Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Bubblegate!

What a slimy mess the “Here Comes Another Bubble” is leaving in its wake as it travels all over the Web.

Today, Daryl Lang of PDNPulse, a blog from Photo District News, reported that it contacted more photographers whose pictures were used in the popular Web 2.0-mocking video by the San Francisco-based singing group, the Richter Scales.

Four of them responded that they also did not like the use of their work one bit, some objecting to the credit given, others to the non-payment and still others to not being asked for permission to use their photos.

Some objected to all three issues, all of which have to do with “fair use” under copyright law.

“I’m totally against the unauthorized use of my image,” said Ramona Rosales, whose picture of TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington was used in the video and who said she was going to ask that the photo be removed, to PDNPulse. “I was never asked permission nor have I received any compensation for its use; furthermore I don’t feel it is justified simply because they gave me credit.”

As BoomTown reported last night here, the Richter Scales posted a new version of its “Bubble” video after photographer Lane Hartwell had the first one taken down from YouTube, because they used a picture she took of Valleywag’s Owen Thomas without her permission or payment.

In Version 1.1, the singing group added a full list of credits, which were also on the video. They also replaced the Thomas picture with one of me.

(At its start, the video also uses a quote from BoomTown’s video interview with investor Peter Thiel, which you can watch in its entirety here, which BoomTown has since approved of.)

After the second one went up last night, Hartwell said she was still sending the Richter Scales an invoice for the first version of their video, which uses Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as the tune in its parody and has been a viral hit on the Web.

I emailed Rosales for further comment, and will update this post when I hear from her.

About the new comments from other photographers quoted by PDNPulse, the Richter Scales’ Tom Shields said: “We have not heard from any other copyright owners regarding our video. If we do, we will attempt to reach resolution with them, hopefully in a civil, private conversation and not in the blogosphere. We are not trying to make a point, or looking for a fight, we’re just a bunch of hobbyists who like to entertain people.”

Ironically, Arrington–in a series of not-so-entertaining exchanges with another commenter, blogger Shelley Powers, in the Globe and Mail’s Mathew Ingram’s blog–felt Hartwell was wrong.

So, until this video also gets the copyright hook, here’s the new version of “Bubble”:

[Updated with Richter Scales comment.]


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik