Friday, May 2, 2008

would you prefer to pay more $$ for copyright protection you now enjoy by law , for free?

If you don't care whether the images on your blog or photostream of your are taken and profited from - legally - unless you are very vigilant and willing to shell out a fair amount of cash , don't waste your time reading this. What if your kids blown up poster size or your artwork and idea's are now being legally used by someone else? How's that sound?

I hope you will read this. I know it's long - it took a long time to write too , believe me. And I did it because I'm angry at the mere thought of the above actually happening and there is real potential for it to manifest. This legislation is crippling - you have no idea until you read it and really start thinking about what it actually entails. The cost alone is too prohibitive to safegaurd our work - a safegaurd we enjoy now for free , by law.

Current law states that your artwork is protected from the moment of conception - registering it and adding the copyright symbol is not required to protect and proclaim your right to your own work.

This bill would 'orphan' every photo or artwork or available piece of your personal/intellectual property unless you've registered it with private companies. Yes , that is plural. This bill would require you to not only add the copyright symbol to all images which requires a donation to our government , it would require that you pay to register your work/image at not just one but all THREE registry sites , or run the risk of your image or work being orphaned. 'Orphaned' translates to 'appropriated' by private business or anyone else who wants them. One of the search engines these registry sites would be using is PicScout , which has a 99% success rate. It's the only one I've read about , but it's not the only one that will be used and this has a bearing too.

This is an excerpt from an article written by Mark Simon here:

"Photos on the internet could be orphaned. With tens of millions of photos shared online with services like Flickr, Shutterfly and Snapfish, there is a huge opportunity for unauthorized use of your photos... legally.

You could see photos you take of your family and kids, or of a family vacation, used in a magazine or newspaper without your permission or payment to you. You would have to pay to register your photos, all of them, in every new registry in order to protect them. Say the average person takes 300 photos per year (I take a lot more than that). If a registry only charges $5 per image, that is a whopping $1,500 to protect your photos that are protected automatically under the current laws. If there are three registries, protecting your images could cost an amazing $4,500. Not to mention the time it would take to register every photo you take. Plus, you will also have to place your copyright sign on every photo.

It gets even better. Anyone can submit images, including your images. They would then be excused from any liability for infringement (also known as THEFT) unless the legitimate rights owner (you) responds within a certain period of time to grant or deny permission to use your work.

That means you will also have to look through every image in every registry all the time to make sure someone is not stealing and registering your art. You could actually end up illegally using your own artwork if someone else registers it. DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS? "

That 'anyone can submit photos , even yours' thing - that includes you Etsy and Ebay sellers as well. If it's liftable - guess what. You're no longer automatically and legally protected. Alarming? Let's take a quick second and ask ourselves how many people are busy stockpiling our images right now , wherever they are , in hopes of some personal gain? You know these cretins exist , and this is a heaven sent oppurtunity for them. So both the jackals AND private industry stand to gain here.

Those fees are just for 300 photos and one person , and we've all seen blogs and photostreams chock full of beautiful pictures , have we not? Can you imagine the haul these people and businesses are going to make in it's entirety? My pocket is not ample - I can't afford the registration , and I sure can't afford the fees required to go to court to fight for my right to my own work.

So that's just the registration - it get's better , because even if you've paid the three sites , you've still got problems. Right now we're all protected under current international law. These people are seeking to re-write that law on an international level - it is apparently on the board in Europe as well. I don't understand all the complications there , only that they exist. My best choice will be removing every thing I have from public view , as far as I can tell. And I will. In a heartbeat I will - but if the image has already been lifted , too bad for me , huh? You too. Where and how are we going to sell our work , anyway? Can we afford to register each piece to protect it?

Let's go back to the wicked cool technology with the 99% success rate. I read an article by Brad Holland and CynthiaTurner here: , explaining how this works. I wish I could just post the excerpts but in this case I can't. It would behoove you to go to the site here and read the information links:

Copyright law as currently written could change rather significantly , and I think you ought to concern yourselves with that.

And here is a link to contact info on government officials , so that you can write them a letter stating your feelings whatever they may be:

I hope you do. It's your images and work , it's your community and you should be angry they have so completely discounted our concerns , for petes sake. For photos of our family , our intellectual property , our artwork - we'd have to pay. For protection we enjoy now as a lawful right - we have to pay. That's not working for me.


Eileen said...

Kim, thank you so much for all of the hard work you did, to let us know about this terrible legislation. Let me know if I can your link to by blob.

Thank you, you are the best.


misspvc said...

Oh mY!!!!!!!! I had NO idea Kim! Thanks for the info and the heads up....we have got to stop this!
huge hugs

Alma Jane said... have done a great job on this and I have linked this on my blog and will tell other's to link also. Everyone, not just artists, need to fight this type of subjugation by big corporations with the help of the government.
Thanks for spreading the word!
Alma Jane

Susan D said...

Thank you so much for telling us about this. I live in the UK but by what you say it could happen here.