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Author Topic: Science Photo Library  (Read 7165 times)

timault

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Science Photo Library
« on: May 14, 2015, 02:13:22 AM »
Hi

We've received a letter from the science photo library claiming that we owe them £500 for using one of their images on our website. They are saying that this is copyright infringement and entitles them to seek compensation for infringing uses.

The image in question is found on Wikicommons here.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_higgs_chalkboard.jpg

where it says:

"This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.    
    You are free:
        to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
        to remix – to adapt the work
    Under the following conditions:
        attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
        share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one".

We also carried out further searches to see if the image might be subject to copyright. A search on “Peter Higgs image”  finds various images including the one in question which is in use on the University of Edinburgh site: http://www2.ph.ed.ac.uk/particle-physics-experiment/news.html. There is nothing on this page to suggest that the image may be subject to copyright.

Our feeling is that we took reasonable steps to check that we could use the image and had no way of knowing that the image might be subject to copyright.

Can anyone advise me where we stand on this one?

thanks
Tim Ault


Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 10:04:55 AM »
be sure to screen capture that entire page! send said screen shot to copyright troll, tell copyright to shag off, if said copyright trolls files suit, they will lose. It is my opinion ( i'm not a lawyer) that you are on very solid ground!
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

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Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 07:51:08 PM »
I agree with Robert, I would tell them to pound sand.  If what you have said is accurate I think (I'm not a lawyer either) you have a strong case for yourself.
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

timault

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2015, 12:42:41 PM »
Robert, Greg, Thanks for your replies.

It really annoys me that these people can get away with sending letters like this to people like me who are trying to get on with running our businesses. We have better things to be spending our time on.

I'm really grateful to you for taking the time to reply. We'll do what you suggest and see what happens.

Tim

DavidVGoliath

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 07:02:52 AM »
Hold all your f'n horses a minute.

Within a few moments of reading this message, I was able to trace the original image, as shot by Peter Tuffy for the University of Edinburgh

https://licensing.eri.ed.ac.uk/i/copyright/peter-higgs-image.html

Whoever "Hans G" is (per the flickr / wikimedia info page) - he's not the copyright holder and had no fucking business uploading it to either flickr or wikimedia under a Creative Commons license.

I hope this illustrates the absolute bullshit that Creative Commons is; their system is fundamentally broken because people who lack morals or ethics will share material which they know to be protected by copyright, thus creating a ball-ache for everyone esle

Oh, and timault... you better be prepared to argue and prove that you performed a diligent search prior to using the photograph; like I said, it took me less than a few minutes to trace the original copyright file

crazycatlady

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2015, 01:39:30 PM »
He's still the innocent party in this mess...he used the images in good faith, according to the stated license. The photographer should go after the person who uploaded them with the CC mark on them.

As for Creative Commons...there's going to be unethical behavior in ANY field of endeavor. Should we chuck it all out because someone, somewhere, abused or misunderstood it?


Mulligan

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2015, 04:50:46 PM »
I hope this illustrates the absolute bullshit that Creative Commons is; their system is fundamentally broken because people who lack morals or ethics will share material which they know to be protected by copyright, thus creating a ball-ache for everyone esle

Creative Commons is a flawed but worthy attempt at dealing with copyright in a digital age. With more then 40,000,000,000 images reported online in 2008, the true "ball-ache" comes from the limp dicks who make either part or all of their living sending out their threatening letters demanding payment or "else."

The current copyright laws are truly broken, as are the individuals who twist, pervert, and use those outdated laws to extort outrageous sums of money from individuals who are most likely guilty of nothing more than a de minimis violation.

To jerk out a big flow of bile on Creative Commons the way you did, Goliath, shows where you're coming (so to speak) from.

As for those who lack morals or ethics, I'd point my finger (the middle one) at individuals who use "a compliance officer," "a copyright cow," or "a Joe Blowme, Esq. with 28 lb. stationary and a cool legal-looking letterhead" to demand absurd sums of money for alleged "copyright violations."

I may be naive, but, Holy Tinkerbell in a Porn Shoot, it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that more than one photographer who lacks morals or ethics seeds the net with images he/she made and then sends out demand letters after they use Picscout or TinEye to track down those nasty copyright violators who most likely used the seeded images innocently!

After playing the copyright game with Getty and McCormack the past several years and reading posts by those who earn all or part of their income by copyright trolling, I've come to realize that, sadly, there are no morals or ethics involved. It's all about money. That's it. Laws, ethics, right and wrong, innocence or guilt, none of these really matter with those sending out demand letters. The only thing that matters is the amount of money that can be squeezed (or "negotiated") from people who are easily scared and ignorant about the true workings of the various settlement demand scams.

stinger

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2015, 05:14:51 PM »
Well said, Mulligan.  But I do understand DavidVGoliath's situation.  We usually take the side of the innocent or unknowing infringer, but what about the side of the innocent photographer.

If someone were to take one of DavidVGoliath's images that is registered and posts it on a Creative Commons website, and then you or I use it thinking it was legitimately posted, DavidVGoliath has been damaged as well.

And the laws, as they are written(and truly broken), allow him to go after both parties.

We need to get after Congress to fix these laws.  This is something photogs should be behind as well.

DavidVGoliath

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2015, 11:31:05 AM »
Well said, Mulligan.  But I do understand DavidVGoliath's situation.  We usually take the side of the innocent or unknowing infringer, but what about the side of the innocent photographer.

Pretty much every photographer I know simply wants to do good work, get published and do their level best to earn an honest income from doing so. I will not dispute that there may be a minority who look to game the laws to their advantage.

If someone were to take one of DavidVGoliath's images that is registered and posts it on a Creative Commons website, and then you or I use it thinking it was legitimately posted, DavidVGoliath has been damaged as well.

Luckily this hasn't happened to me (yet) but I know someone who is going through this very process right now. One of their shots wound up on a Wikipedia page, uploaded by someone in the Philippines and it was tagged with the usual CC license etc. Wikipedia are point-blank refusing to take the image down despite being sent a perfectly valid DMCA notice, and the manner in which they've refused to act means they're going to lose their safe harbor status and be liable for a substantial sum.

And the laws, as they are written(and truly broken), allow him to go after both parties.

The laws are mostly fine as they are, though they do need to better reflect the realities of the present-day, especially with respect to the internet. Egregious abuses of current laws are perpetrated by both creators and infringers alike - toss in the lobbying by pro and anti-copyright fields, and it's a mess alright.

We need to get after Congress to fix these laws.  This is something photogs should be behind as well.

And most photographers are behind it -but it's not just the laws themselves that need tweaking, it's the larger legal system. If your work is unregistered, the recovery process is prohibitively expensive and thus favours rampant infringement.

If it *is* registered, then the cost of representation means that defendants face the threat of damages in multiple thousands of dollars, plus fees - which favours those with the ability to litigate. Without a middle ground, an "option C", then the polarizing effect of the current options will continue.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 02:02:30 PM »
I can't even think straight, thanks to Mulligan and his "Holy Tinkerbell in a Porn Shoot"
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2015, 09:20:38 PM »
I was glad to see Mulligan posting again, I have missed the way he expresses his opinions. 

I can't even think straight, thanks to Mulligan and his "Holy Tinkerbell in a Porn Shoot"
Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

--Greg Troy

UKsmallbusiness

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2015, 07:40:29 AM »
Timault - what has been the outcome of the letter since your original post? I have also been receiving them for the alleged use of a thumbnail of an image.

Thanks.

bocko

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2015, 05:58:56 PM »
I set up a website about 15 years ago for classes I teach. Found a pix that said it was free to use (many years ago and I didn't have a screenshot) and recently got a letter from SPL demanding a ridiculous amount for the 40K image and said it was registered. As many of you realize it can cause untold aggravation along with days of research. I spoke to an attorney/friend that suggested I try to negotiate and move on since the cost of attorney consults along with the thought that I'd probably have to pay something in the end since it was registered. Sadly, I ended up paying $500 and the website that I created and put out there to help other  teachers and students now has two layers of passwords in order to open the site.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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Re: Science Photo Library
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 10:35:07 AM »
you need to password protect the image directory, they use bots to scan the file structure and can most likely bypass your secure entry. Better yet, you should vet all of the images you use, those without a valid license should be culled. Just my 2 cents.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

 

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