You may or may not know that I occasionally write satirical articles for Fstoppers. This is not one of those articles. An Internet “entrepreneur” was sued for using a copyrighted image, and he now claims the photographer who sued him was “malicious” for doing so.
While there’s some nuance to copyright law, the basic idea that you can’t just take an image you found on Google and use it for commercial purposes is generally pretty well understood, especially by those who work on the Internet. Nonetheless, Internet Entrepreneur Dan Dasilva did just that, using images he lifted from a Google image search in his Shopify store, and was subsequently sued, settling for $27,000 plus about $10,000 in legal fees. Open and shut enough of a case, right? Not so for Dasilva, who then took to his YouTube channel, making a video in which he acknowledges that he should have known better, but still calls the photographer “malicious” for daring to protect their copyright and vaguely implies that his followers should track down the person in the hopes it will ruin their reputation. He then goes on to make an entirely irrelevant comparison by examining transformative artistic work, which of course has nothing to do with simply lifting an image from Google and using it in a commercial context. Dasilva even says he still does this in the above video, despite having just been sued for that practice.
Of course, while someone who runs an Internet store should definitely know better, it’s not the ignorance that’s the most infuriating so much as the arrogance and entitlement coupled with the disrespect for an image creator’s property. It’s unfortunately not the first time I’ve seen this attitude, and while I can’t attribute it to any particularly obvious single source, it is an unfortunate part of our culture. Let’s hope that the perception of creators being malicious is transformed into respect for the hard work they put in.
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