If you’re going to set yourself up as an organisation dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of others and using the full force of the law to bring cases of counterfeit and copyright infringement against internet uploaders, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that you are squeaky clean when it comes to respecting those rights yourself.

For example. When blogging about recent successes – such as arresting a family man and threatening him with three years jail for a single count of illegal uploading – you’d want a nice dramatic image to underline your point. Something like this:

Safact's police stillSource – SAFACT website 18th March 2014.

And you’d want to be really sure that your headline shot wasn’t lifted from a Reuters video about the arrest of Lulzsec hacker and accidentally photoshopped to remove the Australian Federal Police logo.

Safact's police still 2

Oops.

The image was also released as a still accompanying the Lulzsec wire story.

FYI, the Reuter’s terms and conditions surrounding use of its video assets include:

It is provided by Reuters and its licensors to you for your personal use and information only. You may not use the Content or Service for any commercial purpose. You may not remove, alter, forward, scrape, copy, sell, distribute, retransmit, create derivative works or otherwise make available the Content to third parties without our prior written consent, except as occasionally permitted by any sharing functionality in the Service that expressly allows you to share Content or links to Content with a few other individuals.

Our point is not to gloat. After all, sometimes we get it wrong too – copyright is a complex affair, which is why we use the Creative Commons licence for our work and take care to credit every image we use appropriately.

We contacted SAFACT for comment regarding the use of the Reuters’ image, in response to which the organisation has replaced it with a picture which appears to be sourced from iStock/Getty. This raises yet more interesting questions: since the story is clearly labelled ‘news’, it could be argued that it is an editorial piece and therefore requires proper credit under the terms of iStock’s licence agreement. Under the terms of that agreement you may not:

use the Content for editorial purposes without including the following credit adjacent to the Content or in audio/visual production credits: “©iStock.com/Artist’s Member Name]

SAFACT CEO Corne Guldenpfennig laid the blame squarely at the feet of the organisation’s web design company, Triloqtech. Sections of her email are below:

…SAFACT had recently appointed a web design company namely Triloqtech to redesign the SAFACT webpage with a view to transfer from the current page used namely piracysucks.co.za to a SAFACT domain again. Kindly note that this new page referred to by you is currently still in development stage and SAFACT trusted that the web design company would have followed clear instructions including insuring the use of our own or member company images only alternatively images which falls in public domain or ones that are designed or owned by them…

…I wish to confirm that SAFACT would never intentionally infringe on any individual or company’s intellectual property rights as it is the mission of SAFACT to protect and enforce IPR.

As the publisher of the website, however, it is SAFACT’s responsibility to check details like this, regardless of who is to blame.

UPDATE – It looks like it’s not just the image for this story which should cause copyright fans consternation. The entire copy has been copied and pasted from this MyBroadband link – without credit or, it’s understood, permission. Just in case that also gets changed, there’s a screen grab in this link for the record.

[Main image – still of Piracy Sucks website, prop. SAFACT]
Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar, Wired.co.uk, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.