back to article Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

The government's fourth IP minister* in less than two years took office at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last week, but her predecessor has left a few undetonated hand grenades in her in-tray. One of them concerns using other people's copyrighted works for free – whether they like it or not. They're all …

Silver badge
Flame

They really don't get it, do they?

Whether I take the image for personal use or for sale; whether I put it on the interwebs or not; it's *mine* and you use it without permission at your peril. Note: payment does *not* imply permission.

Anyone want to quote a photo of my cameras for sale?

10
5

Honest, Guv! I'm just going to quote a bit, not rip ya off!

Specifically I'm quote all the bits excluding your name, contact details, and copyright date. If you'd be so kind as to put them in the same place on each image so I can imagemagick the lot at once that would be peachy!

1
0
Silver badge

I know of someone who found that a picture he had taken of his car, and posted on his own website, was taken and used by Transport For London to illustrate their PDF on examples of vehicles affected by the Low Emission Zone.

He contacted them, asking that they remove the photo from their document, and they seemed most surprised that anyone would object to the photo being used.

When pressed they said they hadn't tried to contact the owner of the photo to ask for permission, as they didn't think they had to.

They did however remove the photograph, and replaced it with one which looked suspiciously like someone else's private photo...

13
0

So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

...let's say, around 25 a second?

35
0
Silver badge

Re: So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

No, certainly not. But if this law gets in you may *quote* those series of images ...

1
0

Re: So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

As long as your series of images is a quotation - so cut out the credits and studio notices, and crop it to 1918 pixels wide; that way you aren't reproducing the whole work, you're just quoting it in it's full context.

What a fucking stupid piece of legislation - a significant number of people in the civil service need to be sacked for this shambolic, rights stripping stream of piss, from ministers downward.

Steven R

12
0
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

No, just 'quote' every other pixel. Or compress slightly more

0
0

Re: So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

That's an excellent point - compression means, by default, that you aren't using the original, but are quoting it.

So any compression applied automatically means it's Ok to use.

We are fucking genius.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: So it's OK to copy a series of photographs...

Actually just burn it to a DVD, and write on it something like "worth a watch", that'll do wont it?

0
0

It's not just...

... images.

Yes. I know. Images are the most important copyright issue :-). And yes, again - that's partly tongue in cheek, but not intended to in any way minimise the real issues of image producers. But let's take another look - maybe at song lyrics, which unlike titles are very much copyright protected:

Made available to the public? Check.

Fair dealing? Open to interpretation - but if used in a context where it's clear it's, say, a book character singing a song, possibly/ probably.

Required for purpose? Check - 'My character was singing the latest pop song in the shower. The date was (insert date here)'

Accompanied by acknowledgement (let's not get into 'unless it would be impossible etc): Quote the band's name in the book text? .

So do song lyrics become fair game?

A similar argument could probably be made for text from books - or including sections of, say, a blockbuster movie in your own movie. 'Well, they were sat watching Titanic on TV when the murder happened, Mi'lud...And the tag 'forbids a private contract from trumping the exception'? Well. There (might go) goes the neighborhood...

3
0
Flame

Perhaps they could deal with the Turkish nano-technology coatings company who nicked an image off my flickr account to use on their website. No asking, no acknowledgement - just swiped. Tw*ts.

1
1
Silver badge

Perhaps they could send a gunboat?

3
0
Silver badge

Send a guboat

And land on the completely wrong beach like they did 100 years ago.

3
0
Silver badge
Holmes

I don't see the problem

Copyright law is perfectly simple and straightforward.

Rule 1: If you are rich you can sue poor people who copy your intellectual property for ludicrously large amounts, and bankrupt them with lawyers' fees.

Rule 2: If you are poor, rich people can rip off your intellectual property at whim without asking you or telling you, and definitely without paying you.

Rule 3: There is no Rule 3.

28
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't see the problem

Rule 4: When new technology arrives that breaks your copyright-based business model, you have a right to carry on doing business and stop everyone from using that technology.

2
0

"What do you mean there's a problem with me copying your money? It's just bits in a file. You've still got it. I haven't stolen anything. Oh - you think money stored as digital files is different to content stored as digital files? Are you going to explain why, exactly?"

3
2
Anonymous Coward

I'm not sure you're thinking straight.

Please feel free to copy my bank statement, as long as you're not trying use it to steal my money. The bits in a 'file' at the bank is just a note telling them how much money of mine they're looking after. Copying it doesn't deprive me of the actual money.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Plenty of sites warn you

that your pictures once uploaded actually become their property or are free for use and exempt from copyright.

If you use the service you implicitly agree to those terms.

I'm looking forward to this legislation. I'm going to be quoting lots of pornographic websites. :)

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Plenty of sites warn you

Not quite. Most sites don't claim uploaded photos are exempt from copyright, but by using their service you grant the service provider a non-exclusive license to pilfer what they like.

So if I post a photo to Facebook, FB are within their rights to use that photo for their own purposes, including commercial and advertising. That still doesn't mean someone else has the right to pilfer it however.

Though as FB's minions strip all the metadata out of uploaded content, it potentially becomes difficult to trace origin once a photo has been saved and taken out of the context of FB.

0
0
N2

Wankers

Clearly dont understand what they are doing, by giving away something which is rightfully mine or yours, for someone to use as they like.

Sure they'd be annoyed if I ploughed their lawn and planted spuds?

2
3

If it's on Google it must be free

I constantly have to explain to people in the very big international company I work for that images and music taken off Goggle are not free for the taking and, if anyone sees that photo or hears that music in a soundtrack in a publication or video of ours and knows we didn't pay for it and kicks up a fuss, we are in serious legal trouble. Yet if they saw a photo of, say, their baby on someone else's brochure or whatever, they would go mental. Somehow, taking what you want is never bad if you have an innocent heart.

16
0
Silver badge

Re: If it's on Google it must be free

Intent - it's fucking magic.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If it's on Google it must be free

"I constantly have to explain to people in the very big international company I work for that images and music taken off Goggle are not free for the taking and, if anyone sees that photo or hears that music in a soundtrack in a publication or video of ours and knows we didn't pay for it and kicks up a fuss, we are in serious legal trouble."

I was on a visit to a very large multi-national client, bit of a jolly - I was the only one there who wasn't a journo, so we were treated like royalty. They toured us round their corporate media/film unit, showed us a couple of works in progress and final editing. They let on that they'd once done an internal corporate vid and as it was a special occasion had licensed a track from a well known 60s band - sort of people you'd see billed alongside the Rolling Stones, which was rare as they usually used much cheaper library music, but this was an anniversary and they wanted to make an impact. They'd had a 2 month license, which was all they could justify paying for.

They absolutely refused to show it to us. We begged - no one would know. Just a few of us in the edit suite, no cameras or filming, go on - just play it for us. Just the once. They claimed they didn't have a copy, though I'm sure the all had a dvd stashed at home for nostalgia and their personal portfolios.

But no dice. Some people take it bloody seriously, even people retaining million dollar lawyers. I'm sure front line drones occasionally unwittingly rip stuff off though, even if the film group are all very clear and strict about the rules.

1
0
Silver badge

I refer the right honourable gentleman to my previous answer

"(a) the work has been made available to the public,

(b) the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work,

(c) the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and

(d) the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise).”

It means practically nothing, it's just a way of keeping things the way they want but looking like they've done something.

a) is it's already on the Internet - pass, c) is the purpose you want the photo for - pass, and d) well, for reasons of practicality or for reasons not of practicality - pass.

That leaves b) and the language is so vague that it can be argued till the cows come home.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Lucy Neville-Rolfe is a very bright, very energetic and able person. Whether or not this is a good thing for UK IP law depends on whether she is deciding issues for herself or just pushing through a predetermined agenda. If the latter, she will be good at it, so watch out!

1
0
Silver badge

So lets make a test of, say, a commercial DVD posted to the Internet - will it be legal under this law?

Let's test against the requirements - I will be permitted to quote that DVD so long as:

a) the work has been made available to the public - PASS

b) the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work - as I take nor add context, PASS

c) the extent is no more than is required for the specific purpose to which it is used - in this case the purpose is to allow other people to enjoy the film for free, so obviously nothing less than the entire main film will be required - PASS

d) the quotation is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement ... - that's plastered all over the credits and copyright notice, so PASS

So it looks like filesharing will become lawful.

4
1
Silver badge

You have a strange idea of "fair dealing"...

Quoth Wikipedia: "Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA), fair dealing is limited to the following purposes: research and private study (both must be non-commercial), criticism, review, and news reporting (sections 29, 30, 178)."

So basically, to claim fair dealing, you have to add context. Otherwise it's just what the lawyers technically call "ripping off".

2
0

"fair dealing" -- @veti

w.r.t the putative DVD.

So if a sleeve note was added -- "This DVD is OK, but not worht paying for." -- does that make it a criticism/review, and therefore fair use?

.

3
1

Optional

Wikipedia is now out of date. That is the point here: Government has introduced new exceptions to copyright, with 'quotation' being one of them. What 'fair dealing' means in the context of quotation will only be established by case law.

'Quotation' is not the only problematic new exception. The expanded education exception will allow the education industry pretty much free use of anything, and on a massive global scale due to the proliferation of MOOC's (Massive Open Online Courses) and VLE's. It's hard to see how text book publishers will survive.

Photographers have expended vast effort trying to educate the idiots at the IPO over the past 8 years, and last summer's consultation on the new exceptions pointed out all these problems with the draft SI's. As with everything else we have said, we were ignored. IPO has no excuse: they are wilfully stupid, malign and arrogant and the entire department needs putting in a sack and drowning.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

fair dealing -- @veti

w.r.t the putative DVD.

So if a sleeve note was added -- "This DVD is OK, but not worht paying for." -- does that make it a criticism/review, and therefore fair use?

0
0
Angel

> So basically, to claim fair dealing, you have to add context. Otherwise it's just what the lawyers technically call "ripping off".

So just add the following context after research and private study and you're good to go:

v10/a10 thx uploader!

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "fair dealing" -- @veti

That would fail under point (c) of the current draft, which is quoted in the start of this subthread:

"c) the extent is no more than is required for the specific purpose to which it is used"

"Yes, your honour, I really had to quote the entire movie in order to demonstrate that it's not worth paying for. No, I didn't need to add any more justifying commentary than that." - sorry but that's not going to fly, no matter how good your lawyer is.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Is this just images? because, if it includes music and film, the BPI / RIAA will take the government to the legal cleaners and hang them out to dry for good.

0
0

Apparently I can just quote an American law if I want to object to a company in India using an image owed by me in the UK.

The same goes if a company in China wants to spam me in the UK. There is an American law which says they can.

3
0
Silver badge

Quoting

When people quote, they often just take the bits they want, and leave the rest out.

Now, we can quote grumble flicks by removing the poor quality "But you're my daughters friend, it would be wrong if you got down on your knees and sucked my cock" acting, and skip straight to the part where she does indeed, get down on her knees and opens her gob.

We can also quote action movies by removing any of the "hey, all you bad guys stop shooting so we can have a 5 minute conversation with the guy who is dying" scenes.

0
0

I'd like to begin by quoting

The entire series of images that make up Star Wars.

0
1

Time we had a serious rethink about Copyright

In my experience people are pretty honest and try their best to stay within the law, but the rules covering Copyright are pretty insane.

I have a hobby(not a business) which is taking old photos and retaking the original photo in the same position and merging the two. I had always assumed that since the originals were old(> 100 years) that they were out of copyright and free to use(after all isn't that the idea of a government mandated monopoly).

However after being stung by another copyright issue, I did some investigations and found out that as the law stands it is virtually impossible to work out if a photo is in or out of copyright.

Basically you had to work out the following

When the photo was taken

Who by

Are they still alive? If not when did they die.

Was it published and if so when.

Actually it wasn't even that simple, so I wrote a flowchart ((http://photographyformortals.blogspot.com/2014/05/copyright-or-copywrong.html))

Basically it could not be done, so the only alternative was to give up my hobby or potentially break the law. Any guesses which I did?

As a photographer myself I want to ensure that people get proper remuneration for their work. But copyright in the digital age is a paper castle. It pretends to protect all, but only actually protects those with the money and influence to enforce it. It does little for the lone photographer, while at the same time inhibiting creativity. It is really time we bit the bullet and brought a little reality to copyright law

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Time we had a serious rethink about Copyright

The current basis for copyright law is nailed to the mid 20th century where images were physical and printed initially and then made available in passing via TV and the Movie theater. But the Internet is radically different and as much as many people do not like it, that fact is that the world has changed and the old view of copyright is neither practical nor enforceable.

In the new world - that's today folks - we need a different model and a copyright law written 70-80 years ago doesn't work anymore. I'm sorry if you don't like it but it's the plain honest truth and sticking your head in the sand doesn't help.

1
0

What about a QUOTATION watermark

With legally specified dimensions and padding relative to the size of the image, and an inversion factor for each pixel of it (so it's not just white/lighter text on a white background, as that would pull it towards the "darker" end of the scale).

Solved for 99.9% of cases?

0
0

Time for the EU

I think there is a likely challenge coming their way:-

Art 17. Right to property

Definition

1. Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law insofar as is necessary for the general interest.

2. Intellectual property shall be protected.

The strong point is ...subject to fair compensation being paid...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Time for the EU

Fair compensation is *not* sufficient. I may object strenuously to a particular company, or political party, or advertising campaign (etc.) using my image, irrespective of payment.

Permission *must* be obtained.

If you cannot find the rights holder for an image, and you cannot reach an equitable agreement with him, then tough. You don't use it. Hire a photographer.

It's not difficult.

(With regard to hammarbtyp's hobby above - I feel there is scope for safe harbour provisions where it is impossible to locate the rights holder and a non-commercial use is envisaged. (Indeed, I have scanned a number of 1880's stereograms purely to preserve them.) But commercial use of these should be prohibited.)

1
0
Zot

What's next, free software?

I wonder how many people who object to this are perfectly fine with not paying for software, when they should?

But there's that cracked Photoshop shortcut just sitting there on your desktop, waiting for you to load up some copyrighted photos...

2
0
FAIL

Total Fail

Bank notes are just an image. It may say copyright on the front but now the government say you can "quote" them. Time to run off a few thousand fifties.

Indeed, perhaps one of our cousins from across the pond can send us some images of their biggest denomination to print off and take to my local Baclays to change into real folding of the realm.

Why bother "quoting" DVDs etc when we can all be rich enough to go out and buy the the real thing.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017