back to article BBC explains 'All your Twitter pics are belong to us' gaffe

There are some subjects on which giant media companies need to be ultra tippy-toe cautious. When, say, the majority owner of a satellite broadcaster uses its newspapers to lobby for a change the law, we should remember it is not a disinterested party. It may have an agenda. Similarly when the BBC covers copyright, or "net …


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  1. Christoph

    Sauce for the goose

    It's nice of them to make clear that by their 'logic' everything on the BBC web site is in the public domain.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      By this standard, iPlayer too?

      So, if they were to have stood by this logic it would have turned the iPlayer into a massive copyright-removal machine.

      That would have been hilarious.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        turn... the iPlayer into a massive copyright-removal machine...

        er... that's how I use it.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      And really, everything broadcast over the air, because that's just another means of distribution, like the Internet.

      I feel so much less bad now about torrenting episodes of Top Gear because I don't get BBC America with my cable subscription.

      1. MrCheese

        BBC vs RIAA MPAA et al

        By their own logic home taping is no longer killing the music industry but liberating arts from the greedy claws of evil corporations!

  2. John Styles

    Cage fight

    The two bêtes noires of Register commenters, the BBC and Andrew O, step into the ring...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if you are desperately tribalist

      I quite like the BBC. I often disagree with Andrew O's views on them.

      However, on this I agree.

      Of course that doesn't mean other commenters won't be desperately tribalist "My writer/corporation right or wrong" some people aren't able to form their own thoughts and opinions.

      It would have been nice to have seen the views and actions of other media/news organizations represented. But AO is a blogger/columnist rather than a journalist so perhaps to be expected.

      1. Solomon Grundy
        Black Helicopters


        He's actually a real journalist. He goes to press conferences, asks questions and gets responses from industry groups and companies and generally does a lot of journalism stuff. I'd say he is far more active in that regard than many staffers at larger publications whose only differentiation is the fact they still use trees to report their stories.

        I often disagree with Andrew's views on things as well, and his sometimes holier than thou writhing style tends to piss me off, but that doesn't take away from the fact the guy is actually going to events and participating in "the news" - unlike most bloggers who just sit in front of their computer and want to pretend they're on the pulse of things. Give credit where it is due. Andrew is a journalist.

    2. Handle This

      Exactly my reaction

      The potent combination of Andrew Orlowsky and the BBC, each with the power to ignite the Reg masses with the heat of a hundred burning suns (and a few torches and pitchforks) garners only 51 comments? Pfah! I must have tuned in too early . . .

  3. Mark McNeill

    Lorem ipsum

    ""Twitter is a social network platform which is available to most people who have a computer and therefore any content on it is not subject to the same copyright laws as it is already in the public domain"

    As it happens, I've found a fantastic platform which is available to most people who have a computer at - can we assume that its content is in the public domain?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be careful of what youwish for

    "therefore any content on it is not subject to the same copyright laws as it is already in the public domain"

    I'm happy with that. Once a programme has been broadcast on the BBC and been seen by millions more than would see a twitter account then it is in the public domain and free to be copied.

    1. Steve Renouf

      Title? Don't need no $%F4974ng title in a reply...

      Couldn't agree more! it's either IP for everyone or no-one! it can't be IP in one case and not another - just at the whim of some big media corporations!

  5. Caff


    Any feel like setting up a copyright FAQ site or know of one that exists?

    Might be useful to educate the masses who are quite happy to steal mp3's that their own pictures and other works they may have posted online are liable to be used without their permission when they could be making money off it, might change their views.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The UK copyright service

      Has much useful info and links.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


  6. Ben Bawden
    Thumb Down


    They wouldn't be slow in suing if I rebroadcast a BBC programme without paying them, especially if I was making money doing it.

    Yet that's exactly what they do every time they use someone's image without so much as attribution, let alone payment.

    1. Maurice Shakeshaft

      Am I wrong but...

      Isn't it one of the BBC's T&C's that if you make a submission to them of text, audio or video it becomes their's to use as they see fit? If you write in or send a comment then the BBC can use it without attribution?

      Isn't the same true of a letter or photo submitted to a newspaper or other media?

      If I slap 'copyright protected' on it then the chances of it being published are nil. Unless it happens to be exceptional and unique.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Maurice Shakeshaft

        You're assuming it was submitted by the copyright owner, rather than copies simply being taken and used without permission - or even knowledge? - of the copyright owner. I suspect that this sort of occurance is far less unique than the likes of the BBC would have us believe.

  7. Tom 15

    Tax payer's money

    Well, since the BBC are funded by the tax payer, surely whatever lowers their overheads is in the public interest?

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Indeed Tom 15

      ...and as soon as the leases run out on the BBC pool cars, they are coming around to your house to take yours.

      It will lower their costs, and is hence in the public interest. Bad luck...

      1. Raving

        Free beer for Bristol!

        No need for the car when the BBC can simply take your money.

        Regardless of how 'state' public information providers are supported, they provide excellent value for the money. That is a huge accomplishment for a social support service.

        Public, state and open-source information services provide excellent value-for-money because IP is replicated and distributed millions of times over. The greater value is achieved by giving it away to the fullest possible extent.

        The function of 'copyright' is to protect the investment in the venture of replicating and distributing information. It protects the publisher's, manufacturer's and franchisee's substantial investment and risk to profit from replicate&distribute. Without copyright protection, a ruthless vendor could sit back and wait to see what was in popular demand before tooling up and rushing in to make a killing on the cream of the business.

        "Care to buy a quality imitation Gucci bag at a mere fraction of the cost of the real thing?" The reason it's wrong is not because your are being sold a deceptively shoddy item. Rather the clone vendor has rushed in on the coat tails of the business who previously took the risk of providing an unknown product which has subsequently been demonstrated to be reliably profitable.

        The BBC obtains IP with the reliable expectation that it will be distributed to millions of households. The cost of replication and distribution by electronic publication is minor. The worth is contingent on millions of households receiving and experiencing the delivered product.

        Free beer for Bristol! The claim's worth in contingent upon the number of people who indulge in the offering. Virtual eBeers are a throwaway.

    2. MrCheese

      @ Tom 15

      I'd be minded to agree with your somewhat specious logic but you've completely failed to realise that our license fee hasn't gone anywhere but up in recent years so the lowering cost agrument is complete tosh.

      The quality of the Beeb's output has plummeted in recent years, their website is a grammatical nightmare, their coverage reduced to pilfering material from social networking sites rather than any salient attempt at decent journalism and now they're flouting the very copyright law they'd hang YOU by if you started infringing upon them.

      Examples like theirs go some way to explain some of the reasons for the recent rioting i.e. if the BBC, NoTW etc can wrecklessly break the law, then why can't the rest of us?

    3. John 62

      tax payers' money?

      The BBC is funded by the TV licence, not from taxation.

      Though the licence fee is effectively a tax, just not nominally a tax.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    quid pro quo

    I've just sent an email to an entirely made up address at the BBC asking if I can use a lot of material on the iplayer as it's in the public interest.

    If I don't get a response in the next ... oooh ... 7 days. I'll assume it's ok to go ahead.

    I don't take this decision lightly. I am a (self appointed) senior editor as well !

  9. Jacqui

    BBC steal for fun and profit

    This is nto the first time the BBC have used otehr peoples ciontent without permission.

    To anyone who has had thier images stolen the going rate for commercial use is 3K per image use for TV broadcast.

    You need to threaten legal action (small claims?) to get your dohs form the BBC.

    Thieving gots assume most people will not bother - and it is true only the pro's or semi-pros seem to take umbrage.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      A title is not required.

      Is this a crude attempt to mimic Andrew Orlowski's use of faux pidgin?

    2. Paul RND*1000

      "and it is true only the pro's or semi-pros seem to take umbrage"

      Because they recognize the value of their work and that the value is measured in coin, not worthless "exposure" or "credit".

      Most people don't bother because they don't realize their image has value, or they don't care because "OMGWTF I'm on the BBC!" or they're still naive enough to think that this will somehow be their "big break", or they've swallowed the "all information wants to be free" line without critically examining *who* it is that's pushing that agenda.

    3. Solomon Grundy

      3k figure

      The 3k figure for TV use is generally considered the high water mark and is used as a tool to negotiate with. Real world payments for TV usage for stolen images are usually about $250 (US obviously) for still photos and $600 for video less than 20 seconds long.

      No professional photographer thinks most any single image is worth 3k, and neither do the courts. If that was the case photographers would be living the high-life snapping a few dozen images a year. It's very true that big companies steal peoples photos all the time and they should have to pay for them, but to expect a a huge payout is silly.

      1. Steven Roper

        @Solomon Grundy

        "but to expect a a huge payout is silly."

        Why is it silly? Is it any sillier than the RIAA demanding thousands of dollars per song copied over a P2P network? If the MAFIAA can charge ridiculous amounts for copyright infringement, why can't the common man?

        Also, in Australia at least, the standard penalty for copyright infringement is $50,000 AUD per offence for individuals, and $250,000 AUD per offence for companies. If the ABC (Australia's version of the BBC) were to infringe my photographs or 3D renders I'd not only be suing them for thousands, I'd be asking the court to levy the maximum fine as well.

        If I am to be threatened for using bittorrent to download my favourite TV shows then the copyright cartels can bloody well be threatened tit for tat. What this shows is the brazen, in-your-face pissing on the common man - do as we say, not as we do.

        1. Turtle

          @Steven Roper

          As far as I could tell, Solomon Grundy was talking about standard prices for the right to legally use an image or video, whereas you are talking about penalties assessed in court proceedings for copyright infringement. Obviously these are two very different matters, and the payments involved have nothing to do with each other.

        2. Marcus Aurelius

          @Steven Roper

          While ignorance of the law is no excuse, the fact that the BBC is a professional media organisation should mean it has a duty of care to respect copyrights, and penalties against a world spanning organisation should be at a level to force compliance.

          I'm not sure that Aus$250,000 is the right level (whatever that is in real money), but it should certainly be at a level that buys more than a couple of nights out to discourage casual use.

          This is a diversion from me, as I'm normally arguing that the duration of copyright is far too long. But I've no objection to 20 or 30 years as incentive to get material into the public domain.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The finger!

    When I take a picture and I uploaded it, unless I surrender the copyright to the site ( dream on! ), it's mine and mine alone to decide what to do with! If I find Auntie or anyone else for that matter, ever pinches one of my pictures AND starts making money from it I'll happily see them in court!

    A recent story in Amateur Photographer where a gentleman took a picture of a lifeboat then found that an organisation had used his picture without permission. The organisation had obtained the picture through an agency that had pinched it off the photographer's website without permission and started selling it! The photographer took the lot of them to court and got a settlement in his favour.

  11. Stephen McLeod Blythe
    Thumb Up

    Similar Experience

    As a professional photographer, and creator of other not-so-professional arty things, I licence all my photos/music/etc under a specific Creative Commons release that allows for the editing, reproduction etc of them, as long as it's not for a 'commercial purpose'. This is partly because it doesn't do me any financial harm, but also because I grew up with the excitement of the new, open, collaborative format of the web (which was fresh at the time), and want to recognise that.

    However, I did have a conversation with the BBC after they used a video posted by my flatmate and I to Youtube. I politely asked them who had given permission to broadcast it, and said I would send an invoice for the daily press rate. Other papers and channels (the Sun, STV etc) all admitted to using it without asking and paid up, the person I spoke to at the BBC indignantly told me that I "shouldn't have posted it to the internet then".

    He didn't even see the double standards when I asked if that meant I could go and reproduce the BBC's own content that they have hosted on Youtube.

    The Editor later accepted the invoice without complaint, but I was amazed at the lack of knowledge of staff on the ground, as well as their arrogance when challenged.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    That was quite the headline on tweetz!

    1. LAGMonkey

      What have you done Aunti!

      "So were taking yours. Analy..."

      Thats far too sinister but I dont want the BBC taking things from me in THAT way!

      I need a new keyboard, and a scrubbing brush for my mind

  13. Gordon 10

    One problem

    Don't the T&C's of most of the IP theft aka Web 2.0 crowd mean you to agree to transfer the copyright of anything you type or upload to them.

    If anyone could sue the BBC in this case it would be Twitter not the original owner.

    1. frymaster

      Yes and no

      In most cases, all the T&Cs do is make explicit that because you've uploaded a picture to their site, it's going to be made available on the internet to anyone with the URL. Some sites, however, opted for the cheap lawyers, and the T&Cs reflect that.

    2. Oninoshiko


      Most do not require a copyright assignment, only that you provide a non-exclusive, perpetual, and fully paid license. (or something to that effect)

  14. Identity

    Slight attitude adjustment

    "If only all ownership worked this way, I would have an enviable collection of very expensive sports cars by now."

    No, Andrew, you'd have the USE of several very expensive sports cars by now. As soon as you parked it in plain view, it's new 'owner' might drive it away. Unless you plan to keep them in a locked garage — that would be theft, man!

    BTW, the Dutch tried this with bicycles — witte fietsen (white bicycles: Google translation of description at Unfortunately, people kept stealing them and repainting them...

    Ik heb de vieze regenjas....

  15. Nigel Brown

    Well seeing as the programs have been aired and therefore seen..

    ..then this makes me free to torrent the jaysus out of the Beeb's back catalogue.

    Avast me heartys.

  16. Thomas 18

    twitter images owned by twitter?

    I wonder what the twitter T&C says about uploading content and copyright. Wouldn't surprise me if they assert co-ownership or that the work become public.

    1. Oninoshiko

      why wonder when you can just look?

      but since you appear to be lazy to be arsed, I'll look for you:

      "You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)."


      so, no co-ownership, and it doesn't "become public (domain)." They just require you to license it to them. IF a media organization has a partnership with them, the license would appear to extend to that group. IF i saw something I posted where to show up on the beeb (unlikely, as I dont use twitter), I would invoice them and let them produce a valid license from twitter.

      1. Steven Roper


        " grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy..."

        Think about that for a second. "Right to sublicense" means in plainspeak, "You give us the right to sell and profit from your work with no further payment to you." This is why I don't use Twitter at all. They could take a photograph of mine and sell it for a million bucks to a newspaper and I wouldn't receive a cent. Furthermore, "...process, adapt, modify..." means they can use your image in advertising or in any derivative work they might come up with, again with no attribution and no payment.

        Fuck that for a bloody joke.

  17. Mike Bell

    Otrageous Grammar!

    Pedant Alert:

    It should, of course, read "All your Twitter pic are belong to us".

  18. Bob Terwilliger


    Perhaps twitter can give the option of adding the username as a watermark when uploading a pic.

    Most online viewers wouldn't care about seeing a watermark but it would obviously not be broadcast or print quality and so if the meedja wanted the original they'd have to get in touch with the creator.

    Such a simple solution that it's probably already patented in the U.S. by Apple...

  19. JMB

    BBC explains 'All your Twitter pics are belong to us' gaffe

    I wonder if it would be possible to put a copyright notice in both the EXIF and IPTC data with a statement that there is a standard fee of £10,000 for any use without prior agreement.

    Or send a letter to the head of each of the organisations most likely to breach copyright and tell them what you charge for use of any of your copyright images.

  20. Chris Redpath

    oh yeah, I need a title

    I don't think you do upload images to *twitter*. You generally put them online somewhere and link to them in a tweet.

    I wonder if one of the more restrictive image hosting companies might like to talk to the news companies? A couple of months ago, TwitPic seemed to have TOS which would allow them to do so, at least according to Glenn Fleishman..

    1. frymaster

      not clear

      twitter do now do their own image hosting, but the chances are the images were hosted elsewhere and merely linked via twitter

  21. Sir Alien

    BBC are so asking for a kicking

    Images on twitter and other hosting sites are NOT public property. The original owner is, by uploading it, giving someone like Twitter permission to display it to the world. This means unless you upload it elsewhere or give someone else permission to use it, only Twitter can show it.

    Same goes for self hosted image galleries and photo sharing sites such as flicker.

    If you remove the image from any site, e.g. Twitter you are essentially revoking their right/permission to display this image to the world.

    The BBC and anyone like them are walking on extremely thin ice so they better tread lightly.

    The car/bike/lawnmower analogy applies perfectly in this instance.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Handle This
      Thumb Up

      There's an idea!

      Being as how I am named Richard, +1 for you!

  23. Alex 14
    IT Angle

    Is it?

    "Coverage rarely, if ever, explains that creators' rights are a universal human right, that these are automatic, and that large media companies must ask permission for your stuff."

    Fair enough on the latter two points but a universal human right? It's a right granted to creators by society as an expedient method "to promote the progress of science and useful arts", as the US constitution puts it, no? It's not a right granted as a natural entitlement to all human beings.

    Or is it right up there with the right to a fair trial, in which case, where is it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights and/or the Human Rights Act?

    It would be interesting if you were to make the claim that it comes under the right to own property, making the BBC's copyright infringement a human rights violation.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Is it?

      Yes, I've cited these often. eg

      The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

      "everyone has the right to protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author"

      Signatories agree that the individual creator, no matter how poor, must have access to redress violations of this right.

      There is a good discussion of them here:

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it a universal human right?

      The second part of paragraph 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author." Like most of the rest of that document, it doesn't really mean anything, though it does seem to be vaguely in favour of copyright. However, the first part of the same paragraph says: "Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits." That would appear to be vaguely opposed to copyright insofar as copyright prevents people from sharing. To summarise, I don't think you could invoke human rights in order to force a government to introduce or extend the coverage of copyright. You'd just look stupid if you tried to argue that. The US constitution is arguably a much better document.

      1. The First Dave


        The US constitution, amended or not, is most definitely NOT a good document for discussions regarding the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation.

  24. Raving

    Sportcars Illustrated

    "the argument being that because something is left in public view, it becomes public property. If only all ownership worked this way, I would have an enviable collection of very expensive sports cars by now."

    The worth of intellectual property or *information* is that it inexpensive to replicate and distribute. According to you it's fine to put a sport car on open public display as bait, enticing people to *look*

    Taking a picture of the bait is theft of property and the same as taking the car itself.

    Greedy enough?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      And what if...

      ....someone "stole" a picture and no-one looked at it?

      ...what if it wasn't republished??

      ...what if no-one noticed??

      ...what if it was exactly the same picture, but restaged???

      The BBC should really get with the IP program as long as it's there and make its own images or source them appropriately or even better CC its own stock, but seriously, all this "these photons are all mine" crap is just another form of corporate subsidy. "Hidden agendas". As if!

  25. BamBam


    Surely a simple way of helping the situation would be to allow users of twitpic and others to stipulate how much they would want for a photo to be used for commercial/editorial purposes. Twitpic would then receive the payment from the broadcaster, take a percentage and give the rest to the photographer.

  26. Guus Leeuw
    Thumb Up

    Best way to sort this crap yet

    have a brilliant business model...

    A new picture website will come along shortly...

    watch this space... something akin or so...

  27. Jim 59
    Thumb Up

    Good article. All my own work.

    Good article. As it has been published on the web, it is mine now.

  28. Number6

    The Mail Still At It

    Based on a blog post doing the rounds, the Mail is still at it:

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do sometimes get it right.

    Without wishing to sound like a BBC apologist, they do sometimes do things the right way when it comes to asking for permission and providing attribution.

    For example this story

    gives ample attribution and there is a comment on the blog post in question from someone at the BBC requesting permission prior to the article date.( search page for 'bbc news website')

  30. Nights_are_Long

    So the iplayer..

    I know it has already been said but...

    If this is the case and it's on the internet, it is ergo public domain ergo no copy write attaches and royalties do not apply.

    So that means that I should be able to download and keep radio programs like Old Harrys Game, The Navy Lark and one of the Many Milton Jones shows and keep them indefinitely on my computer to listen to at anytime without waiting for the BBC to rebroadcast them, one would also go as far to say this applys to the TV shows so I will demand my free copy of Outcasts please, and The Last Train etc and not have to pay them a penny because if it's been online it's now public domain…

    Please BBC we already have to pay the TV Tax, we should not have to give you content too, and if you do need any of our stories or images you must attribute them correctly.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Moon landing images

    They are mine!

    I bags those!

  32. Al 4

    Australian law

    Does Australian law follow UK law? The reason I ask is the Australian government a while back shut down a site that was scraping pics of women off Facebook and showing them on their site. Wouldn't this mean that the BBC is doing the same thing and should be shut down?

  33. cmarcdavid

    Everyone's a creator

    Absolutely true. Everybody can create and everybody creates everyday. The digital world is moving fast and news is becoming increasingly user generated. Consequently users need to have easy, simple and non-intrusive tools to use to ensure the safeguarding and protection of their content on the net while yet openly sharing.

    Credit should be awarded where credit is deserved, hence the creator should always be recognized or rewarded.

    Unfortunately this is not really in the interest of the big social media companies, or news agencies or media companies.

    Consequently users need to take control of their digital assets on the net. The good news is that there are several solutions emerging addressing these exact issues. Check out services such as daLockr -

    daLockr provides the users with the services and features to prevent events such as the origin of this article, from happening but at the same time provide the big media players also a quick and easy means of seeing what is protected and what is not, what they can and can't use and where they can and how to clear the rights.

    Users take control of your digital assets.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    BBC have been stealing for years.

    I had a photo on my work's website with a copyright watermark at the bottom. The picture appeared on a BBC news story with the waterwark snipped off and my work had received no request for image use despite the site requesting such. Nature of the net innit, but you'd expect a bit better from a major corporation... to respect the requests/copyrights of image owners whether it's the law or not.

  35. Cees de Groot 1

    Happened to me - some emails helped :)

    Last year, I made a (very bad) picture with my BB of a plane on AMS airport that had been evacuated on the platform. For some reasons, while I was flying, Dutch news outlets picked up my tweeted picture, some with attribution, some without. I mailed them all requesting the regular usage fee for the photo. Some complied immediately (with an apology about not being able to contact me prior to using it), some came with lame excuses like the Beeb.

    Knowing copyright law and legalese a bit helped, after some email exchanges with the laggards, hinting at me not stopping before we'd meet in court for the worst offenders, all of them paid up.

    I think it's a silly game. If I make a newsworthy picture and publish it, and they cannot reach me before, say, the evening news or some other publication deadline, fine - but play fair and cough up a reasonable usage fee (there are standard rates in the industry, at least in .NL) when contacted by the copyright holder.

  36. pctechxp

    scrap the licence fee

    Time for it to stand or fall commercially instead oif making me pay 150 quid a year to watch something other than its mnostly banal output.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    BBC have listed some public domain content that they would like to make available:!/bbc/lists/

    Enjoy! You know they want you too :-)

  38. andy 45

    Fair use?

    I think the author of this article should have mentioned that there are some cases where 'Fair Use' of copyright works are allowed, for example to highlight excerpts from an existing article, or to allow for certain creative uses of material (for example, so a baby dancing to a particular pop song on Youtube should not be breaking copyright rules.

    I'm sure the examples the author gives regarding BBC are probably not 'fair use', but thought it deserved a mention other wise you risk scaremongering as much as the BBC does when trying to explain copyright..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Fair Use

      Some would say that propaganda would be giving consideration to a possibility that does not exist just to satisfy your own opinion.

      SOME would say that... This was NOT fair use. It was plagiarism. Please don't detract from the point.

  39. Zog The Undeniable

    Small technical point

    "If only all ownership worked this way, I would have an enviable collection of very expensive sports cars by now."

    Only if you copied the expensive sports cars using your own raw materials, and left the original vehicles in place. False analogy.

    It's like the wag who shouted at the cinema screen when the FACT "You wouldn't steal a car..." trailer was shown: "I would if I could download one!"

    1. semprance

      False Analogy

      "Only if you copied the expensive sports cars using your own raw materials, and left the original vehicles in place. False analogy."

      The analogy is with regards to real content that is replicated by a simple button click. Thus your point is fallacious. The use of sports cars in the ANALOGY were not meant to be taken LITERALLY...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is an interesting spotlight on one of the big grey areas of the Web - if I put something online and allow the general public to access it, then obviously I've given copyright away in a strict sense, because you have to copy it (from my computer to yours) to view it. Few websites come with a T&C which clarify this, and even if they did the legality of imposing such after the fact would be dubious, to say nothing of the effect of minors surfing the web (due to their not being able to enter contracts).

    Copyright was not designed for a situation where the mere viewing of material requires it to be copied to a location far away from the publisher and, putting aside the whole question of the BBC being hoist by its own petard here, it is not actually that clear that copyright works the way that most people - AO and the BBC included - thing it does.

    Stick a pic on Twitter and you HAVE given the world permission to copy it.

    1. PotNoodle

      Yeah, but...

      ...not to copy the copies for redistribution, which is what the fuss is about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I understand that. Point is, where is that restriction written and when did I agree to it?

  41. BTCustomer
    Thumb Down

    Copyright theft by website scrapers

    I've been trying to get the Copyright Designs and Patents Act enforced by police against Internet Service Providers for a long long time but they don't seem interested. All the main ISPs claim that they can send even anonymous bots to websites to download unlicensed copies of copyright material so they can scan it as part of their own commercial operation, either for advertising purposes or for malware, without the webmaster's consent. That is actually a CRIMINAL offence under CPDA Section 107 (1)(a) and 110 (1), but just try getting a police force interested. Who has been or is currently involved in this activity? BT (wiith their Phorm trials, and a corporate contract with BlueCoat of California), TalkTalk (in contract with Chinese company HuaweiSymantec and F-Secure) Vodafone (in contract with BlueCoat of California) and ThomsonReuters UK (in contract with BlueCoat of California). I have ample log evidence of unlicensed downloads from my websites for commercial purposes, despite notifying the companies concerned, despite robots.txt restrictions and despite public notices on the sites themselves. Police response? Not interested.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So, block anonymous access then. You're saying you put a resource in public and then the public accessed. Who cares? Commercial access makes no difference. Robots.txt is not legally binding. Put up a T&C screen and a registration/login page and you might get somewhere.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As Robert Long 1 pointed out, a copy is unavoidably created when a website is accessed (by a human or a robot.) You accept that will happen when you put stuff on a web page. You are leaving it in a place where anybody / anything can look at it.

    There is a big difference between downloading somebody's copyright material without their permission and downloading a web page with someone's implicit permission to create a temporary copy for the purpose of displaying it.

    If they are not supplying material from that page to anyone else, you are not losing anything you might otherwise have gained.

  43. Semaj

    If it were me

    I would only be annoyed when they don't attribute it.

    If a big media company uses a previously unknown photographers work it gets their stuff out there. As long as it gets attributed then they'll get more work because of it. It's why I (intend to) put out free software.

    Also they can always watermark stuff and put up low res copies only.

    Not accrediting them though - that's just low.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Funny how they forget

    Funny how corporations tend to forget that copyright laws were made to protect INDIVIDUAL autors from corporations, not corporation from individuals.

    The original goal of copyright was to protect authors from having corps with a printing press from stealing the work and making money off it (without compensating the author).

    They are happy to sue the crap out of anyone who looks at what they made without paying, yet, like the movie studios running away to California to avoid paying Edison, they are happy to turn around and ask for that protection when they fell they are getting hurt. Well, it's all or nothing. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too.

    If I was someone who's pictures were used without permision, I'd see what I extract from them on top of lawer fees.

  45. theloon

    Cool All BCC shows are free to rip from iPlayer then ;)

    Thanks Auntie Beeb, your stuff is on the web, so that's all mine now too.

    Now where is my flash grabber .......

  46. Sam Therapy

    I hope some Beeb wonk is reading this article and the replies.

    Should really piss 'em off.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting your own house in order

    The register also needs to learn not to steal images from the Internet and fail to provide any attribution:

    I have the relevant page in all its states saved.

    And as my comment to that article was moderated and a SILENT update made to it without the courtesy of any feedback/gratitude, I now feel morally obliged to click on David Robey at the BBC from my contacts list (who I'm sure will know exactly who to forward the information to) and the Daily Mail to inform them of the series of hypocritical events on their critic's site...

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