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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 24 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 15:47
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joedlh
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Post edited 3 months ago by joedlh.
     
Jan 24, 2018 15:47 |  #1

I couldn't find this in a search of the forum. So here goes.

There was an article on DP review extolling the great benefits of Unsplash. In short, it's a web site where you can upload your high resolution photos for anyone to take and use free of charge, including for commercial purchases, with no attribution required. According to the author it's wildly popular. All these years I've been advising neophyte photographers who are afraid of having their work stolen never to put up high resolution files. Now we have a web site that institutionalizes the zero value of intellectual property.

https://www.dpreview.c​om …e-on-unsplash-for-4-years (external link)

I think I recall seeing a note the other day where Canon was rebuked for grabbing an image off of Unsplash and using it in marketing materials. The image was a composite (at least one part of which came from a Fuji camera). The image itself appeared to be posted by somebody who did not in fact own it.

What's the world coming to?


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Bassat
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Post edited 3 months ago by Bassat.
     
Jan 24, 2018 16:18 |  #2

This stuff matters more to some than to others. I don't want someone using my photos in a for-profit manner without at least a nod, but I'd be happy as pig in a pile of poop to see one of my shots in National Geographic, or the Bourbon News Mirror.

A few years back, one of my cat photos was used in a calendar. I got a free copy of the calandar! I also posted my July 4th fireworks photos to a local news channel's web-site. They appeared on the local news and got posted on the local newspaper's web-site. All I got was my name in the credits. Works for me.

Of course, if someone wants to give me a GaJillion dollars for one of my photos, I'd be fine with that, too.


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joedlh
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Jan 25, 2018 08:01 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #3

Most of my photography is pro bono too. I draw the line, however, if someone wants to use one of my photos for a profit-making venture. I want a piece of the pie in that case.


Joe
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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Jan 25, 2018 08:13 |  #4

That's the whole problem with sites like Unsplash (never heard of it) and Pixabay among others. There is no review of uploads. You can download and use something you thought was free but in fact has a registered copyright and was uploaded by somebody other than the owner.

Without a review and confirmation process, all "free use" sites are inherently flawed. They all depend upon an honor system which does not exist today.


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saea501
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Jan 25, 2018 08:51 |  #5

So this is kind of like Napster was years ago.

Except in this case nobody cares if the material is copyrighted.

Take whatever you want, use it however you like, screw whoever owns the rights.

How lovely


Remember what the DorMouse said.....feed your head.
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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Jan 25, 2018 09:37 |  #6

saea501 wrote in post #18548547 (external link)
So this is kind of like Napster was years ago.

Except in this case nobody cares if the material is copyrighted.

Take whatever you want, use it however you like, screw whoever owns the rights.

How lovely

Well, not really. Not 100% of the time. Sometimes the legal copyright holder will catch up.

In other forums, I periodically see art posted that somebody says was downloaded from Pixabay and modified. A few days later, the posted art is gone along with an explanation from the poster that the real owner of the piece warned them off and the image should never have been on Pixabay in the first place. I assume most stuff illegally posted skates by, but every once in a while a legal owner will discover it.

I'm not an attorney, so don't know the legal ramifications. I guess in a civil (copyright) suit blatantly ripping off somebody and using it would be different than a download (in good faith) from a so-called "free" download site would be.

Nonetheless, it's a problem that will never be solved. If the free sites were forced to review legal ownership of each upload, that would cost money which would mean the site could no longer operate for free.

Bottom line? Know that if you download and use images that are "free for use" that they indeed may not be and that you may get kicked in the shins for doing so. I guess Canon proved that one for us.


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AZGeorge
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Jan 25, 2018 10:09 |  #7

From my perspective, the real risk of these "free" photo services lies with those who download and use them, especially for commercial purposes. All sites make it clear they do no ownership or other legal research on uploaded images. It is strictly user beware.

(I'm not a copyright attorney but spent enough interesting hours in meetings with them to appreciate complexity and risk. All the good faith in the world is no protection from expensive trouble.)


George
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Jan 26, 2018 01:10 |  #8

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #18548569 (external link)
I'm not an attorney, so don't know the legal ramifications. I guess in a civil (copyright) suit blatantly ripping off somebody and using it would be different than a download (in good faith) from a so-called "free" download site would be.

Only marginally. While there are good faith and wilful infringements they are both infringements and you get penalised in either case.


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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Jan 26, 2018 06:29 |  #9

Thank you, Dan. Appreciate it.

So the bottom line is this: if you download from a site that advertises free-to-use files, you're taking your (financial) life into your hands.

At minimum, you might get a nice person who issues a take-down notice and leaves it alone upon compliance. But theoretically, you could get dragged into court and disregarding the outcome, it will still cost you money because you'll need to hire an attorney to defend yourself.

I guess I'm not understanding how these websites get around the responsibility. By issuing a simple disclaimer? If it's as simple as that, why would a disclaimer upon usage also not indemnify the usee?


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AZGeorge
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Jan 26, 2018 11:52 |  #10

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #18549224 (external link)
I guess I'm not understanding how these websites get around the responsibility. By issuing a simple disclaimer? If it's as simple as that, why would a disclaimer upon usage also not indemnify the usee?

If websites were held responsible for all content most would shut down. How can POTN, for example, know the files we upload belong to us? Since this is an impossible requirement, sites are treated more like communications devices than publishers.

Disclaimers only show that users have been made aware of the situation. They only follow existing law, creating nothing new.

Your final question assumes that sites have power they neither have nor want to ever ever touch with a ten footer.

George


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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Jan 26, 2018 12:46 |  #11

AZGeorge wrote in post #18549454 (external link)
Your final question assumes that sites have power they neither have nor want to ever ever touch with a ten footer.

George

No, it doesn't. You misinterpreted it. My question was not about websites, but rather individuals and usage. Namely - if a disclaimer indemnifies a website, why can't a disclaimer indemnify an individual?

I.e. "The image used here was downloaded from blahblah.com which presented the image for open use with CCO Creative Commons licensing. If blahblah.com was in error, the image will be immediately removed from use upon proper notification.""

The goal here is not to prevent image takedown. That will happen. The goal here is to prevent civil action.


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AZGeorge
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Jan 26, 2018 14:39 |  #12

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #18549512 (external link)
No, it doesn't. You misinterpreted it. My question was not about websites, but rather individuals and usage. Namely - if a disclaimer indemnifies a website, why can't a disclaimer indemnify an individual?

I.e. "The image used here was downloaded from blahblah.com which presented the image for open use with CCO Creative Commons licensing. If blahblah.com was in error, the image will be immediately removed from use upon proper notification.""

The goal here is not to prevent image takedown. That will happen. The goal here is to prevent civil action.

No disclaimer with whatever language indemnifies a website. Settled law holding the site as an information conveyance for users provides the protection.

If you were to use a statement like the one you provide in using an image for commercial use your level of protection would be between very small and nihl. If your use were non-commercial the take down invitation might help but the rights owner could still sue for damage supposedly done prior to takedown.

This stuff can get expensive. Here's a scenario taken from life:

  • Major structure goes up in flames shortly before deadline.
  • Citizen gets pictures and immediately sends them to newspaper.
  • Paper runs a picture with attribution and pays citizen high end of going freelance rate.
  • Citizen, who had no freelance contacts, wants a big beautiful high pile of dollars
  • Paper declines to pay.
  • Citizen photographer sues.
  • Media counsel goes into action, not working for free. Local counsel helps with logistics.
  • Newspaper eventually wins at trial because citizen had cashed freelance check.

Media counsel made it crystal clear that the paper had failed in using the picture without a signed agreement or contract. Deadline pressure was acknowledged but not found important. The fact that the citizen sent the shots with a "Hope you can use these" was immaterial since permission was not also conveyed. Other factors had no relevance. Only the cashed check helped.

George
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Jan 27, 2018 09:27 |  #13

Picture North Carolina wrote in post #18549512 (external link)
My question was not about websites, but rather individuals and usage. Namely - if a disclaimer indemnifies a website, why can't a disclaimer indemnify an individual?

I.e. "The image used here was downloaded from blahblah.com which presented the image for open use with CCO Creative Commons licensing. If blahblah.com was in error, the image will be immediately removed from use upon proper notification.""

1. Companies/websites get specific legal protection against the actions of users (uploading infringing material) but only if they act promptly to remove it. The individual who commits the infringement by uploading the material gets no such protection.

2. Individuals or companies uploading to their own website are deemed to be responsible for their own actions and therefore don't get protection.

3. There are two levels of infringement. Wilful infringement and innocent infringement. Your web designer tells you an image is public domain or you download it from a site that states it is available for commercial use without charge - innocent infringement but still an infringement. The penalty would be lower but there would still be one.


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BigAl007
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Jan 29, 2018 19:30 |  #14

The copyright issue is not one that just applies to free sites, it can also apply to sites that are selling images too. There is nothing stopping anyone uploading images to a stock site where the end user is paying for images, even if they don't own the copyright. One would hope that the stock agency did some sort of due diligence in the acceptance process for an image, but I would suspect that it may be minimal. The end result is still an unlicensed use of copyrighted material by the end user, and most likely in a commercial, or close to commercial use situation too.

Consider that Getty have trawled many hundreds, or maybe even thousands of Public Domain images, and now issue C&D letters and threats against those using those images, even to the point of sending them to a very famous original photographer. Wouldn't it be funny if Getty scraped one of these free sites, and got caught selling the images, and issuing takedown notices, for an image that had been fraudulently uploaded.

Alan


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Jan 30, 2018 14:44 |  #15

joedlh wrote in post #18548230 (external link)
In short, it's a web site where you can upload your high resolution photos for anyone to take and use free of charge, including for commercial purchases, with no attribution required. According to the author it's wildly popular.
. . . Now we have a web site that institutionalizes the zero value of intellectual property.
What's the world coming to?

It's crap like this that makes it ridiculously difficult for someone like myself to earn enough to live on from photo licensing.

Some of us don't have the focus or discipline needed to hold down a "real job", and stock photo sales were a perfect fit for us. . Now this way of making a living just doesn't pay like it used to because of all the hobby people wanting to give their stuff away and the end users being happy with "good enough" imagery.

As a result, I have to do some things that I don't really enjoy every week so that I can earn money to fill in the gaps left by the changes in the stock photo market. . Which kinda sucks because I'd much rather be road-tripping around the country all the time, looking for wildlife to photograph. . But instead of that I have to stay in my town most of the year and work odd jobs through the year just to make ends meet. . Sheesh!


.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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