Category Archives: Copyright

PicRights Extends Global Copyright Enforcement Network To Brazil

New partner in Brazil to monetize infringements for global customers

PicRights Europe GmbH, a global leader in copyright compliance, has added a new enforcement partner in Brazil to monetize copyright infringements for the world’s leading news agencies, stock image agencies and independent photographers. PicRights Brazil will augment PicRights’ long established network in major markets in Europe, North America and the Middle East. No other copyright compliance service offers its clients as much geographical coverage of key markets around the world.

“With the established expertise of Luis Franca and his team, we’re hitting the ground running in Sao Paulo. We’ve already got a significant number of cases ready for enforcement in Brazil in the system,” says Alfred Hoefinger, CEO of PicRights Europe.

Geoff Cannon, VP Sales of PicRights Europe, adds “We’re well aware that copyright infringement is rife in some countries beyond our current scope and we’re working toward solutions that will extend our reach to every part of the world. Our new partnership in Brazil is another big step.”

PicRights’ end-to-end service allows copyright owners to concentrate on their core business while PicRights handles the difficult business of monetizing copyright infringements.

PicRights uses state-of-the-art technology to identify infringements, a team of experienced QC staff to qualify them as enforceable, then distributes the actionable cases to the appropriate enforcement unit for settlement and collection of licensing fees. If PicRights’ enforcement staff is unable to settle a case, it is escalated to a law firm specializing in intellectual property within the relevant jurisdiction to pursue a settlement and if necessary, litigate.

A highly efficient workflow system allows PicRights enforcement teams, legal counsel and clients to collaborate and exchange information quickly, regardless of location. The proprietary payment portal collects all funds and transparently distributes proceeds between copyright owners and service partners.

About PicRights:

PicRights Europe GmbH is headquartered in Switzerland with enforcement operations and professional compliance officers in central and northern Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Benelux and Scandinavia), London (for UK and Ireland), the Middle East (Emirates and Saudi Arabia), Toronto (for USA and Canada) and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

** PicRights is a new Member of DMLA!

IMAGERIGHTS BOOSTS OPERATIONS TO TACKLE COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN GERMANY

 

ImageRights International Inc., the world’s leading copyright enforcement service, intensified its image search and copyright enforcement operations in Germany to drive value for its global photographer and photo agency client base.  ImageRights-developed artificial intelligence (AI), combined with its proprietary web search and image analysis algorithms, has enabled the company to analyze millions of German web domains to determine if an image use could be pursued for copyright enforcement purposes.

“Our clients have been asking us to strengthen our coverage in Germany due to the inability of existing technologies to locate the many unauthorized uses of their content that they see happening.  In response, we made the major investment necessary to ramp up our German operations in terms of both image search infrastructure and copyright enforcement capabilities,” explained Joe Naylor, President and CEO of ImageRights.

ImageRights’ most recent pool of web search servers was deployed in a biometrically secured German data center with redundant 10 Gbit/s fiber connections. As a result of the latest improvements, ImageRights is now finding and analyzing on average more than 77,000 new German sightings every day.  When clients access their ImageRights dashboard, they will see that the ImageRights AI has already filtered, sorted and ranked the sightings in terms of potential claim value, generating massive time savings for them.

“ImageRights is a reputable company that is known for a high level of integrity” said Marc Hügel, Partner at Munich-based law firm Waldorf Frommer Rechtsanwälte GbR. “As our firm is highly specialized in enforcing copyright claims for clients from all creative industries, we are looking forward to representing ImageRights and its clients and are ready to tackle the surge in copyright infringement claims.”

 

Copyright Office Fee Increase Survey

Dear DMLA Members and Friends of DMLA:

The U.S. Copyright Office has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announcing fee increases for copyright registration and other services. The proposed fee increases are based on a Study Report released by the U.S. Copyright office. Fee increases for services will be implemented as the U.S. Copyright Office moves forward with their plans for IT modernization.

Visual creators’ professional organizations and advocates are concerned about how these fee increases will affect visual creators, licensing agents, and related professionals. We will be submitting a Comment Letter to the U.S. Copyright Office about the proposed fee increases. We have created a survey to gather information and feedback from creators who will be impacted by registration fee increases. We will be submitting the survey results to the Copyright Office. The survey is completely anonymous.

We need your help by taking 15 minutes for a short survey. The survey is anonymous and all responses are confidential. We will use this data to support our response to proposed changes in U.S. copyright registration.

The survey will close at midnight on September 7, 2018.

 2018 Copyright Office Proposed Registration Fee Increase survey LINK https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GGV59XY

Survey link for social media https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WY67XHK

Please pass this along to other artists, photographers, and related professionals you know and urge them to take the survey, too!

Sincerely,

The Coalition of Visual Artists:

American Photographic Artists

American Society of Media Photographers

Digital Media Licensing Association

Graphic Artists Guild

National Press Photographers Association

North American Nature Photography Association

Professional Photographers of America

PLUS Coalition

American Society for Collective Rights Licensing

Eugene Mopsik

Shaftel & Schmelzer

FAIR USE OR INFRINGEMENT?

Industry experts have been scratching their heads after a U.S. judge ruled an image, taken from the website of a professional photographer and used by a film festival online, was fair use. The case, is Brammer v. Violent Hues Productions LLC, and it began when Russell Brammer found one of his pictures, a long exposure shot of Adams Morgan, Washington D.C., had been used on a website promoting the Northern Virginia Film Festival.

Read a complete analysis of the case here

Fair Use or Infringement?-Court finds use of image to illustrate a geographic area on website fair use.

by Nancy Wolff, DMLA Counsel

Fair use is often described as one of the most difficult to understand doctrines of copyright law by the courts. This could not be more obvious than in a recent Northern District of Virginia decision, which found in favor of fair use where an image was used to illustrate a website. Many in the industry thought the use at issue in the case was an obvious infringement as it was one that is typically licensed. In Brammer v. Violent Hues Productions, LLC, the photographer Russell Brammer sued Violent Hues for infringing his copyright of a time-lapse depiction of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., at night. Violent Hues used a cropped version of Brammer’s photograph on its website, which was intended to be used as a reference guide providing about an annual film festival in Northern Virginia. The court granted Violent Hues’ motion for summary judgment on its defense of fair use, finding all four of the statutory factors favored a finding of fair use.

As to the first factor – the purpose and character of the use – the court looked to “whether the new work is transformative” and “the extent to which the use serves a commercial purpose.” The court found that Violent Hues’ use of the photograph was transformative in function and purpose. While Brammer’s purpose in capturing and publishing the photograph was promotional and expressive, the court noted that Violent Hues’ purpose in using it was informational because it used the photograph to provide information regarding the local area. Its use was also found to be non-commercial as the photo was not used to advertise a product or to generate revenue. Additionally, the court found that Violent Hues’ use was in good faith because Violent Hues’ owner attested that he believed the photo was publicly available because he found the photo online and saw no indication that it was copyrighted. In further support of good faith was the fact that Violent Hues removed the photo as soon as it learned the photo might be copyrighted.

The second factor – the nature of the copyrighted work – was also held to favor fair use. While the court noted that the photograph contained creative elements, it was a factual depiction of a real-world location and Violent Hues used the photograph purely for its factual content: to depict the neighborhood. The photograph had also previously been published on several websites and “at least one of these publications did not include any indication that it was copyrighted.”

On the third factor – the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted whole – the court noted that Violent Hues cropped half of the original photo. The court found this to be no more than necessary to convey the photo’s factual content. Thus, the third factor weighed in favor of fair use as well.

Finally, regarding the fourth factor – the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work – the court found no evidence that Violent Hues’ use had any effect on the potential market for Brammer’s photo. The court noted that Brammer still made sales of the photograph (at least two) after Violent Hues’ alleged infringement began, and Brammer testified that he made no effort to market the photo. Additionally, the court found the cropping of the photo and its non-commercial use to undercut a finding of adverse effect on the photo’s market.

In all, the court found that each of the four factors favored Violent Hues and thus held that Violent Hues’ use was a fair use and that there was no copyright infringement.

This decision has been roundly criticized by the industry and it has been noted that it is not often that a court gets every fair use factor wrong. The plaintiff is appealing the decision and many associations in the visual arts industry, including DMLA, are planning to file either separate or joint amicus briefs. Specifically of concern is the distinction between using an image for informational purpose and using and image for aesthetic purpose. By its nature, every image conveys some information, and to be successful, should be aesthetically appealing. Further, one of the touchstones of stock imagery licensing is that one image or clip can be reproduced for many different purposes. In addition, the fact that an image is displayed without a copyright notice should not mean that the work is free to use without consent, absent a legitimate exception, as copyright notice has not been a requirement under US copyright law since 1989. Lastly, when looking at harm to the market the court should look at the potential harm to the market if the type of unauthorized use is widespread. As the licensing of images to websites to enhance the look of the site or to provide visual information regarding a geographic area is common, widespread unauthorized use of this nature could have a significant impact on the licensing of visual content.

 

EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

Sylvie Fodor, CEPIC Executive Director, shares their views on the Copyright DSM Directive and the European Parliament’s vote against it.

CEPIC has been working for years with other European institutions on this issue to help protect copyright against online piracy.  Copyright is an issue abroad as well as here in the United States and the works of photographers seems to fall through the gap.  Protecting the rights of creators is an ongoing problem that DMLA also continues to put incredible efforts towards to help find a solution.

You can read the entire article here.

 

CEPIC clarification on the Copyright DSM Directive

It is still time to reach a balanced solution for a fair value sharing in a digital environment

On O5 July 2018 the European Parliament voted against the negotiation proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee, adopted on 20 June 2018, for the EU Copyright Directive proposal.  CEPIC regrets this rejection following four years of tireless work with EU institutions but will continue to work towards a balanced solution for a fair online marketplace for the creative sector and against online piracy.

Giving a free pass to platforms to override copyright kills creativity. Copyright is not against freedom of expression and innovation but, to the contrary creativity is the best nexus of cultural diversity and freedom of expression.

Images online

CEPIC represents hundreds of picture agencies and hundreds of thousands of photographers. CEPIC’s members have been digitizing visual content from the advent of the Internet. They license the resulting digital asset for all kinds of commercial uses, to newspapers, magazines, advertising, broadcasters, off and on-line, etc.

Images are widely shared online via search engines, social media and other aggregators and have highly contributed to make the Internet the vibrant and engaging place we enjoy today.

However, we have seen, over the last decade how heavy weight social media platforms (online content sharing service providers), which have built their success upon the posting and sharing of unlicensed images hide behind safe harbour provisions to avoid fairly compensating rights holders  for the use of their content and shift the liability onto the individual user. These platforms have contributed to fuel the internet with unlicensed content and deprive copyright holders of a stream of revenue.

What is referred as the “value gap” for most copyright material such as music and videos is more accurately called a “value block” for images as there is currently no opportunity for image providers to participate in any type of revenue scheme online. The situation of image providers is exacerbated by the practice of intermediaries distributing user up-loaded content by facilitating “framing”, or embedding.

According to CEPIC members 85% of images shared online by visual search systems are unlawful copies. Once uploaded or framed legitimately on a website, an image will be shared thousands of times leading, according to CEPIC members, to an economic harm of a couple of thousands euros per image. This free “availability” of images has been one major factor leading to decreasing value of images and to the demise of an entire sector.

Copyright online

CEPIC therefore welcomed the provisions in the proposed Copyright Directive which promotes effective licensing agreements between platforms and right holders with the possible, but non-mandatory implementation of effective technologies. It should be stressed that the draft Directive has gone through a long-detailed review of two years and has led to a positive vote of the Legal Affairs Committee on 20 June 2018, taking into account the conclusions of four other Committees.

We therefore regret the fact that MEPs have been targeted by a coordinated campaign of misinformation against the text of article 13 proposed by the JURI Committee, in a scale rarely seen before and in a clear attempt to obstruct the progress of the legislation that is vital for the protection of copyright online. Valid decisions cannot be based on scaremongering and mass intimidation. Clearly this situation calls for clarification.

If the Directive is approved, it will provide a better functioning online marketplace which will aim to:

–          Reinforce the position of right holders to negotiate licensing agreements and be remunerated for the online exploitation of their content on sharing platforms;

–          Fix the value gap by sharing the revenues to creators from the use of their content in online platforms;

–          Create a level playing field in Europe’s Digital Single Market which will stimulate creation of high-quality content;

–          Improve transparency online and give more control to creators by allowing them to determine whether, and under which conditions, their work is used online.

It will NOT:

–            End popular memes, parody or pastiche

Caricatures, parody or pastiche are protected by an optional exception – under Article 5(3)(k) of the 2001 InfoSoc Directive, allowing reproduction and communication of such content to the public and guaranteeing the authors’ freedom of expression.

Therefore, Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive will not affect the application of this exception. It only creates an obligation at the level of online platforms and not on their users who will be able to access and post their content.

The proposed Copyright Directive only adds the possibility for authors of memes or parodic content to tackle over-removal by online platforms through the mandatory redress mechanism included in the proposal which means that in case parodic content is removed, the creators of this content will be able to contest the removal and ask the content to be published based on the parody exception in place.

–            Filter the Internet. The proposal does not impose mandatory up-load filters and censorship in the internet.

In fact, the European Data Protection Supervisor has concluded, in its formal comments on the text of Article 13 proposed by JURI report 29.06.2018, that the balance of fundamental rights is preserved by Article 13, considering that the text requires Member States to ensure:

o   that any measure to be put in place must be “proportionate”;

o   the balance between fundamental rights of users and rightholders is preserved and;

o   that no general monitoring obligation of information transmitted or stored is imposed.

The proposal is not targeting users and their capacity to upload content in the internet. It targets large platforms, which have become major sources of access to copyright-protected content to collaborate with rightsholders. These platforms are required to put in place “effective and proportionate measures…in collaboration with the right-holders” to allow the functioning of agreements reached on the use of copyright-protected content, or to prevent the availability of unauthorised content if right-holders prefer not to have their content available on such platforms.

In fact, platforms, such as YouTube already use content ID technology to identify copyright protected content which allows authors to be paid when their content is used online. Other platforms, large and small, resort to third party technology to implement a “Take Down and Stay Down” service. We simply ask that this is standard across all online content sharing service providers.

–          Add an additional burden and barrier of entry on start-ups and other small businesses:

o  Firstly, the directive only targets platforms “with large amounts of user up-loaded content”

o  Secondly, the measures implemented are requested to be “proportionate”

We are facing a crucial time for the future of the creative industry as the Copyright Reform is being voted on. Copyright laws need to be modernised in order to protect the livelihoods of creators.

We will stay mobilized to start negotiating in order to lift all uncertainties left by the overwhelming misinformation campaign orchestrated by those opposed to the Copyright Directive and provide all information for a fair and informed vote on September 12th, 2018.

 

About CEPIC
CEPIC is a European not-for-profit trade association in the field of image rights. CEPIC was founded in 1993 to present a unified voice to advise and lobby on new legislation emerging from Brussels. It was registered as an EEIG (Economic European Interest Group) in Paris in 1999. As the Centre of the Picture Industry, CEPIC brings together nearly 600 picture agencies and photo libraries in 20 countries across Europe, both within and outside the European Union. It has affiliates in North America and Asia. It has among its membership the larger global players such as Getty or Reuters. Through its membership, CEPIC represents more than 250.000 authors in direct licensing.

For more information contact:
Sylvie Fodor
Executive Director
s.fodor@cepic.org
+ 49 177 2332 514
www.cepic.org

Copyright Law Rejected in EU Vote

A controversial bill in the EU seeking a rewrite of Europe’s copyright laws giving creators more power to restrict how their content is distributed has been rejected by lawmakers.  The vote was 318 against the legislation, known as The Copyright Directive, while 278 voted in favor, and 31 abstained, taking the reforms back to the drawing board.

The reforms to the law had two elements deemed particularly controversial by critics, Article 11 and Article 13.

Article 11, also called “link tax,” would force internet giants such as YouTube, Google, and Facebook to pay for using news snippets from publishers on their platforms.

Perhaps most contested is Article 13, which would require companies to monitor all content uploaded online to their platform to check it for copyright infringement. Critics said this could lead to the removal of internet memes, which often use copyrighted images.

The New York Times has a comprehensive article about the bill here.