The Terminator, Statistics, Fair Use and Hedge Funds

I am visiting the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington today and am enjoying their warm hospitality (thanks Emily!). I have a little breathing room now so I thought I would write a quick blog post.

Earlier this year, I posted my contribution to the collection celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS). My essay, entitle “Rise of the Machines” was about the interaction of Machine Learning and Statistics.

Of course, I was paying homage to The Terminator and my essay began with this iconic image:

terminator

The publisher, Taylor and Francis, was unhappy with my use of the terminator image. Two of the people editing the collection, Xihong Lin and David L. Banks, did their best to help me in my quest to use the image. This is the image, in case you forgot:

terminator

According to the principle of Fair Use, I have the legal right to use this image. But Taylor and Francis, fearing a lawsuit, still did not want me to use the image.

So I wrote to Warner Brothers to request permission to use the image. I mean this image:

terminator

Warner Brothers quickly wrote back and said they did not own the copyright. They directed me to a company called Intermedia. I then asked Intermedia if I could use the image. Here is the image, in case you forgot:

terminator

But my attempts to contact Intermedia failed. It appears that they went broke and were bought by a hedge fund. Next we tried to reach the hedge fund but were unsuccessful. My only option at this point was to remove the image from the article. The image, by the way, looks like this:

terminator

So, fear of litigation has won the day. My article will appear without a picture of the terminator. This is a real shame. By the way, this is the image:

terminator

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6 Comments

  1. Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I can’t tell what image you’re talking about. Is it this image? http://images.wikia.com/terminator/images/archive/4/49/20100204104618!Terminator.jpg

  2. Posted October 15, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Could you please just come out and say whether or not you wanted to use that image in your article? I’m getting mixed signals here.

  3. Ken
    Posted October 16, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    I would agree with the publisher that it was not fair use. It is simply there to provide some art to accompany an article and doesn’t form part of the research.

    • Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      The publisher agreed it WAS fair use.
      But they still did not want to use it.

  4. Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Larry, surely you can find a more elevated image – why not waste your time on some rubbish http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/video_the_rubbish_monster ?

  5. Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    So, the real terminator uses a lawyer suit…

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