Friday, 29 March 2013

Logging into websites and wondering why don't people understand licensing

Most of today I was logging into websites.

I use different passwords for each website, as this means that if one website gets hacked, a hacker can't use my password for anything else than that hacked website. It means that I have to keep a written list of all the different sites where I have accounts and the passwords for each site. But in my opinion it is more likely that a site I am registered with would get hacked and my password exposed than it is that someone will break into my house and steal my password list.

I signed up for a service called Lastpass a while back, which is a secure way of storing all your passwords for different sites. I did some checking before signing up, and they have been running for a while, come recommended by others, and there don't seem to be any concerns about the security they use for storing all your passwords.

So yesterday evening I decided to go through my password list, adding each site to my Lastpass account. Once done I won't need to keep looking at my password list whenever I want to log into a site.

Logging into the different sites and then saving the details into lastpass took quite a long time.

Yesterday evening I was reading some photography news about the launch of a new stock agency called Stocksy. The agency was created by the founder of iStockphoto. One of the comments on the news article said that one of iStock's top photographers (in terms of files uploaded and sales), Sean Locke, had been thrown out of iStock and had now joined Stocksy.

I read Sean Locke's blog post about the situation, and it does seem that iStock didn't really have any good reason to terminate his account. However, he does state that he uploaded files to Stocksy while he was still an exclusive contributor with iStock.

Now, this was before Stocksy had launched, and they weren't licensing any photos. However, I think that technically Sean would have broken his exclusive contributor agreement with iStock just by uploading to Stocksy. Although he may not have granted Stocky a licence to sublicense the images he uploaded, he would have had to grant Stocksy a licence to display the photos on their website. And if the iStock agreement states that iStock are the only ones allowed to licence the photos, then he broke that agreement.

Today I was looking at the iStock forums, and there seems to be more misunderstanding of how licensing (and businesses) work on there. I was reading a thread discussing about iStock / Getty licensing a lot of images to Google and allowing google to sublicense these for commercial use at no cost. In that thread the user loooby says:

IMO there are only 2 acceptable scenarios in this ordeal..

 1. Images are removed (unless the artist wants to keep it in there)

 2. Photographers are paid properly for such an extensive license

 Otherwise I would like to see an explanation as to why Getty thought this deal would be beneficial to the photographer?

 If there is no such explanation, then I think at least a sincere apology and a promise that it will never happen again is in order..

and user GavinD says:

This is despite the fact that the photographer owns the copyright. For me, if the photographer requests the removal of the image from iStock, then iStock should request its removal from Google. If Google what monetary compensation then iStock should pay it. It is Getty/iStock who created the mess in the first place.

So they think that once a licence has been granted, you should then be able to revoke it? No-one would ever buy a licence for an image if the licence could then be revoked. Can you imagine, a photographer/agency could license a photo to a large company for prominent use a big advertising campaign. Then once the company has the flyers printed, the billboards up, and TV ad made, all featuring the image, the photographer says I'm revoking your image licence. You must stop using it with immediate effect or you'll be taken to court for copyright infringement. No company or individual would take the risk of this happening.

This is why licences are granted typically for a fixed use, period of time, and are non revocable. The licensee knows what they can use the image for and how long they can use it for. They don't need to worry about the licensor suddenly changing their mind about the licence.

The other thing that annoys me about these posts is loooby's request for an explanation as to why Getty thought the deal would be beneficial for the photographer. As far as I'm aware Getty have never made a statement that they thought the deal would be beneficial for the photographer. Getty is a business, they exist to make money, not benefit photographers. They have a long history of doing things that don't benefit photographers.

(I'm pretty sure I read that in the past they used cheap in-house photographers to take copies of their top selling photos from outside photographers, so they could then get rid of the outside sourced photos and keep 100% of the profit from these new 'replacement' image sales themselves).

In the evening today I 'attended' a webinar about product photography that was pretty good.

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