Louis Darling

Over the many years I’ve had people ask me if they could use one or more images of my Home Office for some kind of presentation or project they were working on for entirely non-commercial purposes, things that wouldn’t be published anywhere, etc. and there have been instances in which I said, sure, go ahead, because I don’t have a problem with properly accredited links or use of that kind. Unfortunately I no longer do that because of people like Louis Darling (a.k.a. “aussie4me“) and here’s the story about why that is.

Louis Darling asked me, a long time ago, whether he could use some of my office photographs for some music video he was working on. It was for just a personal project that wouldn’t be published. Didn’t seemĀ  like a big deal to me so I kindly gave him permission to do so. It’s rare these days that people actually ask in the first place. Unfortunately, I am starting to learn that people who do ask might not entirely be honest and truthful about their real intentions.

Recently, however, a friend of mine pointed out a video on YouTube titled “The maga computer setup”. (Yes, that’s correct, it’s no longer there, instead there’s a nice copyright message). The video contained an entire slideshow of almost all of my home office photos and scrolling text of the various specs combined with some music track. Not anywhere in the video was it clear that this was my office, where the images came from (you had to look real close to identify the transparent watermarks I’ve put in them in the corners). I tried contacting the individual via YouTube about this but got no response. It was only a little later that I discovered that this was the very same Louis Darling who had asked permission to use the images for his personal project that wouldn’t get published.

And not only was it a video as described above but Louis had turned it into some kind of “YouTube Game” that I probably just don’t understand. He asked viewers to identify the source of the images and figure out where they came from and who owns the setup in the images. There were several hundred responses in the comments of the video, some more clueless than others, some more ignorant than the rest, but intermixed with comments from Louis talking about the setup with incorrect descriptions and other half truths. I have no idea what the fun is in starting a guessing game like that but I wasn’t amused in the slightest by it.

After discovering the nicknames and handles used by Louis Darling I decided to look a little further and to even more of my surprise, the images he asked permission to use for his private project that wouldn’t be published were all over his MySpace site! Both in the form of a slideshow on his main page as well as the entire collection in his photo album. You can see the results here as I grabbed them as I discovered all this.

There’s a lot that can be said on the subject of what exactly is a personal project that won’t be published or made public in any way but I can’t see any possible way how that could ever be interpreted to mean what factually happened and how all the images were subsequently used all over the place (and perhaps other places that I am not at all aware of).

How can anyone construe the permission granted for a personal project to include all this unless the request was made under false pretense with the intention of claiming to have the right to do that just because one holds a very peculiar view on exactly what a private project is.

Lacking any response from Louis Darling on his two YouTube accounts I waited a few days and then proceeded to have the appropriate DMCA take-down notices filed with both Google (YouTube) and MySpace. The copyright agent for MySpace was less easy to dig up but at the same time when the agent received the DMCA it was a very fast and efficient process. Less than 20 hours, in fact. Google needed a day or two more before acting but that too is considered to be swift.