CommSupport, a company in England that specializes in Cisco CCNA and CCNP Training is just another company from the “dime a dozen” bunch that end up using my Home Office as decoration on their website because “they didn’t know”. Unfortunately for those on the wrong end of a copyright infringement claim, the excuse of not knowing where an image came from or who it might belong to and who holds the copyright is no excuse and no court would accept that.
It’s really very simple. Taking content that may be copyrighted and using it for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, is like putting on a blindfold and walking through a mine-field. Some people might like that extreme sport. Others quickly discover it’s a lethal sport and in the case of copyright infringement cases more likely a very expensive sport to engage in.
Based on the screen-shot above you can probably tell that the web-designer or company “mistook” the image of my home office as some kind of freely available stock photograph. That’s about as far from the truth as it gets since the image are copyrighted and uniquely identified to me and my business activities. Unfortunately there’s too many uneducated charlatans out there who call themselves web designers but clearly don’t have a single clue about how these things work and just how financially dangerous it can be to engage in taking that cool image from a website or location without knowing who it might belong to.
CommSupport takes offense to my use of the words “uneducated charlatans” to describe the web designer and claims it reads as if the company is called that. My view is that, based on CommSupport’s description of the “man that designed the website”, that man is certainly an uneducated charlatan because anyone in the design business should know better than to use materials they have no release for or don’t know its origins and legal status of. So, for the record, my opinion of “the man that designed the website” is exactly as described and does not reflect the unfortunate responsibility a company involved with such a web designer holds.
Personally I wouldn’t mind if every single web designer engaged in such infringing activities is sued out of existence. After all, it would make the industry of web design a lot more professional. As a software architect and developer I consider that a form of debugging.
CommSupport Networks Ltd. on 24/26 Arcadia Avenue , Finchley Central, London N3 2JU, UK, as mentioned is a training center for Cisco CCNA and CCNP. And was using the image of my home office for commercial purposes as part of the presentation of their company on their website. And, as you can probably see it coming a mile away, I have no association or affiliation with them or with Cisco. In fact, there isn’t even any Cisco hardware in my office other than the cable modems that just happen to be made by Cisco.
After being tipped off about this infringement (by someone who dealt with CommSupport Networks Ltd. and recognized the image on their site as being that of my home office) the company was contacted about the infringement and we resolved the matter quickly (details of which will not be disclosed here, sorry). Unfortunately the painful embarrassment suffered by CommSupport is one of the results but I have a strong belief that this company will never again accept the images provided by a web-designer or use images that they do not know whether they have a right to use them. I guess there is something to say about educating the educators here. Irony is a wonderful thing when it works out.