Who's claiming copyright on the Prism logo?

Gawker's Max Read tried to set up a Zazzle store to sell t-shirts with the logo of the NSA Prism program, recently outed in a set of spectacular leaks in the Guardian and Washington Post. His store was short-lived; a copyright complaint from an unnamed party shut it down. He has researched possible copyright holders for the image, and found one candidate: Adam Hart-Davis, known for presenting BBC science-shows, who made the underlying image of a prism splitting a light-beam available on his website as a low-rez image. However, he is on vacation and is unlikely to have generated the takedown.

A British Television Host Took the Photo Used in the NSA PRISM Logo (via Super Punch)


  1. I’d guess whatever record company currently owns the rights to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

    1. This prism doesn’t look at all like the Pink Floyd prism; it looks like an actual 3-D glass prism.  (Not that that would stop a record company, of course :-) 

  2. Ha! IPKat had an article about this earlier http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/thinking-of-making-money-from-prism.html

  3. It seems like any more it doesn’t matter who generated the takedown. It could be some six-year-old felon, it’s still treated as valid, unless Read can
     – find the sender of the notice.
     – demonstrate they don’t actually hold the rights.
     – get somebody at Zazzle to give a damn, enough to risk their job if Read is wrong.

    One hell of a burden of proof, especially when trolls can run shell companies within shell companies.

    1. Seems like a dumb way to police it. Maybe if anonymous issued a takedown request for every item in the store, maybe that would encourage them to consider a sensible policy.

      1. I’ve often wondered if the answer might be flooding the system with thousands of bogus notices for Sony’s entire catalog, for example. At what point would the powers decide the system is broken?

  4. I thought things made by or for the government (PSA type ‘duck and cover’ movies) were automatically pub domain.

    1. Things made by the federal government cannot be copyrighted, but things made by non-federal government or made for the federal government can be, and the federal government can hold copyright transferred to it.

    1.  That was .. disconcerting.
      I followed that link. The image was too small to read. My browser showed a magnifying glass so I clicked. Something happened but it was still too small to read. I clicked magnify again and … I ended up looking at a fat guy in a pond with a ukulele. 
      Hail Eris!

      1.  Flickr continues to have some user interface design issues.  However, the text of the of the letter from Zazzle that is in the image is also reprinted in the “description” below the image (which, on my computer, is inconveniently off screen so that I must scroll down to see it).  Additionally, you can “right click” on the image and choose a larger image.
        But if you *like* the fat guy by the pond with the ukulele, I have a video here:   http://youtu.be/zvYEv5EjJzE

  5. I think I’m going to add a “Message has been scanned by PRISM” signature on my email, it’s not as accurate as McAfee for trapping viruses, but it’ll detect almost 100% terrorists.

  6. So Adam Hart-Davis might be a front for the NSA? I always thought it was a bit suspicious how he used to cycle all over the country covering, “local history”.

      1.  Indeed I used to really look forward to his “Local Heroes” series. Maybe his work here is done and he has returned to his Controller for fresh instructions.

  7. It’s an old image.  I worked for a company that used the same image as a
    LCD background for a mock up for a brochure in 2003. I think we
    randomly pulled it off of google image search at the time.

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