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back to article How UK gov's 'growth' measures are ALREADY killing the web

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 …

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Pirate

Interesting...

"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...

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Anonymous Coward

BBC?

Merrily stripping copyright information from any image the public submit

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Why doesn't he do wedding shoots like everyone else?

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Coat

He does, but the people come out looking like ants

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Unhappy

Britain, the land of 'unintended consequences'.

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Some win, some lose - that's the way of the world.

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@Will Godfrey

"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?"

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Re: @Will Godfrey

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>

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Trollface

Indeed

What is the point of taking pictures of Bristol?

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Re: Indeed

I've never understood the point of Bristol either.

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Coat

Re: Indeed

Some people do seem to be able to make money out of stereo photography of the city...

Oh, that's not what they mean by "a pair of Bristols"?

(Sorry, I lent my coat to that young lady. She was feeling the cold.)

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Happy

Re: Bristol

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.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Indeed

Agreed. The fact that everybody forgets about Bristol means all the social-validation craving dicks don't realise it's such a great city, so can spend their time ruining Brighton or wherever, while anyone with an opinion of their own can enjoy Bristol.

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Unhappy

Re: Indeed

Whilst that used to be the case ten or fifteen years ago, there are sadly now plenty of parts of Bristol that have been ruined by the liberal application of douchebag hipsters; Bedminster, Hotwells, Bishopston, Stokes Croft, Montpelier, the list goes on...

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Re: Indeed

Couldn't agree more - Bristol is drawling in the douchebags - it's a slippery slider from Asdal chic to poser centrawl

<emo address witheld>

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Re: Indeed

That's the nice thing about Barnsley - the chance that you are going to be stuck behind some poser taking photos of the latte art on his iPhone while waiting in the bus station is still pretty low.

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Coat

Re: Indeed

I understand there is quite a demand for photographs of pairs of Bristols

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Re: Indeed (my comment of 11:52)

Sorry - on first glance I missed that Dave Bell had already made that joke much better than I did

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Presumably he has other costs too...

such as licence fees for the use of the "property "of others e.g. images of Dortmund Football Club?

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Anonymous Coward

Can't please all the people

All the time.

Double take on the site header, thought I'd stumbled on a red-top rag site for a minute there.

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Holmes

Follow the money trail

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.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow the money trail

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!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow the money trail

OK, this is a Orlowski story but I can still see the merit of the points in the story.

So, basically, mentioning your personal taste/preference is inconsequential to your comment, but you had to do it anyway. Are you related to Eadon by any chance?

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Re: Follow the money trail

"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.

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Coat

Re: Follow the money trail

Perhaps if instead a big effort is made to re-publish MP3 files with all the ID3 tags stripped out then the MAFIAA might try and get this law stomped on....

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Re: Follow the money trail

"Darth Vader-Mandelson wants to change the law on copyright that would make it an offence to download copyright material ..."

err... but I've downloaded copyright material purely by pointing my browser at this website that contains material copyrighted to El Reg.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow the money trail

You had to me marked down for not realising that NuLabour were in fact Tories.

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Childcatcher

Conversely

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.

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Re: Conversely

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.

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Re: Conversely

If you had screenshots of the original website, or if it was available in the internet archive, or even if you had any kind of reliable witnesses; then surely you could have carried on using those images since the owner at the time had given permission?

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Stop

Re: Conversely

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.

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It cannot be invalidated by any subsequent licensing terms.

Interesting.

So if I buy some software from a store and no one mentions any licence agreement and there is nothing on the box mentioning such an agreement am I free to ignore the EULA that pops up on installation?

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Re: It cannot be invalidated by any subsequent licensing terms.

Nice try but 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.

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Re: Conversely

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.

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Re: Conversely

What if you are a user on the web?

Do you have to obtain permission before downloading them from a website?

It's going to make the http a bit complex if every image tag has to go and negotiate permission before displaying it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 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.

Details here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/part/I/chapter/III/crossheading/computer-programs-lawful-users

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Unhappy

If...

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.

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Big Brother

Re: If...

Ideology-led?

If only we had such a good governance model as an outmoded and discredited belief system imposed on everyone on pain of exclusion (or death even).

The current political model appears to be "who can we scam today?"

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Conspiracy to steal?

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.

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Holmes

Re: Conspiracy to steal?

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.

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Re: Conspiracy to steal?

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.

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Re: Conspiracy to steal?

" ... should [this] be construed as conspiracy to steal{?]" No, we are taking about breach of copyright, not an offence under the Theft Acts. How long will it take to get that message through???/

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Re: Conspiracy to steal?

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

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Holmes

Care-o-Meter hovering at zero

"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.

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Re: Care-o-Meter hovering at zero

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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Re: Care-o-Meter hovering at zero

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.

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FAIL

Re: Care-o-Meter hovering at zero

...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?

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@Dodgy Geezer

The problem is that you've skipped a couple of steps:

3a If you do find some, you can remove it, then you can use it.

6a Relax, because it will be practically impossible for anyone to prove that it was you who removed the ownership info.

Also: a photograph is not "an idea".

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Stop

Re: @Dodgy Geezer

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....

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