Feeds

back to article EU greases up orphan works copyright loophole for Big Culture

The European Parliament has voted to approve new copyright rules on artistic works that can't be identified, so-called 'orphan works'. The proposals allows Big Culture to digitise works protected by copyright. The proposal does not permit commercial exploitations of the unidentified works, except by museums, archives and …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

You know, perhaps this will stimulate people to properly register their works in a central database so document makers don't have to spend a fortune trying to figure out who the copyright holders of certain works are. It's simply not understandable that in this day and age it's so hard to find out who to contact if you want to use a clip for a documentary.

5
9
Anonymous Coward

How do you...

Propose searching a database of 300 billion images for a match?

2
0
Stop

Metadata!

Having a central register of all images/footage covering all sources is a fine notion until you think about it for a few seconds. I took about 10,000 usable images last year and I'm just a reasonably enthusiastic amateur. How on earth would you propose that we manage the 100s of millions of images created each year with a single system? And then scale that globally.

Whilst I agree that the photographer should make an effort to be discoverable by thoughtful use of metadata and maybe watermarks the final responsibility should be on the party that wants to use the image. I spotted a bike in town the other day and that would have made it a lot easier for me to get home. I couldn't find the owner after a short search so I just took it. Is that OK?!

If everyone, especially commercial users of images, were prevented from stripping the metadata from images, preferably by law, then the bulk of the problem would go away because anyone who cares about their images makes damn sure that their details are embedded in the file!

5
1
Silver badge
Devil

Oh it makes it hard for document(ary?) makers, does it? Well Boo Hoo!

If they want to use something and they can't find any copyright data on it they should assume that it *IS* copyright, not least because anything that *has* been released into the Public Domain probably says so pretty bloody clearly!

5
2

Re: How do you...

About the same way Google has implemented it? You can upload a picture to Google, and it will find (partial) matching pictures in its index of the entire WWW.

0
3

Re: Metadata!

Well, it's not needed for private material, is it? It's only needed for those works you actually choose to publish. We already have a reasonable database called Google, who seems to have no trouble implementing what I propose here.

0
3

It's not about whether or not it's in the public domain. It's about being able to find the copyright holder to negotiate a license. If society deems it important that documentaries can be made, it's only logical that laws are written to make this easier, while making sure the rights holder gets paid. Note also that even under this law, if the rights holder says no, the work cannot be used.

1
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Get off my bike...

"I spotted a bike in town the other day and that would have made it a lot easier for me to get home. I couldn't find the owner after a short search so I just took it. Is that OK?!"

Of course it's not ok. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. Don't you get it? Look, let me spell it out.

We are talking digital here, not a physical object. With digital it means you can, at no cost and probably very little effort to yourself, make another exact copy. That means you can then demand payment for exactly the same labour that went into creating the original, again and again and again and again.

In other words you can make money out of nothing. Just imagine if you could do that for music too. Then you could make as many copies as you wished, and just keep charging the same for no effort and expense on your part.

But if you want to have a second bike (gerr-off it, that's mine) you would have to put some physical work into it before you could claim a second pile of cash.

That's why copywrite is wrong in my view. You get paid once and then you shouldn't be paid again.

3
9
WTF?

Re: How do you...

facebook tagging?

0
0

Re: Metadata!

The problem is that the fucking arseholes - GOOGLE for one strip the metadata from the image whenever it is downloaded via from the image search thing. Other sites similarly strip out the metadata too whenever images are uploaded or downloaded from their sites. So someone takes a photo from flickr (which also strips metadata from the non-original smaller versions they make) uploads it to their blog and voila no fucking metadata.

4
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Get off my bike...

We are talking digital here, not a physical object. With digital it means you can, at no cost and probably very little effort to yourself, make another exact copy. That means you can then demand payment for exactly the same labour that went into creating the original, again and again and again and again.

Aaaaaaand again...

- Physical items are sold at a price determined by Materials + Labour + Profit Margin = Price

- Digital copies of creative works are sold at a price determined by (Materials + Labour + Profit Margin) / Number Of Copies That Can Realistically Be Sold = Price

- By creating a digital copy and not paying your fraction you are depriving the creators the opportunity to recoup their costs.

1
4
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Metadata!

You want to use the government as a blunt instrument against your enemies but you can't be bothered to go to any sort of trouble yourself. Now THAT is a "sense of entitlement". The idea that "everything is owned' is a very harmful thing. It mires many useful and creative works in a maze of licensing issues.

Copyrights should be short and simple. The bulk of material should not cause burdens for current creators. This includes stuff as simple as "happy birthday".

The default assumption should be "it is not owned" and the consequences for mistakes in this regard should not be dire.

The effort to "protect" something should actually be related to it's actual value.

2
2
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: Get off my bike...

"In other words you can make money out of nothing"

NOTHING ?! YOU SIR DARE TO CALL MY FAMILY PICTURES "NOTHING" ?! ... and all other pictures I took and made available, on my private website, for friends and family.

Think carefully. Would you like to share important moments of your family life with friends and family? Or perhaps just some random pictures you have taken? Or stories you have written for you children? Of pictures your children have drawn for you? Would you be happy to see the same works legally used, but WITHOUT your consent or attribution or compensation, EXPLOITED, sometime later in advertisements of goods or services of all kinds? Because, as soon as any computer work leaves protection of your computer, it can be potentially made "orphan", simply by act of copying somewhere where your name does not appear.

I know I wouldn't be happy with it. I don't give a crap that alternative would potentially "cost" advertisers what it costs them now - i.e. pay the author. The same applies to all commercial uses of my works, unless *I, THE AUTHOR, SAY OTHERWISE* (e.g. publishing works under appropriate open license)

2
0
Bronze badge
FAIL

taking the bike prevents the owner using it

Discovering your image has been commercially used enables you to offer reasonable terms to obtain a share of the proceeds in order to keep the matter out of court. Not the same kind of issue at all.

2
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

@Pylets - Re: taking the bike prevents the owner using it

"enables you to offer reasonable terms to obtain a share of the proceeds in order to keep the matter out of court"

How many people can afford to take on the sort of companies who want to abuse copyright by saying "well we looked (not very hard) couldn't find who owned the image, so we went ahead and used it"?

Unless you can get someone to take the case on a "no win, no fee" basis, you'll end up paying your legal representatives more money than you could ever gain from licensing your Intellectual Property even if you did win.

1
0
Bronze badge

Greased up orphans...

...are easier to stuff up chimneys. We'll beat this economic downturn (and a few young fogle-snatchers too, I'd wager) Victorian style.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

So...

If a company wishes to "share" your images for a profit, they can. But "share" one of their songs, and you get fined £250k? Or am I missing something?

One rule for them... a big rule for smacking around the head for us.

14
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

'Their' songs? The guilty parties regarding orphan works are newspapers like the Daily Mail, media organisations like the BBC, and big tech firms like Google (r.e. Google Books). Musicians suffer from "sharing" just as much as, perhaps more than, anyone. There's no justification in trying to set up an 'us and them' mentality between musicians and photographers; all creatives are getting stiffed on their rights at present.

2
0
Unhappy

I think I'll only upload low-res shots from now

I would just fill out lots of metadata to show the photographs are mine, but if someone wanted to use it, they'd just strip that out.

Upscaling is a little harder to do (well).

Shame.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: I think I'll only upload low-res shots from now

me too. with slightly larger watermarked versions. full fat tiffs will cost money...

0
0
FAIL

Have you tried reading the actual text?

It is so restrictive as to be almost unusable, exactly how you'd like it, unfortunately.

5
1
Unhappy

I know this is the author's take on it, but: "These proposals turn international copyright protections for authors upside down, and permit the commercial exploitation of an unidentified work without the author's permission - if you haven't opted out." - this is the classic Catch-22 legalism. If it's unidentified how on earth can you opt-out of having it used?

It should also be noted however that not all works are automatically "copyright". There is a set of tests one of which is originality, or words to that effect. So if you take yet another picture of a famous landmark that lots of other people have done in the past then that image itself may not immediately qualify for protection even now.

3
0

I think you'll find that all photos of Tower Bridge are copyright.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"It should also be noted however that not all works are automatically "copyright". There is a set of tests one of which is originality, or words to that effect. So if you take yet another picture of a famous landmark that lots of other people have done in the past then that image itself may not immediately qualify for protection even now."

I think you're misunderstanding the originality clause.

A photograph of a physical landmark would be covered, regardless of how many times it's been photographed before. A photograph that consisted of nothing but a David Hockney painting probably wouldn't be as it's too derivative.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

When does a photograph qualify for copyright protection?

Almost always I think, but in some countries a photograph made of an image (such as a painting or another photograph) showing only that image does not qualify for copyright protection: it is treated as a copy made with a camera rather than an original work of photographic art, which makes sense because otherwise a photocopy of a document would logically be copyright © the person who operated the photocopier, which even a lawyer would surely have to agree would be somewhat daft.

1
0
Silver badge

So things published under a law to stop other people publishing them

can now be published by other people if they cant trace the original copyright owner.

I have limited edition work out there that is copyright me and no-one can publish it cos that's what the law said at the time. Now they're saying I have to suddenly go out and find all the copies of my work to prevent them entering the public domain - the information in the copyright clause wont find me now.

So now rather then there being a copyright law for everyone in the world there is only a copyright law for people with enough money to run an office to de-orphan all their works.

1
1

Re: So things published under a law to stop other people publishing them

Perhaps that needs to be a feature of the databases people keep talking about. Somewhere where you can post a list of all your "old" identities and contact details (as used in copyright/metadata) along with a mapping to your current details.

A search of that database should be a mandatory part of the "reasonable" attempts to trace the originator.

PS: How about another rule which says that an image with NO metatdata shall be considered "mutilated" rather than "orphaned" since it must have been willfully stripped.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: So things published under a law to stop other people publishing them

I like that idea, use of any image with no metadata at all should be considered the copyright equivalent of receiving stolen goods, and the only possible defence being producing the original which does contain the metadata.

Doesn't do anything about replacing the metadata though - how do you prove it's the right or wrong metadata?

I can see this general idea resulting in one heck of a watermarking gold rush.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.