The RIAA is a real stickler about copyright. It basically wants to turn Google into its own private internet copyright police, to make sure the internet is free of offending links. But, as we’ve learned before, the RIAA doesn’t always feel like paying attention to copyright laws itself, and over the weekend we learned that this applies even when adhering to copyright doesn’t cost a cent.
Following copyright infringement by the Obama Administration on HealthCare.Gov last month, TorrentFreak investigated the websites of major copyright watchdogs like the RIAA and British Phonographic Industry to see if they had any infringing code of their own. Of course they did:
On both sites we found open source JQuerys scripts that are released under the MIT licence. This licence permits any person or organisation to use, copy, modify, merge, distribute, or even sell copies of the software. There’s only one condition users have to agree to; that the original copyright notice stays intact.
Ironically, the scripts used on the RIAA and BPI websites have the copyright licenses removed.
BPI uses the depreciated template script jQuery.tmpl.min.js, and as can be seen below, yesterday there was no reference to the MIT licence or the copyright holder listed at the top of the file.
In other words, both the RIAA and BPI were free to use the code on their sites so long as they cited the original creators. Whoever put the sites together in the first place decided it would be more convenient to pass the code off as their own. Maybe it was an honest mistake — but it’s the kind of error we’d expect the copyright police to avoid making. Or maybe we should all get some leeway, yeah? [TorrentFreak]