Mar 06

Principles of copyright in images. Don’t copy, right?… Or copy it right.

1. Do’s and don’ts

2. Legal Cases

3. Software solution for Copyright – Image Protection

4. Conclusion on how am I going to protect user’s of my thesis project.

5. Links to Free and Commercial Stock Photography Sites

1. Do’s and don’ts

To Do:

1. If you have used unauthorized images, take them down.
2. The safest approach is to create your own images, or get your images from reputable distributors.
3. Watermark your images. Both visible and invisible watermarking involve “stamping” your image in such a way that it can be identified as your image. Using a combination of the two is a very good way to make sure everyone realizes that you own the rights to your images.
4. Always take notes of were you get the images from.
5. Be aware on which type of license did you paid for when you buy images. The prices change rather if you get a royal free license (with unlimited used which means that you can use it in any application, for as long as you like, in as many different projects as you like. Generally cover a range of popular themes – from business to family) or a rights manages license (available with exclusive rights – so your image doesn’t end up on a competitor’s billboard.
6. Be aware if an image somehow makes it onto your website.
This might sound strange, but on many sites there are areas where people can add sigs or avatars (or something like that) and that area — like SitePoint and every other forum — does not require approval by the owner. Some forums allow attachments to posts, and those attachments are not “blocked until manually approved” either.

Not To Do:

1. No one should be using an image on their website that they are not 100% sure is legally theirs to use.
2. To use small images in low resolution for a thumbnail illegally.
You can get sued. An image is an image whether it is a thumbnail for web or large format high resolution for print, the same copyright, royalty and licensing rules apply, so you wont be able to get away with saying it’s only a small image. Also Getty don’t really differentiate their products for business/non-business/charity use, especially their fixed price images, so you probably wont be able to go this route even if it is a non-business website.
3. Do NOT use images from other sites, even if you’ve paid for a web template or a cheap website, that template or website may not have distribution rights on the images it contains.
4. Don’t assume that if you remove the copyrighted material you will be out of trouble: a lot of people copy images and text around the Internet thinking that in the worst of the cases they will receive a take down notice from the author and remove the material from the website. The removal of the copyrighted material will not remove the copyright infringement at all. Should the author decide to go after you in count you will be in trouble all the same.
5. Don’t copy material just because you can’t find a copyright holder: the fact that a copyright holder can not be identified does not imply that the material can be freely copied. Similarly if you locate the copyright holder, email him asking permission and receive no answer back you would still be infringing the law if you use the material.
6. Don’t copy material just because you are not making a commercial use: while making commercial use of copyrighted material might make it easier for the author to claim damages against you the commercial use per se is not a requirement for copyright infringement. Even if you are not making a commercial use of the material you are still infringing the law if you do not have a permission from the author.
7. Don’t assume that if you credit the author there is no copyright infringement: a lot of people wrongly think that if they credit the author of an article or image they are not violating the copyright law. You can only use copyrighted material if you have explicit permission from the author to do so (or if you make fair use of it, as explained before).

2. Legal Cases

Case 1

Google image search results do not infringe copyright, says German court

Google does not infringe copyright when it displays thumbnail previews of pictures from other people’s websites, the German Federal Supreme Court has ruled.
An artist sued Google in Germany because thumbnail images of her pictures appeared when her name was entered into Google’s search engine. The pictures were taken from her own website.
The Court said that Google’s display of the images was not copyright infringement because the artist had not used a simple technical measure to stop Google indexing her site.
The Federal Court agreed with two lower courts that Google should be allowed to use small versions of the images in its search service. Both lower courts had said that copyright was infringed, but in a way that was justifiable.
The Federal Court ruled, though, that the use of the images was not copyright infringement in the first place because the artist had effectively consented to the use of the images.
The artist had not explicitly authorised the use of her works, but she had not blocked her website from being indexed by search engines, which gave Google the implied permission it needed to use her images.
Search engines ‘crawl’ the web’s sites and make temporary copies of content to improve the performance of their search engines. Site owners can use ‘disallow’ commands in the website’s code to tell search engines not to index some or all of their pages or specific file types. Google’s crawling program, known as ‘Googlebot’, will ignore images if it a site owner has used the ‘disallow’ command for images.
Because this command had not been used on the artist’s site, the Court said that she had effectively made her works available for Google to use.
The Court said that in the case of Google’s search technology the use was sufficiently different to qualify. “A search engine provides social benefit by incorporating an original work into a new work, namely, an electronic reference tool,” said the ruling.
Read more

Case 2

Google image search infringes copyright, says judge

The publisher of adult website and magazine Perfect 10 has won a partial victory in its attempt to prohibit Google from copying and displaying Perfect 10’s copyrighted images in the results pages of its image search tool.
Judge A Howard Matz of the Central District of California ruled that “Google’s creation and public display of ‘thumbnails’ likely do directly infringe copyrights”.
Perfect 10 sued Google in November of 2004, arguing that, under the guise of being a search engine, Google is displaying, free of charge, thousands of copies of the best images from Perfect 10, Playboy, nude scenes from major movies, nude images of supermodels, as well as extremely explicit images of all kinds.
The action, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, followed a copyright ruling in 2002 relating to a search engine that provided miniature images in search results, known as thumbnails, and linked to the original image framed within the search engine’s own site.
On that occasion the court ruled that thumbnails themselves did not infringe copyright because they amounted to “fair use” of the originals.
While Google uses only thumbnails in its search results, the search shows links to sites that use full size versions of the images – in breach of copyright law, says Perfect 10.
Many of these sites make use of Google’s AdSense service, which displays Google adverts, paid for by members of the search engine’s AdWords service. This means that Google is also profiting from third parties’ unauthorised use of Perfect 10’s porn, according to Perfect 10.
The publisher also argues that Google’s thumbnails are of sufficient quality to be used for download onto mobile phones – in competition with a mobile download service licensed from Perfect 10 by the UK’s Fonestarz Media Limited.

Getty Images cases

Getty Images wins £2,000 settlement over unauthorised web use of photo

A removals firm has been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 to photographic agency Getty Images for using a copyright-protected photograph on its website. The company had removed the picture when notified by Getty Images but had not paid a requested fee.
JA Coles, of Manchester and London, used a photograph entitled ‘Mother with daughter (6-8) looking at each other and smiling’ on its website. Getty Images had a contract to market the picture on behalf of its owner, Canadian photographer Larry Williams.
Getty said in its court submission that it had used image tracking technology to detect the unauthorised use of the picture in late 2007. Getty said that it wrote to the company seeking payment for the use of the photograph. The photograph was removed from the site but JA Coles did not reply to Getty Images’ letter or pay the fee requested.
Getty Images sued in the High Court for copyright infringement. That case has now been settled and JA Coles has admitted that it infringed copyright by using the image and has agreed to pay damages.
The company has agreed to pay £1,953.31 in damages and interest over the use of the picture, plus Getty Images’ legal costs.
As well as the commercial rate for the use of the picture, Getty Images had originally claimed compensation for the cost of detecting the infringement; ‘insidious damages’ it said were caused because such use of its images undermines its ability to be paid in full for all its images and exploit the rights it has; and additional damages once it had more information on the full circumstance of the case.
Courts will usually award as damages the normal commercial fee that would have been paid by a company to license the image in the first place in such cases and award additional damages only where a company can show that the breach of copyright was flagrant.
Read More

Getty Images case 2

I was recently hit with a letter writing campaign from Getty Images claiming that I had used one of their copyrighted images. I had not actually used their image, but rather the photographer had put his work up on several sites – one of which was I obtained his image from SXC, but because Getty also had the image – they believe I obtained it from them.
Messy stuff. So now I’m trying to fight of what amounts to extortion from Getty Images. I have since gone back to SXC and printed all of the license agreements of all images I use from their site in case this should ever happen again. I doubt the photographer whose work is in question is even aware of what’s going on. It’s an interesting business strategy, but not one that will win over any fans for Getty, who I will now never even consider using in the future.

What is Gety image doing?

Just a warning to everyone that may be using or has used unauthorized images from Getty.
1. They are making a big sweep of sites and sending out bills when they find one of their images being used without permission.
2. They are charging $1,000 USD per image.
3. They are pursuing the site owners for this money.
4. They are not sending out warnings.
5. They do expect to get paid.
6. If you have unauthorized Getty images, take them down.
If you use an unauthorized image from Getty you will receive a letter from Getty saying:
“We believe and image it is being used without permission or proper license. The following action must be taken immediately:
Either a) provide details of the valid license
b) Take down the image with immediate effect and pay the fees liable of £1754.50. Note these fees would still be payable regardless of taking down the image immediately. ”
They will also send a screenshot of the site.

They do not issue a simple warning to cease and desist, just the standard 21 days to pay up plus Irish VAT, and also an offer of a 10% discount if settled early!

How does GettyImages knows who is using their images illegally?

They use a company called Picscout. Their powerful image recognition tool crawls the web, downloading images and comparing them to images held in the Getty database.
PicScout is leader in image copyright solutions.
PicScout ImageExchange instantly IDs images on the web.
PicScout’s ImageTracker crawls and compares finds more than 600 million online images a month globally, and compares those images against a Rights Managed critical mass database of agency represented images. In a year, PicScout will review audit more than six billion images from the world wide web.

But is not only Getty images using Picsout. They have many clients such as “dreamstime” and “CorbisImages” as shown in the image below. With this acknowledge I would suggest not to use images illegally coming from any of the image stocks shown bellow:

3. Software solution for Copyright – Image Protection

Many photographers and artist would like to able to display their images and prints online without worrying about other people using their images and use them commercially without their permission.
Always remember that:
1. Anything you upload to the Internet can be taken and
2. No method is 100% foolproof.

With this said, I will mention a few methods which offer various levels of protection for the images and content of your web page such us:

a. Watermarking & tables
b. Java & Perl Scripts
c. HTML BODY Attributed.
d. Disable IE6 Image Toolbar
e. Meta tags &robots.txt
f. Pop-Up Image Display
g. Encryption
h. Commercial Programs

a. Watermarking

Both visible and invisible watermarking involve “stamping” your image in such a way that it can be identified as your image. Using a combination of the two is a very good way to make sure everyone realizes that you own the rights to your images.
watermarkVisible watermarks are easy to create in your photo editor. You can either type in the word SAMPLE or © Photographer’s Name on the image itself. Make this large enough so it is readable and not easily “erased” or cropped out of the image.

Invisible watermarks, like those created by Digimarc, are usually available as a plug-in for your photo editor. The watermark, usually a personal Identification Number, are digitally embedded within the image. While these watermarks can be defeated, they offer proof of your ownership if they ever turn up in a publication without your permission.

In some situations, is good to create a roll-over image.

This is a simple mouse-over technique which requires two images the same size. One image is your photo and the other image consists of your photo, which is set to 80% transparency, and the rest is your copyright information. If you right-click on the image, you’ll only be able to grab the rollover image which contains a partially transparent image with a lot of text.

The other method, is placing the photo as the background image in a table.

The table must be set to the same dimensions as the image. Then place a null image (a blank, transparent gif image which is the same size as the photo and the table) within the table. When someone right clicks on this image, all they can grab is the null image. Of course this does not prevent someone from reading your source code and getting the link to the real image. However, it does make them have to work for it. You can also accomplish this same effect by using Cascading Style Sheets. Note: This CSS technique will only work with IE.

b. JavaScripts, Java Applets & Perl Scripts

There are a couple of methods which website designers can employ on their web sites to make it a little harder for the casual “thief” to grab images from web pages. JavaScripts should placed between the tags of your HTML document.
Word of warning: JavaScript will not work if the visitor’s browser is not Java enabled or they have JavaScripting turned off.
The Right-Click script, available in several variations, will create a pop-up alert window which states that the image is copyrighted and you should contact the photographer/artist for more information.

The following script from Dynamic Drive DHTML disables right-clicking when attempting to save an image on this page. The right-click still works for the rest of the page.
Place this script at the end of the page right before the tag.

Note: Many visitors to your site use the right mouse click as a means of navigation. Enabling a script that disables the right-click has the potential of frustrating many visitors.
If you would like to be more specific and only protect certain images on your page, use the following right-click script. Place JavaScript code in the header and call the function within each image tag.

c. HTML Attributes

If you do not want to use JavaScript and pop-up windows, there is an HTML solution that might be a good choice for a photo gallery. In order to disable Right Clicks, Dragging and Selecting for the entire page, add the following to the tag:

d. Disable Internet Explorer 6’s Image Toolbar

In IE 6, whenever your mouse hovers over an image the Image Toolbar pops up. This toolbar will allow you to print or save the image. To prevent this, insert the following between the HEAD tags to disable the Image Toolbar for the entire page.

e. Meta Tags & robots.txt

While you really don’t have a problem with search engines indexing your web sites, you don’t want the images indexed or cached on their servers. By including meta tags within the head tags of your web page and adding robots.txt to the root directory of your web site, you add a little more security to your site.
The content of the Robots meta tag includes to directives: [NO]INDEX and [NO]FOLLOW. The INDEX directive specifies whether a robot should index the page and the FOLLOW directive specifies whether a robot should follow links on the page. If you DO NOT want the robots to either index or follow links on your page, you would include the following between the head tags of your web page:

Since search engines look for a robots.txt file as soon their spiders or bots arrive on your site, we can list the directories that we do not want them to crawl. “robots.txt” is a simple text file, which you can create in Notepad or any text editor. NOTE: The name of the tag and the content are not case sensitive.
The robots.txt file needs to be saved in the root directory of your site where your home page is located. The following robots.txt file bans all search engines from indexing or caching the cgi-bin and images directories. It also prohibits the indexing and caching of all multimedia files from specific image spiders (AltaVista, Ditto, Google & Picsearch).
User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /images/
For more information about meta tags and robots.txt visit Spider Hunter and The Web Robots Pages.

User-agent: vscooter
User-agent: DittoSpyder
User-Agent: Googlebot-Image
User-Agent: psbot
Disallow: /

f. Pop-up Image Display

If you use Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, you can find that there are many free short-cuts or extensions available from Macromedia. One particular script, JustSo Picture Window 3 by E. Michael Brandt is ideal for photographers. The extension creates a JavaScript which calls up a larger image in its own pop-up window. You are also given the option to encrypt the link to the larger image. When viewed, any click will close the popup window. This is not only an easy way to link a thumbnail (or text) to a larger image, it makes it a lot more difficult for someone to grab the image. Highly recommended!

g. Encryption

Encrypting your source code is one way to make it more difficult for someone to find the location of your images. The easiest way to disguise your source code is to use an URL-encoded format (converting all hexadecimal sequences to ASCII characters). Dynamic Drive has a free source code encrypter which you can use to encrypt your source code.

As you can see, it makes the source code a little harder to read. As with any image protection method, this only makes it more difficult for someone to grab your images. It does not actually prevent them from taking an image.

h. Commercial Programs

There are a few commercial scripts available which help prevent people from downloading your images. They do not require any downloads, plug-ins or readers. The following programs are a good, cost-effective solution for image protection. These programs require programming skills.
Digimarc Corporation is a leading innovator and technology provider. They enable intuitive computing by giving media and everyday objects a persistent digital identity that computers and other digital devices can “see, hear, understand and react to.” With the pervasive computing that Digimarc supports, technology becomes more useful, user interfaces are simplified, and consumers, corporations and governments have easier access to content how, when and where they want it.
Protec by Invisitec (requires basic CGI programming skills) – License pricing starts at $49 for up to 125 images.
Secure Image
ArtistScope’s Secure Image with prices starting at $15 is somewhat of a hybrid between scripting and encryption. Secure Image is easy to use. Your images can only be viewed from your website or folder. Secure Image Pro ($85) offers more flexibility. You are able to control various image display properties and batch process several images at once.
Artistscope Image Protection protects images and other content from saving, printing and capturing. A free plug-in viewer is required to display the image in your browser. Images & content can be displayed from any normal web page on any server. With careful setup, CopySafe can help protect all of your web pages including images, text and other page content. Prices start at $400.
With the CopySafe PBV version, ArtistScope’s server hosts your encrypted images. Your images are protected not only from downloading, but also from printing and screen capture. The CopySafe PBV system can be installed to any website that has FrontPage extensions installed. Prices vary according to the number of image/page views you purchase.
Note: While CopySafe offers a great solution to image and content protection, there one feature that really annoys me. Once you have a CopySafe protected image or content displayed in your browser, all of your other Windows programs are disabled.

4. Conclusion

There many ways to protect your images from thefs.
But if someone really wants to take our images, they can. As simple as doing a screenshot will let them take your image even if you use all the protection mechanisms that exist.
But why to make it easy to the them!

How am I going to protect members of the latin creatives proyect?

Definitely I’ll need to use non visual watermarking for protecting my site member’s images.
For visible I won’t use a big watermark on the image, but I will place a ©copyright line at the end of each member’s page and at the footer of the site.
The reason why I am not watermarking the images visually is because it will ruin the image. The idea of the site is to make images to stand up and show the best of the artist and designer, therefore a big visual watermark would be, in these cases, disadvantage.
So I’ll be more focus in non visual watermarking.
The free alternatives (at least at the beginning)
such as :
– create a roll-over image
– Meta Tags & robots.txt option, to prohibits robots the indexing and caching of all multimedia files.
– JavaScripts, Java Applets & Perl Scripts , to display a pop-up alert window which states that the image is copyrighted.
– HTML Attributes (if it is posible to us it together with the javascript one)
– Disable Internet Explorer 6’s Image Toolbar

5. Links to Free and Commercial Stock Photography Sites