New Copyright Laws

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by cliveh, May 6, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I don’t know if this is true, but a colleague told me a couple of days ago that now any photograph you put on a social network site, or sites like Instagram. You then no longer own the copyright, as these may then be used by others for commercial gain, or whatever without your say so. Can anyone confirm or deny this?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    To which country did that colleague refer to?
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Not sure, it may only be the UK.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Within the EU there are two classes of photographs: those made with special creativity and those without. The former are specially protected alongside EU rules, the latter are only protected by national laws.
     
  5. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I expect s/he is referring to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act

    This is an article about it: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/29/err_act_landgrab/ (which I found linked on a similar thread at RFF)

    It is not quite as sweeping as your colleague suggested, but it is nevertheless a rather significant potential change to the law of copyright & administration thereof
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    How do you classify special creativity? I would suggest the way you frame and time a shot should fall under this heading.
     
  7. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Greed knows no bounds.
     
  8. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    For a definitive answer you would need to look at the terms and conditions of each site in question - Most have a "We reserve the right to use your uploads as we see fit without paying you" type of statement. For many, it mitigates any copyright infringements when distributing content around the world, however, some may use the content for outright profit. Bottom line is read the T&C, and if you don't like it, don't post.

    There is also the issue of others ripping off your image(s) regardless of where they are posted and try to wriggle out of paying royalty fees under the misguide notion that "because they are on the web, they are free" (see this blog for one example of an organisation that should know better).

    i had seen that piece from ElReg - Very disturbing piece of legislation, but then this parliament has introduced some nasty "laws" of late..
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Copyright is invested in the creator of the work, for the life of the work and 50 years after. Clauses, statements and warnings of the type that Instagram publish are just nonsense (you will also come across these statements in photographic competitions) and any court of law will prove that. There was a stir here in Australia about Instagram's policy. Not surprisingly many people discontinued using Instagram. Reassignment of copyright is a legal process that nets big money for the creator; effectively you are giving your work away for a fee so that somebody else can claim ownership to it and use it as you see fit (Getty Images is unique in that creator copyright remains with the photographer, yet Getty licences the work to produce income; there are a few photographers here in Australia doing very well with Getty). In Australia practicing artists are guided by the National Association for the Visual Arts that examines and dissects any alterations to central copyright laws; to my knowledge, the only trouble we've seen recently is the statements published by Instagram and competition organisers etc that copyright is owned by them once work is entered. It's not. Plain and simple.
     
  10. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I think you will find with the online sites, when you post, you don't give up your copyright ownership. HOWEVER, you DO grant them the right to use your images as they see fit without further payment.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    A friend told me the Luftwaffe bombed London on 76 consecutive nights during WW11, and all that was left of it was cardboard and paint :sad:
     
  12. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    As someone else said, most of these clauses don't claim to transfer copyright, they just grant rather sweeping usage rights to the site. (But copyrights can be transferred, and are transferred all the time, by contractual arrangement; I don't think there's any sweeping generalization in law that would prevent the creator from signing away their copyright.) Anyway it's orthogonal to the proposal in the UK.

    As far as I understand, the stated intent of that proposal is to make "orphan works" less of a problem: If the copyright holder can't be identified, then arguably it should be possible to make use of the work, rather than just have it go into a kind of suspended animation where no one has the right to do anything with it ever.

    When you put it that way, it's reasonable enough, but the fear is that LOTS of images on the web would easily fall into the category of "orphan", and it becomes hard to see how one could prevent people from grabbing any image they wanted, stripping the EXIF fields and any other metadata, and claiming that they found it somewhere and couldn't identify a copyright holder. There's supposed to be a duty of due diligence, but that's the kind of thing that's intrinsically hard to prove, and in practice it could end up meaning that anyone who can't afford a lot of legal fees can't really enforce their copyright.

    I don't know how serious a concern this would really be, particularly in light of the complicated relationship between copyright laws in different countries.

    -NT
     
  13. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    You don't transfer your copyright ownership to a site when uploading, it's generally just umbrella licensing terms, not taking away your copyright ownership. Facebook for example, etc.

    In any case, if you're paranoid, you could always legally sign over the copyright ownership to a legal entity you create, then license the images to yourself for usage (non-transferable license) (or even don't license, since the legal entity you create wont sue you).

    You can then cannot legally license them yourself, only the entity can (which of course you control).

    Similar to when people upload and share images from TV shows, celebs, or etc, they certainly don't own the copyright and cannot license it's usage to Facebook and others.
     
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  15. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    WW11? Man, I've gotta start paying better attention to what's been going on in the world!
     
  16. ajmiller

    ajmiller Subscriber

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    Tim Parkin has written an article about Orphan Works and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act and how it could potentially affect photographers (article here) and I think that's what Clive's friend was maybe alluding to. Many social media sites strip out exif data when you upload to them - including Flickr (although only when the image is downloaded). The bottom line is, as I think was stated in Ian Grant's post about someone ripping articles, images and text off other people and using it as their own - if you want to protect your images from unfair use with no attribution or licensing fee paid to you as the creator - then don't post them on the internet.
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Just allows the picture to be seen on their site and in multiple locations in the case of Facebook where people can share an image.

    I expect this forum has something similar which we have all agreed to concerning out images in the gallery.


    Steve.
     
  18. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Legislation is usually not the problem. The contract that you sign when registering at a site is. You have to read it carefully because it usually starts out with something that sounds very good but you will always find some small exception that is explained just at the end of the TOS that in short nullifies all the good things said in the beginning. In most of the agreements you are bound by the terms while they reserve themselves the right to change the contents without having to inform you of the change (just as an example I found this at the end of Google's TOS "By accessing and using Google Services, you agree to be bound by the terms and provisions of the TOS // which may be updated by us from time to time without notice to you"). You will find similar content in all TOS's.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Nobody wants to steal my work, should I be worried ?
     
  20. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Having negatives stored away affords great peace of mind. They can only steal pixels. Post online all you like.
     
  21. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I hope you are kidding, I got tired of filing copyright complaints and lawsuits not to mention having scumbags go after my clients for cheaper once they figured out who I shot for so I pulled all my work off the web. I only post here because you have to be a paid subscriber to view it.

    The fastest way to devalue your work is to post it on the web, period....it *is* getting that bad.
     
  22. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Morning tea a while ago with a web designer who specialises in the 'bells and whistles' stuff for photographers using Flash. He is busy.
    All very interesting, arty, creative and visually appealing (and costly!). So I mentioned the big problem is how web surfers like to "click-off" images, for whatever reason (good and bad), and to my amazement, considering his skill, he said, "that can't happen with Flash". Ahh—. I looked at him. He looked back. I posed the question: "Have you heard of Print Screen?" And that 'nasty piece of software', "Snipping Tool". There was a long pause and he shrugged. I told him, as a webmeister of a very basic calibre, I found it very easy to print screen AND snip anything I wanted, including photos, photos in transition, text, Flash animations...the works. Another long pause... "So, are you going to have a website built?", seemingly ignoring what can so easily be done to steal images from a Flash site. I also mentioned CopySentry which allowed in depth electronic watermarking, but goodness knows how effective that is. Is anything at all effective?

    For me, No. No website. I have "been there, done that" (around 2000-2001) and suffered theft and plagiarism like legions of others. Flickr is perhaps the worst place of all to post photos, absolutely no protection whatsoever: click off, strip out EXIF, maybe Photochop here and there and behold, your photo is now his/hers. The wider situation with copyrighted work is that every second, every minute, every hour, thousands upon thousands of images are being stolen and "rebirthed", and stuff that thing called copyright. It is lawless. We can see what is going on, to a degree, using TinEye, and go after them (often at crippling cost). In the end, the web has got us all by the short and curlies and if we are serious about affording protection to our work, don't post it on the web! A simple mantra that works well for me. :smile:
     
  23. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I think what your friend was referring to was specifically Instagram, in the malarky last year, I posted about it on CR here.

    In short, by uploading to instagram, you retain copyright. But you grant them an unlimited license to do what the hell they want with it, sell it, distribute it, whatever, which is actually worse, because any problems arising from their use of the image are actually the problem of the copyright-holder, ie you.
    Imagine you take a photo on a street, and there's random strangers in it. You post it to instagram. Instagram then take the image without telling you, and sell it to some advertising firm, who use it on billboards across the country. The people in this photo take offence, and sue the advertising company, who say "we bought it from instagram", so they sue instagram, who say "we just have a license, the copyright holder is this guy, go sue him", and you're at the end of the chain.
    Problem is, there's no way to prevent any of that. You won't even know instagram have sold it until you see it on a billboard, or worse yet, when the lawyers come knocking. Only way around it is to not use instagram. Or most places, facebook do it too. I haven't posted an image to facebook in years, not even a link to my smugmug.

    Anyway, after that story broke, there was a massive backlash, from the few people who bother readings terms and conditions and spreading the word. Instagram then promised to 'back down' and 'remove the wrong wording'. They did change something, but the gist was still the same last time i read it. In short, don't use it. Then I got bored of trying to 'help' my friends not get legally boned, using it makes them happy and if they get bitten in the ass at least I've tried to warn them.

    As for 'proper' photo-hosting sites like flickr, smugmug, zenfolio, their terms and conditions are a lot more on your side, but that wont stop theft. And even if someone does steal your stuff, and you're legally in the right, it's a hassle to chase people down and get it back, especially in countries with dodgy (or missing) legal systems. If you're afraid, just don't post them on the net, don't get the exposure, and don't sell as much.

    (and then there's the counterpoint to all that, summed up nicely here with the quote "it seems like many amateur [photographers] spend more time putting elaborate watermarks on their images than they do making images worth stealing").
     
  24. DLawson

    DLawson Subscriber

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    I think the viewpoint is driven by how you pay for the groceries.

    I'm a hobbyist, so anyone copying my photos of the web costs me nothing (aside from maybe being annoyed). If this is part/all of your income, it is a huge deal.
     
  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Copyright is one thing, defending a copyright another. Unless you've got a significant track record can prove you've lost tons of income due to a specific instance of pirating, no lawyer is going to be interested in defending you. Anything posted on the web can be nominally copied, even
    if they just rephotograph the screen. A few jerks have even taken cellphone shots of photographic prints for sale at art fairs and copied those
    for their own walls. So what. All they got was a ball of fuzz. Keep your jpeg content modest in the first place and that's all they will be able
    to steal. And if you just happen to get the world's fist shot of Elvis and Bigfoot both landing in the same UFO, don't go posting it on the web!
    Sell it to some big news network first!
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Steve.