back to article EU lurches behind copyright free-for-all landgrab

The European Parliament has agreed to bless draft proposals on orphan works that are similar to a compulsory purchase order with minimal compensation. It's essentially an argument about using other people's stuff without their permission. In May last year, the European Commission floated proposals to allow the "non-commercial" …

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Let me see

Individual downloads a song from a multinational corp - they get fined a billion-zillion quid and threatened with prison

Multinational corp downloads an image from an individual - and gets told that it was all right as long as they shouted across the office 'does anyone know who took this?'

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Its worse than that

An average freelancer is shafted in all directions. Want to take your camera to the Olympics - nope - the rights have been sold to the big boys. Want to shoot on NT land - not allowed yada yada

Enter a competition, sign over the rights

Your average consumer / small bossiness has no concept of copyright or rights management.

Couple that with most novice/semi pro photographers producing reams of photographs and pumping them out there fro free, with no concern its hardly a surprise this is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

Like the article indicates, its the creative individual, not the librarian that loses out.

If I add EXIFdata to an image, and then it is stripped out, copied and placed on-line elsewhere by a third party, there is no way the image will ever be attributed to me, or I can manage the rights for it. I'm seriously looking at different ways of embedding data / watermarks into an image to make it more traceable. Possibly the widespread adoption of Digimark (or similar) is needed

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WTF?

Re: Its worse than that

"Want to take your camera to the Olympics - nope - the rights have been sold to the big boys."

Really? I find this unbelievably unbelievable. The biggest tourist draw to London since last week's river festival and nobody is allowed to bring cameras without prior approval? (Or have I committed "reductio ad absurdum?")

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Re: Its worse than that

As for Digimarc....nice idea, but I'd like to see a published standard so that other competitors can enter the market and keep the price down (and keep each other honest). And heck, if there is a published standard that means we can get a F/OSS solution so that it's not just rich Westerners who can protect their assets.

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Re: Its worse than that

Add to that all those wonderful folks who release their hard work as "CC BY NC" (Creative commons, by attribution, non-commercial". They are going to get royally screwed. Maybe not in a monetary sense but in a "It's my work, I'll decide how it is released" sense.

Just imagine the email exchange:

"Dear MegaCo, You are using my image for your new, multi-billion pound campaign. This is against my licensing terms. Kindly stop."

"Dear Pleb, Your image was lifted from a random website. There was no indication of license. We complied fully with a reasonable search as per law and had it declared orphan."

"Dear MegaCo, But it's not orphan; here I am."

"Dear Pleb, The law declares it orphan and we are free to use it. You are clearly deluded or trying to commit a fraud. We have called the police who will shortly arrest you for bothering us. Enjoy prison."

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Stop

Re: Its worse than that

Laws taking photos on private land and legal stuff on event tickets prohibiting photographs are long established precedents. Got bollocked for taking a picture in Sainsburys car park (not that long ago).

Some laws to protect honest and creative individuals yes, but if there is no system to check work for copyright, then not worth the paper it is written on.

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Anonymous Coward

Photos at the Olympics

Apparently the ban is on photography equipment longer than 30cm (whatever that means). Tripods are out, but the vast majority of cameras should be OK.

http://www.petapixel.com/2012/06/05/olympic-committee-clarifies-photography-rules-for-london-2012/

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Holmes

Re: Its worse than that

Unfortunately "your image" has only large intrinsic value if it is already known to many, many people.

Remember the burnt vietnamese girl? Yes, that kind of image.

MegaCo may decide to give you 1 USD for your stuff. Or else redo it from scratch. Maybe on a computer. Point is, their "multi-billion pound campaign" is in no way dependent on your stuff and you won't get serious money one way or another.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its worse than that

There is another way in which "your image" can become valuable: if someone includes it in a conveniently indexed library of stock images. But again, the value is created by someone else, not the photographer.

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Re: Its worse than that

That exactly describes my thoughts

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Photos at the Olympics

"Photos at the Olympics: Apparently the ban is on photography equipment longer than 30cm (whatever that means). Tripods are out, but the vast majority of cameras should be OK.

http://www.petapixel.com/2012/06/05/olympic-committee-clarifies-photography-rules-for-london-2012/"

Read the link. Well, I have long realized that the Olympics are run by scumbags, for the benefit of scumbags, and is no different than any other profit-seeking enterprise.

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Pint

Re: Photos at the Olympics

Ouch. I thought I read "photography of equipment longer than 30cm" ...

I couldn't imagine that a gracious note of congratulations to the spouse would be welcomed or sportswomanlike. I really need to get my mind "back in the lane".

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What we really need...

Is an offense of "Stripping identifying information from a copyrighted photograph without permission"

Of course, this may bankrupt the BBC.

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Pirate

Re: Re: Its worse than that

That's not the point - it is about controlling your work and how it is used.

Imagine a picture you take being used to sell something abhorent to you - the EU say that is OK so long as the user can find a country to declare it orphan and pays a fee if and when you manage to establish rights to the work. Imagine Sam Nzima finding his picture of Hector Pieterson was being used to sell - well anything really - and all the user had to do was pay him a fee to keep on abusing this iconic work - the fact that the fee would be quite big wouldn't be the point.

And don't think for an instant that anything will be protected. I can see the declaration of orphan works becoming big business in some of the more recent additions to the EU.

This is an amazingly ignorant proposal even for the terminally out-of-touch-with-reality EU.

Basically piracy is OK as long as you are doing it on a multi-billion dollar scale and have an army of lobbyists in Washington and Brussels.

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@jacobbe

" ... if there is no system to check work for copyright, then not worth the paper it is written on". So, there is a market for an easy-to-use database on which people can register their copyright if they wish to. All it needs is a copy of the image, name and contact details, and type of protection claimed, easily crawled by the major search engines and TinEye. Sure, the revenue model needs sorting out (who pays, and for what), but this way, professional and semi-pro photographers (the ones most likely to need copyright protection) have a way to challenge any big-corp use by showing that it was findable by a simple search.

I wish I had some clue how to go about this!

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Re: @jacobbe

Looks like a possible source of revenue for TinEye. They're already doing half the job.

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Mushroom

This means we need more legislation

Corporations doing attribution-stripping (i.e. orphan-creation) should hereby automatically be put down. Organizations doing industrial attribution-stripping should be treated like the criminal cartels they are, and the leaders put behind bars (with fortunes confiscated.)

Just my personal €0.02 on this issue.

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An image used for free is not a lost sale

If I am looking for a free image and like one where there is a clue that someone wants me to pay, I will look for a different one. The only time someone could loose a sale is when my requirements are specific enough that I am starting my search with the assumption that I am going to end up spending money. Buying an image requires an effort. Making sure that I am buying form the owner requires more effort.

I do pay for art, for example: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php

By all means charge money for your own work, but please do not count all images used for free as lost sales. It should be possible to create a hash of an image, post the hash online, and provide free software so I can hash and search for images I suspect require payment to use. If this sort of thing does not exist, have it made. If it does exist, publicise it. "Whine, whine, government, wah wah" does not get you any sympathy. Just about everyone else could say the same thing.

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Facepalm

Re: An image used for free is not a lost sale

"If I am looking for a free image and like one where there is a clue that someone wants me to pay, I will look for a different one The only time someone could loose a sale is when my requirements are specific enough that I am starting my search with the assumption that I am going to end up spending money. Buying an image requires an effort. Making sure that I am buying form the owner requires more effort"

Freetard manifesto, section one, paragraph one:

Describe an existing marketplace, declare that the marketplace is "too difficult" to operate in, steal.

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Windows

Re: An image used for free is not a lost sale

"Freetard manifesto, section one, paragraph one:

Describe an existing marketplace, declare that the marketplace is "too difficult" to operate in, steal."

Who said anything about Home Mortgage Foreclosure paperwork, or offshore Tax Havens ?

In the words of Janis Joplin (*Kris Kristofferson's borrowed words, for the record)

"Freetard's just another wrong word for never stealing small" or "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose" or something like that ...

*Brits may be interested to know that K. Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar and has a BPhil in English Lit.(Oxford/Merton). Sadly, he fell short of a respectable Nights and Weekends MBA from an online diploma mill after showing moderate cleverness undergrad. Oh yeah, he's a hippie and needs a bath.

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First they came for the photographers...

And how long before the same 'principle' - once embedded in law as a precedent - is applied to other types of work? To music (especially the independantly generated examples). To written work - yes, I admit to a vested interest there :-P. To video? Heck, might it already be considered to apply to video if it is approved in this form? What's a video, but a collection of still shots?

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Re: First they came for the photographers...

To video? Heck, might it already be considered to apply to video if it is approved in this form? What's a video, but a collection of still shots?

How about text? What's a web page but a picture? Just distribute it as a JPEG.

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Pirate

compulsory purchase, minimum compensation

Very appropriate when owners are not findable with reasonable effort, and therefore appear to the non-commercial user to have lost interest. The idea that typical non-commercial use of assumed orphans represents lost transactions is further unicorn chasing. Limited copying until the owner takes notice deprives the inactive owner of nothing. Let commercial image publishers create a usable publicly accessible search database by all means to improve the probability of a sought after owner being found with reasonable effort; this kind of proposal creates an incentive for them to do just this.

Interesting also that compulsory purchase also refers to the means by which wayleaves were obtained which enabled investors in canals and railways to bring the world out of the pre-industrial past when the obstructive and vested property interests of a different kind of absentee landlord had previously made progress impossible.

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WTF?

WTF is about all I have to say on this subject. A charter for image theft.

As if the photography industry needs another way of being undermined ....

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o_0

This. Is. Nuts.

I disagree with the staggering length of copyright (and the various abuses of due process and free trade my the media cartels) but I agree 100% with the idea of copyright. When used correctly is allows a lone creator to keep control of their work and stop a company with more lawyers than the creator has probably had hot dinners stealing it.

Oh, wait; now I see why this law is being passed.

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It gets worse...

... because once they get away with doing this to photographers, they'll start looking at other media next.

If there's one thing a bureaucrat loves more than empire building, it's empire building on an even more massive scale.

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Go

One thing the Americans got right

Probably about the only thing the US got correct on the IP front is the Library of Congress. A work submitted to the LoC is registered and (somewhat) searchable. A work (image, writing, music) that is in the LoC should never be unattributable; and last time I submitted something (in my early 20s) there was no significant cost, and the paperwork was fairly clear and easy to fill out.

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Re: One thing the Americans got right

I was just thinking of something similar. How about a business (I know, evil corporations) plan whereby you can set up an account and charge a small fee for hosting the image with attribution and provide a legal timestamp of when it was submitted. Then there will be no he said/she said situations.

Sorta like what the LoC does, but setting up the creator's info once instead of every time they make a submission?

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Go

Re: One thing the Americans got right

I had a similar thought; but as I was typing, I realized that I was describing the base operating principle of the RIAA/PRS. I felt dirty.

To cleanse my soul, I contemplated "what if rights agencies worked for the creator, and not the publisher?" Then followed with, "How difficult would it be to set up a rights agency for the freelance creative (including music, text and imagery)?" I am still working on the latter one.

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Re: One thing the Americans got right

It is telling that in addition to LoC "protections" that US Customs also sells Intellectual Property "protection". There are separate fees, separate registration - US Customs fees are 5-6 times higher as I remember.

A reasonable idea, Figgus, but the Librarians have your junk in their hands in an un-obvious way.

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Here's an idea. Make it illegal to remove attribution from digital works without permission in the same way that it is illegal to bust copy protection and encryption. That might make organisations think before they do it.

A public interest defence could be added to such a law where it is necessary to protect the identity of the source (such as videos & photos from conflict areas and where permission can't easily be obtained).

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Anonymous Coward

Stripping attribution

I know Orlowski makes the same stupid point again and again, every week, but the BBC stripping attribution from digital photographs is not a problem. No one is going to declare the photo to be an orphan while it's on the BBC's web site because everyone will assume that the BBC knows where the photo came from even if the BBC won't tell anyone else, and why should they, if that wasn't part of their agreement with the photographer or copyright owner?

Print media have been stripping the attribution from digital photographs ever since digital photographs were invented and the sky hasn't yet fallen on our heads.

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Flame

Protecting sources

Journalists have to remove attribution from materials if not doing so involves the source getting hassled, murdered, arrested by a dodgy regime or sacked.

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Anonymous Coward

Finally somebody talking some sense... and it's Orlowski?!

As an illustrator a few of my works are floating round the interwebs on blogs and forums. It's a blatant violation of my copyright but for the most part I ignore it because they're not using it for commercial purposes and it's not worth my time trying to get the images removed.

On the other side of the coin are sites like the chive. They dig through things like reddit looking for trending pictures, strip them of their meta data, cover any watermaks as best they can and then repost the pictures without any credit being given. What annoys me most is not just that they're using my ip to generate ad revenue but that their entire site of questionably sourced content seems geared towards getting people to but their merchandise.

Trying to get them to remove anything is nigh impossible because they don't see themselves as doing anything wrong. I'm also never going to see a share of the ad revenue my content generates for them.

I essentially end up working for free because the music and movie industries spent so many years convincing people that copyright is an oppressive tool of 'the man'.

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Devil

Income

If you are an illustrator, having the right people familiar with your work may very well lead to more income. Trying to protect miniscule, potential earnings could very well limit the potential for your work to be seen by a wider audience where there may very well be paying parties that might commission work. There's no such thing as bad press.

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Re: Income

Except no-one knows it's your work, because EvilCorp have stripped out the EXIF data & don't attribute you.

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WTF?

Unconvinced by these lamentations

One might have thought that allowing software libre to get onto the marketplace would have meant destroying the livelihood of the "creators" and cause them to die like flies / transform into emanciated corpses. Nothing of the kind happened. Sure, some saleable services and software packages went to hell or needed to be reinvented and repackaged. But so what? I didn't notice anything about "the world must pay you" in the Declaration of Human Rights.

I am also confused by the logic that sees evil corporations as continually lobbying for "enhanced" copyright legislation, with the evil corporations now lobbying from the shadow for legislation meant to lighten copyright legislation? How is that? Well, maybe they are not the _same_ evil corporations.

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Pint

Simple solution

If you're worried about someone copying a photo you took, don't put it on line. The only true IP exists between your ears and it only really remains private and yours as long as it stays there. Since corporations do not have ears, nor heads for that matter, they should not be allowed IP rights in any form - copyright or patent.

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Re: Simple solution

Totally agree. Creator-Ownership should be non-transferrable, and limited to original copyright lengths when 'copy right' was first concieved.

Commercial users of any form (including employers, publishers and work for hire) should only legally be allowed to license the usage - again for limited terms.

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Pirate

Payback?

If this comes to pass, it shouldn't be hard to write some PHP to accept MP3s, strip out ID3 tags, and randomise the filename. You might download a recording of somebody taking a leak, or the latest hit song. It's an orphaned work, right?

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Mushroom

IP IS Theft

Personally I see more benefit from the wholesale removal of the PRIVILEGE of state sanctioned monopoly on ideas, art work etc.

Inventors of the Wheel, Mozart, Shakespeare etc all happened BEFORE IP was thought of.

Open source demonstrates that complex ideas can still develop in an IP free world.

Maybe some things will not get created, but the break on creativity that the current rules cause is in my opinion much greater!

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FAIL

Re: IP IS Theft

Wow.

Just... wow.

You really have no clue at all how Copyright laws came about in the first place, do you? If you did, you sure as hell wouldn't have included Shakespeare in your list. Also "the wheel" is not IP. It's a tangible, physical invention, not a piece of music.

And as for Open Source: you do realise that the GPL relies heavily on the very concept of IP, right? Without IP laws, the GNU's GPL—and all those other "CopyLeft" and similar licenses—wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on! How can you attach strings to source code without the laws that permit you to attach such strings in the first place?

You're confusing Open Source with Public Domain, which is where copyrighted works end up once their copyright protection expires. Hell, the Public Domain is why you can read everything Shakespeare wrote for free, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project and the like.

Before IP laws existed, art was subject to the patronage system: rich bastards would pay artists to make stuff for them. Stuff that NOBODY ELSE WAS ALLOWED SEE WITHOUT THE PATRON'S PERMISSION. All those museums you see today? The vast majority only date back as far as the 1800s—i.e. AFTER the creation of IP laws.

Many began simply as private collections that were bequeathed to the public by the wealthy magnates who built them. Until that bequeathing, those collections were private. The hoi polloi were NOT allowed in. So if you think ditching IP laws is such a grand idea, I hope you have a better alternative than patronage by wealthy businessmen (and businesses themselves).

Imagine a world where Warren Buffett or Richard Branson were the only people willing to pay for quality workmanship and the artisans needed to create it. Imagine if, whenever you, Joe Random Public, wanted to go hear the latest songs by some famous musician, you were told to bugger off by the butler at the musician's patron's front door?

Mozart was sponsored. As were many of his peers. Even Michelangelo got paid for his work on the Sistine Chapel. He sure as hell didn't work his arse off on it for free.

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Re: IP IS Theft

The bottom line is...

To make a living, i need to be paid. I am either paid to shoot it in the first place (i.e wedding phootgraphy / portrait session)

Or

I speculate, take a risk, go shoot stuff and put it up for sale. I.e. Freelance press, stock photography, producing original work/art etc.

Generally in the first instance, I'm happy with my fee, the client is paying me ought-right for a job, the job gets done, I get paid, and I eat, and the images are used as I intended

Generally in the second instance, I am paid a pittance, I am ripped of, my images are ripped off and I am never attributed properly. Because I am an original artist, policing things is a bloody nightmare. There is only one of me. To give everyone an idea of how bad this is, some other "professional photographer" who lives within 25 miles, not only ripped off my marketing images, they ripped of my marketing copy, specifically my "all about me" web page.

In a world where "creative professionals" have this level of respect, basically, everyone else in the business is screwed

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Re: IP IS Theft

There is the small matter of

- paying the bills

- eating

Bottom line.. while I love photography, loving it and being generous does not put food on the table for the family

The only difference between my product (an image) and another product - say for example a motorbike is the fact that my product can be stolen, copied and duplicated in moments

If the owner of a widget factory was loosing stock, the police would get involved. When the value of my work is diluted or simply the work is ripped off, like the owner of the widget factory, I loose income. Unlike the owner of the widget factory, I cant get the police involved, in fact, laws are virtually encouraging it as OK

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Stop

Madness

This idea is pure madness.

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"A 'diligent search' is impossible for all but the largest organisations,"

That need not be the case when we have tools like TinEye reverse image search

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FAIL

Tin Tin

Tin tin - nice idea, but it doesn't work in practice. I just searched for 20 images each of which are all:

- on my blog

- on facebook (at least once)

- on my wifes blog

- in my gallery

- on my clinets website (we do a free wedding planing website)

So they have at least been published to 5 different domains - and most of them for more than a year

It failed to find any of them. To make it really easy for the duplication finder, I had not even bothered changing the file names or EXIF

Tools like this add to the problem "I didnt find it on TIN TIN, it must be OK"

I tried the same with the Google image search - same result

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Anonymous Coward

What would happen of the roles were reversed?

What would happen if I found a video of a TV program but the channel logo and copyright screen had been removed so I didn't know who owned it. I guess I could legally download, watch and broadcast it - so it seems.

Perhaps we should test it (maybe starting with some screenshots of BBC programs) and uploading them as orphans.

PS. One thing I hat more than irrational copyright is hypocrisy.

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Go

Database?

You know, these problems could all easily be prevented if copyright holders would simply agree to a searchable database (automatically indexed by search engines too) where one could look up the owner of a certain work. It would certainly help reduce the cost of trying to figure out who all need to give permission before you can use a work (documentaries anyone?).

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Re: Database?

Good idea.

It may be costly, as provenance is a hard thing to prove on-line. I imagine there would need to be a lot of policing of submissions. It would need to be 100% reliable, fast to upload to. The database of images (in terms of file sizes) would be enormous (Google sized)

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