@AakashRaut’s Defense of @RyanLyk’s Copyright Infringement

Back in January, I wrote about the Minnesota Democrats Exposed writers, Andy Post and Ryan Lyk’s tendency to steal copyrighted photos from professional news organizations for use within their story.

For example, I pointed out that Ryan Lyk stole a photo from the Duluth News Tribune. And that Andy Post stole a photo from Getty Images that Getty licenses for $49. I also pointed out that Ryan Lyk and Andy Post were deleting comments on their site pointing out that they were stealing photos.

Since then, Minnesota Democrats Exposed has done a much better job respecting the copyrighted work of professional photo journalists and the organizations that pay them.

Which brings us to a recent comment left on The Deets by Aakash Raut (commenting as A.J.) in defense of Ryan Lyk’s copyright infringing behavior. Raut describes himself on Twitter as:

CHRISTian ~ conservative/GOP leader. [**JOB HUNTING**] Campaigns & elections; Policy activism ~ #tcot #crnc #gop #techgop ~ Web design & consulting. Field work!

In other words, an unemployed conservative Christian that thinks stealing is okay in the name of GOP.

Here is what Raut had to say in defense of Lyk’s stealing. Keep in mind that, when called out, Lyk removed the offending photo from Minnesota Democrats Exposed. But that didn’t stop Raut from defending Lyk.

May 22nd, 2011 at 10:12 pm
I’m just now seeing this blog entry… It is very-unusual to see an article/post, about something as common-place as like this.

I’ve been in the Blogosphere since 2002, and can tell you, it is very common-practice to include, within blog entries, photos from the websites of major newspapers.

If someone is “hotlinking” an image, without permission, then that is more-serious (because they are using bandwidth).

However: Including an image (hosted on one’s own bandwidth), which came from a major newspaper’s website, in a blog entry, is very-common. He should indeed have provided a link, to newspaper article, but at least he listed the source. Saying that Ryan “victimized” the newspaper is ridiculous.

I don’t know if you are serious, in asking these questions… Obviously, the reason he pulled the photo, is because you had made an issue of it (which distracts from, and is totally-unrelated to, the point of his blog entry).

And also: The usage of that single photo, of an elected public-official, from the website of this major newspaper, would definitely fall within the “fair use” doctrine. (At least 3 of the 4 factors weigh heavily, in favor.)

It’s interesting to hear Aakash Raut defend behavior that even Ryan Lyk wasn’t willing to stand behind. And, as much as Raut may like to do so, he can’t redefine copyright laws based on his political interests.

Which reminded me. Back in January, I emailed the Duluth News Tribune and asked them what they thought of Ryan Lyk’s copyright infringement. Their newsroom operations manager quickly responded to my question with the following:

Thank you for contacting the Duluth News Tribune. Anyone who wants to use a photo or story from us must request permission. Typically permissions go through me; however, this person could have asked our editor for permission. I can check with my editor to determine if we had agreed to its usage. We are NOT “cool” if the blogger took the image from our site without permission.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Not surprisingly, a company that pays photojournalists to collect newsworthy photos doesn’t like having the work they paid for stolen by lazy bloggers like Ryan Lyk. Aakash Raut should try joining the reality based community rather than coming up with ridiculous defenses of Lyk’s behavior.

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