Someone on Presidential hopeful John McCain’s staff is going to be in trouble today. They used a well known template to create his Myspace page. The template was designed by Newsvine Founder and CEO Mike Davidson (original template is here). Davidson gave the template code away to anyone who wanted to use it, but asked that he be given credit when it was used, and told users to host their own image files.
McCain’s staff used his template, but didn’t give Davidson credit. Worse, he says, they use images that are on his server, meaning he has to pay for the bandwidth used from page views on McCain’s site.
Davidson decided to play a small prank on the campaign this morning as retribution. Since he’s in control of some of the images on the site, he replaced one that shows contact information with a statement:
Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage…particularly marriage between two passionate females.
The story is also up at Newsvine here. This reminds me of a similar situation when Microsoft used an image hosted on Flickr on one of its blogs without the permission of the owner, Niall Kennedy. Niall replaced the picture with a pornographic image, which was then published on the blog. His idea was to send a message to Microsoft on the importance of respecting licensing of IP, although some people thought it was childish.
McCain’s MySpace page is significantly higher profile than the Microsoft blog, and Davidson isn’t posting pornography to the site. He’s making a political statement while also sending a message about respecting the property rights of others. I expect the changes to be reversed quickly, unless the wrong person is sick or out to lunch today. Either way, we’ve captured it above.