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Author Topic: Copyright  (Read 2900 times)
Rob C
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« on: May 24, 2010, 03:04:39 PM »
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I was just reading some stuff about copyright as it would appear to be seen in the States.

The main thrust of the article is that to own your own copyright in your own work you have to register it. Isn't this a rather absurd stance? It strikes me that it would be far simpler, less expensive and save an unbelieveable amount of 'paperwork' if the thing was viewed the other way around: copyright was automatically deemed yours unless someone could prove otherwise?

I imagine that the 'orphan works' thing would thus vanish as the bad dream it is. No longer would you have to actively defend yourself, but the law would place the onus on anyone trying to rip you off. They simply couldn't legally use anything that they could not demonstrate was theirs; subject, of course, to it being licensed to them.

By what divine right does any image surfer get to use unsigned images that he does not own?

The thing seems perfectly clear and blatantly obvious to me: if you don't own it, you can't use it without permission.

Why has it gone the wrong way around?

Rob C
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 03:16:01 PM »
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Copyright is automatic upon the creation of the work.

However, if you have it officially registered prior to someone's misuse of the image the legal process of receiving compensation is far far easier to pursue. So it's very advisable to register your work.

The better question to me is why the US Copyright's office online registration system reminds me of some student project from 1998. If a modern online interface were used then many many more photographers would register their work and my sympathy for those who didn't would drop drastically.

Doug Peterson
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Gary Brown
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 04:26:29 PM »
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You might want to take a look at Circular 1 from the U.S. Copyright Office. It's 12 pages, but the parts most related to your question are in the “How to Secure a Copyright” section on page 3:

“The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright.”

and the “Copyright Registration” section on page 7:

“Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration.”

and it goes on to explain the aspects mentioned in the previous reply.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 06:08:31 PM »
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Rob:  Things are similar in Canada, although the US tends to be more litigious.  This article was posted in another thread but you may have missed it.  It originates from Mike Johnston's 'The Online Photographer'

Mike.
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 07:43:08 PM »
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The first time I used the on-line services of the copyright office it was a huge PIA however it got easier.  I agree with Doug that they do need to make it easier.  

The registration of the copyright is only to add a layer of protection to your work.  While it won't exactly save your work from theft it will provide you a better means to go after the culprit. And no I don't register all my work.

Don  
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 02:27:20 AM »
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Thanks for the replies, folks, and I think I get the drift of the matter as being that copyright is yours automatically, but that it helps protect you if you register.

Actually, my initial thinking had been that the best protection would have been a blanket ban of any use of an image where one cannot get permission to use it. In other words, there would exist no 'orphan works' and all work would be sacrosanct and protected form unauthorised use as of automatic right. As I see it, any other paradigm is just a way of making it easy for unauthorised usage to take place: the abuser simply has to claim inncence of origin and say that he couldn't trace the source.

It smacks of an original way of making innocence of the law (or of origin, in this case) a defence for breaking it - something that to the best of my knowledge is no defence in any other situation.

How little value must be placed on creative input. Or, alternatively, how advanced the bias of the legal system towards the defence of the guilty at the expense of the victim! Why does that remind me of common or garden rape?

Rob C
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N Walker
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2010, 03:56:30 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I was just reading some stuff about copyright as it would appear to be seen in the States.

The main thrust of the article is that to own your own copyright in your own work you have to register it. Isn't this a rather absurd stance? It strikes me that it would be far simpler, less expensive and save an unbelieveable amount of 'paperwork' if the thing was viewed the other way around: copyright was automatically deemed yours unless someone could prove otherwise?

I imagine that the 'orphan works' thing would thus vanish as the bad dream it is. No longer would you have to actively defend yourself, but the law would place the onus on anyone trying to rip you off. They simply couldn't legally use anything that they could not demonstrate was theirs; subject, of course, to it being licensed to them.

By what divine right does any image surfer get to use unsigned images that he does not own?

The thing seems perfectly clear and blatantly obvious to me: if you don't own it, you can't use it without permission.

Why has it gone the wrong way around?

Rob C

The internet has not only highlighted pedophile activity (some from high profile individuals) but also reminds us of the selfish, endemic, behaviour of our species in relation to taking material without authority. It is not enough for some people to view free content online, that has taken time, skill and cost to produce. Anything that has not been created by me, doesn't belong to me - period. This is not a difficult concept to comprehend. I have never seen it my right to use web material just because it interests me. If I can't download material my life won't be put on hold, nor will the planet implode. This amounts to no more than self discipline, being unselfish and respecting other's intellectual rights and hard work.

This year, before the end of the last parliament (UK), the Labour Gov's unelected minister (advisor), 'Lord' Mandleson, pushed through 'his' Digital Economy Bill at almost break-neck speed - usual whip (ensures party discipline) activity to try and ensure success. Section 43 of the Digital Economy Bill encouraged Theft by providing a defence to private individuals AND commercial use if the author could not be traced. Sections 43 showed an inability to grasp the complexities of digital asset file management in relation to the identification and traceability of an author's image.  No author can guarantee their metadata will be stripped out by particular software, let alone those dishonest people who will intentionally strip out metadata to circumnavigate the law.

The governments thinking was that images floating around the internet could generate money for business. They also proposed setting up a licensing body to register works and award any claims for compensation. It goes without saying this Section 43 was a disaster for most authors. Fortunately enough professional's fought the Bill (I was also very active) and Section 43 was scrapped as the Conservative's and Liberal's agreed it was unfair and not workable, they would only supported the Bill if S43 was scrapped. The Conservatives are still keen to amend the Bill to free up material.

Reducing Illegal downloading can be tackled by education in our schools - copyright law is not included in the ICT subject in primary schools (my wife is a teacher) and yet Section 43  of the Digital Economy Bill absurdly educated a lack of taking responsibility by condoning selfish and dishonest behaviour. Their shouldn't be 'any defence' in law whatsoever to provide rights for other's to use web material - what is not yours should be left alone. There is a ton of material on the web that is marked for free download and therefore little excuse for taking copyrighted material.  It amazes me that the Gov were attempting to introduce a law to tackle this problem without first having implemented a sound education policy in our schools - what an arse about face way of tackling copyright abuse.

Politicians keep reminding me that their purpose is to lead society and yet Labour did nothing over the last decade, since the internet took hold, to educate people about Copyright Theft. Their answer, another sticking plaster (attempt this time) through poorly written law.

From this side of the pond the US system seems absurd to me. Maybe it's another way of generating additional revenue for highly paid Copyright Lawyers. I have pursued many companies across the globe for Copyright abuse, all have paid-up except for one company in Australia - some are small companies, others with a 1.6 billion Euro turn over. It is not rocket science to record and gather evidence, before the client gets wind that you are onto their copyright abuse and present them with enough evidence to make them squirm - I accept there will be some complex cases; in such cases the quality of the evidence, through good evidence gathering, is essential to stand a good chance for a conviction.

Copyright Law in the UK is clear (if we taught the basics), the Theft Act 1968 and Copyright and Patents Act 1988 cover Copyright Theft (intangible goods).
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 04:37:47 AM by Nick Walker » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2010, 09:02:29 AM »
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Well, Nick, we can't be alone in seeing the obvious. Why, then, does it seem to take so much grief before the same clarity of vision can be had by those who make laws?

As for educating people about copyright in school - my daughter and her husband are both teachers - it would appear to be pointless since music rip offs are already currency within the school system. Those little guys all know but just don't give a fig. They know all right... it's part of the buzz.

But pictures are something else. Their abuse in the general sense of the thing (by the civilians ripping them off) doesn't matter quite as much as they are not lost sales that were ever going to exist anyway; where it does matter is when companies rip off because those are, indeed, lost sales.

Rob C

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mmurph
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2010, 10:58:30 AM »
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You may want to look at the infringement of copyright lawsuit against Google and the proposed settlement. Basically Googles business model says "we will take everything in existence and make it available online. Please send us a form and opt out if that isn't OK with you!"

It includes a book registery, and an "orphan works" provision. Sound familiar?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10262203-93.html

"its Google Book Search project is certainly among the company's top projects when it comes to chutzpah.... The settlement, if approved, could neatly cut a Gordian knot of copyright entanglements though setting Google back $125 million. That's because it would enable Google not only to display books that are out of copyright and those that are in print by cooperating publishers, as it does today, but also those from the vast collection of in-copyright brooks that are out of print--even when those holding rights to those books didn't specifically agree to Google's plan.

It took months to hammer out the proposed settlement, which runs to 320 pages including 15 appendices. Among its key features is the establishment of a Book Rights Registry, run by authors and publishers to keep track of who owns rights to which books and to collect money from Google's online sale of those books, either through individual use or through institutional subscriptions. For orphaned works, the registry would keep money from online sales for later distribution to rightsholders that turn up later.

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard estimates this latter category accounts for 70 percent of Google Book Search books, and it's a key factor for so-called orphan works--books or other materials whose authors can't be located. The settlement would grant Google rights to use those works, but competitors--Microsoft, Amazon, or the Internet Archive are all real possibilities--without their own handy class-action settlement would be have to try to seek such permission in advance"

Google, seeing lemons in the form of the Authors Guild's a class-action lawsuit, ended up with lemonade in the settlement. Class-action settlements apply to a class of potential plaintiffs, and in the case of Google Book Search, those with rights to books must opt out of the settlement if they don't want to be a party to it. That means essentially that Google would be permitted to show content from in-copyright, out-of-print books and sell online copies of those books even without an explicit agreement with the books' rightsholders."


Objections?

""Under the actual law, it is Google's burden and not yours to ask you for permission and then fairly negotiate terms of contract acceptable to you personally, not jam some monstrosity down your throat," said Lynn Chu, a literary agent with Writers' Reps who also called the proposed settlement a "ripoff for authors" in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
"The settlement creates a fundamental change in the digital world by consolidating power in the hands of one company," Harvard professor and author Robert Darnton concluded in a New York Review of Books opinion.


The original lasuit was recently joined by some photographers organizations.

The newest dispute in the Author’s Guild Google Book Settlement suit (previous post from 3/12/2010) arrived on April 7 when a coalition of photographers and illustrators led by the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Graphic Artists Guild, the North American Nature Photography Association, the Professional Photographers of America, and represented by Mishcon de Reya New York LLP filed suit against Google, Inc., in the Southern District of NY, claiming that visual artists suffer distinct and separate infringements of their copyrights in their visual works (defined as “original visual works such as photographs, illustrations, graphic art, and other visual art”) embedded in books subject to Google’s Book Search by (1) scanning and creation of a digital copy (2) storing, and (3) distributing and publicly displaying the visual works.

http://www.ipadrblog.com/2010/04/articles/...visual-artists/
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 11:08:35 AM by mmurph » Logged
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