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back to article Media barons threaten to spike UK.gov's audacious copyright grab

A major legal challenge threatens to put a spike through the Conservative-LibDem coalition's radical overhaul of copyright, including the proposed Instagram-like land grab of photos, source code and other work. Two years ago, the Prime Minister launched the so-called "Google Review" to investigate making the UK's copyright …

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Industry led?

"We believe that any changes to the UK’s copyright framework should be industry-led"

That's like saying changes to MP's pay and conditions should be MP-led.

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Re: Industry led?

No, it's not.

It's letting people -individuals- retain their right to do business (or not) with whoever they choose under terms which are agreeable to all parties and, more importantly, sustainable for the individual and their chosen industry or profession. It's all about individual choice.

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Re: Industry led?

No it's like saying IT policy should be set by IT people, not beancounters or the teaboy.

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Holmes

Re: Industry led?

In a statement, the consortium said:

We believe that any changes to the UK’s copyright framework should be industry-led and fully supports the creation of the "Copyright Hub" - an initiative led by businesses and stakeholders to create a digital registry of copyrighted works.

= if the copyright mafiaa can have 70 years copyright, why can't we....

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Re: Industry led?

We do have 70-year copyright. Now. whether anything I produce is worth the hassle of enforcement, I doubt. but this message, and every photograph I have ever taken, gets the same entitlement to protection as any Hollywood movie. The detailed term is different, but copyright is copyright.

And because copyright is a property right, I can do what I like with it. I can put up "No Trepassing" signs, rent it, lend it, sell it, or give it away. And, just as an Englishman's home is famously his castle, I can sneer at, and maybe hurl cows at, anyone who tries to take it away from me.

Don't worry, guys. I'm also giving El Reg permission to use this text, let you all read it, and even quote it. But they had better get my name right. It is not unknown for me to use litotes...

(Yes, that's two Monty Python allusions.)

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Pirate

No surprise

That the BBC is not involved in requesting this review.

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Pirate

So if we delete the authoring meta-data of an image, movie or audio file, we can commercialise the content?

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No

"if we delete the authoring meta-data of an image ... we can commercialise the content?"

No, you would be committing a criminal offence.

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Pirate

Re: No

"No, you would be committing a criminal offence." -- Prove it! ...

"The other proposal permits the commercialisation of so-called orphan works - which are any digital objects without the owners' details attached."

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FAIL

Re: No

"No, you would be committing a criminal offence."

-- Prove it! ...

Happy to do so:

http://copyrightaction.com/faq/is-iptc-metadata-protected-by-law

Apology accepted.

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Pirate

Re: No

"However the practice is commonplace among publishers, who then fail to seek permission or pay the unknown rights holder, or syndicate the material as their own. Prosecution is virtually impossible since intent would have to be proved." -- Again, Prove It! No apology forthcoming or required methinks.

-- Quote taken from http://copyrightaction.com/faq/is-iptc-metadata-protected-by-law

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Aha !!!

So if I download a Cliff Richard track, strip out the metadata with mp3tag, then upload it, the govt can grab it as an orphan work and all copyright is lost.

Poetic.

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Anonymous Coward

Steganography

For years I have used Steganography to protect my images. Every picture I have released in the last 7 years has my meta-data embedding within it.

Its not a 100% guarantee but it goes a long way to protecting your images from casual thieves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Steganography

"For years I have used Steganography to protect my images. Every picture I have released in the last 7 years has my meta-data embedding within it."

And then somebody copies your image and uses JPEG compression...

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"What happens when someone deletes your metadata?"

Isn't that the same as filing the postcode or other identifying marks off a stolen bicycle or car? If not, why not?

Anybody who makes money from such a creative work is handling and using stolen goods and should have all proceeds confiscated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "What happens when someone deletes your metadata?"

and therein lies the problem. Copying is not stealing ss it doesn't necessarily that you're handling stolen goods.

I don't mind people saying that copying is wrong but to say it is stealing is clearly not true.

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Re: "What happens when someone deletes your metadata?"

Google, Yahoo, Photobucket, Facebook, have always stripped metadata from anything that is uploaded to their sites. Google is one of the worst offenders in creating orphans, if you download an image from image search it will have had metadata stripped.

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Re: Re: "What happens when someone deletes your metadata?"

"and therein lies the problem. Copying is not stealing ss it doesn't necessarily that you're handling stolen goods."

Basically, it seems to me that the distinction rests on whether you accept that (as stated in the article) "The requested judge-led review hinges on the fact that in UK and European law, as well as an international treaty, copyright is aproperty right." (Emphasis, mine.)

If you don't accept that, then the premise that "(c)opying is not stealing" makes sense to you. (Whether it will make sense to a judge or jury is left as an experiment for the reader.)

If you DO accept the premise, however, then it becomes clear that any action which takes away the creator/copyright owner/property owner's right to say what use -- IF ANY -- may be made of his property and for what recompense to himself is theft of his property rights. (Alternatively, it is -- at the very least -- theft of services; i.e., using the result of his labor without recompense. Or doesn't the U.K. have that one?)

(And, yes; I know that the above isn't likely to convince the "copying is not stealing" brigade of anything , but hope springs eternal...)

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Holmes

It's not difficult, guys...

If you are unable to ascertain the original author or current assigned copyright holder of *anything* YOU MAY NOT USE IT commercially.

If you can ascertain the author, you may negotiate with him for its use.

Where any copyright has obviously expired - say, Gutenberg-vintage books - then it's free for all. How that would apply to a scan of, say, a Victorian photograph which is itself out of copyright I don't know but again it's probably a free-for-all if it's unattributed

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Re: It's not difficult, guys...

"If you are unable to ascertain the original author or current assigned copyright holder of *anything* YOU MAY NOT USE IT commercially."

And therein lies the problem - no ascertaining of author, no use. It is silly, and needs action such as the government is promoting. By all means have an appeal system whereby the creator can come along when they see their work being used and say "That's mine, here's the proof, these are my terms", but don't have works lying dead for want of attribution - what a waste.

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Re: It's not difficult, guys...

There are very few instances when you'd find, for the sake of example, an image on the internet and have absolutely no choice but to use that image. If you can't find the original creator then you either commission somebody else to create something similar or trawl through Getty for something similar. You still get the image you want, somebody still gets paid.

There are exceptions such as a photograph being the only evidence of an important event. If you can't find the author it doesn't matter because news organisations have specific clauses in existing copyright legislation that protect them from liability. Again, if an image is the only example of something academically interesting there are already clauses in existing legislation.

Lack of the authors name on an image is only an impediment to the 'do a quick Google image search and publish' brigade, and to be honest they rarely pay for what they use anyway, so I have no sympathy for them.

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Ok, so who do all my base belong to now?

See Title.

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Re: Ok, so who do all my base belong to now?

Us

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Flame

I suppose...

...that even though I dislike the protesters, anything that challenges the ludicrous laws proposed by our even-more-ludicrous ruling élite is OK by me.

Maybe sometimes the end justifies the means...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I suppose...

"I do not agree with your views, but I will defend to the death your right to tell politicians to fuck right off."

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Big Brother

Re: I suppose...

Thanks AC - it's a right I frequently exercise on the inter webs and in the press.

I just wish I could do it in person...

with several feet of hemp...

or something with a very pointy end...

or an AK...

Because they're worth it.

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Alert

"Yesterday a notice to file a judicial review challenging the copyright clauses in the ERRB was submitted to the High Court by a consortium of household names including the world's largest news organisations: Associated Press, British Pathé, Getty Images, ITN, the Press Association and Thomson Reuters"

Good. Now we have some serious heavyweights on board, with heavyweight budgets to match, we stand a chance of retaining the right to sell our work, or not, for an agreed price.

The behaviour of the IPO is nothing short of scandalous. As with all 'consultations' once you've been through a few you realise that they are nothing but a sham. An exercise in pretending to listen while forging ahead with your plans, regardless of what information you get from the 'consultation' or the ramifications for the individuals concerned.

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"Now we have some serious heavyweights on board, with heavyweight budgets to match, we stand a chance of retaining the right to sell our work, or not, for an agreed price."

Regrettably, you may get the *right* but you won't get the ability. In a world of unlimited free copying, hoping to make a living by restricting access to those willing to pay is a doomed strategy, regardless of what the law says. It may work this year, but in the long run your business model will consist mainly of lawsuits.

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Facepalm

You may get the *right* but you won't get the ability.

You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion.

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Re: You may get the *right* but you won't get the ability.

El Presidente: strong words, but what is your *actual* argument? The evidence is on the side of the argument that the right may be essentially worthless without significant changes in technology (which will be circumvented again), or willingness to sue. Wishing otherwise won't make that change.

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Go and read a few free Kindle ebooks. Add a few of the dirt-cheap ones. Believe me, the existing book publishing industry has skills that are worth paying for.

Getting to a new stable system is not going to be easy but the people I know in the book business are not stupid. Some publishers--big companies too--are already backing away from DRM. They don't want to repeat the mistakes of the music industry. How many "pirates" will ever read all their downloads? How many sales does piracy really lose? And if you can get the message across, how many readers will want to not pay the authors.

Baen have been putting out free books, tasters for an author's work, for years. Now they're doing it through Amazon, and their name, as well as the author's, is going to be worth something. They're not even using DRM.

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Dave, I worked in publishing for many years. I would never dispute the value of the services they can add - I was paid to provide them. What's questionable is how these services are to be paid for going forward. Can you do it by selling ebooks? Yes, probably, to a degree. Is a model based on the idea that no-one will be able to read your ebook who hasn't paid for it realistic? No, definitely not.

If I were an established author with a fanbase gagging for my next book, I'd be taking a serious look at Kickstarter.

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Anonymous Coward

Regrettably, you may get the *right to own a bike* but you won't get the ability. In a world of unlimited bike stealing, hoping to own a bike is a doomed strategy, regardless of what the law says. It may work this year, but in the long run your hopes of pedal powered transport will consist mainly of reporting thefts to the police.

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Anonymous Coward

What about my copies of BBC iplayer programmes

Surely no one could work out who the original owner was (/comedy) and I could then resell them as orphan works?

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Joke

"And even though the UK's constitution may be unwritten, that doesn't mean it's either weak or unclear."

Wow. Better not let Facebook get wind of that option. "Even though our terms of service and privacy policy are unwritten, they are neither weak nor unclear. Thank you for reading our terms of service and privacy policy."

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It's unwritten in the sense that the constitution isn't written as one document but spans over several. This is due to the UK's long history and that different issues would have had to been addressed individually at different times, producing different documents. Two examples which form part of the constitution would be the Magna Carta and Human Rights Act...

...oh, wait, you're joking.

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"You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

An ad hominem attack with no explanation of why you think the argument is wrong is not "a discussion". It just makes you look like a stooge for the copyright industry.

What I know is that business models based on copyright were designed for the analogue world where industrial scale copying required substantial financial investments and represented a viable target for legal redress. You now live in a world where anything that can be placed into digital form can be copied an indefinite times anonymously at negligible expense, and distributed worldwide almost for free. Nor will DRM save you - with the possible exception of software, it can always be bypassed by those who are sufficiently motivated.

If your "knowledge" leads you to think that you can make a profit based on restricting copying to those who have paid you, good luck to you and your inevitable creditors. The rest of us are looking to do new ways to do business, and the sooner copyright laws are reformed to reflect reality, the better.

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Facepalm

Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

Thank you, David, for confirming my assertion.

Keep it up!

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Happy

Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

And you seem to have confirmed mine, how sweet.

Except that you're probably not a professional stooge. If you were, you could at least have mounted some sort of argument, however poorly phrased.

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Joke

Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

And thank BOTH of you for confirming MINE! Hah! Now *I'm* the only one who gets to be right. Looks like I out-flanked you both - suckahs!

Ahem.

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Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

@ David Hallett

The problem with your argument, as I see it, is that it is based on the premise that "Anything not physically impossible is morally permissible." The fact that information CAN, as you say, be copied infinitely does not imply that it SHOULD be. I don't know what you do for a living but are you okay with your employer using your services without pay? Certainly, he *CAN* do it, but is it morally acceptable and -- more importantly -- is it PERSONALLY acceptable to YOU? If that theft of services is NOT morally acceptable to you, then isn't it EQUALLY morally unacceptable for ANYONE who wishes to possess the result of another person's labor to take it without recompense to the creator?

If I'm missing the point of your argument -- that your point is NOT that morality isn't, and shouldn't be, a factor in a business transaction -- then please state it more clearly.

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Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

That copyrighted works can be freely copied is tangential. Copyright should be there to protect authors from commercial copying. That there are quite large pirate communities out there willing to take others work without paying has more to do with public attitude than the actual ease of the copying.

If you ask the public whether they mind paying an author, musician, artist, game developer or software writer for their work most wouldn't have a a problem. However, an attitude has become pervasive in recent years that copying any creative work is essentially a big 'fuck you' to massive publishing companies that see the lion's share of the profits, (we can thank the RIAA/MPAA for that one). Whilst in some cases this is true, such as downloading the latest chart-topper or Hollywood blockbuster, in most cases it is not. When you violate somebody's copyright you're usually taking away potential revenues from freelancers and small businesses. If we can educate the public that this is what they're doing, the fact that it's easy to copy a digital file becomes irrelevant.

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Re: "You clearly know less than you ought to if you want to be taken seriously in this discussion."

"mounted some sort of argument"

Why would I waste my time presenting any sort of argument to you?

To try to convince someone they are wrong when they are coming from such a wildly inaccurate premise isn't a good use of my time and even if I did explain you *wilfully* wouldn't understand. That said, I'm sure you have a neat *theory* as to why you are right and I am wrong. Even if that theory really doesn't work in the real world ;)

Over to you for that last word /end

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Pirate

Oh look!

Here's the blueprints for an airliner made out of carbon fiber and formed and woven parts! And no metadata or copyright attached! How nice!

Where'd you find it?

A site in NanJing.

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