Almost everything gets pretty contentious in a divorce. That’s pretty much a universal truth. And now we can thank copyright for making things even more of a mess. Five years ago we wrote about a case involving a divorcing couple who fought over the thousands of photos that were amassed during two decades of marriage. As we noted at the time, it seemed a bit odd that no one brought up the copyright question during that fight. Well, now it’s come to that. Comedian/TV host Rosie O’Donnell is apparently going through a (yup) contentious divorce with her wife, Michelle Rounds, and it’s reached the point were Rounds is claiming copyright over a photo that O’Donnell posted to Instagram last week. Rounds, of course, says that she took the photo and thus holds the copyright. She even went so far as to file a takedown notice with Instagram — though as of writing this, the photo is still up on the site.
This, of course, is not what copyright law is supposed to be used for — but since so many people now see it as a sort of universal “censor this now” button, that’s how it’s being used. It would be insane for this to actually result in a lawsuit, but if it did, I would imagine that O’Donnell would have a decent set of defenses, from an implied license to fair use and more. But, really, that’s besides the point. It’s becoming fairly ridiculous how frequently people seek to use copyright law to just block things because they don’t like it, not because of anything having to do with “promoting the progress.” This is just the latest example — which (once again) highlights the sheer insanity of automatically applying copyright to every work upon creation.