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Author Topic: MostPhotos playing with legal fire  (Read 8041 times)

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« on: March 01, 2008, 20:00 »
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Not asking for a copy of the MRF and inspect it properly like all micros do will bring MP in legal trouble, sooner or later. If even (semi)pros on Alamy fake MRFs, the more on MP were there is no treshold for amateurs that probably don't even grasp the concept of a Release or Royalty Free.

That's OK in Europe, where the model has to prove damage to get a compensation from the photographer, not from the site. But since MP is going international, I wonder if they ever looked for legal advise in the US where the situation is different, as Dan Heller wrote here.

Another thing are property releases. About every micro site now knows that the Brussels' atomium is copyrighted. Since I live in Brussels part-time, I have many shots of it but they were all refused on iStock and Dreamstime. I mailed the organization that holds the Atomium copyright for info and they wrote back that any site that puts an Atomium picture online has to pay SABAM (a license collector company) 150Euro per month per picture.
Now look at this shot on MP: the atomium in full. No I won't flag it. I don't want a row of 1's back.

Conclusion: MP is playing with legal fire and sooner or later they will have to introduce inspectors at least for the Releases.

Note: Alamy does the same - a search on "Atomium" Royalty Free brings up 3 pages, half of the shots grossly mistagged, half of them with the actual atomium.


« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 21:12 »
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hmmm, I was looking at new sites to upload to but between this and their ratings, I dont think they are going to be around long enough to be worth the effort??

« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2008, 00:19 »
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"About every micro site now knows that the Brussels' atomium is copyrighted."

If it is copyrighted - why don't they remove it from public view ? I understand that copying the design for the purpose of building something that looks very similiar could get someone in trouble (although the concept of Atomium is hardly original as such).  But - why all of a sudden people claim the ownership of light reflected from an object ?

In such case I should copyright my eyes - and claim damages from the owner(s) of every copyrighted building or object - since I have no duty to view what they cared to put in public view.

Some may say this is idiotic - but no more idiotic than copyrighting the reflected light.

Copying a car design for the purpose of building a car - yes, a clear cut court case.
Taling a picture of a car - c'mon...

I have no argument with the need to obtain a release for a picture of a person or interior of a private property. But the exterior of any building, public or private, as long as it is visible to general public - should be a fair game.


« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 00:22 by leszek »

« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2008, 04:50 »
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This whole business of not being able to use images of property is becoming a nonsense.

As I see it, if you take a photo of the Atomium (or any other structure) from a point on public land  then copyright cannot apply.

It's the same with iStock's running-scared policy of pulling pictures that show cars.

Copyright is intended to protect the intellectual rights of the creator of an object or a work of art.

So, if someone tries to build an exact replica of the Atomium, or make a car the same as another, or even try to sell a photograph of a logo or a painting ... yes, go after them with the full force of the law. Even if someone takes a photograph from private land, showing a view that is only visible if you've paid/been given permission.

But pictures of these things from public property? That's fair game. As leszek said ... it's just capturing the light that's bounced off them and ended up in a public place. How can you copyright that?

« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2008, 05:01 »
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You can take photos of buildings but might get in to trouble if the image is used for commercial purposes and the owners of the building prohibit this.

I think this should be the responsibility of the buyer though, as it doesn't seem fair that us poorly paid photographers should know all the details about copyright/trademark law.  I would like to know what happens if these cases go to court.

« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2008, 06:28 »
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As a photographer I agree that it is stupid and anything visible from a public place should be fair game, but...

What would you think if your house or your customised car (please see the "customised") was photographed and then used as a repellent in an advertisement saying "if you don't want to be like the ridiculous owner of such a pitiful piece of -whatever- come and buy at so and so" ?

Just to try to understand the other side of the coin.

Meanwhile, it is a fact that you can't take picture or publish pictures of anything. And as the photographer you will be on the front line when the law is called. In Paris for example, you can take a picture of the Eiffel tower but not at night as the lights are copyrighted. I suppose the next time the painting is done, the painter will copyright his job and you won't be able to use the picture done by day either. You should hurry.

Still in Paris, you can't shot (when I say "shot", please understand "publish the result of your shot") most buildings in La Dfense ; you can't shot the pyramid in the Louvre (unfortunately, this pyramid is in the way, so you can't have a good general shot of the inside of the Louvre anymore) ; you can't shot the Buren's column in Palais Royal (I don't know why anybody would want to do that, but here also unfortunately they are in the way if you want to photograph these magnificent buildings) ; by the way, Buren lost when he tried to copyright a square where there is one of his sculptures. A fisher also lost in a famous judgement where he asked for compensation because someone had taken and published a picture of his boat in front of the tower in Collioure (a small harbor on Mediterranean sea). Also lost, the owners (or pretending so, which was not the case) of three small dogs who asked for a compensation for moral damage to their dogs when these poor beast so their portraits in magazines...

So, everything is not dark, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. But, for the time being, some things are copyrighted and you take a huge risk when you publish their pictures without authorization.




« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2008, 07:10 »
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There is a difference between editorial and commercial pictures in terms of copyright. Yes one can photograph from the public land the buildings and people located on the public land - and that can even be published without paying to people on the picture or to architect or to other right owners - but it can only be published non-commercially.

There is tendency lately to tighten the rules, and more and more people object when they see themselves on published photo - but in general in most countries so far it is acceptable to publish non-commercial pictures containing copyrighted material.

I agree that there is a lot of stupidity in very artificial copyright laws, and it has been abused more and more, but at the moment this is the way it is.

Coming back to the point of this thread - I think lack of any formal inspection at MostPhotos is a very bad idea. At least some basic check is really needed - otherwise a lot of crap is coming in, and copyrighted material not marked "editorial only".

« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2008, 07:58 »
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Well - I can't say how it looks elsewhere, but here (NSW, Australia) taking and publication of a person's photograph without their consent is perfectly legal. There is no Bill of Rights here. Although, it is highly advisable to obtain release for any COMMERCIAL purposes.

Also - you CAN'T photograph on private land without consent. One should also know  the distinction between public land  and publicly accessible private land.

Here comes the interesting point: in Australia there is no concept of ownership over the appearance of architectural spaces. Which means that ALL buildings - private and public - are fair game for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes.

The interesting bit  - commercial use does NOT mean the sale of a picture, but rather the use of likeness (person or object) to endorse product or service.

In addition - the Copyright Act does not prohibit any kind of photography.

"In Australia still-photographs of 3D objects such as performances, buildings, statues or interior spaces (and the people in them), generally cannot infringe copyright, as one-off images cannot reproduce a substantial enough portion of the original work. The only way to infringe copyright in these cases is to create a sufficiently similar 3D copy, or with respect to dramatic works, lengthy video recording " (quote from "NSW Photographer's Rights by Andrew Nemeth BSc (Hons) LLB).

Complicated enough ? I guess it is. At any case - I have lived long enough to know that justice is a commodity like everything else: you may get it if your pockets are deep enough. Which means that in all likelihood you are bound to loose the case if confronted by people or organization big and powerful enough - simply because they can ruin you while you fight for your rights.


« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2008, 11:52 »
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As a photographer I agree that it is stupid and anything visible from a public place should be fair game, but...

What would you think if your house or your customised car (please see the "customised") was photographed and then used as a repellent in an advertisement saying "if you don't want to be like the ridiculous owner of such a pitiful piece of -whatever- come and buy at so and so" ?


I'd be deeply upset and I'd try (as far as my shallow pockets allow  :(  ) to go after them.

But it wouldn't be for publishing an image of my house/car.

It would be for calling me a 'ridiculous owner' etc.

No one has a right to make public value judgements like that - whether they're on public property or not.

« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2008, 11:59 »
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Well - I can't say how it looks elsewhere, but here (NSW, Australia) taking and publication of a person's photograph without their consent is perfectly legal. There is no Bill of Rights here. Although, it is highly advisable to obtain release for any COMMERCIAL purposes.

In Europe things are different too. You can take a shot of a person in public and unless he/she objects on the spot, his portrait right is gone. In other words, he/she can't sue you any more for whatever. And if he/she does, he/she has the burden of proof of damages.

The atomium has been refurbished with public money 2 years ago, and built 50 years ago on public land by a non-profit organization that got most of its money from the state, and some from sponsors as a gesture of goodwill. It was never built to make any money. At the contrary, the city of Brussels poured heaps of money in it since the exploitation balance sheet was negative. Yet, the private organization that copyrighted the atomium (with government agencies holding 100% of its shares) decided you can't put shots online of the structure unless you pay them a license.

It might be stupid, unfair and ridiculous but it's totally legal.

But that wasn't my point. I hope you read Dan Heller's post. The law in the US is different from Norway, Belgium, Australia. The buyer or the agency can be sued, and the nature of the American legal system is such that suers can obtain ridiculously high compensations.

Whatever we think about it (it's crazy of course) is irrelevant. If MP wants to sell in the US, they should give the question consideration and at least make sure the MRF is there and OK.

CofkoCof

« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2008, 19:37 »
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SS also has pictures of Atomium. I just checked it since I took some pictures of it on Saturday when I was in Brussels.

« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2008, 20:54 »
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"About every micro site now knows that the Brussels' atomium is copyrighted."

If it is copyrighted - why don't they remove it from public view ? I understand that copying the design for the purpose of building something that looks very similiar could get someone in trouble (although the concept of Atomium is hardly original as such).  But - why all of a sudden people claim the ownership of light reflected from an object ?

In such case I should copyright my eyes - and claim damages from the owner(s) of every copyrighted building or object - since I have no duty to view what they cared to put in public view.

Some may say this is idiotic - but no more idiotic than copyrighting the reflected light.

Copying a car design for the purpose of building a car - yes, a clear cut court case.
Taling a picture of a car - c'mon...

I have no argument with the need to obtain a release for a picture of a person or interior of a private property. But the exterior of any building, public or private, as long as it is visible to general public - should be a fair game.




I Agree

« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2008, 11:48 »
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I don't know what the international copyright laws are or Belgian laws are, but in the U.S. there was a case of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Gentile.  As the case ruling was explained to me, any picture taken of a building from a public place is fair use as long as trademarks such as logos are not visible. 

« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2008, 14:10 »
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I don't know what the international copyright laws are or Belgian laws are, but in the U.S. there was a case of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vs. Gentile.  As the case ruling was explained to me, any picture taken of a building from a public place is fair use as long as trademarks such as logos are not visible. 

I believe there are restrictions about this.  If the building is the main subject, I don't think it can be used for commercial purposes. 

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2008, 14:50 »
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Hi all,

On Wikimedia there is a nice overview of this so-called "Freedom of panorama" (taking of photographs in public spaces).
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Freedom_of_panorama [nofollow]

As you can see, even within Europe, there are many differences between countries.

Regards,
Arjan
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 14:56 by Mouse72 »

zymmetricaldotcom

« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2008, 16:04 »
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Do shots from space count?

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Google-follows-Yahoo-lead-into-geo-search/0,130061733,339288997,00.htm


I could make a piece of art in my backyard (because it's on Google), and know that in one year or so, i could see it from space on google earth. then go after the images providers. eureka!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2008, 16:14 by zymmetricaldotcom »

fotoKmyst

« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2008, 19:40 »
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someone mentioned about "deep pockets".
yes, i think that's the basic point to all legal cases.
if someone sees you making "a lot of money" on something they copyrighted, then naturally, they will seek you to get a "piece of the bacon"
 ::)

but if you're , like another one of you here commented, one of the "poor photographers".
well, i don't think that organization is going to spend money retaining their lawyers to come after "a poor photographer".

what can they take from you? your old volkswagen, perharps,  ;D

but in my opinion, i think it's not even worth tempting fate over
publishing a photo of a car... porsche, mercedez, ..
or a photo of eiffel at night.

for what? a couple of bucks per month?
easier to create a new piece of photography , or publish one that does not put your torso out for the "sharks to chew on your
gut."

why complicate your life over one photograph.
i did publish two such photos lately, but after second thoughts,
i wrote to request to pull them out, or change them to editorial.

GOOD POINT THOUGH, ALL !
but we're only lame artists and photographers...
we don't have congress to back us... or whatever you call that in your own country. so we lick the bottom like everyone else...
and the microstock companies do the same.
 8)

« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2008, 04:43 »
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Another copyrighted subject on sell: http://www.mostphotos.com/254165  ;D

« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2008, 10:03 »
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Even if Space Needle is copyrighted (any links?), why do you think this photo can be treated as infringement? Is it about the title?

« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2008, 17:37 »
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Even if Space Needle is copyrighted (any links?), why do you think this photo can be treated as infringement? Is it about the title?


The Space Needle can be used as part of a skyline shot. In this one, you can see Mt Ranier off to the right. This is a very common postcard shot for Seattle.

I do see though some potential problems with some other architectural images in his portfolio should someone decide to use them commercially.  I don't know if MP allows editorial designation or not. Didn't look that far.

suwanneeredhead

  • O.I.D. Sufferer (Obsessive Illustration Disorder)
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2008, 22:28 »
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Even if Space Needle is copyrighted (any links?), why do you think this photo can be treated as infringement? Is it about the title?


The Space Needle can be used as part of a skyline shot. In this one, you can see Mt Ranier off to the right. This is a very common postcard shot for Seattle.

I do see though some potential problems with some other architectural images in his portfolio should someone decide to use them commercially.  I don't know if MP allows editorial designation or not. Didn't look that far.

YES MP does have an editorial designation.

Wikipedia states (USA law where this image was taken): "the U.S. federal copyright law explicitly exempts photographs of such copyrighted buildings from the copyright of the building in 17 USC 120(a). Anyone may take photographs of buildings from public places. The photographer holds the exclusive copyright to such an image (the architect or owner of the building has no say whatsoever), and may publish the image in any way."

Is there any question?

« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2008, 14:49 »
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In SP, all Harley Davidson photos were removed, even if set as editorial.  It seems there is some risk of HD prosecuting the site or the photographers.

It seems logical to me that I could photograph any building from the outside and sell it for editorial use.  Suwanneeredhead's post sees to say that (although it makes no comment on the editorial vs commercial issue).

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2008, 00:23 »
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I've stumbled across two car images - one an older Ford with the word "FORD" written across its grille, the second one is of nose part of Toyota with company symbol and the car's registration number in place! I left comments on both cases, but it seems MP/MP's contributors will get lawers on their backs...

« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2008, 01:07 »
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They have all the options for editorial/Rf etc, and the upload process is much more controlled since the last months. Im not sure if that protects them in case of lawsuit.   And getting sued in Sweden doesnt mean 100 Milion$. Its more like 2000$. But how it works if they get sued by an American company Im not sure of ?  Anyway, I agree with that needs to be taking care of!


 

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