Bent Out of Shape Over Copyright Thievery?

You should be!

This is a subject  similar to one I  wrote about a few months ago -losing your intellectual property rights by signing them away online. It’s a  different side of the same cube – having your written content, designs, photos, (“stuff”) stolen and used without attribution or remuneration.

It happens all of the time, not in a small way due in part to the internet’s vast and unrestricted frontier atmosphere. That, and some people are

  • unaware of intellectual property rights. or
  • pretty sure no one will ever find out, or
  • thieves

To read a very clear and concise article on this subject, please visit Freelance Switch . A really informative website and well worth a visit.

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Don’t Sign Away Your Intellectual Property Rights

I recently ran across a cool sounding and popular website for content distribution. It’s called Pixelpipe, maybe you’ve heard of it.  You upload “your stuff” to Pixelpipe;from there, on demand, you send whatever is required from “your stuff”  to your blog, your Facebook page, someone’s iPhone, Youtube, whatever. “Your stuff” is stored on their servers, no more “upload to here, email to there, submit to this site”, etc. Sounded good. All free, just a simple sign up.

What the hell, I thought, why don’t I read the Terms And Conditions? They will be handling my intellectual property…how long can it take?

Below is my post to the Photo.net Forum in regards to this issue. The subject was originally about Facebook and Intellectual Property Rights, but I broadened the discussion to other sites. (If you missed the hubbub regarding Facebook, here is a link to the backstory. And where the heck have you been keeping yourself? On a cattle drive in the Australian Outback? ).

There are content distribution sites doing the same thing. And big software companies. Two prime examples are Pixelpipe and Adobe. *

Read Pixelpipe.com ‘s Terms and Conditions here and remember: they aren’t working with vacation photos so compressed they are “garbage”. Pixelpipe is, in their own words “a content distribution gateway that allows users to publish text and upload photos, video and audio files once through Pixelpipe and have the content distributed across over 60 social networks, photo/video sites and blogs, and other online destinations.” **

The CEO of Pixelpipe told me their legal team says the wording in their TAC is necessary in order to redistribute content for people, and that ”  Believe me, we’re not interested in owning your content just publishing and redistributing on your behalf.” I have no doubt that they aren’t looking to steal my stuff, but why should I take a chance like that? And why should they be allowed to retain copies of my Content “indefinitely“?

Adobe recently (2008) changed their TAC for Photoshop Express to do the same thing. Plus they added a bit about deriving revenue from User Content without remuneration. Read it here .

As a matter of fact, I Googled the offensive terms “intellectual property” “terms and conditions” website derivative and many many sites came up. (780,000 hits, most of them sites with Terms such as Pixelpipe and Facebook). Pixelpipe worries me because they deal exclusively in peoples intellectual property. And because I almost registered with them without reading the TAC.

Not all website have these terms, however. WordPress doesn’t, for example. Neither does Shutterchance .

What’s the point of all this? Simple.

Read the Terms and Conditions of any website you want to upload your intellectual property to!

A lot of other folks are concerned about this. BogusArtFair.info , KeepYourCopyrights.com and Magnifisycopathological are just a few.

I feel pretty bent out of shape by this, and hope the next time you see that checkbox next to the sentence I’ve read and agree with SiteX.com’s Terms and Conditions you take the time to actually read them.

*In order to not violate anyone’s Terms of Use, I am providing links to the two companies TAC pages so you can read the troublesome language for yourself.

**©Pixelpipe 2008

I am of a Reasonable Nature

I am so reasonable, in fact, that I offer the use of my photographs for limited or single use projects at a very reasonable fee. I use a sliding scale like many other photographers who license their images, basing the fee on several factors such as

  • for a private party/individual or for a  business?
  • how/where will they be viewed?
  • will there be any media distributed containig my images?
  • will there be vast amounts of wealth resulting from my images?
  • will there be reproduction of my images in another publication?
  • for how long?
  • how will this publication use my images?
  • is this a request for a charitable donation? 
  •  After a flat-fee is negotiated successfully I give the interested party permission the use my copyrighted work for a single purpose, with a time limit if needed. The image is then provided in whatever acceptable format they wish. 

    I’d like to mention a couple of artists who were very helpful to me, giving my photography a boost by seeking the rights to paint from my photographs.

    Continue reading “I am of a Reasonable Nature”