Although the media hyperlinks and textual content of our blog and comment posts are stored on the (supposedly decentralized) Steem blockchain, ostensibly the Steemit website is a centralized entity owned by the Steemit Inc. corporation. Thus Steemit Inc. might hypothetically be liable for copyright infringement claims. I know someone who had a small business website and was threatened to be sued for up to $150 per infraction by a copyright holder of an image he used without permission.
Even if the copyright claims are invalid, Steemit could in theory possibly become inundated with DMCA requests, forcing them to censor the display of some content even though the content would still be accessible on the Steem blockchain. As far as I know, the Steemit Inc. corporation has the ownership of at least 59 million of the Steem money supply which is to be used for awarding STEEM POWER to millions of free signups. If this money was lost to lawsuits, it hypothetically could impact on the plan for driving huge adoption of Steem.
Some have argued to me that Steemit isn’t liable for media copyrights because it is only serving the textual content and hyperlinks to the embedded media such as images, i.e. the media files are not served from the Streemit servers. That seems somewhat dubious and why risk it when we don’t necessarily have to? We don’t want the creators of Steem and Steemit to be slammed by some huge lawsuit as the usership of Steem grows to the millions.
There appears to be an easy way to find image files which are free for reuse without copyright infringement. When you click ‘Images’ at Google, then click
Search tools and then click
Usage rights and select
Labeled for reuse from the drop down menu.
I’ve read the record labels were able to force the music distribution sites to sell them percentage ownership and change their business models by threatening them with huge lawsuits. I remember that the company that threatened my friend with a lawsuit over a single image, was also an aggregator of image rights analogous to the record labels in music. These power players ostensibly stand back and let the infringements accumulate before they swoop in to partake.