“Oceanic Research Institute“, “La Boheme”, “Jersey” and a Jersey Red Ensign have been photoshopped onto the picture. Click the picture for another version.
Earl de Blonville has claimed the appearance of this image is a copyright infringement. I contend that is false. First, there is no commercial benefit gained from reproducing the image here and it’s appearance is consistent with investigative journalism. Second, The Copyright Act expressly identifies “news reporting” as a purpose for which use of a copyrighted work is not an infringement of copyright. It may therefore come as a surprise that including a photograph in a news report is not always protected as fair use. Whether such use is considered fair depends largely on whether it is “transformative,” in that it adds some new expression or meaning to the original photograph.
Recent court rulings have emphasized that, in order to be considered transformative under the fair use doctrine, a news article that includes a photograph must contain either a significant amount of information about the subject of the photo that cannot be gleaned from the photo itself, or some commentary or criticism on the photo.
The image on the ORI websites indisputably gives a false impression of the condition of La Boheme. This website provides “a significant amount of information about the subject of the photo that cannot be gleaned from the photo itself, or some commentary or criticism on the photo.”
Here is a link to de Blonville’s claim of copyright infringement and it begs some questions. First, why is Earl making this complaint if the image is property of Jennifer Gidley? Google is just supposed to take his word that he is authorized to speak on her behalf? Second, saying “Kent Madin, Bozeman Montana, known to Police in five countries” is clearly an effort to suggest that I am a bad guy, when the fact is I am known to police because they have fully investigated Earl’s specious allegations and found them, officially, baseless. I am known to police who have determined that I am not a criminal. Third, if the information contained on these pages is false, Earl can provide proof (he’s not being held hostage in the Ballina Ramada Inn). But he could not provide proof to the aforementioned police. As to damaging ORI’s reputation… ORI has no reputation to damage. It has done nothing other than create a deceptive web presence and look for funding and fail. The image in question of the La Boheme is the definition of “fake news”… intentionally created to fool people.