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Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans?

Soulskill posted 1 year,14 days | from the iguanas-have-had-it-too-good-for-too-long dept.

AI 259

An anonymous reader writes "This article in Wired advances the idea that humans are losing the copyright battle against machines because the fair use laws are tilted against them. The writer wanted to include photos in his book, but the licensing fees were too high. The aggregators, though, like Google, are building their own content by scraping all of the photos they can find. If anyone complains, they just say, 'Fill out a DMCA form.' Can humans compete against the machines? Should humans be able to use the DMCA to avoid copyright fees too? Should web sites be able to shrug and say, 'Hey, we just scraped it?'"

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Image metadata is the answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501273)

Can we get a robots.txt for images?

Re:Image metadata is the answer (5, Insightful)

JMJimmy (2036122) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501341)

This and it's backwards - humans are losing out to copyright. Copyright is the entirety of the problem not fair use.

Yes I believe people should be able to recoup their invested time/money and some form of copy protection is needed for that but the current laws are doing it to the detriment of society.

Re:Image metadata is the answer (5, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501739)

This is it, in a nutshell.

Copyright as it is wielded today for *most* uses is a net loss to society. Look at book copyright, movie copyright, music copyright. The only thing that has come out of copyright from them is recycling of old media, nothing creative, nothing to promote progress of the arts, and no benefit to society. We've actually lost a ton of history due to excessive copyright - and those with a vested interest would love to keep it that way.

Re:Image metadata is the answer (3, Insightful)

peterwayner (266189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501865)

While I agree that some history is locked away in books that can't be copied, I think that many, many writers and artists are only able to devote time to their work because copyright allows them to charge for access to their work. All of the new books at my store-- including plenty of non-fiction-- is protected by copyright.

The only counter-example I can think of is the Wikipedia. While it is quite good, it has a strange reliance on copyrighted work. It requires all information to be based upon a citation to a real publication-- a publication that's usually protected by copyright.

Re:Image metadata is the answer (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502021)

The only counter-example I can think of is the Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is copyrighted. Creative Commons is not the same as public domain.

Copyright is not evil in principle (authors/artists need to earn a living). But the way it is applied and retroactively extended far beyond the lifetime of the creator is not reasonable. We should have clear rules for "fair use", and a sensible duration of, say, twenty years. One proposal I like is to have a "copyright tax". An artist would automatically get, say, a ten year copyright, and after that would have to pay an increasing annual fee to maintain the copyright. If you want the government to enforce your monopoly, then you should pay for that.

Re:Image metadata is the answer (2)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502395)

So you want extended copyright for Disney, but not for mid-tier authors? That sounds backwards to me.

I think instead we need a hard look at mandatory licensing for derivative works. If my youtube video of humorous cats using your 10+ year-old music somehow makes money for someone (me or youtube), then that someone should owe you a percentage (and require attribution), but let's end take-downs for 10+ year old works.
 

Re:Image metadata is the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502623)

Then why are most writers struggling financially?

Re:Image metadata is the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502527)

This and it's backwards - humans are losing out to copyright. Copyright is the entirety of the problem not fair use.

Yes I believe people should be able to recoup their invested time/money and some form of copy protection is needed for that but the current laws are doing it to the detriment of society.

It is my opinion that if you create something, a tangible item, then you should be able to copy write/own that item and collect on it and no one else can make a profit from it but if someone wants to take your idea and improve on it or use it as part of their product or solution then they should have the right to do it as long as they give credit when due. This concept of constantly suing people or taking them to court over the argument that something performs a similar task/chore or looks closely to the original is what is killing everything. When start ups are being knocked down by patent holders before they can even start to be truly innovative we will never truly see progress in technology or society.

If you can't evolve and improve on an idea then let someone else do it.

Re:Image metadata is the answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501389)

User-agent: *
Disallow: /images/

Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501291)

If you are willing to remove the offending photos from the books in circulation!

Re: Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501775)

Only if you remove all downloaded copies first!

Copyright itself is problematic for technology (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501293)

In today's age of machines that exist almost exclusively to copy and fiddle about with data, the concept of copyright is quaint and outdated. Gone are the obstacles to distribution and duplication that existed in days gone by, and as the past decade or two has shown us, dropping copyright as a concept will do nothing to deter people from creating new works, only remove the incentive for people to create static media for a living.

I fully recognize the benefits that copyrighted works have provided for us in the past, and the incentive it provides for new creation. However, I'm not sure copyright deserves to survive in today's technological world when it does as much to deter creation and innovation as it does to foster it.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501343)

so what content have machines created all on their own?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501369)

http://vimeo.com/68859229 [vimeo.com] eDavid - nuff said.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501647)

Nuff said?

Yes, Photoshop has algorithms that will generate an image based on an original. Maybe not as "random" as this example you give, but even in your example, the computer is "fed" an original image, and simply (or complexly) maks another image base on an algorithm.

Sure, this latest computer algorithm is a little sweeter than Photoshop's various filters, but it is none the less simple a computer program that passes an existing image through a set of instructions.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501725)

So it needs to be fed an image? Our eyes feed images to our brain to process/interpret/etc

Can a blind person paint an image they've never heard described/touched/etc? Is what they paint random or inspired by the input they've received?

The point is that it can take input and paint the same thing over and over without it being identical twice. The next logical step would be to add in a database of images/techniques and an algorithm that would allow it to create interpretations based on what it's observed in it's database.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501497)

However, I'm not sure copyright deserves to survive in today's technological world when it does as much to deter creation and innovation as it does to foster it.

Right, the unfairness that this guy is talking about is for the book authors, and his suggestion is less freedom for the web authors. Classic mistake.

Copyright itself is less than 500 years old - a response to the technology of the printing press (along with some misguided economic thinking in the 1600's - Adam Smith hadn't even published yet), and given our means of mass-communication today, we've moved past it. Technology changes, and the rules of the game need to change along with it.

For the US, it should have been obvious to the framers that taking away the property rights of (Everybody - 1) for the sake of some "rights" to imaginary property for one person was an error, but at least they had the idea that it should be only for real people and only for a short time, if it was at all. Madison massively underestimated the ways that people will twist a well-intentioned but flawed system for their own sociopathic benefit. That "limited times to an author" can be held to mean "for a corporation, a century after an author's death" should be evidence enough that the mechanism has failed.

He rightly says:

As a creative worker, I understood sharing with the photographers

But from that assumption he ought to conclude that creative workers will reward other creative workers because they're decent people, not because somebody has a gun to their head forcing them to do so. The 4% of people who will freeload are not worth imposing tyranny on the other 96% so that a corporation can profit from Transformers 3 in the year 2149.

Another gem:

In other words, the machine isnâ(TM)t just a dumb hunk of silicon: It's a living creator.

And I thought copyright was an out-there fantasy. The author is right to raise the issue of unfairness, but more unfairness isn't the solution.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (4, Interesting)

Type44Q (1233630) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501765)

For the US, it should have been obvious to the framers that taking away the property rights of (Everybody - 1) for the sake of some "rights" to imaginary property for one person was an error, but at least they had the idea that it should be only for real people and only for a short time, if it was at all.

Not re: copyright per se but entirely relevant nonetheless:

"Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices."

- Thomas Jefferson

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502203)

Great quote, thanks. No wonder they shipped him over to France while the Constitution was being forced through.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

peterwayner (266189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501885)

Well, then what is the solution? How would you pay the authors, musicians and photographers? Or will they need to get day jobs to fund the work while the aggregators get rich?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502035)

Well, then what is the solution? How would you pay the authors, musicians and photographers?

How would I pay them? Why would it be anyone's problem but their own? They have to find their own business models just like anyone else does! They're not entitled to government-enforced monopolies.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

peterwayner (266189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502305)

Actually, the artists are allowed to have monopolies. It's in the constitution.

But your use of the word "monopoly" is unfair because they don't enjoy monopolies in the classical sense of the word. If an author writes a book on the civil war, the author can't stop others from writing a book on the civil war.

A more accurate word is "property" because the law gives the artist much the same rights as a carpenter or a plumber. Just as a team of carpenters can put a lock on the front door of a house that they built, copyright gives the artists the right to control their work. How many homes would carpenters build if any old squatter could just rush in and live for free after the last nail is driven home? I'm happy to give carpenters and other workers what you call "a monopoly" on their work because I want the world to have houses. And I also want the world to have books and that's why I'm happy to give the artists control over their work. It's the ethical thing to do.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502607)

Actually, the artists are allowed to have monopolies. It's in the constitution.

The GP only said that they weren't entitled to them. They do get them, that much is clear.

How many homes would carpenters build if any old squatter could just rush in and live for free after the last nail is driven home?

You're right to invoke the property argument here because it's key. The home the carpenters built is real property. Nobody should be deprived of their real property, or the right to do with their real property what they wish.

However, that's just what copyright does. Let's say I have a stack of paper and a pen. Is it my paper and pen? Can I do what I want with it? No, not if copyright is around. I cannot arrange the ink on that paper in any of millions of combinations because somebody else(s) has the legal monopoly on those arrangements. Take the US. For every one beneficiary, there are 300,000,000 people who lose their property rights in one specific way. If they insist on doing so anyway, the government will use violence to stop them. That's elevating imaginary property rights over real property rights.

And I also want the world to have books and that's why I'm happy to give the artists control over their work. It's the ethical thing to do.

"Because I want it" is not an ethical justification for violence. Besides, there are millions of abandoned works that are lost for at least a century because of the copyright regime, so if you want people to have books, that's a losing strategy.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502285)

Nothing entitles people to be able to earn a living doing what they love. There's no guarantee that it will happen. Many of them will need to get a "day job" just as many do today. They can attempt to sell the products of their effort and if there's no market for it then they need another source of income. This also doesn't mean that book, songs, and pictures will cease to be created. It just means that the people doing it will be doing it most likely for "love of the game" and not the money.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502491)

Well, then what is the solution? How would you pay the authors, musicians and photographers?

"How will the cotton get picked?" Even if we don't have a better solution now, in light of the lack of a clear market for such solutions, that's still no justification for doing what we know to be a wrong thing.

But Creator Endorsed [questioncopyright.org] looks like a good pass at a replacement system.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502117)

I agree with much of what you're saying. However, modern copyright was not a response to the printing press. It was an outgrowth of censorship by the English royalty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statute_of_Anne#background

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501533)

So you're saying static media is outdated and deserves to die a painful death?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501621)

It's not what I said, but it's an intriguing theory. I see no reason why in a copyright-free world a person could not take a work and rework it to suit their desires, needs, or whims and share it with anyone they pleased.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501537)

Getting rid of copyright only helps the very same megacorps that Slashdot whines about. Why would any of the MPAA/RIAA member companies, for example, need to pay any royalties to their artists when they could just swipe the work for themselves and be done with it? The only reason they pay artists anything is due copyright law.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501589)

I'm going to go ahead and declare this +1 Funny. If AC is serious, I'm not following the logic. A cut of a royalty of 0 is still 0.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501839)

What's funny about megacorps being the only winners when it comes to copyright being abolished?

A cut of a royalty of 0 is still 0.

Except they are not paid 0. Repeating a falsehood over and over does not make it a fact.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502125)

I'm not sure you understand this thread if you think record labels would control music distribution in a copyright-free world.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502195)

Search aggregators would control music distribution in a copyright-free world. iTunes and Pandora would be the new labels. Artists would host their music wherever they pleased, but you'd only know it existed if Google suggested it.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502295)

You seem very stuck in the present. To believe that things would remain in the same specific hands we see today is nonsense.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502467)

Right, all the power will just be in different hands, but the situation from the artist's perspective will be identical. There will still be a distribution system, it will still control the vast bulk of organic referrals, and artists have to be on the right side of it if they want their music to be heard at all, let alone be remunerative.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502547)

well if it changes nothing for the artist, why fight to keep the copyrights going?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502025)

If I make a digital painting and put it up for sale, any company could take the concept, reproduce it, and mass distribute it for sale. Myself as an individual have no ability to mass produce it or distribute it. I dont have the industry or manpower behind me. Another company could compete with the first, yes. But if there is no protection for any created work it ensures that he who is already wealthy and powerful can profit most from any creative work without putting a dime in the pocket of the creator.

If you argue that everything boils down to "data" that exists on temporary storage, so copyright is irrelevant (as you have), then I ask this; Does no one buy posters? Mousepads? Refrigerator magnets? Coffee mugs? Your argument suggests that you live entirely in a digital box, wholly without material possessions beyond your computer. This is a valid choice for an individual, but it is at odds with a consumer driven market that dominates the US.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502225)

If you're so worried someone else will profit from your digital painting, then don't make one. There are plenty of others who will still make some, and even if everybody stopped making digital paintings, the world will continue to exist as we know it.

That's the underlying problem with IP laws, they're trying to protect "property" that's barely relevant to the continuing existence of society. Seriously, if all paintings and fridge magents disappeared tomorrow, there won't be any riots in the streets and nobody will die.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

peterwayner (266189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502357)

Are there really plenty of others? The Chicago Sun Times recently fired their photography staff. Is there some wellspring of photographers rushing to take pictures of all of the news events? Oh sure, a few people will upload pictures to Flickr of some big events, but I don't see anyone getting out of bed at night to cover the fires or disasters.

And it's not just about profit. I want to encourage talented artists to make a profit so they'll be able to afford to take time off from work and make more art.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501917)

Holy fuck steaks, this is the most ridiculous thing I've read all day, and I've been to 4chan.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (2)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501789)

The problem we have now is trying to make personal creativity profitable again.

The Copyrights and Patents were the way to solve the problem historically. The person was creative and made something they had rights to the idea. This was all fine and good because printing information or making stuff was hard, and we needed a lot of capital do such. So the creative person gets paid by the idea with the price built into the cost of producing.

The cost to produce has gotten cheaper and easier, and all we need is a digital copy of the idea and we are good to go. Supply and Demand economics has broken down. Supply has reached such a high number, that demand doesn't matter anymore, thus the cost for the information is near 0.

Copyrights and Patents and other legal stuff is a way to create an artificial price. However when natural Supply and Demand and price don't mix we get black market, the more black market for the amount of the price is off. Hence piracy.

We have a problem now. Creative Professionals needs to make a living, however the price of their ideas have reached free. So we need to really think of how to reward creative professionals.
Right now we have Advertising (Add banners and popups), Begging (Asking for donation), and trying to sell a physical product that people still cannot make themselves (Quality t-Shirts, posters, toys...), sell services to support the original idea (Consulting services, concert tours...).

We hate adds, Begging (asking for donations) doesn't work if you idea while valuable isn't popular enough, selling a physical product doesn't always work there are only so many t-shirts. and people don't always need support for the original idea.

If Creative professionals are not getting the funding they need to survive they will work in less meaningful ways where their jobs will be replaced by computers and robots soon.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501977)

I like the way you broke it down into supply and demand. I guess that's kind of where I was going but never really broke it down to that point. You're right, the supply is as close to infinite as it can get, confined only by storage limitations. Pretty much renders demand moot, especially in a context where files can be quickly and easily transferred not only in a linear fashion, but in an explosive way as found in p2p technology, where one would not even be getting the file from one single person anymore. I can't say much about traditional bittorrent, but if there's one thing my personal use of btsync to keep my own files synchronized has shown me, it's that the way distribution scales with volunteer hosts is something that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago, when vinyl records were the norm and lossy cassette dubs were routinely accepted by the music industry.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

jez9999 (618189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501981)

Creative Professionals needs to make a living, however the price of their ideas have reached free. So we need to really think of how to reward creative professionals.

Or we need to ask whether our society does indeed owe a living to "creative professionals".

The cost to produce? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502041)

The cost to produce has gotten cheaper

Not quite. The cost to REproduce has come down dramatically. The cost to PRODUCE works in the first place is higher than ever.

That is almost certainly due in part to celebrity stars and their demanding agents, at least in some creative industries. However, it is also because many of the works that are produced today have far greater production values than anything we produced as a society even a few years ago.

I think any case against copyright as a principle (as distinct from abusively distorted copyright in practice) needs to include a plausible alternative model that doesn't throw away all of those valuable works. So far, the most successful experiments in alternative business models have seen only isolated successes, and usually under highly favourable conditions that would not generalise.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502199)

The problem we have now is trying to make personal creativity profitable again.

Profit is not necessary to make people creative. Plenty of people play in garage bands. Others write, and give away, free software. Police arrest people for painting free murals on buildings, proof that people will continue to create even if we actively try to discourage it.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

sycodon (149926) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501889)

I'm trying to think of where our education went wrong to the point that people like you think you should get free stuff just because it's easy to do.

If Ansel Adams were alive today, you would deny him the right to profit from his efforts just because it's easy for you to copy photos.

You don't see anything wrong with that?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502271)

I don't see anything wrong with that. What I do see something wrong with is the idea of criminalizing the distribution of information.

Also note that Ansel Adams also at times had patrons. A traditional and successful means of ensuring continued works from an artist.

I'm trying to think of where our education went wrong to the point where people like you think you can truly own an idea, and that others should be punished for enjoying that idea without cost.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote to Issac McPherson on 13 August 1813, "He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502415)

In the context of the world Ansel Adams lived in yes of course. In the world today and going forward? Maybe not. The way this system works is changing and Ansel Adams today could still charge money for prints of his photographs. Most likely he couldn't make the enormous amount of money he made in the past because once a picture had reached a wide enough level of distribution someone would scan it and let fly a free copy of it. Right, wrong, I'm the one with the wide-format scanner. What could Adams do to offset this? That's what we're figuring out in the present. Who knows where it will end. He's going to be able to make a living tomorrow. It just won't be the kind of living he grew accustomed to when he was alive.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501913)

So how does a creator put food on his or her table if anyone and everyone can copy what as little as one person paid for?

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501995)

Performance fees. Presumably photographers can act our their works through some sort of pantomime.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502177)

It's the creator's job to figure that out, not for me to figure it out for him. Having laws to protect a flawed business model is not something I can justify in such a manner.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

peterwayner (266189) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502431)

Actually, it's society's fault. I could just as easily say, "It's the file sharer's job to figure out how to get material for free. Extending loopholes to protect a sharing model isn't something that we should justify."

Plenty of laws protect business models. The cops stop us from looting stores and I'm happy for that. I like stores. I like to be able to buy food and things I need. Now you might argue that vegetables will just grow on their own. Sprinkle some seeds and then nature does the rest. That's true, but I'm happy to protect the business models, no matter how flawed, if they're providing a service.

Re:Copyright itself is problematic for technology (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502485)

Ah, but you're comparing it to physically taking something. That comparison always rings false to me.

robots.txt (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501311)

Don't want Google to scrape and index your page? I think there is an established procedure for that...

Copyrights (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501323)

It isn't enough to DMCA something. IF you have a copyrighted work, and GOOGLE uses it for commercial purposes, then sue them, and scraping an image (or whatever) to put into a database, which they offer for free, to sell advertising IS commercial use. Sue them. DMCA is just the first step in stopping their usage. SUE THEM for commercial use of your works.

Also, using the tools built into web standards (i.e. "robots.txt") is your friend. IF you post something copyrighted on the internet, it will be "stolen" by someone, somewhere (if it is interesting enough).

bullshit (3, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501377)

tough talk is easy.

reality is you'd need to be paying lawyer $275 or more an hour for about 700 to 1500 hours plus expenses. who here has that kind of income to gamble? I do not.

Re:bullshit (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502275)

If your $275/hour lawyer can't resolve a simple copyright case without spending a year of near full-time work on it, your lawyer isn't worth $275/hour. The essential facts in the case are unlikely to be disputed, so the result is likely to depend on two fundamental questions of law, at least in the US: roughly speaking, can they escape via fair use, and can they escape via the DMCA safe harbor provisions? Even if you litigated it all the way, you should still be done in no more than a few hours of court time + preparation. The situation would be similar in Europe, e.g., considering fair dealing and the EUCD in the UK.

Obviously that might still not be worthwhile if you're talking about a minor case of infringement with little demonstrable actual damage, little expectation of other forms of damages, and a legal system where you wind up paying your own fees even if you win. That's why measures like the DMCA and EUCD provide for lighter weight takedown actions, and put anyone who counters at greater and more explicit risk if they choose to dispute the takedown and litigation follows.

But as you say, tough talk is easy. So is posting random numbers on Slashdot, but it doesn't make a very convincing argument.

(IANAL, if you get legal advice on the Internet you're crazy, etc.)

Re:bullshit (1)

iggymanz (596061) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502313)

those are real numbers for simple copyright case, look it up. Also, simple patent case averages twice to three times as much, again that 's fact.

I have lawyers in family, you however are talking out of your ass

Re:bullshit (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502489)

If you actually had lawyers in your family, and you had learned anything from them, you would know better than to claim things like "those are real numbers for a simple copyright case" without citing that case properly. You would also know that patents and copyright are completely different legal areas, and that "simple patent case" is pretty much an oxymoron.

Another thing that's easy is claiming your personal views are facts while not giving anything verifiable to back them up, but that also doesn't make a very convincing argument.

Re:Copyrights (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501557)

It isn't enough to DMCA something. IF you have a copyrighted work, and GOOGLE uses it for commercial purposes, then sue them, and scraping an image (or whatever) to put into a database, which they offer for free, to sell advertising IS commercial use. Sue them. DMCA is just the first step in stopping their usage. SUE THEM for commercial use of your works.

It's interesting that when "big bad [whoever]" plays fast and loose with copyrights, Slashdot danzians are all over it, but when "poor small little me" walks al over someone's copyright and gets busted, it's a different story. That's right, sue sue sue the big mega-corp for what you expect "small little innocent me" to be able to get away with.

Re:Copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501755)

Bit of a difference between personal vs. commercial interests.

Re: Copyrights (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501879)

DMCA is the last step. If Google removes the content, nobody owes you anything. If you sue them, you'll lose your license to practice law.

Scrape them yourself (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501337)

Scrape them yourself in a semi-automated way, host them somewhere and provide a way to submit a DMCA take-down notice.

Done and done.

How exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501419)

Build a time machine, and go back and kill Hitler.

Done and done. :^)

Re:How exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501749)

sure Hitler was a bad guy, but preventing WWII would mean no baby boomers, so stopping the war would prevent millions from being born.

i for one am not willing to kill someone separated from me be about 70 years and how preventing such a major event would cascade through the timeline in a way that may very well mean many in my generation were never born. (my parents were baby boomers)

Re:How exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502577)

Is preventing someone from existing killing them? If so, you kill people by not copulating with fertile women every possible moment.

There is a way to mark them (3, Funny)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501349)

Put this in a file called robots.txt on the root of your website:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Boom. Your images wont get illegally used by Google. You can send me the money your would have spent on lawyers.

Re:There is a way to mark them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501485)

this works for google and bing but everyone else ignores it

Re:There is a way to mark them (1)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501561)

Re:There is a way to mark them (1)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501655)

Woops, I flipped the 'but' and 'and' in your sentence, totally agree with you now. However most people use Google, Bing or Yahoo so it may not be a large enough problem for people to worry about.

The weird part is that anytime you view those images your computer makes an copy of the image in your cache, in your memory, and on your screen. So are we counting that as making copies? What if the search engine doesn't cache it and sets the image src to your website and uses your bandwidth, would that be a better solution?

Re:There is a way to mark them (2)

Brandano (1192819) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501599)

So why every time a post like this comes up it's Google used as an example? I smell a "sponsored" post.

Re:There is a way to mark them (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502605)

It's probably for the same reason that every time someone makes Jello shots, they're not making gelatin shots. Or needing some Tums, or running out of Kleenex.

Re:There is a way to mark them (-1, Flamebait)

kwoff (516741) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502699)

Tattoo a swastika on your forehead, and I'll stop raping your daughter. You can send me money you would have spent on psychiatrists.

Poorly phrased.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501351)

Fair Use law is unfair to humans. Fair Use as a theory is 100% sound.

The solution is simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501381)

1) Write AI
2) Give it the ability to write a website
3) give it the ability to find content for said website
4) ????
5) Profit
6) Say "it wasn't me, it was the AI" if you get DMCA'd, threatened or sued.

Re:The solution is simple (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502003)

Guns don't kill people, I do.

AI is artificial intelligence. It's a tool just like a shovel, gun, or car.

Not human vs machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501383)

This is not a case of human vs machine. It's a case of traditional book publishing, where photos cannot be auto-delted, vs. web hosting where an item can be removed rather easily.

Re:Not human vs machine (2)

suutar (1860506) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501969)

I'd say this is a case of automation drastically changing the environment. There's a lot of things that are not technically legal but nobody worries about because it's not worth a human's time to track down and prosecute. Traffic violations (speeding, not quite coming to a complete stop), fair use activities (they're still technically infringements, it's just that the copyright holder isn't allowed to sue... or more accurately, that the suit gets dismissed once the activity is declared 'fair use'), picking up dimes off the sidewalk (found money is supposed to get turned in so the owner can claim it), lots of things. Now that machines are able to detect this stuff automatically for cheap, "not worth a human's time" is no longer a protection for activities that most people find to be normal and ethical.

Silly article (1)

maroberts (15852) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501399)

The fair-use algorithms could also honor what the artist wants — for instance, some artists want to be copied. In these cases, a markup language that enumerates just how much the artist wants to encourage fair use could help provide that choice. That way, those who want rampant copying could encourage it while those who want to maintain exclusivity could dial back the limits.

As others have noted, this is exactly what robots.txt does - it tells agregators which part of the lawn they're not allowed to stand on

Re:Silly article (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501835)

The problem is, it doesn't solve the issue at all - infact, it causes a lot of issues along the line.

Robots.txt is an extremely coarse method of control, it's either "yup, come in and do what you want" or it's "go away". There is absolutely no "you can use my content for a search index or non-commercial use, but not commercial use" leeway.

To use your example, it tells the aggregators that they can do what they like on the lawn (but not the drive way, path or porch), up to and including digging chunks of it up, filming a porn film or holding a mass Tea Party rally, or it tells them to get lost. Ether, or - no middle ground.

Also, a lot of companies are taking Robots.txt far far too literally - quite regularly you find people complaining on the Dropbox forums that they are having issues having a third party distribute their pod casts or whatever because that third party is checking the Dropbox Robots.txt and rejecting the URL as a result. Im quite sure that Robots.txt was never meant to prevent such usage, it was more aimed at search engine bots.

There definitely needs to be a permissions set for served content, Robots.txt is nowhere near good enough.

Re:Silly article (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502023)

this is exactly what robots.txt does

For crawling/indexing. It's nothing to do with re-publishing.

Don't fight the machines, use them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501463)

Put the book online with integrated live search results.

Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans? (2)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501527)

No. Copyright is absurd. If copyright wasn't such a total clusterfuck, fair use would not be an issue.

Re:Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans? (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502077)

So whats your answer? Why do you beleave you have a right to anything others make using their own resources. I draw but im not uploading any of my drawing because i dont want them shared or stolen. What your saying is that I dont have the right to claim what i do as my own. Why?

Re:Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans? (1)

gnupun (752725) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502347)

No. Copyright is absurd. If copyright wasn't such a total clusterfuck, fair use would not be an issue.

"Absurd," based on what? Cuz you said so? Copyright allows only temporary ownership of creative work and gives the owner reproduction rights so that he/she is the gatekeeper between printing and distributing works to the public, usually in exchange for payment. That's right, the sole reason copyright exists is so the author/owners of creative works get paid handsomely. The payment is the inducement to create these works.

What is really absurd is, why is copyright limited to only a few decades? Land ownership can last forever, as can business ownership, so does the right to collect taxes from citizens by govt also lasts infinity. So why are creative people robbed off their work and have it distributed in public after a paltry number of years? IMO, it's daylight robbery. Copyright should also be indefinite. The heirs of Mozart, Beethoven, Da Vinci, etc. should be rightfully able to claim a certain percent of income from the work of their ancestors.

Capitalism and money is unfair by default (1, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501535)

The whole idea to charge money is to be inconvenient for someone has to loose something in order to gain a limited resource whether service or a product.

It exists because with finite resources those who really need it are willing to sacrifice to get it. Our brains are wired to be greedy too in order to get ahead by forcing people to give up everything for you means you make more money. Money is a form and way to keep track.

However, realistically this is not a bad thing per say as we would all starve. No farmer is going to get up at 4am and bust his butt for your egg mcmuffin you ate this morning from the goodness of his heart right? No other humans demand he sacrifice to pay his mortgage, bills, and healthcare and you too get breakfast but had to give something up for it as well.

Copyright though is artificial. Unlike food, it is created a limited resource by default so you can sacrifice more of your lives for the few who own it so they can stroke their egos by getting it in the form of money from other people.

Iframe (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501559)

Instead of hosting use an iframe linking to their site. Then they'd have to DMCA themselves since you aren't hosting a thing.

Corporations, not machines (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501673)

I saw what you did there. "The aggregators" that tell you to fill out a form aren't machines, they are corporations.

Nice try though.

-- MarkusQ

DMCA does not protect copying (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501711)

The DMCA protects service providers from being sued if their users post infringing content. It does not protect the user who posts it. If Google or anybody uses a copyrighted image, they are not protected. If someone posts a copyrighted image on G+, or if a copyrighted image shows up in an image search, they have to take it down upon receiving a takedown notice to have the DMCA protection.

Fair use is an entirely different legal argument. There is no clear definition, but it basically means that if you: use small snippets, create a new transformative work, or use copyrighted material in news of commentary, etc you are not liable.

The aithor is confused. (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501737)

The author of TFA is deeply confused - she can't distinguish between pictures used as content (what she wanted to to, and not fair use), and pictures used as links to content (a murky grey area under fair use). Because of her inability to distinguish the difference, she feels unfairly treated.

Re:The aithor is confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502581)

The author also seems to confuse the copyright concept of fair-use, which does not require the owner's permission, with public licenses, which are a blanket grant of permission to everyone. Still, the primary point is that the law should be the same regardless of whether a web page was written by a human or by a machine.

Google isn't publishing a book (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501781)

In your example, the writer is actually copying the photos into his book. That's one thing. Google, OTOH, isn't publishing a book containing copies of the photos. They're creating an index of photos that exist. To make it minimally useful, that index has to include a thumbnail or other depiction of the photo so viewers can tell whether that's the image they were looking for or not (a prerequisite for deciding whether they want to go to where that image is published or not). I'd say that if a writer wanted to do the same thing, publish an index of where all these works were with thumbnails of them, they ought to be able to do it under fair use just like Google does. But producing an art book with full-size high-quality reproductions of the photos wouldn't be producing an index.

Also, Google only creates an index of what the publisher has made publicly available. So what Google reproduces on their pages is by definition something the publisher isn't getting paid for when people just look at it. Google doesn't go behind paywalls or subscription barriers to find things, unless perhaps the publishers have explicitly coded their site to give Google that access for free and in that case IMO it's the publisher's look-out. To me it makes a difference in what's "fair" when you're handing out full-sized copies for free, no strings attached, to anybody who grabs one off the table vs. if they can only get them by coming into your shop and plopping down their money first.

Re:Google isn't publishing a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44501979)

Yeah and the Piratebay is creating an index of files to download. That worked for them!

AC

Re:Google isn't publishing a book (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502059)

But Google's not completely innocent in even that. Clicking the thumbnail shows you a high-res image. They even provide a direct "View Original Image" link that allows you to download someone else's image without even visiting the web page. In fact, they're an enabler to the very author the example gives.

Re:Google isn't publishing a book (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502573)

In your example, the writer is actually copying the photos into his book. That's one thing. Google, OTOH, isn't publishing a book containing copies of the photos. They're creating an index of photos that exist. To make it minimally useful, that index has to include a thumbnail or other depiction of the photo so viewers can tell whether that's the image they were looking for or not (a prerequisite for deciding whether they want to go to where that image is published or not). I'd say that if a writer wanted to do the same thing, publish an index of where all these works were with thumbnails of them, they ought to be able to do it under fair use just like Google does. But producing an art book with full-size high-quality reproductions of the photos wouldn't be producing an index.

Also, Google only creates an index of what the publisher has made publicly available. So what Google reproduces on their pages is by definition something the publisher isn't getting paid for when people just look at it. Google doesn't go behind paywalls or subscription barriers to find things, unless perhaps the publishers have explicitly coded their site to give Google that access for free and in that case IMO it's the publisher's look-out. To me it makes a difference in what's "fair" when you're handing out full-sized copies for free, no strings attached, to anybody who grabs one off the table vs. if they can only get them by coming into your shop and plopping down their money first.

So, based on your reasoning, I should be free to include small images of all of those pictures in my paper printed catalog because like Google, I would simply be creating an index and for it to be useful requires a thumbnail. Of course, there is ample case law specifically against that in printed material, so the real difference then is that if you do it on paper media, it is a copyright violation, but on-line it is not? That doesn't hold water, either, which is why Google says to file a DMCA complaint.

Now, why would they do that? Well, it is a hell of a lot cheaper to use content illegally and make the content holder tell you to take it down than it is to research what images you can use legally. The actual process to remove is pretty inexpensive, however. But, if you print all of those images in a book, the cost to remove infringing ones means you have to pull the book which already has the sunken print costs. Therefore, people research and license content up front.

In short, it has nothing to do with how the photos are being used. Both are using copyrighted content. In Google's case, it is cheaper to remove the infringing content once it is discovered to be infringing. No more or less. But DMCA is only one avenue to have the content removed. If enough content owners were impacted and could show that Google indiscriminately and knowingly took their images (say they took images from the MLB or the NFL), the copyright owners could skip the whole DMCA takedown notice and go straight to the courts for copyright infringement.

That brings it back to the gist of the article, though. For a small guy, whether an individual or even a small corporation, they don't have the wherewithal to take a company like Google to court and Google knows it, so they arrogantly and blatantly violate people's copyrights all the time.

Most laws are unfair to humans (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,14 days | (#44501881)

Humans don't have limited liability protection, can go to jail, can't transfer their lives to another under a different name, can't claim income through a different tax jurisdiction, and aren't immortal.

Re:Most laws are unfair to humans (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502317)

Limited liability corporations are by their very nature subsidies for the wealthy on the assumption that such entities tend to serve the common weal more than often enough. To use the language of Ayn Rand, they exist because of an intrinsically Collectivist moral argument that presumes running roughshod over individual rights can be justified by a plausible appeal to the greater good. I am not advocating for abolition, but we should recognize that a nominally fair playing field between fictional persons and human persons is not going to be genuinely level. Therefore laws that disfavor corporations can easily be more conducive to a true free market than what we have.

No, copyright is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44502249)

This article is definitely backwards.
Commerical copyright is grossly unfair to humans.
Copyright terms are already far to long. We need to reduce copyright terms to months, instead of years, if not to abolish copyright completely.
Those who have abused copyright, to assault humanity, has made the position of copyright holders untenable. Consequently, unless their behaviour shows a substantial improvement, we will have no choice but to eliminate copyright completely.

Nothing new here. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,14 days | (#44502471)

Humans aren't losing out on content to machines. Yes, Google and others scrape content, but they aren't machines. They are corporations owned by other humans. All this article is about is small players not being able to compete against big corporations. That has almost always been the case. The fact that laws like the DMCA make it even harder for small players to compete just aggravate an already imbalanced system.

The middle ages had a feudal system, the modern world has a corporate system. In the middle ages, the king would only listen to those who filled his coffers. The same is true today with the government. Is there any wonder that small players have no voice, when an individual is only allowed to make a $2,600 campaign contribution, but with recent rulings a corporation can spend whatever it wants?

Contrary to popular belief, big corporations like government regulation because the cost to comply forces out smaller competition. Then, once the competition is gone, they lobby against the regulation and their bought and paid for representatives are all but too happy to comply.

Pope Paul VI said "If you want peace, work for justice." If he were alive today, he would probably add "If you want justice, get the money out of politics." Because, until you do, the US will continue to remain a plutocracy, where the wealthy class controls the government and the wealthiest class of all, now that the SCOTUS has determined them as persons under the law, are the mega corporations.

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