And that's stunning, when you consider Buckhannon insisted in a December 12, 2014 press release (shown above) that:
“the Robert Buckhannon Foundation has made strides in clearing his name and highlighting his positive community outreach programs. Dr. Rob has been publicizing his previously undisclosed works of charity and good will that he's engaged in for the last three decades. This has put him in touch with icons such as the Pope and Mother Theresa.”
And by “parody”, I mean images of Buckhannon used for a “transformative” purpose on this blog.
Buckhannon filed two Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaints with Google in December 2014 objecting to Miss Fortune's use of his image on this blog:
The photographs display myself (Robert Buckhannon) and my image/likeness in inflammatory and negative ways. One is a photoshopped image of me (Robert Buckhannon) as a prisoner. The second image is me (Robert Buckhannon) as a puppeteer of some kind, controlling another individual. The third is a picture of me (Robert Buckhannon) in a washing machine. My (Robert Buckahnnon) photographs were stolen and photoshopped without my knowledge or consent.
A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that, by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to “conjure up” the original.
Let's examine one of these images, the one Buckhannon describes as “a photoshopped image of me (Robert Buckhannon) as a prisoner.”
The image was created using the application FACEinHOLE, which allows users to create images using over 150,000 scenarios.
The particular image Buckhannon objected to was used in a news story about his federal indictment for his alleged role in a $34 million dollar hedge fund fraud. According to the indictment, from April 2008 through April 2010, Buckhannon and co-defendant Terry Rawstern, along with other co-conspirators, managed members of two Bradenton, Florida-based hedge funds, Arcanum Equity Fund, LLC and Vestium Equity Fund, LLC.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said the defendants engaged in a fraudulent scheme to misappropriate $34 million they raised from investors by misrepresenting how they would use the investors' funds, along with misrepresenting that there were safeguards over the investors' money, such as an independent trustee and independent fund administrator.
The DOJ said the defendants then looted and bankrupted the hedge funds by taking payments on false and fictitious profits, while taking improper and undisclosed loans. The indictment states that as a result of the defendants' conduct, investors lost approximately $13.1 million.
Buckhannon is accused of "secretly funneling at least $341,000 of investor money to his family and associates", the indictment alleged. He spent $60,000 on an engagement ring for his fiance and $80,000 for a down payment on a Las Vegas house, the indictment alleged.
In 2010 Buckhannon agreed to pay roughly $1.5 million to settle the SEC suit against him. That included returning $1.4 million to hedge fund investors and paying a $130,000 fine.
However, according to a report released in late July 2014 by Buckhannon's bankruptcy trustee, Brian Shapiro, Buckhannon has paid exactly "$0.00" to the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement.
Although I believe my use of Buckhannon's image qualifies as a fair use, and it would not be considered an illegal infringement.
If Google sends me a takedown notice, I'm using fair use as my defense.
Until that happens, the picture stays on my blog.
And, by the way, there is no “Robert Buckhannon Foundation”.