For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Copyright dispute meets Chechnya president

When engaged in any blogging activity, one could argue that you always end up with people copying your work without your consent. Such is the life of IP rights on Internet, especially when it comes to photographs, copyrights are hardly respected and it is difficult to always acknowledge of someone’s work by the time you see a picture you wish to use.


This guest Kat, feeling a little homesick recently came across an unusual story involving copyright infringement, presidential blogging activity and sheep from his hometown. 

Here is the story:

On July 24, Dutch mechanical engineer and photographer Herbert Schröer uploaded a picture of several lovely sheep resting above Chamonix’s valley, next to the Mont Blanc. This guest Kat, being originally from this part of the French Alps, believes that the exact location would be near la Flegere”

Early September, another Instagram user decided to take the same photo, add a filter on it and post it on his Instagram account without any mention or authorisation given by the author. This is quite a classical on-line infringing story. However, what is unlikely in blogging is to get your picture copied by the head of a state.

The disputed photograph:
GuestKat's siblings resting peacefully
Razman Kadyrov is the 38 years old head of the Chechen Republic. Besides leading the Republic, he is an avid user of social networks, specifically Instagram on which he has posted more than 1,600 photos and has more than 183,000 followers. This is quite an impressive number considering that Chechnya total population is about 1,200,000. The reason of this success is linked to the use he makes of social media. Indeed the uploaded photographs differ a bit from the usual presidential protocol you would find in other countries. From official meetings to kitties strangulation petting, from heavy lifting to  medieval cosplay, Kadyrov often steps out of the presidential attitude to disclose his best shots.

[Merpel asks: Wasn’t the last French president a bit of a performer too?] He was indeed, but he never published a video of him exceeding speed limits by more than a hundred km per hour.

Since Kadyrov is an Instagram’s Users he has to agree on the service's terms and conditions. It appears that Instagram as a system to claim for IP infringement, namely trade mark and copyright. Once the claim has been made, the response given by Instagram seems to be a simple warning with a demand  to remove the disputed picture. If it happens again, your account can be disabled.

After many people commented on the post to reveal this infamous act, President Kadyrov removed the disputed photograph from his account.

This guest Kat wonders if he did it after a copyright notice was sent by Instagram or because of public opinion. Perhaps he suddenly became aware of the importance of intellectual property rights...

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