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Daily Mail Used My Photos Without Permission and Without Payment (gakuranman.com)
81 points by ColinWright on Apr 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

Oddly enough I'm one of the photographers listed in one of BJP articles (Kate Middleton related). My experience of the situation was that they were willing to negotiate but admitted no blame, I priced high and negotiated down to a reasonable settlement.

The interesting thing is I'm in favour of copyright review, I believe the current system as it stands is inherently flawed, for the single reason that it favours the biggest boy in the gang rather than the creator, so whilst the law is technically on your side it can be tricky to navigate.

That's pretty much what happened to me as well. At first they wanted their standard fees per photo of £40 for the first, £20 for the second and £10 for any after that. Those fees were terrible, and I was successful in getting a lot better rate. I ended up waiving my unauthorised usage fee and setting for a a reasonable amount that I would have been happy with if they had contacted me in the first place. Still, several people are saying that I should have stuck to my guns and demanded my original invoice and that I was too lenient. Perhaps a learning experience for me...

I was also successful in getting a better rate, but I invoiced very high (£1k) and negotiated down to a reasonable rate for both parties, but I was told afterwards I could probably have pushed my luck.

It is strange that he is counting on the support of HackerNews which usually isn't a strong supporter of copyright. Maybe things are different because the victim is a small independent artist and the offender is big company, and a tabloid on top of that?

Maybe the underlying pattern simply is supporting David against Goliath?

Edit: For those who downvote me, please take the time to write a reply.

I see many people in this community objecting to copyright

* extending beyond the life of the creator

* extending beyond the original 14 years or wherever it began

* held by non-human legal entities

* not requiring donation to Library of Congress

* not requiring some sort of property tax

* retroactively extended

and a few other issues with copyright. I've seen no more than a tiny minority objecting to copyright completely. I've observed this community supporting copyright in some form quite a bit. The GPL and other Free licenses are based in copyright, for example.

Respectfully, the red-herring of who is David and who is Goliath implies you don't understand the issues. I didn't downvote you, but I can understand why someone would. If I have a principled stand on an important issue and someone implies I blindly support the little guy -- I can see someone feeling that's what downvoting is for.

I'm pretty sure the underlying pattern is that of supporting personal use with attribution, and not supporting for-profit use without attribution.

In other words, you pirate work X, clearly labeled as X and being from its original creator, and give it away for free, and the HN community doesn't really seem to care.

Sell work X, relabeled as Y and claimed as your own, and the HN community dislikes this strongly. I personally find this to be a pretty reasonable approach.

I wouldn't say HN is anti-copyright but rather anti-copyright-troll (certainly there are anti-copyright people on HN but I believe that are the minority).

This is a perfect example of why copyright exists in the first place - the original creator wishes to be compensated for the use of work that he created recently.

The problem is when copyright is owned by someone other than the creator, owned indefinitely, used to stifle innovation, etc.

Copyright is an important tool, ensuring creators a living from their creations, hence - supporting innovation. But there's a fine balance here: the market has to remain open, allowing borrowings, quotations and influences to thrive, otherwise copyright brings the opposite of what it was meant to achieve. It's the dynamic, dialectical, process (copyright versus common property, each pulling in the opposite direction) that is productive - being opposed to either side is somewhat naive.

The copyright owner in this case specifically asks for money

> Below is my invoice for the use of 11 images to which I own the copyright. [...] Total: £3,400

I never said he wasn't asking for money, just that he wasn't trolling. He is well within his rights to ask for money and I personally don't think it's unethical for him to either. The Daily Mail is profiting from his work.

I appreciate the discussion and the submission. I believe my case to sincere. This is the first time a major publication has used my work without even contacting me, let alone paying me. On my website I clearly state that I am happy for the work to be used under a Creative Commons licence in non-commercial contexts on the internet. This is intended to target mostly bloggers and other people whose intentions are merely to share and like things.

However, the Daily Mail is a major tabloid serving advertisements next to my article, including Google Adsense, to which I have filed a DMCA complaint, and thus profiting from my work. Not only that, but they edited most of my images, removing the watermark and cropping the bottom off, as well as enlarging many images such that the quality becomes poor. As an aspiring photographer, that really hurts.

As far as I see it, you're 100% right.

Or do we want a to live in a society where everyone works for free whilst only large organisations can profit?

The sad part of this story is that the Mail are probably loving the free publicity. They'll earn way more in adsense through doing this than they'd have earned had they followed the rules (and not acted like jerks).

My opinion is that you shouldn't have to settle for the fee. You should get your fee, or the revenue earned from the article. Whichever the lower.

I don't believe HN is strongly anti-copyright. I think you conflate anti-copyright with anti-DRM and other related issues. You can be against draconian methods of enforcing copyrights and current copyright laws while still being pro copyright and pro content creator rights.

In Paul Grahams essay "Defining Property" he argues that copyright is meaningless when it is impractical to defend - the HN community was pretty much in agreement.

http://paulgraham.com/property.html, discussion http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3694672

1) As nknight already said, the essay says more than your summary.

2) Do you disagree with your own summary? If it costs you more enforcing your copyright than you make off of the benefits of its enforcement, do you not think you should rethink things?

The essay in question is infinitely more complex and nuanced than you seem to be giving it credit for, as are the myriad views of the HN community.

HN is filled with entrepreneurs who, in one way or another, almost always rely on copyright. Claiming some sort of blanket "anti-copyright" sentiment is both disingenuous and insulting.

Here's a relevant discussion in that thread on your second point: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3694800

All rights end up as meaningless when they are impractical to defend. Rights are ideas and do better in some environments than in others.

The good bits of copyright are about fairness and the idea that someone is entitled to a certain amount of respect of the intention they have in how what they have produced should be used.

This guy had put copyright watermarks on the images themselves. For profit groups in media should respect that, not out of niceness, but because that is the world they choose to inhabit and well informed photographers can make them look extremely bad and still get paid.

I think that most people see a pretty big difference between a large company infringing copyright for commercial purposes, and the average person infringing copyright for non-commercial reasons.

Aditionally there are matters of David vs Goliath and generall support for the underdog, and the fact that the editor of a major newspaper obviously knows better.

Finally it would be a mistake to think of Hacker News as a hive mind, people here have differing perspectives and opinions. Most large threads regarding consumer copyright infringement tend to have comments from both sides.

> Finally it would be a mistake to think of Hacker News as a hive mind, people here have differing perspectives and opinions. Most large threads regarding consumer copyright infringement tend to have comments from both sides.

You are right, I think my real question is: is there anyone who thinks that the photographer is wrong and the Daily Mail is right? It would seem like a logical application of the principle stated in PG's Defining Property.

If that's your real question, you stirred people up looking for a pretty lame and irrelevant piece of information.

It is hypocrisy.

We can safely assume a big fat newspaper wants there to be copyright laws. In which case they should obey those laws.

The universal application of a rule -- i.e. fairness -- is probably the single most important principle of morality. One would think most normative theories of ethics, across history and culture, are centered on some form of it.

> It is strange that he is counting on the support of HackerNews ...

I find it a continuing source of confusion that people can't distinguish between a person who submits an item, and the author of the item being submitted.

I submitted this item. I did not take the photos.

The person who took the photos did not submit this to HackerNews.

TBF to the GP, the author updated the post with the following:

> Please keep up the support by spreading the word, especially to large social media sites like HackerNews, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and any other media outlets.

Ah - noted. I've seen this confusion many, many times, and possibly jumped the gun in the case.

But the title of your submission retains the use of the word "my" which implies (no; states) ownership by the author of that title...

The title is copied from the article, which is the general principle, and happens automatically if you use the bookmarklet. The "My" indicates the author, not the submitter of a link to the article.

Links are like that. The person who has the link is not (necessarily) the person who wrote the article being pointed at.

I didn't downvote you, but here is my reply.

Cognitive dissonance to the max, caused mostly by pg's convoluted 'Kill Hollywood' and (paraphrasing) 'software piracy is like smelling someone cooking something'. No wonder people are confused.

I find it odd that the photographer started to complain when the article was apparently pulled. If I ran a publication and there was a copyright dispute relating to one of my author's articles, then I would pull it offline until the author could prove the content was licensed.

Where are you seeing this? From what I read in the blog entry, they pulled the article at least two hours after he published the original complaint.

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