back to article The UK's copyright landgrab: The FAQ

The UK has passed legislation to permit the mass use of copyright-protected material without the owner's permission. This applies to any copyrighted work - not just images - where identifying information is missing. The specifics aren't yet known - they'll come later in the year, in the form of secondary legislation called a " …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

two points i disagree on...

That Copyright is time limited. It is effectively *not* time limited due to the constant extensions being put on it.

Although Bastard Inc could set up their own registry, someone else less of an asshole could also set up one, and a Diligent search would have to include them both.

Saying that, I feel the government should be pushing back on things like copyright extensions, (Should be 20+20 max), and properly define Fair use. This does seem more than a little silly. At most it should be a specific exclusion for Archival purposes.

8
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: two points i disagree on...

> That Copyright is time limited. It is effectively *not* time limited due to the constant extensions being put on it.

Indeed, the length of copyright means that stuff on the internet might be there, but you can't use it. In other words, it may as well not be there in terms of "common culture." How many computer formats do you think will still be around in the author+70 years time-frame? All the digital stuff will be unreadable.

So it comes back to just a trade issue - can I make money out of it? Mostly, the case is, if you don't want it to be public, don't make it public - or at least deface it so people who can make money out of it, will be willing to pay to get the real thing. Perhaps we need to get away from the idea that I can throw something out into a public place and not have someone else pick it up.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: two points i disagree on...

I'm torn when it comes to copyright,

on one hand, shortish copyrights means works of art & litriture come into the public domain at some point,

but conversely, that also means pictures I post online, will at some point become free for anyone to use,

How do you balance copyright with privacy?

As what else protects my own pictures but copyright?

2
1
Silver badge
Happy

Re: two points i disagree on...

>or at least deface it so people who can make money out of it

Can anyone fish out a link to that marvellous story some years back about the Tory MP's constituency website... it used a picture of a pound coin that not only had been nicked from somebody else's website, but was actually linked to it. When the owner of the image noticed, he took it into Photoshop and 'scratched' a penis onto it, and then updated his site. This of course resulted in the Tory MP's website featuring a rudely defaced coin!

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: two points i disagree on...

"How do you balance copyright with privacy?"

Personally, I think copyright should be life or 14 years, whichever is longer. This allows everyone to have control of their own work while they live and also gives children a period to exploit their parents' work should the parent die soon after creating something.

The problem is defining "life" in a world where corporations are regarded as legal persons. Of course, we can solve that by saying that copyright is something that only a living human, or group of humans, can have.

Not going to happen.

5
0
Stop

Re: two points i disagree on...

... I kinda like where this is going. I am, forever, an advocate of the principle that everything publicly accessible on the web should be free to be used ... except, of course, for commercial use. This should relieve non commercial use from any danger of litigation, which would make life, in the web, more comfortable. Content provider should cater for this by providing quality restricted or watermarked content. Totally unacceptable though is any commercial use without the creators approval and the term "diligent searches being carried out", to allow surpass this obligation, is just to fuzzy to be fairly workable (nowadays it's just too easy to strip copyright info's from any digital work). Simply put, if you can't get a creators approval you can't use it commercially. This is a crazy, conflict creating, legislation and I must wonder which mind set creates something outlandish like this. Scary.

1
1
Bronze badge
Joke

Re: two points i disagree on...

Would that encourage fans to murder authors so they can get their Twilight fanfic published? Should we discourage that?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: two points i disagree on...

" I am, forever, an advocate of the principle that everything publicly accessible on the web should be free to be used ... except, of course, for commercial use."

Sometimes value is defined by exclusivity. Imagine a situation where I sell images for commercial use. In order to sell them in the first place I need a shop-front somewhere online that offers previews of these images. Now, why would any business want to licence the rights to the actual actual image if every Tom, Dick and Harry has used the preview image as a modern equivalent of clip-art?

2
0
Silver badge

Re: two points i disagree on...

And what happens when a fine art portrait gets used to endorse a product or political party the model doesn't agree with. This already happens, even with family shots. That couple last year whose shot ended up in an advert for some homophobic republican scum. IP law exists for good reason, yes there could be tweaks made in some areas, like the old model designs mentioned, but the people pushing for this just want to cut their costs and not be hampered by pesky laws that stop them stealing.

3
0

Re: two points i disagree on...

In the UK where a company owns the copyright in a work, the term of the copyright is still based on the lifetime of the employee who created it, so the problem you raised in your third paragraph would still be resolved.

In the US, so-called work-for-hire provisions mean that the employer is also the owner of the copyright in a work made by an employee, and currently the term is a fixed one, namely 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation, whichever is the shorter. This again would be amenable to your suggestion.

1
0

Re: two points i disagree on...

"How do you balance copyright with privacy? As what else protects my own pictures but copyright?"

You can always choose NOT to put them online. Are you complaining that your privacy is not being respected with respect to a picture that you have made available for the world to see?

That said, I agree that copyright is basically a good thing - people should be rewarded for their efforts. The while life + 70 years thing is taking it beyond a joke however - a work created by a person will typically not be out of copyright until their grandchildren are in the grave.

1
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

The result is that..

I will not be sending any more of my pictures to the BBC's photo competitions.

I always add copyright information to the metadata, now I will have to paste a big QR code on any image that I publish.

Probably have to use steganography as well, otherwise someone will just paste their logo over mine.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: The result is that..

I always add copyright information to the metadata, now I will have to paste a big QR code on any image that I publish.

AFAIK the Beeb are one of the naughties who have been routinely scrubbing the meta-data whenever you submit something.

1
0
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: The result is that..

Screw You, Getty Images.

0
0
Gold badge

Re: The result is that..

I have to say that if I were ever on a jury then I'd *assume* that any party who routinely scrubbed the copyright out of metadata was doing so with malicious intent. For a major media organisation to do so (with all their legal advice) is scandalous.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Better than putting tax up to increase revenue I suppose.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Excellent summary.

Please keep us up to date!

9
0
MrT
Bronze badge

Re: Excellent summary.

Definitely - and given that Andrew's earlier article (coining the name "Instagram Act") has been referenced/quoted by many news sites, hopefully this one will be equally influential.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Two sides to the orphan issue?

Hmmm..

I make model boats as a hobby.

At the moment I am running a project intended to 'save' as many of the old 1930s-1960s model boat kit plans. These kits were typically created by small 'garage' companies post WW2, and went out of business as the owner died. The inheritors of the estate were typically uninterested in continuing the business - any equipment would have been sold and no archives maintained. So all data on the kits and plans would have been withdrawn from sale and lost.

Fragments of these kits exist in attics around the country - now usually dumped in a house clearance after a death. I am producing a web repository for such information where it can be cleaned up, cataloged and made freely available to other modellers. Copyright issues are obviously considered - for instance, where a larger modeling company bought up all assets they are assumed to have the IP and asked for permission to publish. But in many cases the relatives of the original creator (those I can manage to find) knew nothing about any IP that they may have inherited, and, of course, had no documentation from their grandparents of 70 years ago of any kind.

I still contact and inform them when I can, following the proposed EU Orphan procedure. They would be hard for a professional company to find - even harder for an amateur. When found, you might have the interesting issue of who, amongst all the surviving relatives, actually owns any of this IP - if it is ignored I suppose it is split equally between ALL the inheritees? Which would make saving it an impossible task if I had to find all branches of the family. Instead, if I treat it as an orphan, I can process it without being criminalised.

I receive no money from this - it is all done to try to record and preserve data which is in danger of being completely lost. The data is made freely available to everyone as part of the common heritage of humanity. This is the issue which the 'orphan' clause in the Copyright legislation is trying to address.

There may well be things wrong with the current proposals, and opportunities for big companies to ignore the rights of small copyright holders. But I think that the item should have mentioned the real issue that caused the proposal in the first place - not so much the existence of unattributed information in libraries, but the impossibility of collecting and saving unattributed historical information from the world if ALL data must be owned by somebody, and permission obtained before it is processed.

21
1
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Good point.

This is the best explanation of how it's done today, with orphan works being made available to us in many forms:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121205183318/http://blogs.bis.gov.uk/blog/2012/07/30/uk-copyright-accessing-orphan-works/#comment-39879

or

http://bit.ly/YiJeMy

And many good ideas for making digital copies of orphans abound, most OW schemes make use of narrow exceptions.

What the issue is here the proposal is so broad and clumsy (it was written by activists who don't really understand copyright, they're quite new to it, and not lawyers) it threatens primary licensing. The UK IPO had every opportunity to narrow the wording of OW/ECL so there would be no ambiguity and no threat to primary licensing at all. They declined the opportunities.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

The music industry argues that a composer often does not get recognition until late in their life. The argument is that their heirs should benefit from such belated earnings after the creator's death.

Establishing the cut-off at 70 years after death confers that benefit well beyond any surviving spouse's lifetime. Potentially it benefits several future generations. The spirit of the law should really be to give income, or control, to a surviving spouse or any children up to say age 21.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

> I am producing a web repository for such information where it can be cleaned up, cataloged and made freely available to other modellers.

Ooh. Got a link?

1
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

It's running in beta test at the moment, but I really don't want the entire collection of Vultures descending on it at the moment! And it's only got half-a dozen plans in at present.

An earlier site I did specialises in the Keil Kraft EeZeBilt range of starter models - that's at:

KK EeZeBilt junior boats

Contact me at the email given there if you want further info. You will see that copyright permission has been granted by AMERANG, who currently hold rights to the old KK name.

The new site will be for all vintage model boat kits. There is a similar one for model aircraft which is not run by me and is in a more advanced state, with about 4000 plans - that will give you a flavour of what is being done, and that can be found below:

Outer Zone - model Vintage Aircraft plans

All these sites are a lot of work to keep going, with no reward. The 'orphan' feature allows people to do this without being criminalised. If it were to be withdrawn, we would have to stop, and these plans would become unavailable. Any plans out there that we might have saved would become completely lost.

Linux because I don't want to have to pay a microsoft tax on top of everything else...

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

"The spirit of the law should really be to give income, or control, to a surviving spouse or any children up to say age 21."

It can also be argued that many creative people who work for an employer do not have similar protection for dependants. When they die then the income stops - unless they have been prudent enough to pay part of their earnings into pension/insurance schemes to provide something for their dependants.

3
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

...7 thumbs up & 1 thumbs down...

Someone who fell in the boating pond when they were little?

0
0
Joke

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Probably someone who has already had their livelihood ruined once by small model boats, AND IS NOT GOING TO LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN!

3
0
Bronze badge
WTF?

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Let the children compose their own music

Sorry to appear harsh, but I expect my children to work for a living when I am gone; why are composers' kids different?

7
1
Silver badge
Alert

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

...or perhaps they once had an unfortunate experience in the bath with a toy submarine....

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Copyright is not enough for some people, they use trademark as a forever copyright. For an example see Ann of Green Gables.

0
0
Gold badge

@tony2heads

I think the standard rejoinder is that you also expect to be able to hand over any left-over cash reserves or property to your kids when you die, rather than have the taxman impose 100% death duties or have some random businessman break into your house and walk off with it.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

"Let the children compose their own music

Sorry to appear harsh, but I expect my children to work for a living when I am gone; why are composers' kids different?"

I don't think this is particular to composers. There seem to be a lot of people who want to leave all their worldly assets to their descendents upon their death. They don't appreciate the idea that some of those assets might just disappear when they die. This just sounds like a small part of a much larger issue.

There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the people that have to work for a living and those who hold capitol as a means of making money.

I expect that my children will have to work to provide for themselves before I die. I think it would be odd if they were just killing time until I kicked off and they could inherit a windfall, large or small. But I suspect I would have a different view if I only ever made money by loaning my capitol to someone else. When I die, I can't work anymore, so I don't have any further value, but my capitol would. Furthermore, if I'd grown up living off the money that my father or grandfather got from holding capitol, then I would probably want to be able to use that to provide for my children even after I'm gone. After all, that's how they've survived up until now; asking them to find a new way to put food on the table at 60 seems a little cruel.

1
0

Re: @tony2heads

@Ken Hagan: I agree with your example but please explain why copyright needs longer protection than patents: It takes billions to invent new pharmaceuticals. Yet they are protected by patents for 30 years at most, 10 of which are spent to gain the necessary permits. The argument here is to encourage further development and that the inventors stood on the shoulders of giants.

Creators of copyrighted works also stand on the shoulders of giants as they are to be seen in the cultural context around them. And having them lose their rights after 20 years as everybody else (only pharma patents sometimes can be expanded to 30 years, it is otherwise 20 years of protection) would encourage them to continue working.

So again: Why do these arguments only work against the technical inventor but not against the artist? If 20 years are enough for technical innovations and after that, we need the rights to expire in order to foster innovation, there is little reason to have 70 years post mortem auctoris for works of art.

8
0

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Excellent point, very well put.

0
0

Re: @tony2heads

I guess it's because the patent covers an artefact that you actually have to produce yourself, whereas copyright covers the artefact itself.

A counter analogy would be, why should property copyright have limited duration when my home ownership is never ending.

The home I leave to my children doesn't revert to public ownership after 70 years so why should that photo, that I spent a lifetime training and perfecting my craft such that I was able to capture it?

1
1
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

I loved to build plans and boats as a kid. I think I still have plans at my summer cottage that I could mail you.

I hope your "contact me" works, your hotmail will be old soon. I wonder if there are any Swedes around here who remember a company named Wenzel or something. They had a very fine catalog with they products and I bought quite a few. Many years ago I tried to bye something similar for my kid, only dull plastic stuff around.

0
0
Silver badge
Go

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

...I loved to build plans and boats as a kid. I think I still have plans at my summer cottage that I could mail you.

I hope your "contact me" works, your hotmail will be old soon....

Well it seems to work - but I have had no mail from you so far today. If you have problems you could ask The Register to forward mail to me at my sign-on address here, and reference this message to indicate my agreement...

DG

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Dodgy Geezer, It will take some time before I get to that summer cottage, but I will then look at what I have in the attic and return. Regards Lars

0
0

Re: @tony2heads

@bobbles31: Allow me to politely disagree. IMHO, a patent protects a technical idea, expressed in the patent claims and regardless of an actual product. A copyright in the European tradition is a bundle of rights that protects a specific oeuvre *and* in a limited way the idea behind the oeuvre. In literature, the protection extends to both the written text and the plot of the story so that you can not simply rename the protagonist and claim a new story.

So - technical and artistic IP rights are basically comparable and the idea behind the limited duration of technical IP applies very much to artistic IP as well. But they are treated differently and artistic IP is treated much more favorably than technical IP: it lasts longer and its protection is broader (at least in Europe). It is a requirement under patent law for a patent infringement that the infringement has to be a commercial one. Copyright can be violated by anyone.

So, the question is still open: Why discriminate against the technical inventor?

With regard to your house analogy: IMHO, both physical and intellectual property are legal constructs so I agree with your analogy to that extend. The difference is how much of the costs for the creation you carried yourself actually. With a house, you probably paid its market value including all building costs. With IP, you did not compensate all those before you who worked in the field and created the public domain. Your photo relies very much on other peoples work who invented photography and the artistic elements of the design of a good photograph and you did not pay them. Therefore society claims back your contribution after having rewarded you with a period of exclusivity.

1
0
Thumb Down

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

1) It's "capital", not "capitol".

2) You are assuming that people who work and those who hold capital are two distinct groups - even when Karl Marx was alive, this wasn't true and it certainly isn't today.

0
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

No problems - we're in this for the long haul. Interestingly, one of the biggest issues with operating the proposed orphan copyright process is that of language. At the moment I'm having to make myself understood to the remains of a small toy company in Czech - Swedish would be yet another tongue to translate my request emails into.

I wish people still used Latin as an international language.... :)

0
0

Re: Two sides to the orphan issue?

Andrew

"The UK IPO had every opportunity to narrow the wording of OW/ECL so there would be no ambiguity and no threat to primary licensing at all. They declined the opportunities."

Fairly recently we, in Australia, had a visiting emissary from the UKs mandated official IP sector. This emissary was billed on arrival as a outstanding "Champion"- however the champion spectacularly and quickly failed, in fact the champion turned out to be pretty average.

A major reason for this failure was ; this emissary genuinely had no idea about Copyright as a exclusive individual right of control of usage. In fact this emissary reacted with ill-disciplined, uncomprehending, anger to the very idea of a individual right-holders right to "say no" to compulsory collective management . The tantrums did not go down well, down under.

From our perspective a covert (or overt) ignorant hostility to primary rights seems not untypical of the UKs mandated official IP sector.

1
0

Could metadata stripping be defined as a copyright infringement?

Thus hosting a photo with no metadata is copyright infringement, and therefore the whole of Facebook, Flickr, etc. are copyright infringements...

1
1
Stop

Re: Could metadata stripping be defined as a copyright infringement?

@ Richard Gadsden

I believe that your comment and the original article are wrong in respect of Flickr stripping meta-data. As a long time use of Flickr I can confirm that Flickr does NOT strip meta-data but gives users the option to keep the meta-data for their photos hidden. I can't think of a good reason for hiding the meta-data unless photo doesn't actually belong to you, but there might be one.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Could metadata stripping be defined as a copyright infringement?

" I can't think of a good reason for hiding the meta-data unless photo doesn't actually belong to you, but there might be one."

Flickr users are often anonymous but contactable. It would be self-defeating if their pictures revealed their identity to everyone. Why do people stay anonymous? Because the web is a jungle and you never know who might be unreasonably upset by something you display. An online account can be reluctantly discarded if the postings/emails get too abusive. A real identity has rather more permanent attributes that can be abused.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Could metadata stripping be defined as a copyright infringement?

You won't find metadata on my images in Flicker as I don't want the chav scum following me home to steal 10K of camera kit. In same way you won't find the start and end points of my bike rides on Strava either.

2
1
Linux

'and those "Shazams for images" don't yet exist. ' -- Google Goggles exists and has helped me find the title/artist of many an image and painting. I guess you have an iPhone.

1
1
Silver badge

TinEye

You're welcome.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: TinEye

Wondered why this one didn't get mentioned in the article, at least as an example. And again, I refer you to Maddox.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Live concerts

As things currently stand most UK live music concerts indicate that no photography or audio recording is allowed. Publishing such an authorised copy is a breach of copyright. You can't even licence it if the copyright owner refuses to agree a fee.

It gets further complicated by recent(?) changes whereby many people are automatically allocated interests in the performance's copyright eg composers, musicians, singers etc. Apparently this has made the commissioning of a performance for an amateur (third party) published recording more complicated.

The article's analysis suggests that

a) no one can object to their registered work being licensed at a fee set by a central body - even if they disapprove of the advert/political use it will promote.

b) a bootlegger can claim copyright to an unauthorised recording/photograph - and publish it. A digital search will always show no official original as they will be unregistered by the performers. Even an official recording of the same event will have a different audio/digital signature when compared to contemporary bootleg ones. What rights have the performers to effect a "take down"?

Are the above correct assumptions?

0
0

Re: Live concerts

No - not as I read it. It only applies to orphaned work, and no one can 'claim copyright' to an orphaned work.

"A digital search will always show no official original as they will be unregistered by the performers"

Original A -> transcoded version B -> derived work C

The author of C searches for author of B from which their work is derived.

The author of B searches for author of A from which their work is derived.

If B was in copyright violation of A, then C is also in copyright violation of A. If B is an orphan, then C must presumably have registered their use of that orphan. If A finds out later, A is compensated. What is unclear is whether A can force C to be withdrawn from the market (or wherever it is)

I think.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums