Today a brief report from our Shitty But True newsdesk.
The place: Seattle, Washington. The story: The owners of a smallish (relatively speaking) landmark that mars and/or has intercourse with the city’s skyline are harassing people who take pictures of said skyline and use the photographs in their POD (Print On Demand) projects.
We’re talking about, of course, the Space Needle. Can you think of any other landmarks in the Seattle skyline besides Courtney Love’s medicine cabinet?
Yes, the same Space Needle as seen in the opening sequence of the television show Fraiser and in the compelling crime drama The Killing. Those people must have paid big bucks.
The crux of the argument is this: The owners of the Space Needle structure claim ownership and copyright of the structure’s design. This includes it’s shape for usage on things like t-shirts, scale replica pieces of crap, key fobs, mugs, shot glasses, commemorative plates, post cards, calendars, mud flaps, and, of course, Ol’ Spacey (an intimate bedroom device but we won’t be mentioning that on this here quality blog).
If you take a picture of the Seattle skyline for your POD project and, like a damn fool, think to yourself: “Hey, it’s Seattle. Maybe I should point in the general direction of the downtown area and include that abomination thingy with the shittiest restaurant in town?” you just violated copyright law.
Personally I say, if you want to protect your precious copyright don’t do things with it like stick it in the city’s fucking skyline, eh? Kind of makes it hard to avoid, eh? Keep it in private (always good advice for large probes) or be a tad reasonable about enforcing your claim.
I think the question is one of intent. Is someone out to steal and profit from their awesome design? Or are they merely taking a picture of a city where someone decided to jam a giant probe? “Sorry, we’re greedy assholes. You are no longer allowed to take pictures of Seattle. This is not a Kodak moment.” It’s not like a skyline picture is the same as a project like, “The 12 Sexy Sides Of Seattle’s Space Needle 2014 Calendar.”
My friend was recently impacted by their copyright hyperactivity so I decided to honor her sweet, innocent, babe in the woods photograph with the following Photoshop project:
As you can clearly see, she really zoomed in on that sucker, eh? Imagine the photograph without the obelisk. That would really scream Seattle, right?
Who “owns” a city’s skyline? Personally I vote they blast it into orbit and then charge a fee to anyone who wants to gaze upon the stars. That sounds reasonable to me.
For more about her story please read this excellent post:
Caught in a Copyright Net
Ah. Another piece of evidence that we are officially becoming The Asshole Society.
The Asshole Society requires two basic ingredients. First, the believe that a person can do anything they want just because they want it. (Like park in a fire lane, drive aggressively, lie, cheat, steal, and even jaywalk.) Second, that when the first rule doesn’t work out, absolutely never should responsibility be taken.
I just watched this video and I have to say I’m really angered by it. I’m angered that someone who was breaking the law would react that way to a police officer. I’m angered that the officer was left along for so long and had to wait for backup while an ugly crowd formed around him. I’m angered that the crowd taunted the officer and supported the suspect. I’m angered that this police officer is now going to be subjected to unreasonable criticism and scrutiny simply for doing his job.
And, unbelievably, I’m stunned to hear that actually police officers are enforcing pedestrian laws. Somebody pinch me. That simply can’t be true!
When a police officer tells you do so something, you do it. Especially when you are in the act of breaking the law.
Jaywalking is irrelevant here. This is another one of those world famous misleading headlines. What is seen in the video is an officer attempting to enforce the law then encountering a pretty severe case of resisting arrest. The woman pushes the officer, fails to follow instructions, and struggles fiercely to get away. Her actions were illegal and put the officer at risk.
Jaywalking is usually considered an infraction or a misdemeanor. Resting arrest, however, may be a felony. That is exactly what I hope she gets charged with.
A snippet of conversation from the video:
Cop: You are under arrest!
Suspect [yelling]: Get the fuck off of me!
One thing from the video is abundantly clear. The alleged jaywalker is an asshole. Just another person who believes, “The rules do not apply to me.” Just another person who becomes angry when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Just another person who can’t take responsibility for the choices they make.
A few years back I got a ticket for going 70 mph on a section of highway where the speed limit was 55 mph. I was the only car on the road as far as the eye could see and the cop felt I was a problem worth fixing. Did I agree with that? Not exactly. But I was breaking the law. Was I happy I was pulled over? No. Did the cop have any personality at all? No. But what I did do was everything I could to make the cop’s job easier. I kept my hands visible on the steering wheel at all times, I did not move, I did not get out of the car, and I obeyed every instruction he gave me. He even listened to my story but didn’t buy it. A few minutes later it was all over, without incident, and I was on my merry way. I paid my ticket and that chapter was closed. I took responsibility for my actions.
The minute that woman actively resisted the copy she became, in my opinion, a felon. No doubt she’ll get away with what she did to that copy because of the video and the publicity. That makes me sad and angry.
The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild has spoken about the incident:
Rich O’Neil told KCPQ-TV that punching her in the face was an appropriate use of force as the officer struggled with two women and a crowd formed. O’Neil says it’s wrong to call the punch police brutality or racist.
I agree. But not everyone does. Some are saying the incident is reminiscent of other videos that show police brutality. All this cop did was try to do the handcuffs on his suspect that he had placed under arrest.
It is sad that an asshole has jeopardized the career of this police officer.