State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), who is currently under an ethics investigation for allegedly allowing an oil and gas company to pay for a public event, is also having some ethical trouble in the virtual world.
As of Monday afternoon, the Republican Caucus Chair’s Twitter account banner image has been replaced with the message: “Media not displayed. This image has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.”
Twitter has a detailed six-step process for filing a copyright complaint, which includes “a statement that [the owner has] a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner asserted is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and a statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and, under penalty of perjury, that [the owner is] authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.”
Sen. Marble used an image from the stock photography site Shutterstock. Stock sites use logo “watermarks” on the display versions of their images, requiring interested parties to purchase clean versions of the artwork. That watermark was clearly visible on Marble’s banner image, presumably because it was saved as a screenshot rather than purchasing the image from Shutterstock ($29 for any two images is the minimum order). Senator Marble did not respond to a request for comment.
Federal copyright protection is a fundamental part of our nation’s law, so much so that it is specifically enumerated in our most important legal document: the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8 Clause 8 reads, “[The Congress shall have power] to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
The image she used since at least early 2014 without payment or permission? A picture of the U.S. Constitution.
It’s often noted that freedom isn’t free. Neither, apparently, is a professional-quality photograph of the document outlining that freedom.