Ryan Lyk Steals Copyrighted Photo, Thanks Victim

I thought this was an interesting citation to an image posted on Minnesota Democrats Exposed by Ryan Lyk:

Portion of Photo Stolen by Ryan Lyk

“Photo courtesy of Duluth New[s] Tribune”? Really? That sounds strange. I didn’t know that the Duluth News Tribune was in the business of giving away news content, including photos. One would think, at a minimum, that the paper would expect a link back to the relevant article, or at least the website the photo was “courtesy” of, but that didn’t happen ether. (Admittedly, the Duluth News Tribune is one of the more difficult sites to link to since they bury their stories behind a pay wall, making the site much less relevant to people who enjoy linking to news they find interesting.)

So I asked Ryan about this in the comments on MDE:

Question for Ryan Lyk about Photo Theft

Within an hour of posing that question, the stolen photo was quietly removed from Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

As usual, MDE decided to quietly revise history rather than update their post in a manner that would allow people to realize that what was originally posted had changed.

Granted, Ryan Lyk is one courteous thief. How many thieves are willing to publicly thank their victims? It takes a special kind of thief to do that.

15 thoughts on “Ryan Lyk Steals Copyrighted Photo, Thanks Victim”

  1. Fair Use, Ed.

    The gray area of copyright law comes in the form of fair use. If you’re reusing someone else’s material on your blog for the purpose of providing criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching or research, then you may not have to seek permission. Unfortunately, fair use is debatable, so if you’re republishing someone else’s work on your blog, do the safe (and right) thing and ask for permission first then cite the source in your blog post.


  2. Erik, that link raises a good point:

    “Unfortunately, fair use is debatable, so if you’re republishing someone else’s work on your blog, do the safe (and right) thing and ask for permission first then cite the source in your blog post. ”

    Are you suggesting that Ryan contacted the Duluth News Tribune and asked for permission before using one of their photos on Minnesota Democrats Exposed? My guess is that he did not, considering that he removed it when I called him out on using it.

    Do you think the Duluth News Tribune would agree with your definition of fair use?

    Why can’t Ryan stand up for his own actions?

    Do you find it as ironic as I do that Ryan used a stolen photo in a post titled “I Fought the Law But the Law Won”?

  3. I honestly could not care less if the Duluth News Tribune agrees with ‘my’ definition of fair use, the United State’s government agrees with me.


    17 § 107 of the U.S. Code

    One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

    Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

    The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    The nature of the copyrighted work
    The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
    The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

    Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work.

    The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

    When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of fair use would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered fair nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.



  4. Erik, are you referring to the photo from the Duluth News Tribune that Ryan Lyk pulled from Minnesota Democrats Exposed when I asked him whether he had permission to use it? It sounds like his actions speak louder than your copy/pasting.

  5. Yes, in fact, that is what I am referring to. His actions, as proved by the section of the USC I provided, were not unlawful. It is only wrong if the law says it is, not if you just don’t like it. Sorry you spent all of that time writing these posts though; you probably should have checked and made sure there wasn’t some pesky law that allowed them to use those images.

  6. The work here is the photo. Explain how taking an entire photo to illustrate a story is fair use of the photo.

  7. The piece on MDE, as is true for the majority of their posts, is to provide commentary. In this case the commentary is on how he feels she is not able to lawfully handle money. Ryan’s post is commenting on Halberg joining the city council and he uses the photo to aid in that commentary.

    “…such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.”

    I’m not going to do the extra work but you can check and see if it criticism is in the list above, my guess is that it is.

  8. Which of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research” does MDE think the use falls under? How many of the four factors does it think are in its favor?

    The purpose and character of the use? Seems commercial to me. I’ve been to MDE once or twice and their mission is certainly not educational.

    The nature of the copyrighted work? This prong is a little complicated, but suffice to say, it doesn’t help MDE’s cause.

    The amount of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole? Looks like they took the whole picture.

    The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work? Ouch, this one really hurts. Stealing the photo really affects the potential market for a photo for sale, wouldn’t you say?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.