General Interest

Copyrights and You

I recently heard through the grapevine that legislation is pending whereby ANY PHOTOGRAPH OR PUBLISHED WORD CAN BE TAKEN AND USED BY ANYONE WITHOUT PERMISSION..

The ONLY way you can protect your work is to register it for an inflated fee. The "assumed copyright" will no longer be valid. Just because you have "Copyright Mr. Joe Smith" written on the shot will mean absolutely nothing!

This new law is in the works, not yet passed ….......... but it’s coming! It means I could steal any photo of yours and use it for any purpose I see fit. I could steal from your book previews, your website or anywhere else.

 This is scary news! Do a Google search on it.

Dave.

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Posted by
cp990
May 7, 2008 5:17am PDT
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cp990
 

Comment from a UK Forum….

 Anyway, bye bye copyright. I’d heard about this but hadn’t really realised just what a nasty piece of legislation this is. For anybody who doesn’t have the time to read 2 pages of reasoned comment here’s the biased view….

1. Pretty soon any publisher in the US will be able to use any "work" (e.g. photo) without paying royalty UNLESS it’s registered on a new private database
2. If the copyright holder objects then the user has to pay whatever they consider a fair price
3. If the copyright holder doesn’t agree with the price then they have to start a law suit in the US to try to claim damages. Experts say this will be difficult, eye wateringly expensive and actually impossible if you’re not a US citizen.

Go on – have a read of the article and explain how I’ve misunderstood – cos it looks like the US is just about to remove copyright for the entire world. And no, it won’t just be US photographers affected – because at least they will have the chance to register their work. "Foreign" photographers are likely to be worst hit by this.

Article

   
Posted by
tfrankland
May 7, 2008 5:41am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Hi Guys;

I suspect that the potential for "scare-mongering" here will have a FAR greater impact than the reality of this legislation…

The VAST majority of images online are almost worthless in terms of practical day-to-day use for a rogue publisher… they’re just far too small on the resolution front to produce a decent printed image…

Any decent "valuable" images will almost certainly have a "copyright" watermark right across them anyway, which can’t be undone (well, not easily anyway) in any PP software…

Attempting to scan images from a printed matter would almost invariably be way too difficult to re-produce a meaningful working image…

Just my two cents worth…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
May 7, 2008 5:59am PDT
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lkb-28
 

I personally know of 2 instances where copyright infringment has already been discovered.

1. A railroad company in the USA trolled a railroad photo database and pulled 12 shots from varios photographers and made a calendar from them. They went to the extreme of "painting" the locomotives into the latest paint scheme in all 12 shots.

2. A railroad company stole a shot from a forum and put it on the front cover of a trade manual.

Both companies were caught.

Posted by
cp990
May 7, 2008 6:10am PDT
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cp990
 

Hi Dave;

My comments weren’t intended to indicate that image theft won’t happen – your examples clearly show that it does, and NOTHING anybody does will stop it if people are sufficiently unscrupulous to go down that route… and I can see that the legislation won’t help in the provision of protection against determined thieves!

But the VAST majority of us are honest citizens; you can never legislate to provide 100% protection against ALL things ALL of the time…

Incidentally, I’m very happy that the perpetrators in your examples were caught. I sincerely hope that they suffered an adequate fine!

"Protecting" valuable images online is easy. If any user / owner is worried about image theft, just add a copyright watermark to any image you upload.

I still say though that the VAST majority of images online aren’t worth the effort of "stealing" if you’re after a decent sized print… most images are c. 800 – 1000 pixels wide or tall (whichever is the greater…) That provides for great full-screen display, but is useless for a print of anything greater than 4"...

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
May 7, 2008 8:14am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Does anyone have a reliable link to anything about this? To my eye it seems to have all the hallmarks of an urban myth passed on by email without any basis in truth. I am very sceptical indeed, and have found nothing on any news sites to suggest that it is true.

Posted by
robkingston
May 8, 2008 5:23am PDT
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robkingston
 

Hi Rob;

The debate is about a piece of (proposed) legislation that’s just entered the Senate… Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 [Click on the link for an overview of the status…

The main push seems to have come from a PRWeb press release which you can read here… 

Enjoy the read…

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
May 8, 2008 8:32am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Follow up…

If you Google "Orphan Works Act 2008" it produces a whole slew of stuff…

Cheers;

Lee

 

Posted by
lkb-28
May 8, 2008 8:39am PDT
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lkb-28
 

As I suspected, it seems to be a lot of fuss about very little. As I understand it, this legislation would merely make it easier for "abandoned" works (such as out of print books, etc) to be reused. It is not intended to create the copyright free-for-all that the scraemongers are suggesting.

Posted by
robkingston
May 10, 2008 10:03am PDT
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robkingston