"Associated Press, British Pathé, Getty Images, ITN, the Press Association and Thomson Reuters."
Where's the BBC??? Or the other side of the fence I guess...
Yesterday the House of Lords debated measures smuggled into the proposed Enterprise and Regulatory Reform law - measures that would lead to fewer photographs on the web and potentially cripple British businesses. Allow ace aerial photographer Jonathan Webb to explain. Webb runs an aerial photography business and deals with …
"Unintended consequences": stupid people's favourite way of excusing themselves from the consequences of their stupidity.
I'm reminded of the apocryphal story about Billy Graham and a local preacher whom he met on a tour. "How is everything going?" asked the famous evangelist. "All right under the circumstances," replied the hapless man of God. He was surprised by Graham's reply, allegedly "What the hell are you doing under the circumstances? You've got no right to be under the circumstances! Get out from under the circumstances and make it happen!"
Similarly, when people prate about "unintended consequences" - or, even more portentously and foolishly, "the law of unintended consequences", I want to scream at them, "Why the hell didn't you think it through and anticipate those consequences?"
Although I think the phrase is meant to refer to the "unknown unknowns" that are hard or impossible to spot. Its hard to predict, say, something catching on in a mass way, or being rejected in the same way for example. I don't know if its overstated, but wasn't mobile texting a bit of an afterthought that no-one expected to become so popular for example.
I do agree that its used as a cop-out to avoid being blamed for not thinking of the unintended but blindingly obvious consequences.
People stating "laws" like that is really annoying though - "the Law of Averages" being my favourite non-law. Almost as annoying as saying "its only a theory" when referring to say, evolution. </rant>
There was a time when I would have agreed with you. Whole heartedly.
But then I lived there for five years.
While it may look as inviting as a turd in a trifle, there's a lot of partying to be had there and a lot of great places to go out. (And since I moved to Norway, it's also cheap as chips too.)
OK, this is a Orlowski story but I can still see the merit of the points in the story.
So WTF is going on, on one hand tory lord Darth Vader-Mandelson wants to change the law on copyright that would make it an offence to download copyright material and give extra rights to the copyright mafiaa to "protect" rights holders, and constantly "extends" the time limits for copyright holders,
On the other hand they try and sneak changes into copyright law that will screw over the small copyright holders rights.
Oh! hang on, I think I may have answered my own question. Always follow the money trail, and ask yourself who's
paying for the lobbyists benefiting from this change to copyright law.
"So Voldermort, wait, Mandelson was a Tory insider all along, and just plays Labour for fools? I thought the Tories couldn't get any more evil!"
Tories? Where? All I see is the continuation of the nuLab project: continued unaffordable public spending, persistent working against the interests of the British people, obsession with "climate change", no energy policy at all, enthusiasm for pointless high cost transport schemes, the same control freak desire to monitor the peasants' every call and email, the same inability to understand any science or technology issue, the same enthusiasm for indulging in hobby wars whilst not providing the services with adequate resources, the same "do favours for your mates" ethos, the same "lobbyists welcome" sign hanging over Westminster, the continued failure of drugs policy, the traditional "long grass" response to any moderately challenging problem, the usual counter-productive deckchair moving on education and health, the same obsequious prostration before the EU, the same broken promises on (for example) the Lisbon treaty, the same spineless ineptitude in dealing with foreign criminals and terror suspects, the same wilful dishonesty over the facts of inflation, public spending, and what needs to be done to fix a very broken system.
The sooner all current members of Parliament (and the Lords) are sent to join Huhne the better. Or hanged in public as a form of entertainment - I'd take a picnic and a few beers, and make a day out of that.
A few years ago I built a website for a customer in the jewellery business and used a graphics designer friend to do the imagery. This friend used royalty free images gained from sites on the web that supply such images as "tasters" for their portfolios. These imaged were heavily cropped and shopped, as they say as part of the overall design.
Several years later I got an irate email from the client who had received a threatening letter from a large American company claiming copyright infringement for the images and requiring eye-popping fees for their use. We took them down.
Research revealed that the original company based in the UK that had provided the images royalty-free had been bought by the US company who was now on the warpath. I do think there needs to be some protection against this sort of behaviour.
Just because the images were 'royalty free' does not mean that you and your 'friend' had the right to re-use them. You needed to obtain permission first even if you didn't need to pay anything, since you didn't do that the owner of the images has a right to demand a fee for their use now. They are not breaking any agreement because you never made one.
If you are publishing on the web, having a clue what you are doing can avoid a great deal of trouble. Unless explicitly stated as free to use in your context (perhaps by Collective Commons licensing), It is safe to assume that any photograph taken since about 1915 is someone's copyright material, and it is up to you to obtain permission..
"Royalty free" does not mean, and has never meant "free to take and do what you iike". It means that once you have licensed your use of the image from the copyright owner, you may re-publish that image without further royalty payments to the rights owner. And to protect yourself, keep a copy of the licensing agreement. It cannot be invalidated by any subsequent licensing terms.
Ben Norris wrote "if you had not seen a EULA at any point then you would not have been granted a licence so by default you would be in breach of copyright".
This is nonsense. If you purchase boxed software then you are a lawful user and copyright law grants you several rights including making copies for various purposes. You are certainly not in breach of copyright when you use the software.
A major local newspaper once used photos of mine from a blog in a "kick a man when he's down" piece about a guy I grew up with, without bothering to obtain permission, despite me putting a copyright claimer in one of the blog posts. I'm sure if someone reproduced their work they'd be up in arms, though no-one would want to with the quality of writing on display.
While I'm unable to agree with anything the idiotic and ideology-led rabble that govern the UK pontificates on, IF the result of downgrading IP and copyright legislation is fair and equitable across the board, you can see how it will be a resetting of the creeping of "rights" far past the time they have provided a recompense for the works' creators. But of course based on the ideology so far, this will inevitably be one law for the powerful and one for the rest of us.
The imbalance of rights is a real issue. I am involved with a local community digital archive, where we are very careful regarding copyright, but equally, fearful of the danger of the contents of the archive being hoovered up by the googles etc of the world. So the archive is not accessible via the net.
IANAL, but if this is passed, could a court decide that removing the identifying metadata from an image (and thus making it an 'orphan') should be construed as conspiracy to steal (by denying the author the licence fees for their work). In which case could the BBC (Pinterest, Google) be succesfully prosecuted? I look forward to the first test case, which would finish this plan nicely.
Stripping metadata is already a criminal offence. Nobody gives a stuff. Most newspapers with an online presence are right now committing criminal offences. Nobody gives a stuff. Picture editors at newspapers are 'at it' and nobody gives a stuff.
The Leveson Inquiry was told by Ian Hislop et al that existing laws were sufficient to protect a free press and also protect people *if the powers that be used them* and that new laws were not required. The Leveson Inquiry ignored that fact and is pushing for new laws. Because new laws work where old ones don't, innit?
Gubmint is full of lawyers. And thieves. And criminals, expenses fiddlers, liars cheats. And nobody gives a stuff.
Of course stripping medatata is a criminal offence. Now, if somebody is using an image that's missing metadata, how do you prove that he stripped the metadata, instead of just copying the image without the metadata from some unknown web site?
Only the copyright law as it is about to be vitiated, which doesn't orphan works that are not orphaned, allows one recourse without having to prove when the metadata got stripped and by whom.
A lot of laws are about making cases easier to prove or prosecute, thus prohibiting conduct that is innocent in itself; sometimes, that, too, has bad consequences.
Removal of metadata is a criminal offence under the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003. The trouble is that you have to prove it was done with the intent of infringing copyright. They always say "it;s the software". No case has ever been brought, yet the IPO insists this rubbish law is perfectly adequate protection for photographers
"Killing the Web" is NOT "sob stories about various 'creative people'". "The Web" is fine.
"But once the law is weakened, the economic hangover starts."
What is this? Whig Historiography? What we have now is the best and empowers photographers taking stock images in Bristol? Change can only be worse? Leads to Somalia and interventions by President Clinton?
Well, maybe ten 'less creative people' set up a shop in which they hire a cheap drone together and then sell photographs for 2 EUR each. Or contract a book printer first, who knows? Economics is about change and price finding, not about lockdowns and guaranteed income.
If you want to mount a high res camera mounted to mini-remote-zepplin, photograph Bristol, then sell the photos for a tenner, on you go. Just don't steal somebody's else's work who did it properly.
Granted the Somalia reference was poorly chosen, but the point still holds. If nobody will pay, nobody will supply. Economics is about a maintainable market - the "everything for nothing" market is an inevitable dead-end.
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Market forces are indeed about finding the price that consumers will pay for a given item, and circumstances can and will change as the world evolves. This is not arguing against that, but it is arguing about the right of corporations, or anyone else for that matter, to steal work. If a photographer puts in substantial amounts of time, effort and hard-won skill to create a desirable image then it's reasonable to suggest that they should be allowed to set a price and expect to get that price, if the market thinks it's worth it. If we simply allow anyone to copy and paste that image from a website, or publish it after legally stripping the metadata and then refuse to pay as 'a reasonable search' - read as short as legally possible - didn't turn up the creator's phone number then photography isn't worth spit any more, no-one will be able to afford to make a living doing it and there's another nail in the coffin of the creativity and expression that enriches everyone's lives.
FFS I bet you wouldn't agree that it's right that I should be able to pick up your phone in a bar, remove the SIM, whisper "does this belong to anyone" and then LEGALLY walk off with it would you?? A weak analogy I know but it illustrates the point.
I'm an amateur photographer who licenses his work with a creative commons license that allows pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything with my images as long as it's non-commercial. I think we should all encourage sharing of images within reason; but at the end of the day they are MY images and I should be able to control what happens to them. It's not for governments to give away mine, or anyone else's rights.
...FFS I bet you wouldn't agree that it's right that I should be able to pick up your phone in a bar, remove the SIM, whisper "does this belong to anyone" and then LEGALLY walk off with it would you?? A weak analogy I know but it illustrates the point....
No it doesn't. You obviously haven't read the proposal. Leaving aside the stupid analogy that ideas are like property (which they are obviously not), the way your analogy should go if it wants to match the proposal is:
1 - you find a phone in a bar.
2 - you look to see if there is ownership info on it.
3 - if you can't find any, you can use it.
4 - If someone turns up later and can show that the phone is theirs you must give it back.
5 - If you have made any money out of your use of the phone, you must pay the owner an appropriate percentage
6 - if you cannot show that you took the phone 'in good faith' and didn't try to find the owner ( eg, only whispered 'Whose is this?), you may be done for stealing.
Put like this it doesn't seem to be so unfair, does it?
1 - Yes. a photograph is 'an idea' for the purposes of this analogy. We're NOT talking about the actual printed item - we're talking about an infinitely transmittable and duplicable concept, which multiple people can hold at the same time . If you don't like using the word 'idea' for that, give me another one...
2 - I have skipped no steps. You have added a point which is wrong and nothing to do with the proposal.
a) - you can't 'use it if you remove the ownership data' . Removing the ownership data is a criminal act which is explicitly forbidden in the law. You might as well say that if you shoot a traffic warden you can park in a controlled zone without a ticket - true, but a separate issue which is not covered in parking legislation. The orphan proposal does NOT say 'if you remove the data then you can use it'...
b) removal of the metadata does NOT make it 'safe to use'. If you find someone using your 'orphan' work, then you can stop them and require payment. They have to comply, even if they have removed the metadata. Or if they didn't. They used it to make a profit, so they have to pay. The only advantage to them in removing the metadata is that they can then claim that 'they used your idea in good faith', and they may not then get done for actually 'stealing' it.
To be able to make this claim, they will have to show that they made a 'diligent search'. This will include showing how they got the image. If they cannot show that they got the image in 'data-stripped' form and how, then a court is likely to find that they did the stripping. The onus is on them to show that they got the image in an untraceable way and were not able to find the owner after looking.
Of course, they may still get away with it. People get away with murder. But that's an issue for enforcement, not an issue with the law against murder.
I wish people who comment on the proposal here would read the proposal first....
Isn't this the same rule as cars?
If you steal a car and remove the number plates - in theory that's illegal
If you find a car that somebody else has already removed the number plate, or if the plates fell off - then you can take it for free
Seems reasonable, now wheres that screwdriver
"criminal act which is explicitly forbidden in the law" ROFL if no criminal acts were possible, law would not be needed... !!
Just look at the paper! regularly has about 3 or 4 reported criminal acts per page!!!!!
- as we speak, thousands are downloading albums illegally, copying and selling DVDs illegally, to say nothing about drugs....
It even goes on in the software industry... the recent spat between linux and SCO(no I cannot bother to check the proper names!! :( ), that source code was stolen!!
some author's lawsuit that they were accused of copying another persons work...
only one group gets any money, that's the lawyers!!
I can't say I care much for the article's liberal use of terms such as 'Tory' and 'ideology' - it makes it seem to be a partisan issue, whereas it has become clear over the years that the whiff of corruption is present wherever government and business interface, no matter who is in charge (though as for an undertaker, it eventually becomes something you stop noticing).
This 'orphan works' thing, is definitely dodgy, but will it kill the web? It could be argued that one driver for the rapid development of the web has been the free and easy access to imagery regardless of rights.
What it will certainly kill, though, is the commerce in specialised photography (or at least confine it to a few big boys who can really take care of themselves), unless a solution to Mr Webb's problem is found.
As far as I can see the only one under his control would be to present his works in a low-res form with selected high-res examples of what you get if you pay for the proper work.
Nah, because it's an issue that can and will go to court - the other party would have to prove that they took reasonable steps and the burden of proof is on them. There's nothing implied or explicit regarding dumping of rights just because it's on the internet. If you produce content and you can't afford to fight in court then you're already stuffed, the new laws will change nothing on that front for good or bad.
Actually if anything it might be a good opportunity to bring some sort of arbitration into UK copyright law. Now I think about it, I need to email my MP sharpish..
Seems straight forward to me. The internet business model is replacing an old world model as in many other areas.
Protectionism might sustain this chappies lifestyle for a bit longer but eventually he is going to have to find his place in the new model. He might have to hitch helicopter rides to reduce his costs etc.
Checkout the guy in the UK that has a fast food job, pays for his own train to London every summer to photograph rich Arabs cruising the streets in supercars. He loves what he does and sometimes people pay £500 for his images.
I believe the latter example is more sustainable while the dust settles a bit.
There's a difference between pretty pictures and serious aerial photography. I'm not sure just where this guy is in that range, I get the feeling that he could be doing the sort of thing that involves selling people aerial photos of their homes and businesses, or he could be a bit further up the scale.
Either way, the possibility that the proposed law could destroy a photographer's protection for his work seems pretty real to me. And I find myself wondering just what might happen at EU level, because the web is certainly EU-wide, and pulling a stunt like this would certainly come under the original trade provisions. It's not about the EU trying to supplant national governments this time. If the guy is still protected in Germany, the British Government is asking to for an EU spanking.
This cynical commenter reckons the issue will come to a head just at the right time to be used to create an anti-EU scare story before a referendum.
There's no need to wonder, Dave, the EU has agreed an Orphan Works proposal of its own, which would become UK law too eventually.
The EU scheme is not brilliant, but it specifically prohibits commercial use of other people's stuff, unlike the UK proposal, which allows everyone to profit from a photo except the person who took it. That's the big difference - it's like an Instagram landgrab, but much much bigger.
The EU allows national orphan works schemes that *are already in place* to remain intact, so the copyright zealots at Whitehall are on a mission to push this one through as fast as they can.
The rational solution is a better rights trading marketplace so users of photographs taken by businesses like Webbaviation could acquire them easier - backed by strong law to make life harder for rip-off merchants. This is what the industry is moving towards. But it is not what a copyright-is-evil zealot wants to see. Copyright is evil, and so it must be dismantled - British businesses are collateral damage.
"The internet business model is replacing an old world model as in many other areas."
Well, taking things without paying for them isn't really a business model, and even if it is, it isn't new. Essentially, this is all about someone doing work for you and you refusing to pay. I don't see how that's really anything to do with the Internet nor a desirable thing for society to say (in the form of laws) that it's fine.
Yes. It would be far more efficient to simply TWOC any car you fancy, to get where you want to go. It's not as if you are stealing the car, just using it. Of course some car owners will object that they are paying for someone else's convenience, but they must adapt to progress. If they can't adapt and cars become uneconomic, who cares, there are always bicycles. And if bicycle owners can't adapt, there are always shoes.
I did an audit of a few of my photos on my public site last year. Infringing uses outnumbered legit uses 14;1. From that I can estimate I have 6,000 or so infringing uses happening, enough to keep me in paperwork for the rest of my life. None of the infringements I found link back to me, none retained my metadata, often they claimed copyright belongs to the pilferer. And quite a lot are used in contexts that are obnoxious, that deprecate people I have photographed, that I would never have agreed to at any price. Much of my work has been based on subjects trust, often for charities. I can no longer keep those promises thanks to thieves..Once we get orphan works and extended collective licensing, I won't even have the ability to say "no".
Obviously if I was SonyEMI or Getty I'd have a roomful of vicious lawyers hunting down the infringers and biting their arses, but as a sole trader it's just death of a thousand cuts. I put this stuff up to share for public interest, and education but sharing means "look at and hopefully enjoy". It does not mean "take and use for whatever fuckwittedly egregious purpose you like without even having the manners to ask, let alone pay".
I've been a pro photographer for 32 years and it is now over aside from occasional commissions for a couple of specialist clients for whom I run private image libraries, Last year I closed my public site that has been online since 1996: it's now like trying to run a gallery in a neighbourhood of looters. Even taking all the photos offline hasn't stopped the abuse, I found a dozen more infringements last night thanks to freetards stealing from freetards. No, the world does not owe me a living, it never has - as a lifelong freelance this is crystal clear. But I don't owe the world free work and investment with no return except damage.
So dear freetards: I can't afford to run a car anymore, and I'll be round to borrow yours, and, once the Government have destroyed IP for all but large companies, squat your house. Who could possbly object?
This is the same nonsense spouted by the city. Even of the people that have the ability to do so very easily, few will *actually* leave. They'll just moan about it.
It is interesting though, that despite all the noise from consumers and the likes of the pirate party, the copyright laws being weakened are nothing to do with anti-circumvention devices or fair use - quite the opposite, it's allowing commercial use of unprotected work. Really quite backwards!
That all said, I fully support this as it applies to genuinely orphaned work - if there really doesn't seem to be anyone that holds the copyright for that 30-year old C64 game, I don't think think it should be an offence to download and play the thing. Other folks shouldn't really be allowed to charge for it either, mind.
And I'm saying that, just like with the city, I have a very hard time believing many will *actually* leave, regardless of how talented they are.
I don't for a minute think that all the talent in the city will go if bonuses are capped, but I'll admit this is partially because I don't believe that there is much talent there in the first place. And I don't believe that Britain and the EU will find themselves bereft of talented photographers if/when these laws come in. I don't think the laws are right, but I don't think the doomsayers are right either.
"Its not about the raw numbers that leave, so much as the creative talent of the people who leave."
s/creative talent/self absorbed wankers/
The whole 'people will leave' argument is, always was, and always has been, based on the flawed concept that people already resident in the UK are somehow superior to those that will replace them if they leave. There is a word to describe this misapprehension, it rhymes with 'basism'.
"The whole 'people will leave' argument is, always was, and always has been, based on the flawed concept that people already resident in the UK are somehow superior to those that will replace them if they leave."
The question is: why would anyone replace them given the proposed changes in the law? It would be just as much of a waste of time for anyone else.
Very few creative people will leave the UK, as (mostly) low paid vocational workers that is not an option. Average UK freelance pro photographer income is £18.2k according to the most recent BPC survey http://www.british-photographic-council.org/news/british-photographic-council-industry-survey-shows-true-value-of-creators-copyright.
Most will simply stop creating and either find other jobs that provide a living, or become unemployed or prematurely retired. Jonathan is unusual in that he can adapt to shooting in and selling to Germany, whilst still living in UK. Most of us cannot.
It means the market.
In other words, they'll stop taking the photos and take their image libraries offline.
Essentially, if nobody pays for the pictures they'll have to find a "proper" job instead to pay their bills, and photography will be relegated to a part-time hobby.
Not even necessary anon - image recognition software like Getty's PicScout, or the software developed in house at Facebook and Google, can do a reasonable job. Add in the database of owner information and you have all you need for a rights trading market place. This is the thinking behind Hooper. (Reg passim).
Im a amatuer photographer and this is a pain in the arse. Friends photographs are constantly being nicked, especially on Facebook and there is nothing that can be done about it.
At the end of the day a good camera costs close to £2000, lenses can cost way more than that. All that will happen is that people will stop putting good quality pictures on the net. Not one of the people who are trying to justify nicking pictures here would work for free. Infact, I'm sure if employers could get away with paying them minimum wage, they would.
Cropping a picture, removing the metadata is theft, simple as that, you KNOW what you are doing is wrong, otherwise you wouldn't remove all that marking. Most photographers can't afford to take a BBC or DAily Wail to court for nicking photographs, even with current law.
All that is happening is that this law will allow big firms to nick small photographers pictures with no come back, yet IF you nick that SAME work from the big firm, you will end up with a longer stretch in jail than if you murdered somone
I agree with 90% of what you say, but then you ruin it by saying that
Cropping a picture, removing the metadata is theft, simple as that
No. No it isn't. It's not even remotely theft. It's copyright infringement, which (really really) is not theft.
Theft deprives the owner of the use of their property; cropping an image may deprive you of potential income, but you still have use of your property. Demonstrably, this is not theft.
I think the solution is to have a registrar of works. If you create a work, you can submit it to a registrar, who stores that you are the creator. A search function should be provided to allow a user to determine the owner of a picture, or fragment of a picture. If a newspaper/anyone subsequently re-uses an image that is in the registrar, and they did not submit it, they should be liable for punitive fines, based upon the number of views/impressions.
The search function would be tricky, but not impossible. Google is pretty good at matching similar images..
Another one that hasn't read the Theft act....the phrase you need to understand is "to obtain pecuniary advantage"
This means that if you knowingly take possession with intent to make money IT IS THEFT. If you reasonably believe that it is possible to determine who the rightful owner is but make no effort to do so IT IS THEFT.
"A person appropriating property belonging to another without meaning the other permanently to lose the thing itself is nevertheless to be regarded as having the intention of permanently depriving the other of it if his intention is to treat the thing as his own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights; and a borrowing or lending of it may amount to so treating it if, but only if, the borrowing or lending is for a period and in circumstances making it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal." - Theft Act 1968
Yes, registries are coming, notably Plus as I wrote about here http://www.epuk.org/Opinion/985/on-the-plus-side
Plus is now involved in the implementation of the Hargreaves Hub and also EU plans.
But the reality is that whilst that will enable people to protect their work more effectively if they choose to, the vast majority of photos will never be registered and will be open to exploitation. The legal framework for their use is absolutely pivotal, and government seems bent on adjusting copyright to the economic advantage of large aggregators and publishers on the one hand, and on the other to indulge the voting public. There is an absolute refusal to understand that virtually all creative work that these two fight over is the work of individuals who are piggy in the middle. No corporation ever created a single song, or photograph, or novel, or poem. It isn't clear who will, exceot those wealthy enough to indulge themselves as a hobby, once copyright has been inverted by OW and ECL. Both of which enable corporates to grant themselves permission to use and fling some money in a pot, to be collected by the creator if they ever find out.
That's what it says on the actual statute books.
The more you scream about copyright infringement being theft, the less attention anybody will pay you.
FACT is a lie.
Copyright infringement is a crime, but it's not theft - it's more closely related to fraud and breach of contract.
If you paid £2000 for a camera, there's nothing written anywhere that says you deserve to earn that money back. To mkae money, you need to be able to produce something that people want to buy, will pay your asking price for, and can't find elsewhere. Simply owning the tools of the trade doesn't automatically mean that you will be able to make a living from that trade. This is why most people do a job to get paid money to live, not as a vocation.
Nobody "owes" anybody a living. But this argument is a giant red herring.
The property grab applies to everyone who does stuff: amateurs who post to Flicker as well as professionals. It applies to all classes of work not just photographs (as another poster has said, correctly).
I'm also an amateur photographer. I have a question for you...
Why would you publish a photo on the internet of sufficient quality that you could lose revenue? Surely most photographers make an income from selling hi-res versions of their images in printed form? If you publish on the internet (it is broadcasting all over planet accessible to anyone except perhaps the Chinese, a point sadly lost on most) a suitably hi-res picture then, legal or not, you are asking for trouble. I also have the expensive kit and lenses and I'm pretty certain that if ever I were to showcase my work for sale that I would only put up images that would facilitate the transaction without the ability to undermine the sale.
Probably already been thought of:
Provide a repository for photographers to register their images which is capable of detecting similarities via image recognition in cropped images submitted as a search. No need for metadata, which can always be scrubbed. Allows for degraded or partially altered images to still be matched at a lower probability.
Notify both owner and searcher if a probable match is detected so they can each eyeball it for verification.
Subscription required to upload (price based on volume). Free registration for searches, but only for a few per day. Subscription required for larger search volumes.
Business goal is becoming visible enough to become a de facto part of a 'reasonable search'.
I thought there already existed digital watermarking technology that would make it very difficult to remove unambiguous proof of copyright ownership from an image without degrading it completely.
Still, it seems like only the very largest of businesses can prove that their works are obviously not orphaned in the sort of scenario it sounds like this measure will create.
... and yet the WHOLE point of copyright law is about balance.
The principle behind copyright and patent legislation is that:
1 - humans are creative and have new ideas all the time.
2 - it's a good idea to use these ideas for the general benefit of humanity
3 - but if they are used freely, the few humans who contribute most of the ideas will get pissed off
4 - So, we developed a system that lets the humans who have the ideas get a free run at using them without competition first, and after a while we throw them open to general use.
So (if you accept the above), you can see that the main issue is going to be 'How long is it reasonable to run this protection for?
There is no right answer to this. The American music and film industry want forever - but are settling for two lifetimes at the moment. Originally, IIRC, the period was 7 years. In reality, differing periods are needed in differing circumstances - no single period is going to be right for everything. That's one area the discussion should be about.
Another area is 'who should pay'? There's actually nothing wrong in principle with the idea of 'orphan works' - Orlowski has carefully left out the associated features in the EU's 'orphan proposal'. The full suggestion goes like this:
1 - If you have done a diligent search for an owner and can't find him, you can use the item as an 'orphan'
2 - you have to document your 'diligent search', so that it can be examined in court if a complaint is made later
3 - if you are making money out of the 'orphan work' you have to put some aside so that you can recompense the owner if they turn up later.
So the issue of how hard a 'diligent search' needs to be is really a non-issue. If you own copyright and find that someone is breaching it, it's a cut-and-dried case that they should stop and pay you. Whether they have searched hard or not. The only importance of the 'diligent search' is to indicate whether the copyright breacher is doing it 'in good faith' or not. If not, presumably punitive measures will apply...
All of these proposals are actually quite sensible. The issues with them are all going to be matters of balance. How long do you have a monopoly for? How much should taxpayers contribute to running the system, and how much should the copyright owners contribute?
And of course the major one - how much will it cost to enforce my rights at law? But that is a much larger question than just copyright alone....
PS - Interest declaration. I have several balls in this game.
1 - I generate new ideas and sell them to clients to make a living.
2 - I also generate new ideas for the general benefit of humanity and issue them under the Creative Commons license.
3 - At least two organisations are currently using my work commercially in breach of this license.
4 - I also try to save historical artifacts which are 'ideas-based'. The orphan concept would help me a lot here, since owners of rare objects are now very unwilling to have their objects copied, even for preservation...
5 - I don't believe in the concept of 'intellectual property'. Ideas cannot be 'owned' in the same way as objects can, and to pretend that they can is wrong. This is a separate legal field, and needs to be treated differently to 'property'....
Intellectual property is NOT the ownership of ideas, it is ownership of a particular realisation of ideas in some medium. Nothing prevents anyone creating their own song about Strawberry Fields or writing about a school for wizards, or taking their own pic of a London bus on Westminster bridge, They just must not copy someone else's work.
There is no serious objection anywhere to genuine orphan works being made available for cultural purposes, but there is objection to OW being made available for commercial exploitation. Especially whilst HMG refuses to impose any meaningful duty of care in preserving ownership information.
OW is something of a canard however. The vast majority of inaccessible works are inaccessible because owners and publishers can see no economic case for publishing them.
Everybody with a dog in this fight should go and read Thomas Macauley's 1841 speeches to Parliament on copyright. He set out the reasons for copyright and foresaw all the problems and the need for balance that we are now grappling with (and screwing up totally), http://www.baen.com/library/palaver4.htm Of course most will not, because they've convinced themselves that the world has changed and their sense of entitlement counts above all else.
Thes proposed laws would stop it being profitable for someone to hire a helicopter, take yet more aerial photos of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Cabot Tower, and charge £150 a pop for them.
My heart bleeds. If it's not a viable buisness then it's not a viable business - if someone really needs those photos, the odds are that they'll commission them, or buy existing ones from a photographic library which remembers to properly watermark their sample images.
Whilst I do get the point that some people might google a random image, crop it, and use it on their web-site, are these people who would have paid £150 for the photo in the first place? Are they then charging others for it's use? If that image wasn't available to them for 'free', would they then pay for it, or would they use the second reuslt that google has returned? The point here is that the internet itself has devalued the images, by making them more accessible. Pandora's box has been opened, and you can't go back to the old days of paid acces to information.
A very good point. I'll drink to that.
Much of the comment here is the equivalent of buggy-whip manufacturers complaining that the car has put them out of business, so it ought to be forbidden, or they ought to be protected.
Change happens. Sometimes it needs to be accepted*.
* (with the exception of keg beers, of course...)
Sigh. I can see it. I'm going to get banned if I'm not bl**dy careful (blush) :-P.
See that there hobby horse? Well, it's not really a hobby horse. It might be a sort of horse, because it's starting to feel sort-of dead. Even though I'm still flogging it. So maybe it's not a horse. Maybe it's a parrot.
Phew. There. got that off my chest. And, before anyone suggests it is, that isn't in any way intended to minimise or ignore the justified and, in my view at least, reasonable concerns of photographers.
But the Bill talks about 'copyright', 'copyright items' and 'orphan works'.
Yes, I'm going to mention the written word again. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Or if you're not going to forgive me, try not to leave too many bruises. But I am. Going to mention it, I mean.
If people can, legally or otherwise, strip metadata from an image file, they can strip a copyright statement from a text presentation. Assuming it was there in the first place. Writers gain copyright in created work by the act of creation, whether they register that copyright or not. But even if they register it, some legislations don't require a copy of the created work to be filed. So let's imagine I write (possible humour and parody alert - I'm not claiming anything in respect of the following), say, 'Flea Fever':
I must go down to The Flea again
To the homely 'Flea and Fly'
And all I ask is a cold glass
With another by and by
And a long night
With an old friend
And a barmaid winking
And a warm glow
On the road home
And my own bed waiting
OK. So I'm not claiming it's very good :-P. And I apologise to the magnificent Mr Masefield. Genuinely. But...
Well, but. Imagine it really was mine. Yay me! I have copyright! But then imagine someone comes across this page. And they see SEA^H^H^H FLEA FEVER. And they think - hey! That might fit in my next mega-amazing anthology 'Words wot I writ!'
But it's words. No metadata. No copyright statement. No central registry where the work itself is stored, along with registrant data. not even one where it could be legally and verifiably stored at exorbitant registration costs. And evenif I register copyright, here in Canada (OK - I give in. I'm a writer. In Canada (blush)), copyright registration doesn't require a copy of the work to be sumbitted. So my registration of the poem SEA^H^H^H FLEA FEVER could be the title of anything at all. So they do the orphan search thing (mostly consisting of asking their mum if she knows who wrote it). And then...
Oh, the heck with it.
And yes. Photographs, and photographers are important. Very important. But the same dead parrot could, and maybe should, be beaten about other types of copyright 'thing'. Sometimes. Maybe. While still beating the parrot about images, other things could be mentioned as well. Maybe. Possibly.
You are a photographer, you spend money on a photo shoot, printing your photos. Then you take those prints and hang them out on the street and walk away. You then come back in 24 hours to see if anyone made an offer to buy one - but you discover they've all been stolen and no-one left any cash.
You still have the original film, of course, but you're miffed as to why someone would steal the high quality prints you left outside for the world to look at and offer to buy. Everyone you complain to thinks you're a bit daft.
Let's repeat the mantra of the internet again, if you don't want people to copy your digital property - don't put it on the web!
The internet is like a public street. If you leave something out there there's no guarantee that the public will behave in a trustworthy manner and not take it. So what you need to do is put out low quality prints, or use watermarks, or simply announce you have a gallery and registration and/or fee allows people to come in and look.
Watermarking images on the web these days is a trivial thing and if you're photographs are worth it then buyers will look past the watermark to see how decent the picture is and then be able to make an offer. Anyone who copies the watermarked digital file just looks like an idiot - and are usually called out on it without the owner needing to assert their rights. If anything it just creates more publicity for the original image.
As far as aerial photography goes. I call bullshit. There will always be a market for these, but the nature of how that market works is going to change. Governments and private entities will have a desire for aerial photography but they may find themselves commissioning work, rather than purchasing it at £10 an image.
Here's the second tired, old mantra: No-one owes you an income. You create income for yourself by finding skills or product people want, and selling it to them at a price optimal to marginal cost.
Whilst regulations exist to ensure employers and business contracts remain fair, it doesn't mean someone can't be let go from a job, and it certainly doesn't mean that the government must try to force people to use new more efficient technology in a less efficient way in order to preserve diminishing marginal utility.
"Let's repeat the mantra of the internet again, if you don't want people to copy your digital property - don't put it on the web!
The internet is like a public street. If you leave something out there there's no guarantee that the public will behave in a trustworthy manner and not take it."
Where do you park your car? If I can take the numberplates off, or they've mysteriously fallen off, I can have it?
Well that is the truth, someone can steal your number-plates and not just number plates, whole cars get stolen. But the difference once again comes down to cost-benefit.
Whilst it's trivial and would take less than 3 seconds to steal a print left on the street, even less time to Ctrl+C and copy an image - for a small amount of risk and storage space. It's a bit more risky to steal a car in that you can't hide it up your jumper and you can't hide it once it's in your possession (without paying a lot more than a picture for storage space).
That's even ignoring the fact that you can take a picture of a picture and you can create a slightly inferior copy that you can enjoy. You can't take a picture of a car and say now I have another slightly less quality car to drive!
So I'm not sure how you defeat my analogy? It just makes me think you didn't really read my comment and neither did those who upvoted you. Why even bother replying?
Actually, you can't.
Remote-controlled model aircraft are not permitted to go that high, and the batteries in a quad/octo don't last that long either - 20min is about the longest you'll get.
You can take a lot of really nice photos with a big quad or octo, but the aircraft to carry a decent camera is going to cost £5k or more.
Model aircraft are great for chase cams though!
Although I agree with the idea that copyright protection is bein weakened, I don't agree that this is the cause for loss of income for the aerial photographer. With the advent of google maps, his services are now outrageously expensive for what he does.
If I want to see an aerial photo of my house I can pull up google maps and quickly find it. I can then use streetview to see what the front looks like from the ground. Same for my place of business and pretty much most
places I would care to see in the world. I haven't bothered, but I'm pretty sure Bristol is covers as well.
So, although I agree copyright is a mess, this particular instance isn't one that should be dwelled on.
May I suggest that, if said photographer is currently in business, there are clients who (for whatever reason) are in fact prepared to pay for his services, or the results of his activity?
While the techniques and technology you cite may in fact suit your specific needs, those clients, for reasons they find sufficient, do not choose to use them. They (currently) pay whatever his rates may be (and whether or not others not in fact clients think those rates appropriate) for the results of his work.
If those results (of his work) cease to be available, might it be possible the needs of those clients (not necessarily your needs or mine) will no longer be met? Alternatively, the perceived need may still be present, and the results of his work 'available'. But 'available' from 'suppliers' who did not carry out the work. 'Suppliers' who obtained his product under this legislation. And may offer those results at a price reflecting the amount of cost and effort they have in fact put in.
That is - bugger all, or a close approximation (sorry - my inner dwarf (blush)).
If in the absence of this legislation, he goes bust anyway, that's one thing. If he doesn't currently go bust, but in the presence of this legislation does so - might that be another thing entirely?
I'm actually in favor of this. It means that internet freedom gets a boost and people can actually do things without being bullied by every company in sight because of "patents" all the time.
I'm not sure about the negative tone of the article at all. The economic argument is important but I'd choose personal freedom any day. In any case the ability to publish more may have unknown economic benefits.
Trouble for Mr Webb is how much is an aerial picture actually worth?
Not 1500 quid to most people.
He just needs to find a new area of photography or more likely he is over-reacting. Perhaps he should wait till he starts loosing clients because of the change of law.
He could perhaps photo to order rather than just go out and take photos with the copter and try and flog them afterwards.
This has exactly nothing to do with people making photographs moving out of the country. Nor does it have anything to do with the semantic differences of 'theft', 'stolen', 'appropriated' or any of the other words bandied around upthread.
It's a land-grab by corporate interests, no more, no less... there are companies out there who can save a few bucks by grabbing images which do not at first glance appear to have an author/copyright owner.
There should be exactly *one* case where an unattributed image may be used: where its age can be shown to be such that any copyright has expired. In any other case you either pay the attributed agency, or you DON'T USE IT in any commercial context.
If you allow the grabbing of these unattributed images there is little doubt that attribution *will* be removed, that the authors of such works will cease to make them, and the general quality of available images will descend into the slurry of incompetence already all too visible. Perhaps, eventually, the agencies needing the images might start to commission them directly... thereby giving themselves the copyrights. You can be sure that they *will* defend the rights to use those images.
It's not rocket science.
> But if you have an aerial photograph of Manchester there are a gazillion images.
While I feel a measure of sympathy for this photographer, the above statement seems to suggest that the market value for a "picture of Manchester" is rather low due to the abundance of it.
His pictures may be of excellent quality, but I'm afraid the day is rapidly coming to a close where media producers can take single images/make single recording/etc and continue to make money from facsimile copies ad infinitum.
The floodgates are open, the stable door has closed/horse long gone: welcome to the new world where copyright just doesn't work.
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