Inept copyright bot sends 2600 a legal threat over ink blotches

Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "2600 Magazine is being threatened with legal action for using bits of ink splatter on the Spring 2012 cover that Trunk Archive Images claims it has the rights to. That's right, ink splatter. The sophistication of the tracking software in actually being able to detect specific splotches of ink throughout the entire Internet is as astounding as it is scary. But it also happens to be dead wrong as the ink splatter in question actually belongs to an artist in Finland."

Nothing sweeter than unaccountable, algorithmic guilt. Who would have imagined that designing a system of extrajudicial censorship orders with no penalties for abuse would lead to trigger-happy botmasters whose badly coded garbage gets to offer no-fooling legal threats?

We thought it was a joke for almost an entire day until one of us figured out that they were actually claiming our use of a small bit of ink splatter that was on one of their images was actionable. Here, take a look.

That's right, they're coming after us literally for a few splotches of ink. What companies like this do is broker works of art on behalf of actual photographers, but then engage in copyright trolling by threatening anyone who uses even a small piece of them. Increased computing power and more sophisticated algorithms allow them to do this with improved speed and "efficiency." The original artists see next to nothing for their efforts and companies like Trunk Archive make out like bandits with their intimidation tactics. Needless to say, we're not big fans of this.

But it gets even better. You see, not only are they trying to get us to pay them for using a few ink splotches, but as it turns out, the ink splotches don't belong to them in the first place! Our cover artist happened to keep meticulous records (probably not something they anticipated) and traced the source of the ink splotches to a Finnish artist at this page.