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Photographers' anger at law change over 'orphan works' (bbc.co.uk)
27 points by hugoc 1730 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

So, yes, we've found a way to look at this law and find an issue that needs addressing - claiming these individual small works.

The aim of this though is to rescue all of the orphaned works that should be in the public domain but are wrapped up in all kinds of mess. If you are contactable as the owner of a work then your rights are not in question. But there are tons of orphaned works that are locked up because of the complexity of assigning copyright and identifying holders.

The real enemies of this bill are big media companies who recognize it as a first step at revitalizing the public domain after decades of encroachment by industry friendly bills. They'll couch the arguments like this when lobbying - it hurts the little guy - but they don't care about the little guy.

If your pictures are on your instagram account there's a simple way to contact you. You are clearly identifiable as the content rights owner.

The constantly increasing levels of copyright are a far bigger threat to our freedoms than figuring out how to meta-data tag instagrams to clearly identify the copyright owner to stop some mythical entity reproducing your picture of your cat farting.

Big companies are most definitely the enemies of this law. They are its most enthusiastic proponents. News Limited will ensure its photographs are kept from "orphan" status, but they will no longer find themselves getting in trouble for grabbing random work from the internet and using it to make money.

Your missing the point of this. It's supposed to protect large companies when they use a photograph withought permission. Because piracy is bad unless your newscorp ect.

Thank you for explaining what I'm missing from your point of view. However, I've been following this legalization since it was being discussed a long time ago and it's absolutely about returning works to the public domain. Sure there might be some areas to iron out but it was not conceived as a gift to big corps but as a way of slowly eroding their ability to use copyright to crush competition. Their ability to use the odd photo unpaid is a far smaller issue, it's just one they've discovered resonates so are pushing it as a phony grass roots issue which people are jumping on. This is how big corporations always attack restrictions.

The balance of benefits to society will outweigh the negatives if we can increase the ability to recla orphaned works for the public domain. People reacting against this miss the point that right now if they want to use your photo they will and you'll probably never even find out and have little recourse if you do.

This is a very dangerous law.

One will believe that now with digital cameras, everybody will took their own photos before taking someone's else. But not.

This is very serious, Big companies will use the web services in other countries like China or Russia to automatically remove copyright info from pictures or text and post them. Then you can just take those documents legally "as there is no copyright metadata" in the picture.

New legislation is making Big companies benefit and small ones to be crushed by them.

If you are from UK, it is time to do something.

Tineye is a simple prevention. If the photo is indexed online, the owner is findable.

Terrible law because it further tips the balance in favor of the big copyright owners.

How does this interact with existing international copyright law?

For instance, if a professional US photographer's work was infringed and a mere fraction of their going rate were held in escrow by the "independent body", would they get paid a pittance and told "tough luck"? Or could they pursue a more proper recompense?

How about a national db of photos that's free for artists to register low res works on. If someone wants to publish with media they don't have a license for you're required to do an image matching search. If you get a match you pay a buck for the contact info of the artist and have to get a license. If the artist finds you used it without paying them a licensing fee and it's registered you pay a fine based on what you made off the usage. So a newspaper maybe has to pay 10% of revenues for the day they ran the image on the front page. I honestly don't know what kind of penalty is appropriate here, but obviously it should be more than can be absorbed as the 'cost of business'.

My first thought as well, but what about photos that aren't in the database?

Either you consider those orphan works which would mean everybody has to submit every photo (or implicitly "license" them as orphaned).

Or you consider them non-orphaned and fall back to all rights reserved, which would make the database little more than a public version of a photo licensing catalogue, several of which already exist.

Yes, I think it becomes THE licensing site, at least in the UK. I guess in my mind it would leave less wiggle room for infringers. NOTE: not a copyright maximalist at all but I can imagine it sucks to finally get your one great shot out there and . . . no credit given. So yeah puts a burden on artists to register there works but if it's free to do so, seems like a reasonable way to protect your work.

Also you'd really have to register first then you could publish your own works to prevent others from snapping up orphaned works and trying to pass them off as their own by registering them. The whole thing is probably hugely impractical, but you'd really have to run estimates for coding, storage, admin etc. and since it would be a govt. project it would likely cost way more then it should ;).

Does that mean from now on, rather than "Copyright © 2013 Kailuo Wang", I have to say Copyright © 2013 my Email address ? Does it mean that if someone steal my photo without permission and removed copyright information, other people can just use download it from there and legally use it however they want because they cannot contact me?

> Does that mean from now on, rather than "Copyright © 2013 Kailuo Wang", I have to say Copyright © 2013 my Email address ?

No. You can put in whatever copyright information you wish as long as you are able to be contacted based on that information.

> Does it mean that if someone steal my photo without permission and removed copyright information, other people can just use download it from there and legally use it however they want because they cannot contact me?


1) no 2) people are doing this today so this hasn't changed

Note that this law was passed in the UK, but it might inspire politicians in the US to pass similar legislation.

I don't know why people are getting so upset about this.

Canada has had a very similar law for decades and it only really gets used when people want to legally duplicate architectural drawings and land surveys where the original person who drew it is out of business or dead.

I hardly see this as opening the flood gates to mass legal copying of photos from the Internet. People who are going to copy and repost photos without regard for copyright are already doing it today. This law won't change that, and I doubt they will go though the hassle of following these proposed rules.

I'm a non-professional photographer and a hacker. I've made a very small amount of money when people bought my photos ($4 I think :D).

This is an amazing law. Diligent search includes using Tiny Eye so there should be no concern about stealing others photos, putting them up on a Chinese site and then claiming not to be able to find them.

Also, if you ever want to get in touch with someone you can easily contact, say, 500px, flicker or Instagram to get someones contact info if you want to use the photo for commercial use.

Anyway, this is awesome.

So what's stopping someone from taking a picture of say a book, putting some instagram filters on it, and calling it a "photograph"? Is there anything in the law preventing such a slippery slope?

Pretty amazed that they would make it legal to steal... The law is too vague on how they would attempt to contact the owner and it does not state how much they have to pay to license it.

It's not stealing. It's copyright infringement. It's pretty important that we not let this distinction slip entirely from the public consciousness, because they're very different concepts.

It's stealing if you infringe my copyright. It's sharing if I infringe someone else's.

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