Copyright is the right of the author of the work or the author’s heirs or assignees, not of the one who only owns or possesses the physical work itself. Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. If you don’t believe me, you can look it up at the website of the U. S. Copyright Office.
I bring this up because one of the forms of lawfare that Team Kimberlin engages in is false copyright claims. For example, The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has filed a lawsuit against Kimberlin Unmasked for copyright infringement. There is some question as to whether or not TDPK actually owns any of the images he is suing over. They are all pictures of him, and, unless he is claiming that all those Op-Critical music videos are selfies, he isn’t the “author” of the images. I suppose he could claim that the videos were “work-for-hire,” but who did the hiring? Did Brett Kimberlin, who has been paying himself $19,500 a year, pay for the production of those videos? Including the one’s that are marked © Justice Through Music? There are ownership problems with his claims.
Even if TDPK owned the copyrights, Kimberlin Unmasked’s “quoting” of the copyrighted works would be allowed under the Fair Use Doctrine as criticism, commentary, or parody.
TDPK isn’t the only copyright troll in Team Kimberlin. Bill Schmalfeldt has a go at trolling from time to time. Last summer, he filed DMCA takedown notices against this blog concerning images of which he was not the author and whose copyrights he probably did not own. More recently, he’s been trying to assert parody images of him are harassment. If the legal theory behind that idea held water, editorial cartoonists would be in a world of hurt.
It’s all part of Brett Kimberlin’s brass knuckles reputation management scheme—nuisance claims and vexatious lawsuits done solely as exercises in shutupery. To that end, Kimberlin has filed lawsuits in state and federal court attacking bloggers for writing truthful things about him, and I’m on the receiving end of a couple of those suits. You can help my four codefendants (Aaron Walker, Stacy McCain, Ali Akbar, and Kimberlin Unmasked) and me fight TDPK’s attack our First Amendment rights in the Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. suit. Go to Bomber Sues Bloggers to find out how.