back to article Entire internet credits snapper for taking great pic while actually dead

One of the web's best loved classic photographs - universally credited to the great photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson - was taken just six years ago, quite some time after Cartier-Bresson's death. Let's meet the bloke who snapped it. It's an atmospheric image of a girl and a dog on a beach, with a storm brewing in background …

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WTF?

But, but, but...

It's on teh intarwebs. It *must* be true!

(And incidentally another example of why orphan works should remain just that - commercially unusable unless you know who the author is and have their permission.)

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

"Considering the absolute impossibility of determining authorship of a digital photograph"

A contender for the most fuck-witted remark I've ever read here, or on the internet.

Image recognition can *already* identify images even using a partial match. It's a lot easier than the face recognition used by Facebook, Apple etc. Gettys PicScout is an example.

Build the database, ensure what goes in is accurate, and the rights trading marketplaces will follow. You get that part right.

"Or stop whining".

Yes, please do.

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Or people could stop being ass-hats.

"Did you get permission from the photographer/artist/writer/other for that asset we wanted for the big promo?"

"Unfortunately not, couldn't find out who created it."

"Dammit. Oh well, go for the second choice then; we know who did that one."

Bingo, bango, bongo; no one has to pay anything to some central authority.

Yes mistakes will happen, but that's still preferable to the alternative.

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WTF?

Considering the absolute impossibility of determining authorship of a digital photograph, perhaps we need to go back to a copyright registration system

Absolute bollocks.

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It's actually not all that hard to determine in most cases. The majority of professional work (fine art \ portraiture, pretty much all but some sports and news) is shot in RAW so only the author would have the raw file. Failing that, most work has some retouching don, only the author would have the original unretouched image.

A central library for images is an idea but has a flaw. It's a carrot and stick affair, at least when its been proposed i.e. submit your work for collective licensing or get no protection or even just no protection for work not submitted. Quite a few clients don't want their pictures submitted to what is basically a public library yet images do escape into the wilds usually via FB leaving the photographer and the subject with no recourse. For an example of escaping see the story last year about the gay couple whose image was used for an anti gay campaign (or something like that). It's really simple, if you didn't take it and you don't have permission don't use it. If you do, welcome to court. There is absolutely no reason for this to change.

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Thank you Andrew, you put it far more delicately that I ever could :-)

Perhaps he got his info from QI!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

@Rampant Spaniel

Ha ha!

:-)

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Stock Libaries

I have reason to use Stock Libraries to get media for various projects on an occasional basis, and even those don't really help the creator of the works. The same item can often be found in multiple media libraries with seemingly different creators attributed in the information. And its quite usual to loose all that metadata at the point of purchase. I now make efforts to embed whatever necessary information is required to trace the original sale in the media as well as tracking that information 'offline' in order to track the custody of that image and that we as an organisation have made every effort to act responsibly.

Most others don't bother, but I think its very important to credit the creators of this media; I don't have the skills to make some of the great content we use. but I do benefit from their hard work.

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Unhappy

*sigh*

If only I could take photos like that....

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Re: *sigh*

Just out of interest (as a pro photographer), why not. You probably can :-) It isn't equipment, that shot could be taken on a 15 quid zenit off ebay with a 50 1.8 lens. Theres some technical knowledge but that can be taught. A lot of it is to do with seeing a shot and being able to ensure you capture it how you imagine it. Shoot lots and enjoy it :-) The rest will come in time.

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Pint

Re: *sigh*

Pic isn't that remarkable, really, is it? Other than being an absolutely outstanding example of how orphan works won't work and how people on the web will nick anything and believe any old rubbish. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that image has been print published many times and sold many times. Even by agencies and stock libraries.

Andrej Vasilenko should pop along to EPUK and read this:

http://www.epuk.org/ABCD-of-Copyright/

and this:

http://www.epuk.org/Opinion/994/stolen-photographs-what-to-do

Orlowski is on a proper roll this week, one slamming article after the other. Have a pint, fella.

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Re: *sigh*

It's not an epic shot, technically it is competent, it's wall worthy if you like the theme. I'm not having a go at you :-) it's just that art is subjective. I was going to say pretty much what you did but I remembered that I am also not a fan of CB's work but I do respect he did great work. However, this isn't in the same league as Tennis Girl !

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ql
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Pint

Re: *sigh*

You can see why it might be mistaken for an HCB shot, though, as it has a lot of his markers in it, but them, I am a fan of some, but not all. of HCB's stuff. This type of shot, with some strangely perfect element that isn't really the main point of the shot, is reminiscent of some of the great man's work. The trouble was HCB invented so much that has now become standard in images that we forget how ground-breaking some of his work was. I recently was asked to judge a photo competition, and one shot in particular used one of those Fuji X100's to take a brilliant shot in a dance hall. It was so Cartier Bressonesque, but none the worse for it.

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Re: *sigh* @ql

I hear what you're saying and I get your sentiment but you've self elected yourself for pseuds corner :)

Beer's on me.

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And this is why...

...if you are putting it on-line, you tag it within the image itself.

Not a perfect solution either, but better than relying on easily removed meta-data. Many sites, newspapers and magazines will crop or obscure the tag, and then you probably have a case for wilful infringement.

Vasilenko's attitude seems to be fairly Creative-Commons; good to see.

As for the authorities being on the side of BBC and Sky...well what do you expect? It's the same deal as the MPAA, RIAA, BPI etc; the big corporates can afford better bribes...err...lobbying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And this is why...

"Not a perfect solution either, but better than relying on easily removed meta-data. Many sites, newspapers and magazines will crop or obscure the tag, and then you probably have a case for wilful infringement."

According to the part of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act which deals with rights management information (defined as "any information provided by the copyright owner ... which identifies the work, the author, the copyright owner ... or information about the terms and conditions of use of the work, and any numbers or codes that represent such information"), any person that knowingly removes or alters the rights management information, and who reason to believe that by so doing they are “inducing, enabling, facilitating or concealing an infringement of copyright.” is essentially in the same position as someone who actually infringes copyright.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: And this is why...

"Vasilenko's attitude seems to be fairly Creative-Commons; good to see"

No, this is the simply freedom given to you by strong copyright law. This includes the freedom to change your mind - which you surrender when you put a restrictive license on your work.

For example: you may let the BBC use your picture but refuse it to the Daily Mail. The next day you change your mind about The Daily Mail. You cannot do this with a restrictive CC license. The whole point is to make a sacrifice "for the good of the commons", aka, The Greater Good.

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Holmes

Re: And this is why...

$ strings agirlandadog_vasilenko.jpg | grep opy

Copyright 2007 Apple Inc., all rights reserved.

Whoops!

(Apple appear to claim copyright on the colour profile used).

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WTF?

Re: And this is why...

" For example: you may let the BBC use your picture but refuse it to the Daily Mail. The next day you change your mind about The Daily Mail. You cannot do this with a restrictive CC license. The whole point is to make a sacrifice "for the good of the commons", aka, The Greater Good."

Um, what Creative Commons licence is it that precludes you (as the copyright holder) giving out other licences?

Looking at the Creative Commons website, at page creativecommons.org/licenses/ :

"CC BY-NC-ND

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially."

And in the licence deed for that :

"Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder."

Or did you mean some other 'CC'?

Or did you mean that you can't change your mind after licensing something with a *less* restrictive CC licence? (And also mean "you may let the BBC use your picture *and also* the Daily Mail.")

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Re: And this is why...

Odd use of restrictive there. All licences permit something, and the point of the CC licences is that they are permissive in advance.

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Best loved photo?!

Can't say I've ever seen it before; supposing I had, I doubt it would have remained in my consciousness more than a second or so. It's a truly forgettable picture, absolutely nothing special at all. Educated me - what exactly is so amazing about it?

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Re: Best loved photo?!

Bah. EDUCATE!

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Agreed

It isn't even in colour, WTF

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Joke

Re: Agreed

Or 3D!!

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Trollface

Re: Best loved photo?!

She not even scratching her bum like the tennis player did...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Best loved photo?!

Would also be better had she been naked

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FAIL

"It's illegal, but...

"...the authorities (as so often in copyright cases) are on the side of the offender, not the victim."

So it's ok to be a "Freetard" if you're a big company...?

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Re: "It's illegal, but...

"So it's ok to be a "Freetard" if you're a big company...?"

No, it's ok to be a <insert criminal occupation here> if you're a big company.

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Re: "It's illegal, but...

Yep, like the major music companies that sell downloads of music for which they don't have the rights.

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Time to use the big companies tools against them

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1999431312/two-easy-steps-for-using-a-dmca-takedown-notice-to-battle-copyright-infringement

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Boffin

One thing that could be done would be to require any image that has been licensed, in exchange for a fee, for public use to be entered into a copyright database. And make that an obligation on the licensee, not the rights-holder. If it's a private photo, you don't have to enter it (though you can); if it's available to the public for free then you don't have to enter it (though you can).

As for orphan works, the easy solution would be a hugely-inflated escrow fee for use of an orphan work. Set it at "at least triple the usual commercial fee for work of the highest quality, but of the same nature". Instead of having a regulation on how much searching they have to do to find the rights-holder, just make it a lot more expensive to use orphan works than to pay the legitimate owner.

Orphan-preservation would be fine (what's the normal commercial license fee for a library making a second copy of something they have in storage? Not much; three times not much is still not much) but commercial use of orphan works would be sufficiently expensive that it would only be used when the legitimate owner really can't be found, and not just when the newspaper is too lazy.

When the owner turns up, they can claim the amount from escrow.

In addition, orphan use of anything in a copyright register would be infringement.

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FAIL

Minor flaw. What if the rights-holder of the orphaned work didn't want it used for that purpose? Say Nestle, Coca-Cola or some other company that the rights-holder disagrees with on moral grounds used it? Should it be down to money to balance out any perceived harm?

The actual answer is far, far simpler. If you cannot identify the rights-holder or get a license from them, don't use the asset. End of.

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Stop

> The actual answer is far, far simpler. If you cannot identify the rights-holder or get a license from them, don't use the asset. End of.

That would mean that you could never dare use an image from the public domain (which should really be *most* images) unless you could categorically determine its age to determine that it was indeed out of copyright.

Since digital images that have no meta data don't really have an age, that might be rather difficult.

This is the main reason why a lot of people advocate for registering your copyrighted photos with a central authority and paying a nominal fee for that service.

If you really care about your image and its money-making potential, why wouldn't you?

In this day and age, it would be simplicity itself to check against that agency as to whether or not the image was under copyright. With image recognition you could easily check your copy against the original lodged with the agency by the use of a web facility.

The vast, vast majority of images around the interwebs are not money-generating works and don't need to be copyright protected. Assuming that all photos have copyright makes the job of making money from professional images so much more difficult. They are lost in a sea of what is mostly dross.

It really isn't a difficult problem to solve. The biggest issue is the political will to make it happen.

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Thumb Up

> As for orphan works, the easy solution would be a hugely-inflated escrow fee for use of an orphan work. Set it at "at least triple the usual commercial fee for work of the highest quality, but of the same nature". Instead of having a regulation on how much searching they have to do to find the rights-holder, just make it a lot more expensive to use orphan works than to pay the legitimate owner.

Of course, there would a period of changeover, but requiring registration of a image with a central authority for copyright protection would make the orphan problem moot. If it's not registered, then it's not copyrighted.

This whole situation wouldn't have come about if the legal mess of copyrighting *all* images hadn't come about. I can see why at the time it probably seemd like a good idea, but in this age of everyone and their dog taking pictures, it really doesn't make any sense at all.

These days, we have the technological means to properly protect professional images.

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@ Skelband

> The actual answer is far, far simpler. If you cannot identify the rights-holder or get a license from them, don't use the asset. End of.

Next case.

Skelband asserts:

>> That would mean that you could never dare use an image from the public domain (which should really be *most* images) unless you could categorically determine its age to determine that it was indeed out of copyright.

What's wrong with that? It's so basic it's binary.

>> Since digital images that have no meta data don't really have an age, that might be rather difficult.

It's still so basic it's binary.

>> This is the main reason why a lot of people advocate for registering your copyrighted photos with a central authority and paying a nominal fee for that service.

Who are these 'lot of people' ? Who do they work for? Are they creators or lobbyists? Evidence, please.

>> If you really care about your image and its money-making potential, why wouldn't you?

Why should we? Who is anyone to say we should?

>> In this day and age, it would be simplicity itself to check against that agency as to whether or not the image was under copyright. With image recognition you could easily check your copy against the original lodged with the agency by the use of a web facility.

In any day and age it *is* simplicity itself to check if you have permission to use an image.

It's *still* so simple it's binary and your argument is looking more flimsy the more you work it.

>>The vast, vast majority of images around the interwebs are not money-generating works and don't need to be copyright protected. Assuming that all photos have copyright makes the job of making money from professional images so much more difficult. They are lost in a sea of what is mostly dross.

The vast, vast majority of opinions relating to "images around the interwebs" are generated by people who are lost in a (self important but irrelevant) sea (spout) of what is mostly dross and are astrotufing for orphan works industries. I have no evidence but that's not an encumbrance to this debate, is it?

>> It really isn't a difficult problem to solve. The biggest issue is the political will to make it happen.

Binary? Meet twisted logic.

Facepalm because, well, fail is too obvious.

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FAIL

Re: @ Skelband

>> That would mean that you could never dare use an image from the public domain (which should really be *most* images) unless you could categorically determine its age to determine that it was indeed out of copyright.

> What's wrong with that? It's so basic it's binary.

What is binary? WTF are you talking about? Are you seriously saying that no-one should use public domain images? Just in case they might be in copyright? The problem at hand is coming up with a system where determining whether something is in copyright is possible and feasible. If it were that simple under the current regime, then there wouldn't be this almighty fuss over "orphan" works. Jeez, keep up at the back there.

> >> Since digital images that have no meta data don't really have an age, that might be rather difficult.

> It's still so basic it's binary.

Again, what's with this binary nonsense?

>> If you really care about your image and its money-making potential, why wouldn't you?

> Why should we? Who is anyone to say we should?

Because that's what the law would say. If you wanted protection for your images, then that's what you would have to do. I didn't make any claims that it was particularly fair or easy for photographers, but then it's not that big a deal either. The choice is this: risk people ripping off your images claiming they did "due diligence" and found nothing, against the option of "due diligence" meaning that they checked the copyright repository. The point is, if the image is registered, then it is coprighted, no argument, no ambiguity. Sorry, but you really come off sounding like a sulky kid.

>> In this day and age, it would be simplicity itself to check against that agency as to whether or not the image was under copyright. With image recognition you could easily check your copy against the original lodged with the agency by the use of a web facility.

> In any day and age it *is* simplicity itself to check if you have permission to use an image.

> It's *still* so simple it's binary and your argument is looking more flimsy the more you work it.

I'm really sorry that you don't get it.

Whether an image is under copyright *is* binary. Discovery is the problem. Is the image in the public domain? Is the image an orphan? If so, then it may never be possible to discover if it is public domain or copyrighted, forever. So much for the good of the public domain.

Your problem is that you only see the problem from one side, that of the image producer.

The law must serve everyone not just you, and at the moment, it is not well serving anyone.

Lastly, perhaps I could remind you that copyright is a privilege bestowed upon content creators by the public for the greater good of all. There are much better ways of rewarding creators than the current global system.

I'm sorry that you think that alternatives to the current copyright provisions are unpalatable, but if it comes to it, you will have to lump it. Although I think it likely that we will be stuck with the current system for the foreseeable future, heaven help us.

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"The Industar look"

"The photo was taken three years before Instagram was invented. No filters were used; it's just a good camera, and a lot of skill."

The lens used must have contributed to the old-photo look, which helped fool people mistaking its age. The Soviet Industars were clones of old German lens designs. It might not even have been coated, or had only the original single-coating technology.

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Re: "The Industar look"

What Instagram does and more was being done many years before Instagram was invented. They popularized well known effects.

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WTF?

Rumour mill amplifies simple mistake

Such happened pre internet, and I can't imagine why the internet should make this phenomenon go away. People thought spinach had 10 times as much iron as it really has for about 100 years after a Victorian analytical chemist got a decimal place wrong in a calculation, a mistake amplified in the public imagination by the Popeye cartoons.

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Re: Rumour mill amplifies simple mistake

Damn, you mean Popeye was wrong?

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h3
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Re: Rumour mill amplifies simple mistake

Never he was willing to send spinach to Britain before America would even enter the war.

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Anonymous Coward

protection racket

To the guy who suggested we should pay to have our works "protected" er hello? Its protected by law, already. We don't need a quango screwing us over.

"My, these are nice pictures on your flickr page... be a shame if someone copied them and ripped out the metadata... terrible the things that happen.... now for a few quid we could look after you... you wouldn't want anything... bad... to happen"

ps I'm an amateur photographer, and I can't afford £1500 or even £100, does that mean my pictures are free for anyone to steal and claim as their own?

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Re: protection racket

now for a few quid we could look after you... you wouldn't want anything... bad... to happen"

That's a bit like accusing fencing installers or padlock manufacturers of a protection racket, if you have an apple tree in your front garden and your lack of a fence results in local kids thinking your apples were available for free. They may well not be, but you'd probably get better redress in the small claims courts against local kids scrumping them if you had put up a fence.

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Re: protection racket

You are confusing theft with copyright infringement, they are not the same.

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FAIL

Re: protection racket

> To the guy who suggested we should pay to have our works "protected" er hello? Its protected by law, already. We don't need a quango screwing us over.

Sorry, you're already getting screwed over by people using your works without paying you.

The fact is there isn't an easy (or even possible) way to determine if an image found on a random web page somewhere is a copyrighted professional image, the use of which requires payment or merely permission.

This is why we get the whole orphan and public domain problem. The law as it stands treats your professional works in exactly the same standing as someone else's holiday snaps. So you get the public's same ambivalence to your images.

Well if you don't care about properly monetising your images, why should anyone else?

> Its protected by law, already.

Well yes, quite. It shouldn't be by default.

The status quo is not working and so far, no-one has suggested anything that would improve on what we have now with across-the-board copyright provisions for images.

Instead we get these halfway mock-ups of law to try and cope with orphan issues and a reliable method of determining authorship of images.

We need something a lot different.

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Stop

Re: protection racket

> You are confusing theft with copyright infringement, they are not the same.

No, he's not. Many people do, and it's annoying.

He's merely suggesting that it is encumbant on the defending parties in both situations to take at least some basic measures to protect themselves to mitigate their potential losses.

Whether or not you think that's reasonable is a different question entirely though.

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Anonymous Coward

"the authorities (as so often in copyright cases) are on the side of the offender, not the victim."

Really!? REALLY!?!?!

Oh, if only that were true! I think you'll find that 'the authorities' side with whoever buys them the most expensive lunch!

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