Thursday, May 15, 2014

An IP Perspective: Leaker of the Solange Attack on Jay Z Video Got $250,000

For those of you who haven't been keeping up, video has been leaked showing the sister of Jay Z's wife beating up on Jay Z in an elevator of a Standard Hotel. Jay Z's wife is, of course, Beyonce and the sister is Solange.

The Standard Hotel is furious about the leak and justifiably so. The closed circuit recordings are in the elevators for protection of guests and obviously not for release to gossip web sites. Despite the thinking of anti-IPers, the video is the property of the hotel and they have every right to go after the employee who stole the tape and released it to the public--and from my perspective they have the right to ask anyone else who is broadcasting the video to stop doing so, since it is the property of the hotel..

It appears that The Standard will at least go after the employee. NyPo has the dirt:
The hotel where the infamous Jay Z elevator attack video was recorded fired the staffer who sold the footage to the media for big bucks.
Officials at The Standard hotel said Wednesday that they had identified the person who leaked a security video of Solange Knowles — sister of the rap impresario’s wife,BeyoncĂ© — going ballistic on him in the elevator while they were leaving a Met Ball after-party last week.
“The Standard has identified the individual responsible for breaching the security policies of the hotel and recording the confidential CCTV video released by TMZ,” said officials from The Standard in a statement. “The Standard has already terminated the individual and will now be pursuing all available civil and criminal remedies. The Standard will next be turning over all available information to the criminal authorities.”
The employee had shopped the footage around for five days before selling it to TMZ for $250,000.
Now, the anti-IPers will point out that The Standard is using government courts to go after the leaker, but that is not the point. In a free market society, there would be private court systems of some sort where criminal behavior such as theft would be dealt with, this is not the case now. Given the current system, government goods and services may be our only option, e.g., we use public sidewalks. Unfortunately, there are times, given the current system, that we  may need to use government courts--although I believe in almost all cases it is better to resolve matters outside of the government court system. That said, I have no objections to The Standard's actions against the thief.  And note well, this has nothing to do with any contract between the employee and the hotel. There very well may not be a stipulation in writing between the employee and the hotel that the employee can't take CCTV video and sell it. It could simply fall under basic theft. If someone walks into a hotel, employee or otherwise, and steals a lamp. The hotel would have every right to seek remedy against such a person. It would not be about contracts. It would fall under basic recognition of property rights. The same thing applies to hotel video. It is the property of the hotel.


  1. If there is no stipulation that an employee can't sell the vids and he just made a copy and left the original, what then ?

  2. Fine, go after the employee, but leave any other person who uses their set of eyes and ears alone. IP proponents can't seem to grasp this. If I happen to see or spread the video I am not a criminal in any way.

  3. Wenzel, you are insufferable and utterly clueless on IP.

    The tape/recording is property, but it is not IP. There is a world of difference.

    Ever going to recognize the difference between true ownership via voluntary sale and mere possession (no valid ownership) of something acquired via theft? Or are you just a coward?

    If not a coward then you are just too daft to understand the difference.... which is pathetic considering how basic the premise is.

    1. Indeed, Anon: The medium upon which "the video" is recorded is property, but not "the video" itself. Further, it's not clear that any medium was stolen; instead it may have been only copied. If so, then the leaker stole nothing at all but merely committed a trespass or similar illicit use of the hotel's property without so much as removing that property from the premises.

    2. Wenzel you only have two options.

      1. A thief can be a rightful owner
      2. Someone that acquires a book via voluntary trade is somehow not the owner.

      which is it?

      And you posts about IP amount to nothing more than you applying YOUR OWN definition of IP on other people and claiming victory. You are literally that simple minded.

    3. @Anon 7:17pm
      The answer to your question is #2. Here is a similar situation: if you in good faith hand over cash for a car which you later discover to be stolen, the car is returned to the victim & you have lost your money.

  4. And additionally, either a theft or a trespass has occurred. If the video recording system automatically records it to a dvd for example, and the dvd was stolen then a theft of property (not IP) occurred.

    However, if the video was stored digitally and the employee merely copied the data from a hard drive then he has committed a trespass.

    Too difficult for you to understand wenzel?

  5. The more interesting story is why was Bey's sister flipping out? She wasn't just drunk or delusional. I think it was the illuminati satan worshiping that pushed her over the edge. Bey's Instagram prayer afterwards was to her dark lord, which put a curse on her sister. Keep a close eye on Solange. There's more to this.

  6. The closed circuit recordings are in the elevators for protection of guests and obviously not for release to gossip web sites.

    If that's the case, then the security guard acted against company policies and code of ethics and deserved to be fired. However, that does not turn the recorded information into "IP". The concept of Intellectual Property presumably exists to protect creations and inventions and not something fortuitous.

    Now, the anti-IPers will point out that The Standard is using government courts to go after the leaker, but that is not the point.

    Then what is the point? That now anything can be construed as "IP"? Where do we stop? How does such liberal conceptualization of IP not make real property (physical, subject to scarcity, rivalrous and excludable) meaningless?

  7. This is the main point of discussion here, I immediately wondered how much tmz offered the employee for this footage since they would obviously be fired immediately and possibly sued by multiple parties. Did tmz turn a profit on this purchase? How could this footage be worth so much? Do they resell it or is their ad revenue increased? What?
    Also, it begs the question, how much did they pay for the sterling clip and to whom?

  8. I believe there are contractual methods that could be used to protect this type of information from being disseminated. It might be a good idea for a community or larger society to employ those methods. But you specifically need a contractual arrangement because the secret, which can be enjoyed and/or employed by others using their own property once disseminated, is not itself property.