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RE: filmscanners: Digital Copyright

>I'm told by those who have that virtually all infringers will
>gladly pay your triple licensing fee in accordance with ASMP and EP
>practice rather than chance a suit over a registered image.

This statement is slightly over-optimistic and a little lacking in

First, it probably is truer of legitimate established picture buyers, who
would probably pay the licensing fees anyway, than the average man on the
street or the causal image buyer who is running a personal home office
operation.  The latter do not understand, like, or support copyright rights
and reject notions of having to pay to use things on the web, for starters;
they also are willing to play the odds against getting caught since they
often are engaging in relatively small and narrowly focused distribution of
the used images.  Moreover, they often count on the costs in time and effort
as well as the monetary expenses of the copyright owner undertaking
proceedings against them legally to dissuade any such action from being
taken against them since they recognize that they are little fish and that,
despite any court's orders, you cannot get more money from someone than they
have - they also may be protected from personal penalties if they formed a
corporation and acted under the cloak of that corporation.

Second, it is up to the copyright owner to be vigilant in protecting his or
her copyright, which means that you would have to be spending a lot of time
and effort keeping track of your images and their potential and actual uses
in the marketplace in order to be able to bring any action against an
infringer.  This is often more trouble than it is worth; and most infringers
know that.  Furthermore, they also know the speed of the courts in hearing
and acting on cases, which is extraordinarily slow and tedious.  Thus, they
are prone to count on the copyright owner not pursuing the case to a legal
conclusion but - at worst - settling out of court for pennies on a dollar of
what they might have obtained if they had gotten the license fees or the
legal penalty had been levied.

Like locks, copyright notices and the like are basically only for the honest
and should not in and of themselves be regarded as practical protection
against deliberate infringements - actual or potential.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
[mailto:owner-filmscanners@halftone.co.uk]On Behalf Of Stan McQueen
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2001 11:32 AM
To: filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
Subject: Re: filmscanners: Digital Copyright

At 12:07 AM 7/22/2001 +1000, Rob Geraghty wrote:
>I note there's been some discussion of copyright lately.  I just uploaded a
>stack of new pictures to my website, and it's taken quite a while to
>them all.  On the larger images I've put "(c) Rob Geraghty 2001" where the
>(c) is the proper copyright symbol.  I've also marked each picture using
>Digimarc watermarking, which is built into Paintshop Pro.  The watermarking
>works OK on larger images (like 1024x768) but makes smaller images
>really poor.  It makes the images look like they've used a higher level of
>compression than they have.  I guess 320x200 is so small that nobody could
>do much with it, but it's also too small to put the text copyright message
>Has anyone else tried this sort of thing?  If you want to see what the
>images look like they're on http://wordweb.com and click on the Stories
>in the index at the top, then the link to the story about Airlie Beach.
>They've all been scanned using a Nikon LS30 scanner with Vuescan.  This is
>the argumentative film which Vuescan's dust and scratch filtering doesn't
>seem to work on.
>I'd be interested to hear the comments of others on the subject of
>copyrighting images for web publication.

I do something similar on my website ( http://www.smcqueen.com ). I wrote a
Perl script that takes the original TIFF file, plus a text file with info
for the database, and produces two JPEGs--one for a thumbnail and a larger
one to display when someone clicks on the thumbnail. Both images are
produced in 72ppi density. The larger one has some framing that contains a
copyright notice. The thumbnail doesn't, because as you've noted, there
really isn't room. Although I use PSP, also I don't bother with the
Digimarc watermarking, because it is not that hard to break (or so I've
been told) and I think degrades the image somewhat. With small (200x200 or
400x400) images at 72ppi I'm not too worried about someone stealing the
image and producing a magazine spread or calendar layout. In addition to
the copyright notice on the larger image, there is a copyright notice on
the entire site noting that all images are copyrighted by me unless
otherwise marked. (For example, I have a picture of me taking a picture on
the front page. That photo was taken by friend and fellow photographer Gary
Hall. I have his copyright notice on it and a link to his website.)
Finally, I register all my images with the copyright office by periodically
sending a CD containing JPEGs to them. This allows me to recover actual
plus punitive damages plus attorney's fees in the event of infringement
(more than $100,000). This is really important, because without
registration you can only recover actual damages, which are like to be
fairly small--just the income you lost by the perpetrator stealing your
photo rather than licensing it from you. I haven't experienced infringement
yet, but I'm told by those who have that virtually all infringers will
gladly pay your triple licensing fee in accordance with ASMP and EP
practice rather than chance a suit over a registered image.

Photography by Stan McQueen: http://www.smcqueen.com


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