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Old 03-05-2007, 21:00   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

In the UK, the current Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright could have impact on Photographers.

The two I have read about are :-

1. It is proposed that single copies for the purpose of private format-shifting be permitted. This could mean that customers could print an electronic image to paper, without payment & all legal !! Imagine the impact on Wedding Photographers where reprints are a fiar chunk of their income

2. Orphan works (images whose creators details have been lost). The legislation could makes these works available for use freely !. But how much effort will publishers really have to do, to prove they took all steps necessary to identify the owner of a piece of work ?

What are others views & especially the Pro's who this could impact most ?
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Old 04-05-2007, 15:52   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

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1. It is proposed that single copies for the purpose of private format-shifting be permitted. This could mean that customers could print an electronic image to paper, without payment & all legal !! Imagine the impact on Wedding Photographers where reprints are a fiar chunk of their income
The business end of wedding photography is going to have to be overhauled; the advent of high quality home scanners and printers has already knackered re-print sales, and legislation such as this will mean that wedding photographers will have to be extra-careful with online proof galleries... big, visible watermarks are one solution.

IMO the product offerings have to shift to meet the demands of clients. So many people own dSLR and compact cameras and they are now fully aware of the real-world cost of things like prints that they believe the mark-ups made by wedding and social photographers aren't really justified.

I've managed to adapt and survive in this market - looks like all the photographers clinging to print and reprint sales in this sector are going to have to shift with the times.

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2. Orphan works (images whose creators details have been lost). The legislation could makes these works available for use freely !. But how much effort will publishers really have to do, to prove they took all steps necessary to identify the owner of a piece of work ?
Again, the real impact here will be in online proofing and web preview galleries; watermarking of images (both visible and digital) is going to be a necessity - either that or such galleries are locked down. Working photographers are going to have consistently ensure that contact information is included within all their images (metadata / IPTC information)

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What are others views & especially the Pro's who this could impact most ?
It's hard to say really - until the legislation enters final draft stages then it's going to be difficult to form an appropriate response. Certainly the aspect regarding "Orphan Works" is of great concern but, in reality, there will be practical and technical steps that a photographer can take to limit the likelihood of their works from ever becoming orphans.
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Old 04-05-2007, 16:43   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

As far as images in a digital format is concerned these should never become orphans if you put all your info in the meta data part of the image, and as for weddings... well I think that we are going to see a very sharp rise in the price of wedding photography for exactly this reason, at the moment I think that I am reasonable in that I charge what I charge for a print and if the customer has paid for at least one print then I will put it on a cd rom for them. I explain the reasons behind this and have had no complaints as yet. A lot of models ask for the images on a disk as well and I do the same for them.
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Old 04-05-2007, 17:40   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

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As far as images in a digital format is concerned these should never become orphans if you put all your info in the meta data part of the image,
There are ways to strip the metadata from an image, not to mention ways of grabbing any image that's on the web and copying it in such a manner that the metadata doesn't get copied with it.

Part of what is needed as a response here is a lock and key type mechanism within photo editing applications - something that will allow users with the appropriate permissions to add or alter metadata once it is embedded, but that no-one else can tamper with.

Perhaps a new image format is needed... call it Secure JPG if you like (*.jps exention) - and it should be supported by all the major editing applications and camera manufacturers. Photographers could apply to governing bodies for ID tags that would be embedded into every photograph they save in .jps format, forever identifying themselves as the author.

Hand in hand with this would be enhanced internet browser level security that would prevent the copying or downloading of *.jps images - even going so far as to disable the function of the old "Print Screen" method of ripping off images.

The only solution that comes close to this is offered by DigiMarc via their MyPictureMarc service... maybe we'll see DigiMarc getting increased levels of subscriptions if/when the recommendations of the report come into effect.
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Old 04-05-2007, 18:11   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

Yes but the initial term was "orphaned images" which I assume to mean images that nobody knows who owns copyright.
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Old 04-05-2007, 19:41   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

Even known works with copyright intact can become orphan images quite easily... let's go through a scenario.

MSN - Music

A shot of mine showing James Brown performing live in Glasgow - the photo credit appears as text on the page (to the right)

I right click on the photo, select "copy", start up Photoshop then paste the image into PS (file > new [automatically correct size from clipboard] > image > paste) then suddenly the photo has no metadata at all.

Bounce this shot around the world vie email a few times and who knows where it will end up. A bit of re-sizing in Photoshop would make this shot suitable for printing at around 3 inches square or so... large enough for print in any newspaper, magazine, book etc. at a reasonable quality level.

Is there any way of me tracking such unauthorised use? Not bloody likely and, thanks to the orphan works proposal, even if I did find out about an unpaid use, I could only be compensated to what would be deemed a fair amount - which might not necessarily reflect the fee that would have been charged for image licensing.

All that the end user would have to claim is that they couldn't find out whom the copyright of this shot belonged to. Given the thousands (if not millions) of photographs of James Brown in circulation, they could state that it was a near impossilbe task etc.

So - something has to be done from a technological standpoint to help prevent this sort of thing happening.
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Old 18-04-2008, 19:43   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

For an update on the status State's side, see:
ASMP
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Old 18-04-2008, 20:14   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

If we're not careful we'll get into the same DRM morass as with music. Whatever we do, we will never stop people copying photos. We can make it more difficult but not eliminate it, and by introducing new technology to protect copyright (Sony, Vista, etc) we risk branding everyone as a copyright thief.

As long as I am paid a decent amount for my time in producing something - be it a photo or a press article - I don't worry about what happens to it after the client takes delivery. I don't do weddings, but if I did I would charge for a complete package including a CD of photos which the client could use and reprint as they wished. Sorry, but photographers who try to charge megabucks for reprints are living in the past.
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Old 19-04-2008, 11:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

I have to agreee with you ST on some aspects, once the image has gone I don't worry about it , I dont want the stress.

I've noticed with weddings people are still wanting albums but digital albums however an increasing majority want his res images, and the first question is always 'can I put these on facebook' the implications with images going on there are huge but then what do you do. Say 'no sorry' and loose the wedding

There is going to be some sort of change I suspect, whether we can Weather it is another matter.

Last edited by Summerleft; 19-04-2008 at 11:21. Reason: 1/2 alseep
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Old 23-04-2008, 16:57   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Gowers Review of Intellectual Copyright - Impact on Photography

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As long as I am paid a decent amount for my time in producing something - be it a photo or a press article - I don't worry about what happens to it after the client takes delivery.
You should worry about such things, or at least plan for them. Your photographs are your pension and you don't want someone profiting from secondary uses of your work without getting appropriate compensation.

Here's my view. I don't make a lot of money on a per image licensed basis, but I do earn a fair bit from the fact that the same image might be licensed several times over to different outlets... sometimes from photos that have been sat dormant on file for many months.

This is the key reason why so many rights grabbing contracts exist these days; picture buyers know that your work has inherent value, so they'd rather pay a moderate-to-decent fee once than a multiple of average fees each time they need to use the image.

I'll give you an example: I was recently asked by a young concert photographer what he should charge a band for the use of a shot they wanted to put on their album cover; it was a start-up band new to the scene and he'd never done this before.

Here's a section of my advice to him

"You'll need to know how many copies of the CD they intend to run off, how they plan to sell them and what they'll charge for them. Your license fee will cover the supplied details only. Why? Well let's take a look.

Imagine that the band is only running 1000 CD's and will be selling them at gigs for about $5 a pop. The band will have gross revenues totalling $5000, less associated costs. Based on this, you agree a license fee of $250 for your shot and stipulate that this is per 1000 CD's sold at $5.

Now lets imagine that you just licensed the image for a flat fee of $250 without specifying terms... then the band gets signed by a major label who puts out hundreds of thousands of CD's at $15 a time worldwide. Are you still happy with your $250??

I didn't think so
"

It all goes hand in hand with this video; just substitute "photographer" every time he says "writer" (warning: some strong language in this video clip)

YouTube - Harlan Ellison -- Pay the Writer
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