Arguments on Mudcat - Artistic Director Joan Crump is ordered by the festival director John Braithwaite to ask me to remove images from my SeeRed website - images that I have used to illustrate the fact that the 2011 Sidmouth FolkWeek ticket ordering webpages were not as easy to use as in past years.

Mudcat discussion forum - link here to see the whole discussion. What follows is abbreviated. The entire thread is tedious (but you might have nothing better to do.)


Subject: RE: Sidmouth FolkWeek 2011 - tickets on sale
From: Steve in Sidmouth
Date: 10 Jan 11

For some years you could have joined the Supporters Club (same 25) and camped - again instead of buying any event tickets.

To some extent, both the Supporters Club (which followed from the EX10 club and available only locally) was never widely advertised - it's caused a few problems. The terms of the renamed scheme - Camping Passport - (when you find it!) are now clearly stated - and I am assuming you can buy one 'on the day' if space is still available.

For a newcomer, not accustomed in any way to the complex ticket structure of FolkWeek, I feel a simple one page summary is useful - hence my webpage.

Also, my Newcomers' Guide has proved quite popular (already!).

One of the first rules of marketing is surely to make taking money off people a pleasurable and relaxed experience.

If using the official website (and assuming you want to get a full picture of all the options before deciding what to buy) you have to use between 30 and 40 clicks to get ALL the information on ALL ticket types. That is just annoying - and remember many people have trouble adding up a grocery bill.

If the design of the official website puts off just one family who might have spent 300, that is 300 too much.

And surely, a new festival website doesn't need a secret build up and a hyped 'launch' - it could have been loaded as a draft (everything working except the final 'buy' link) and comments from users could have been sought for two weeks. Then all subsequent users could have been presented with a 'tried and tested' version.

Makes sense? It does to me - it is quite common these days for companies to issue 'beta' products.

Politicians test their ideas before unleashing them on the wider public - its called using "Focus Groups".

One of the most applauded and easy to use financial websites is the on-line tax return! It was extensively developed and tested before being launched.

It's brilliant - it's so logical I could have written it............

The present design of the official festival site is fine for people who already know what they want - but that is not the point!


Subject: RE: Sidmouth FolkWeek 2011 - tickets on sale
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 10 Jan 11

Mr Wozniak,

I have been instructed by the Director of Sidmouth FolkWeek, on behalf of the Board, to ask you to immediately remove the images on your web page which belong to Sidmouth FolkWeek. Your website is not sanctioned or condoned by the festival, and you have no permission to use either the festival's logo, banner or images.

Thank you,

Joan Crump


My response was to load a simple black and white version of the offending webpage (which some people had requested anyway to make it easier to print) and to insert a clarification of US law as follows:

THE USE OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IS USED UNDER THE GUIDELINES OF "FAIR USE" IN TITLE 17 & 107 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE. SUCH MATERIAL REMAINS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL HOLDER AND IS USED HERE FOR THE PURPOSES OF EDUCATION, COMPARISON, AND CRITICISM ONLY. NO INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT IS INTENDED.


It is an easy matter to determine from IP numbers that SeeRed is published from the USA (and always has been). It is therefore subject to US copyright law - but because of a physical presence in the UK (its author lives here!) it may also be subject to UK law. This is a difficult area - one that was thrown into stark relief during the 'superinjunction' debacles of spring 2011. It was argued that since Twitter (one screenshot from which is reproduced below) was based in the USA it was not subject to UK laws and injunctions - but the fact that they have offices in the UK or some of their members are based in the UK may make some actions and postings subject to UK law. An unpublished letter to Private Eye magazine attempted to clarify a few of these points - but given that Private Eye probably got about 5000 letters on the same subject it is not surprising it was not used. It is rarely worthwhile trying to enforce copyright by going to law unless there is severe economic damage - as in counterfeit products being sold or in cases of 'passing off'.

twitter.jpg (185153 bytes) Letter sent to Private Eye magazine, April 2011

Dear Sirs,

Super injunctions are granted willy-nilly (and for other reasons) by UK courts and apply (presumably) only in the UK.

What is the position regarding websites that are published elsewhere? I run a small website (www.SeeRed.co.uk) which is hosted in the USA. What is the legal position if I loaded a few names and photos despite that these would subsequently be disseminated from ('published' from) a server in the USA? If merely loading the material from the UK is an offence, I could nip over to (say) Outer Mongolia to publish it?

If the well known media lawyers who are regularly afforded free publicity in your columns are not prepared to advise, perhaps you could do a deal with a provincial firm such as Barter and Screw.

We need to be told the relevance of the residency of the website owner, the location of the server and the country from which the relevant webpage was loaded.

(Dr) Stephen J Wozniak
SIDMOUTH

www.SeeRed.co.uk


(for readers of SeeRed who don't read Private Eye, the magazine often refers to well known media lawyers Carter Ruck as Carter F--k.

It's a simple spelling mishtake shurely?

The image opposite is reproduced merely as an example of the sort of posting that appeared on Twitter. It is not here implied or suggested that any of the accusations are genuine. But which courts have jurisdiction over Twitter postings and users?


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