Want to be blocked on Twitter by Elon Musk? Just call him out on copyright infringement

Aug 9, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Want to be blocked on Twitter by Elon Musk? Just call him out on copyright infringement

Aug 9, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It looks like Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and Space X, has been causing a bit of a fuss on Twitter lately. After posting an image to his feed of 27 million followers by photographer Richard Angle, without any kind of credit or permission, he’s been getting called out by those leaping to Angle’s defence. Then those people have been summarily blocked.

The now-deleted Tweet, which was posted to Musk’s Twitter feed had received over 1,200 comments, 6,600 retweets and 77,000 likes. It contained the caption “Ride the lightning!” along with the photo of a lightning strike behind a Space X launchpad.

Angle has photographed many launches during his career, but when he spotted the image posted to Musk’s feed without any kind of tag credit or permission, he posted this slightly sarcastic tweet calling him out.

After this, many other photographers got behind Angle, asking Musk to respect copyright and not to publish images without permission or credit. Especially when he could’ve simply shared Angle’s original post of the image legitimately.

In response to being called out, though, instead of apologising or even engaging in conversation with people, Musk chose to simply block those who were calling him out.

It looks like Elon got bored of blocking people in the end, though, ultimately taking the Tweet down. He then blocked one final person. Richard Angle.

[via FStoppers]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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24 responses to “Want to be blocked on Twitter by Elon Musk? Just call him out on copyright infringement”

  1. Guilherme Taffarel Bergamin Avatar
    Guilherme Taffarel Bergamin

    I’m no copyright expert, but isn’t the watermark there exactly for this?

    1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
      Doug Sundseth

      Publishing an image without permission is not somehow made legal by the existence of a watermark.

      1. Guilherme Taffarel Bergamin Avatar
        Guilherme Taffarel Bergamin

        But really… It is an image that was taken and shared publicly. And they gave credit to the author by not cropping the watermark. The author’s @ is literally right there impossible to miss. They didn’t claim the photo was taken by SpaceX and they left the author’s contact right there on the picture…

        1. Edward Blake Avatar
          Edward Blake

          That’s the copyright symbol © not @ ;) But either way, people who are actually interested would still search the name.

        2. Doug Sundseth Avatar
          Doug Sundseth

          Copyright “…rights … include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and moral rights such as attribution.” (From the US Wikipedia article on Copyright.)

          Note that this is well understood and in no way legally controversial, whatever you might think is equitable. Musk’s reproduction and distribution of the image was a clear violation of the photographer’s copyright.

  2. Judotoss Avatar
    Judotoss

    What do you mean without any kind of credit, the photograph is watermarked. Also, it’s not like you need permission to post a picture to Twitter that someone else took.

    1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
      Doug Sundseth

      There is no Twitter exception to US copyright law. If you post an image to Twitter without permission, you are violating the copyright of the photographer and liable for damages.

      1. CRASH_Override Avatar
        CRASH_Override

        I do concept art and animation for a living. My work has been reposted on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram without my “permission” and uncredited (once incorrectly credited lol). There’s no recourse for me but I don’t find it surprising anyways because I made the post public in the first place. This is why you sign art (or watermark).

        If you took a picture of someone’s excellent graffiti on a wall, posted it online, you’re just as “guilty” as Musk. Hopefully the artist signed it.

        I think it would be nice for Musk to just credit the people, but it’s definitely a grey area legally. His attitude about it is just kinda unlikeable.

        1. ShishkaBerry Avatar
          ShishkaBerry

          You need to Google copyright laws my dude

          1. CRASH_Override Avatar
            CRASH_Override

            You need to reread what I said. Have you ever posted a gif without giving credit to the content creator?

        2. Aaron Stramiello Avatar
          Aaron Stramiello

          That and the post wasn’t used in any sort of advertising or other revenue or customer gaining way… the photographer should have been credited, but it’s not like he removed the watermark

    2. Mick Flynn Avatar
      Mick Flynn

      Of course you need permission or else photographers would never earn a living if all their publicly viewable work was simply re-posted elsewhere!
      The watermark is so that the photographer can be contacted for a licence.
      The fact that they posted with a watermark makes it BLATANT infringement, so the payout will usually be higher.

    3. Copyright © Avatar
      Copyright ©

      it seems like you are all the kind of people that would support article 13. What a shame.

  3. Martin Čičmanec Avatar
    Martin Čičmanec

    But the picture was of the spacex rocket. Did the photographer have permission from spacex? Rocket technology is considered a US state secret, so he could be charged of espionage.

    1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
      Doug Sundseth

      No permission is required to take photos of things visible to the public. And no, he can’t be convicted of espionage for taking a picture of a space bus. (Anyone can be _charged_ with anything by a zealous DA.)

      1. Tommy van der Wal Avatar
        Tommy van der Wal

        Hmm, so your line “No permission is required to take photos of things visible to the public”. Needs to add the exception: “unless it is visible on twitter” otherwise it would make Elon completely right. Right?

        1. Hanif Faris Avatar
          Hanif Faris

          sorry, but I think you’re a little slow

  4. Nicholas Lawson Avatar
    Nicholas Lawson

    ahem before introducing yourself call him out on copyright infringement and yes you will be banned … build rapport first and then get into the displeasantries on critiquing him on the story the newspaper told you was his … important to follow ettiquette

    1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
      Doug Sundseth

      Before stealing a photographer’s image, any reasonable version of “etiquette” would involve getting permission to republish.

    2. Jenny Lens Avatar
      Jenny Lens

      I can’t wait til YOU deal with copyright violations left and right … etiquette! HA, you’ve not been dealing with the press or publishers or film-makers or TV producers as I have the last 4 decades. Ha ha, etiquette when THEY STEAL FROM YOU. Good luck with that.

  5. Alan C Avatar
    Alan C

    Glad Elon blocked ego driven idiot photographers who wrongly crticise Musk sharing one of there photos on Twitter. Some pathetic ego driven phototographers think they walk on water. Sad.

    1. Hanif Faris Avatar
      Hanif Faris

      lol, what’s next? you gonna call them pedophiles now?

    2. Whitetail Avatar
      Whitetail

      Well SpaceX own the copyright of the rocket.

  6. Copyright © Avatar
    Copyright ©

    because of ego. Once you start watermarking your pictures just to share them publicly on the internet, youre not far away from actually suing people if the repost your works and give you more attention. Ego is the biggest threat for yourself.