Tag Archives: copyright law

Hawaii-based Tiki Shark Art Settles Copyright Infringement Case with Cafe Press

It’s not always easy to go up against the big guys, but when your copyrighted image is being infringed you have to try.  Brad Parker, owner of Kailua-Kona-based Tiki Shark Art, claimed his art was used on beachwear on CafePress.com without his permission.  You can read the entire article here.

 

 

 

 

Kurt Sutter Attacks Google

Kurt Sutter Attacks Google: Stop Profiting from Piracy (Guest Column) in Variety

In a very frank article in Variety, Kurt Sutter, executive producer of the FX drama series “Sons Anarchy” talks about how Google is misrepresenting the truth about piracy and copyright laws.  He says they systematically destroying the future of artists by spending tens of millions of dollars each year on eroding creative copyright laws.

Read the entire article here.

PACA and other international trade associations have been actively involved in IComp, an industry initiative for organizations and businesses involved in Internet commerce, which is working to stop some of Google’s practices, but we need the support of our members and the U.S. Congress.  We applaud the EU and their ongoing efforts against Google.

 

REASONS PHOTO TECH NEEDS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT RIGHTS

In Rob Henson’s latest post in TallFirsMedia.com he points out problems that some of the new photo startups may face where business models are targeted largely on accelerated aggregation of imagery.  The commonality among them is a move away from verifying rights of an image and providing assurances to end users, to shifting risk back onto participating parities on either side of their platform.  See the entire article here

3 MAJOR REASONS PHOTO TECH NEEDS TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT RIGHTS

by Robert Henson, Reprinted by permission from Talls Fir Media

The recent explosion of startups devoted to monetizing photography have revealed certain diversity of approach within the photo tech ecosystem, where business models are targeted largely on accelerated aggregation of imagery and either monetization of the audience (data, app charge, etc.) or of the images themselves (advertising, print on demand, licensing/use). Many, like Chute, provide tools for the aggregation of UGC to supplement their campaigns, while others, like 500px, focus on fine art enthusiasts and provide enhanced portfolio tools in a community setting. The variance unfurls like Instagram’s API subscribers: everything from consumer apps to B2B web solutions.

Most all share the view that online images are an untapped resource. In-image advertisers, like Znaptag, seek to push through ads on publisher sites (a similar tagging experience recently departed Stipple helped pioneer). The in-image ad market is heavily populated by incumbents from the ad industry – not photo tech – so often, like other photo tech startups, less emphasis is placed on image inventory and provenance thereof. It’s a volume game, and when the pipes are open wide – and where little regulation occurs – you can expect some trade-off around quality.

By quality, we don’t imply artistic integrity, technical attributes or commercial viability, but the rights associated with an image – the verification of source and the rights granted to an end user. There are many inferior images that reside with image licensing incumbents, just as there are many superior images being aggregated by photo tech startups. It’s how images are sourced, the process, that the industry needs to be vigilant over.

Platform does not equal inventory

The incumbents in photo licensing have the edge in inventory. Existing licensors like Shutterstock, Getty, and others have long placed barriers to entry that reduced-to-eliminated risk for their clients. It was a baked-in process that translated to client attraction and retention, and is still a critical cornerstone of their ability to productize their inventory. While photo tech platforms obsess (and stakeholders watch just as obsessively) over what rights are transferred by each user to them, very few actively qualify each image that is submitted to them.

For many, it’s an impossible task. They exist within the DMCA’s safe harbor provision, and cannot actively be aware of the types of images being submitted to them. With the foundation set, they’re reliant upon opt-in measures (500px, EyeEm, and now Flickr) to build inventory. While this might achieve some success, it is still a decentralized program apart from the main proposition of the platform. Few can create the foundation that a Shutterstock has, which focuses solely on aggregation and distribution for specific audiences. The initial proposition is key – once deviated from, noise level rises and mixed messages ensue.

Infringement claims are rising

Getty’s infringement business is big, and viewed by many pundits as “free” money. Sure, it doesn’t scale proportionately to inventory nor does it scale nicely against admin costs, but it’s growing and others are noticing and coming to the table. Claims aren’t only drawing solutions-minded intermediaries who promise to do the dirty work – this is also a photographer-driven incentive, and those who’ve been infringed upon demand retribution.

Adding to this trend is attention by the government to help copyright claims, which have long been out of reach by individuals due to court allocation and claim processes. Once the doors open up and help facilitate the claims process for infringing use, you can bet even more growth within the infringement industry will occur.

UGC is still perceived as the ‘unwashed masses’ by publishers…and it is

Photo tech startups view the world’s mobile captures as potential untapped inventory rife for exploitation, and in many cases it is, but major publishers are still quite wary of directly sourcing from UGC-based startups due to the inherent risks.

Publishers (and advertisers) will still require confirmation of source, or at least an end use license that provides warranties in instance of a claim. Even the incumbents slip up now and then (Morel), but such anomalies aren’t enough to produce a mass exodus of clients. Risk-aversion is still weighted heavily against startups, whose selection process is non-existent, and any automated or crowd-curated aspects to the platform don’t reflect the rigor expected by potential clientele.

Of course, photo tech isn’t aligned with rights on an image level. Notorious terms of services, of which Instagram’s was made famous, was created to be a rights grab. Most startups have adopted similar terms of service, as is common within the culture, but many are quite friendly and transparent. The commonality among them all is a decided pivot away from verifying rights of an image and providing assurances to end users, to shifting risk back onto participating parities on either side of their platform. Despite the volumes of images being added online every moment, copyright law still gives recourse to those who seek it.

Copyright Office: Notice of Public Roundtables and Request for Additional Comments

The Copyright Office will host public roundtable discussions and seeks further comments on potential legislative solutions for orphan works and mass digitization under U.S. copyright law. The meetings and comments will provide an opportunity for interested parties to address new legal developments as well as issues raised by comments provided in response to the Office’s previous Notice of Inquiry.

The public roundtables will take place on March 10-11, 2014, in the Copyright Office Hearing Room, LM-408 of the Madison Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20559. The roundtable discussions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days.

The schedule for the roundtables, which includes the dates and times for specific topics, is set forth below. As shown in the schedule, the roundtables have been divided into nine distinct sessions. If you are interested in participating in one or more of the roundtable sessions, please complete and submit the participation form no later than February 24, 2014.

Due to space constraints, the Office cannot guarantee that it will be able to accommodate every request. To maximize the number of viewpoints presented, the Office will accept only one representative per entity as a participant in a particular session (but an entity may request to have different representatives in different sessions).

The Office also will provide members of the public with the opportunity to observe the hearings. Note, however, that space is limited due to the size of the hearing room. The Office will admit observers on a first come, first serve basis.  To allow for a diverse audience, we ask that entities limit any observers to one per session.

The Office is making arrangements to transcribe the proceedings and will post the transcripts on the Office website. Additionally, the Office is seeking further public comments on orphan works issues, including those to be discussed at the public roundtables. A comment form will be posted on this site no later than March 12, 2014.  Comments must be submitted no later than April 14, 2014.

Sessions and hearing schedule

The public roundtable discussions will be divided into nine sessions addressing distinct topics. Below is the schedule and information as to which topics will be discussed at particular sessions.

TIME

DAY ONE (MARCH 10, 2014)

9:00 – 10:15 Session 1: The need for legislation in light of recent legal and technological developments
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 –  11:45 Session 2: Defining a good faith “reasonably diligent search” standard
11:45 – 12:45 Lunch
12:45 – 2:00 Session 3: The role of private and public registries
2:00 – 2:15 Break
2:15 –  3:30 Session 4: The types of works subject to any orphan works legislation, including issues related specifically to photographs
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 5:00 Session 5: The types of users and uses subject to any orphan works legislation

 

TIME

DAY TWO (MARCH 11, 2014)

9:00 – 10:15 Session 6: Remedies and procedures regarding orphan works
10:15 – 10:30 Break
10:30 –  11:45 Session 7: Mass digitization, generally
11:45 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 –  2:15 Session 8: Extended collective licensing and mass digitization
2:15– 2:30 Break
2:30 –  5:00 Session 9: The structure and mechanics of a possible extended collective licensing system in the United States

Background

The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. The issue is not contained to the United States. Indeed, a number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.

Nancy Wolff, PACA Counsel, will represent PACA at all sessions.