No Copyright Infringement Intended
“No copyright infringement intended” is the magical incantation used by web wizards across the internet that will ward off vampires and lawyers right? There seems to be a great confusion on the internet on what does and does not constitute copyright infringement. One can understand some confusion as copyright is a very gray area. However, in this case it is most certainly willful ignorance that allows this ‘protective’ emblem to brand the internet.
The problem is that this witlessness is becoming so commonplace that many new players in the copyright game are beginning to use this novel prayer to the internet gods. They believe that it will protect them or alleviates any guilt they may feel from grand theft content. Allow me to cast some disillusionment on those of you who really are not sure what this magical text tail does when people use it. Nothing, it does absolutely nothing. Well that is to say, it does nothing to protect you. It does however eradicate any plea you might have at ignorance.
I’m not going to go into the details of what isn’t copyright infringement because like I mentioned it is a very gray area that goes case by case. If you have something in particular there are a variety of opinions all across the internet that can be found with a simple search. However it is just best to get permission from the content owner, or consult a lawyer.
Still Not Persuaded?
If you aren’t convinced by now you can continue reading and I’ll explain all the little nuances of this supernatural calligraphy and why they do nothing for you. If you’re content to take my word on this topic then great! You made a wise decision and there is really no reason to continue reading other than to chuckle at my shrewd and humorous comments. The rest of you get a snack, kick off your shoes and get some scratch paper because there will be a test at the end of the semester. (You see all the fun jokes and informative commentary everyone who left class early will miss?)
The Number One Offense
Let us begin with the most common incarnation of this hex that I have encountered on the internet “No Copyright Infringement Intended”. This little axiom looks like a legitimate legal phrase but we must not be deceived! The phrase takes a nose dive of credibility when you realize that it is equivalent to walking into a convenience store, taking a candy bar and spewing crumbs on the counter as you slobber out the words “I didn’t intend to eat it”. Regardless of your intentions you are doing something that is wrong. Furthermore, the act of dismissing your actions with your intentions is an admission of guilt. Actions speak louder than words. In the legal domain what you have been caught doing counts for more than what you told people you were doing. You can tell people you were sleeping at home trying not to steal your neighbor’s car all you want but that security camera footage of you breaking into your neighbor’s garage is pretty damning evidence.
Does This Belong To You?
In the same basket of emblem goodies we also find the incarnation of this phrase “All rights belong to AwesomeIndividualIAmStealingFrom”. This is certainly a kinder way of stealing things. At least you are pointing to the house where you stole the Ferrari from when people compliment you on your new car. The fact remains that if you are using their copyrighted material without permission you are still guilty of infringement and should be seeking permissions instead of “act now, ask forgiveness later… if we need to”.
The Myth Of Pitching
My favorite is of course the term and practice of “Pitching”. Pitching is the act of altering a sound file so that YouTube’s recognition software cannot match and remove your copyright infringing YouTube video. It is okay if you don’t get caught right? I can’t stress how emphatically wrong that proverb is. Donning the magical talisman of pitching may make you invisible to automated software but it does not make you undetectable to the law. The pitched song so cleverly used in that homemade music video is written, arranged, produced, recorded and mastered by other individual(s) and the rights to that song belong to them. If you want another analogy (I’m quite fond of them myself) then pitching is comparable to letting the air out of your stolen Ferrari’s tires so that it drives differently. Regardless of what you do to it, it is still a stolen car and you can’t change that fact with a little tweaking here and there.
I hope you have been taking notes. No? Well then I’ll provide you with a cheat sheet because I’m that cool teacher who plays classical music during nap time the midterm. To master the exam you need to know one thing. “No Copyright Infringement Intended” and all of its mystical manifestations are indisputably garbage. There is nothing legally indemnifying about them and in some instances they can be condemning. Remember, if you have concerns on copyright seek permission from the content owner and/or consult legal counsel.