Getty Images to move toward a royalty-free business model, dropping the current “rights-managed” licensing

The reason for the choice is obvious: why people should pay for something that is available for free (on either Unsplash or other online resources)?

The answer is: people won’t because “stock photos” are meant to be “burners”, a quick way to illustrate a presentation, a blog post or a column with no actual intrinsic value.

I just need a picture of a man in powersuit doing business. If the image is good enough, why should I pay for something “more”?

True, photography is now an ubiquitous activity and what previously was a niche job, now is practiced by almost everybody on Earth. But that’s not a bad thing, as it raises the stake for photographers compelling them to produce better and better images.

Getty Images business model’s change is a way to get photography and photographer back to their original place: only great photography deserve to be “respected” and “paid”.

The rest, is just for stock services…

Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?

The news is not exactly fresh, but has been recently bounced again: Adobe’s Project About Face should make Photoshop able to detect human face editing and revert the image to its pristine condition.

As Adobe states on its website,

This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations. Past Adobe research focused on image manipulation detection from splicing, cloning, and removal, whereas this effort focuses on the Face Aware Liquify feature in Photoshop because it’s popular for adjusting facial features, including making adjustments to facial expressions. The feature’s effects can be delicate which made it an intriguing test case for detecting both drastic and subtle alterations to faces.

The first reaction would be something along “who cares? There are plenty of tools to create my deep fakes, so… screw Adobe!” But that would be a rather dull conclusion, as by developing these technologies (assumed that they work properly) Adobe is creating a (big and wide) market niche. Continue reading “Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?”

Danny Monzeroll, Youtube and Copyright

Every now and then – thank to Youtube – I discover some mind-blowing musician I didn’t know about as it just happened with Canadian, Montreal based artist Danny Monzeroll.

His Pink Floyd songs arrangement for solo classical guitar is nothing but brilliant in terms of composition, execution and recording and – yes – it is freely available on Youtube. While, then, it would have been easy to “forget” about author’s right to be compensated for his work I decided to buy the album as a way to thank Mr. Monzeroll for his masterpiece. Continue reading “Danny Monzeroll, Youtube and Copyright”

The Netflix-NeonGenesis Evangelion case – Moral Right of Author and limits to dialogues adaptation

The apparently marginal case of the removal from Netflix Italia of the poor adaptation of NeonGenesis Evangelion’s dialogue,s poses, in reality, a serious problem of moral Right of Author: that of the mutilation of the creative work.

Fact: Netflix commissions the rewriting of the dialogues of the Italian version of a very famous Japanese animation series: NeonGenesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン). The dialogist – this is the professional figure who carries out this task – delivered such a poor result – in the audience’s perception – that Netflix decided to suspend the publication of the series waiting to repair the damage. Continue reading “The Netflix-NeonGenesis Evangelion case – Moral Right of Author and limits to dialogues adaptation”

Copyright on Information. A Dangerous Path

In its “Re-use of Public Sector information” website section, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner writes verbatim

All of the information featured on our website is the copyright of the Data Protection Commission unless otherwise indicated. You may re-use the information on this website free of charge in any format.

At first sight this statement might looks innocuous, but actually it carries a blatant mistake that will turns into a dangerous trend: imposing copyright on information.

In the EU, Copyright – better, the Right of Author – grants legal protection to the way an idea is creatively put in writing or in whatever way can be perceived by a human beings. In other words, this Shakespear’s quote from Hamlet’s Act II, Scene II

Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.

is protected by the Right of Auhtor because of the “how” (creative form) rather than of the “what” (raw information). 1

Therefore, the statement of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner is a wrong enforcement of the Right of Author prerogatives.

But why is it dangerous too?

The talk I did at the 2004 Licensing Executive Society of Britain and Ireland Annual Conference, lately edited in a paper published by Ciberspazio e Diritto (English version available here) explains what is at stake:

The impossibility of securing patents did not stop the attempts to establish some sort of “ownership” on the genetic information, and alternative ways have been sought. As far back as 1987, Walter Gilbert, one of the pioneers in bioinformatics research, declared to the Washington Post: “I don’t believe in the patentability of the genome. What we are actually interested in is securing copyrights on the sequences. This means that if someone wishes to read the code, they will have to pay us to get access. Our goal is to make the information available to everyone. Provided they pay a price.

Imposing “copyright” over information, then, is not only wrong because there is no creativity on raw data. Is dangerous because it is a way to deprive people of their right to knowledge (right to science) and to be informed (free speech)

 

  1. Of course Hamlet is in the public domain regime, but the moral Right of Author still stands