and violations of owners' rights

There are many Luftwaffe pages on Facebook. For authors and publishers it can be a good forum for publicising your work. Elsewhere Facebook 'Groups' host a number of 'well-known' posters and self-appointed experts - and other enthusiasts- presenting all sorts of material and commenting. Sounds good right? However there are some big down-sides to FB's Luftwaffe pages ..

As one enthusiast put it when faced with a poster seeking details of the Bf 109 K-14s delivered to JG 52 and whose reference library appeared to comprise one solitary Squadron Signal monograph ; ".. there are certain places and mediums to have serious discussions on aviation history and certain places where it is futile to attempt such a task..."  Or as another said;  "..sorry, I prefer to be stupid on the 12 o'Clock High forum than brilliant on Facebook..". Too many posters and too many fantasists who spend every day putting on line out-of-date artworks, pictures of Erich Hartmann, entire pages of Luftwaffe im Focus, a whole book of Sundin profile artworks, not to mention all the rare pictures from the two volume JG 300 history..

Perhaps you're thinking that I tend to do something similar here  - but what makes this site different is that I ask. The trouble with FB is that those self same 'experts' believe somehow that they have the right to simply lift material from other websites and/or from (copyrighted) books - not that the average FB user even appears to buy new books. Quoting from Prien looks good - I wonder if your readers know you don't actually own these books but use scanned copies. And 'new' pictures on other web sites? oh I'll help myself to those. So blatant and just wrong!  And there are even posts  on these same pages complaining about 'copyright morrons' (sic!)

It's spelled 'moron'  -  tw*ts!
By the way guys, referencing constantly, as you do, does nothing for your reputation among serious Luftwaffe enthusiasts and authors.

Of course some FB 'groups' insist on a 'source' - as if that information gives them any right to just take and repost material! The ease with which FB 'works' appears to be part of the 'problem'. Browsing the various Groups can be much quicker and faster than wading through a forum - as any FB user will know you get updates -or "notifications"- the moment your 'friends' post. Some of these FB groups may quickly rival 'traditional' internet forums over-seen by ever-present and occasionally over-bearing moderators  ( and I don't mean you Nick!) with their all-too legitimate concerns about copyright, defamation etc etc.

That's just one of the down sides. Other characters like the guy involved with the IL2 board hosted by also haunt FB. Apparently he has created one of the biggest Luftwaffe sites on the web. Amazing. He never seems to post any images of his own and certainly doesn't appear to have done any original research or writing. And at one point they were quite happy to take $20 from you for the dubious privilege of being able to access copyrighted works.  Frankly I prefer not to bump into Acred and those FB group posters who 'encourage' him and his ilk if I can help it. Read here some of the exchanges I had with him after he helped himself to some of the original images posted on this blog.

I doubt very much whether illustrators, writers, researchers and collectors, even institutions, want to see all "their" material posted on FB. Many of them though I doubt are even aware of the extent of the copyright theft problem on FB. Among the wider uninformed FB-user public the school of thought though seems to be that WW II images, even artworks based on such images are essentially public domain and if posted for discussion and education, count as "fair use" when it comes to copyright - the laws of which vary just about everywhere and which, especially in the US appear quite liberal..

Subject: Re: Facebook copyright report Form
 Hi, Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Please note that in order for us to process a report alleging infringement or violation of legal rights, that report would need to come from someone authorised to act on behalf of the rights owner (e.g. lawyer, agent). Based on the information that you have provided, it is not clear to us that you are the rights owner or are authorised to act on their behalf. Please clarify whether you are the rights owner, or if acting in a representative capacity, please clarify your relationship to the rights owner. Once we have received this information, we will be happy to investigate this matter further. If you are not in fact the rights owner or their authorised representative, but you believe that their rights may be infringed or violated by content on the site, you may wish to contact the rights owner directly. Thank you,
  Intellectual Property Operations Facebook

Subject: Re: Copyright Report Form
 Hi, Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We have removed or disabled access to the content that you have reported for violating the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities concerning the following link:

As you can see I recently tested FB's own reporting system - the person behind the 'Messerschmitt Fighters' group page that had posted a number of pictures from Jean-Yves Lorant's JG 300 history. We were pleasantly surprised to see a rapid response from Facebook and access to specific copyright material that I complained about was quickly blocked. As the complainant the material you report has to be your copyright or else you must be what FB refers to as the 'copyright holder's representative' - and you have to be able to demonstrate that. Simply reporting that a FB page has posted over 150 of Sundin's profile artworks - another FB page - won't necessarily result in FB taking any action. If you can't afford a £50 book, that is your problem and not something I'm going to feel guilty about. Posting images from such sources constantly will have an impact on the production of new works. So it is hardly surprising that - as one FB group moderator recently opined - some people  "...are only joining the group to check copyright violations.."  Given that there are so many of them they are perfectly entitled to so do I say !

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