SOPA Author Still Violating Copyrights?

[Updated 1-16-12: Both photographers mentioned below have confirmed they did not give Congressman Smith permission to use their work (see comments).  In a not-coincidental move, Smith’s website has been updated to remove the offending content.]

In The Author of SOPA is a Copyright Violator Jamie Taete accuses congressman Lavar Smith of violating the very law he’s pushing through congress. Taete points to an old version of Smith’s site with a background photo used w/out the photographer’s permission.  Since the photo in question is no longer on the site one might be tempted to think the congressman saw the error of his ways.  But a quick survey of Smith’s current site shows a montage of images in the banner below, which I’ve highlighted in red:

Looking closely we find that photo #2 is this Wikimedia photo of the Alamo,  which clearly states that the copyright belongs to Daniel Schwen, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. There is no attribution given on Smith’s site though.  Unless Congressman Smith has a license we’re not aware of, which seems unlikely, this is clearly another copyright violation.  (I’ve reached out to Mr. Schwen for comment. ‘Will update once I hear back from him.)

Note, too, that #4 is this Hays County Courthouse photo, which a number of sources attribute to Terry Jeanson.  All other sources I found contained a prominent attribution, and one clearly states copyright belongs to Ms. Jeanson.  That no attribution is given on Congressman Smith’s site is a bit suspicious.

As for the remaining photos, I wasn’t able to track down their creators. #3 is in Fredericksburg though, and #5 would seem to be somewhere in Austin.  If anyone has more info, please share in comments.

3 responses to “SOPA Author Still Violating Copyrights?”

  1. Hey, first time I hear of this. No, he did not have a special license. Interesting.

  2. Just came across this today. The photo of the Hays County courthouse is mine (that’s Mr. Jeanson, not Ms.) and was given to the editors of for use on their website. I did not give anyone else permission to use the photo. I find many of my courthouse photos elsewhere on the internet, most with credit. If they don’t ask permission, they can at least give me credit. That’s all I ask.

  3. @TJeanson: Thanks for the comment. My apologies for the mixup in honorific; I’ve updated the post. If all you require for use of your work is permission, you might consider using a Creative Commons license like Mr. Schwen does. More info here: