If the Daily Mail ‘steals’ your visualisation, they’re giving you publishing permission on their site

Nathan Yau has written about the Daily Mail using his data visualisation without permission. It’s not the first time this has happened, nor even the second.

One of my former Telegraph trainees Raziye Akkoc had the same experience when her world map of immigration was embedded in a Daily Mail article.

The article mentioned Raziye but not the fact that she was a journalist, or at another newspaper (that has since been changed – albeit with a nofollow link).

At the time I pointed out to Raziye that this meant she actually had publishing permission to a page on the Daily Mail website: if she changed the map – say, for example, to a list of her articles on the Telegraph – then readers of the Daily Mail would see that instead.

Nathan Yau actually did this for another site – Stuff.co.nz:

alert pop up saying “poop”

“I made an alert pop up that said “poop” whenever someone loaded the Stuff.co.nz page,” writes Yau

But this didn’t work with the Daily Mail – because they didn’t embed it: according to Yau, they went a whole step further.

“How did Daily Mail embed the visualization without the word “poop” popping up on an empty page? They downloaded all the files from my server on to their own server and deleted the snippet that brought up a poop alert. That way they didn’t have to deal with those pesky safeguards I setup.”

This really is blatant. In particular, I’m guessing The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992, which extended copyright law to apply to programming, would be worth checking here.

You might make an argument that this is ‘fair dealing’ for the purposes of news reporting. But the guidance on this asks:

“Is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used”.

In cases like this you could make a strong argument that a link is appropriate and reasonable, but copying across code is not.

I would welcome any other examples or relevant cases on this front.

UPDATE [Feb 22 2016]:

Barbara Maseda points me to the example of The Oatmeal’s reaction to having its cartoons used without permission by the Huffington Post (original post since changed with an apology):

Huffpo article with embedded cartoons all asking Huffpo for money

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