YOU authorize The COPYRIGHT REGISTRY to represent INFORMATION, YOU and your CONTENT in collective bargaining for use of CONTENT by third parties and to execute licenses on your behalf for collective uses of CONTENT on terms to be determined by The COPYRIGHT REGISTRY at its sole discretion.Shrouded amidst the nice-sounding concept of helping you with copyright related issues, the C-Registry, which we reported on back in November at PhotoPlus Expo, is the above language, which is, at best, horrible.
There is a significant amount of mis-information on the C-Registry site (here are their legal terms and conditions), which seems to suggest that, in order for you to be protected by copyright, you must "claim your copyright". Let's get one thing perfectly clear - you do NOT need to "claim your copyright" in order to have copyright protection. You DO need to register your copyright with the Library of Congress' Copyright Office in order to have the broadest remedies available to you in the event of an infringement.
(Continued after the Jump)
According to c-registry, photographers who fail to “claim” their copyright at c-registry do so at their own peril. While you should register your copyright, this is alarmist marketing, but it gets worse.
Here are their instructions to infringers who find that a photographer has not “claimed copyright” by registering with c-registry:
1. If an author has not claimed copyright for that work, it is considered “orphaned” at that moment in time.In other words they are telling infringers that they are free to infringe any work that is not registered with c-registry, and they will give them a certificate to prove it.
- In this circumstance, you can and should create a verifiable, trackable report indicating that the work in question was “orphaned” at the time. To create a report, click “Create Certified Report” in the menu on the right side.
They also instruct that photographers can designate a URL on the photographer’s website, and that all photographs uploaded to that particular URL will be registered automatically by c-Registry. This is an extremely dangerous scenario for photographers. If an infringer takes images from a photographer’s website, the photographer is only entitled to a single statutory award, for ALL images infringed, regardless of the number of images that the infringer takes and uses without permission. By encouraging photographers to dump their images onto web pages so that c-registry will automatically register those images, c-registry will cause those photographers to lose one of the primary protections afforded photographers under copyright law.
Further, the c-registry site suggests that there are 3 trillion images online, and then c-registry claims (here) that by registering with c-registry, photographers “will know when and where your content is published on the internet.”
Let's take a wild guess - If they have spidered 2 million images (and that is giving them a HUGE benefit of the doubt), and they assert that there are 3 trillion images out there, that leaves 299,999,998,0000 images that they have not yet checked for infringements and has no reasonable hope of checking. That’s not accounting for dynamic content and the requirement that they re-spider sites. And yet they claim to be capable of informing photographers “when and where your content appears on the internet.”
Further, throughout the site, they refer to the “orphan works act” as if it exists as law, rather than referring to the failed “bill”.
In a January 23, 2009 e-mail, ASMP endorsed the product, noting
"As promised last week, there are new membership benefits that ASMP has negotiated on your behalf", and then amidst the other 3 benefits they list, they advise ASMP members - "...the service could benefit you in two ways. First, it can help new clients find you from your images. Besides just being good business, this could become a useful defense against your online images being treated as orphans, if (or when) an Orphan Works law is passed. Second, it’s can help you find any unlicensed users so that you can encourage them to obtain a license."I strongly encourage ASMP to reconsider their endorsement of this service. Just last week, C-Registry used the ASMP name in a press release (here) touting it as a benefit, when, the APA noted in an APA Alert just yesterday, they are "concerned that this is an attempt to seed StockPhotoFinder.com with images for its stock business.", since StockPhotoFinder.com is the owner of the c-registry. Further, in the APA Alert, they cite this misleading statement:
"If an author has not claimed copyright for that work and is unknown by any other means, it could be considered "orphaned" at that moment in time. In this circumstance, you can and should create a verifiable, trackable report indicating that the work in question was "unclaimed in The Copyright Registry" at the time. To create a report, click "Create Certified Report" in the menu on the right side."This is only the beginning of the scare tactics that commercial registries will employ to scare you regarding your copyright to your works. Yes, copyright is important, and yes, Orphan Works legislation is coming and is a threat to your creative works, but this, as they say, "if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then, it's a duck." This looks to be a scare-tactic ploy to get your images into StockPhotoFinder.com, among other things.
Further, here, C-Registry claims to have “relationships with the most prestigious trade associations that are proponents of copyright”, and here, C-registry lists APA among trade associations during registration, in the drop down menu at the top, and since APA has not only not endorsed them, they have come out with a red flag APA Alert, and this is positioned to possibly imply that those trade associations may endorse c-registry, This raises the question - how many on that list have endorsed them? How many don't know their name is being used here?
Be careful, and beware.
*** UPDATE ***
Well, it seems some fancy editing has taken place over at c-registry.us. A few examples of the edits:
CREDIT OF ORPHANED WORK
If the CONTENT is an Orphaned Work used editorially, use or publication should bear a credit line that indicates the source of the CONTENT.
Changed in the last day or so to:
CREDIT OF A WORK OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN
If the CONTENT is A Work Of Unknown Origin used editorially, use or publication should bear a credit line that indicates the creator name if reasonably known or source of the CONTENT if reasonably known
The entire paragraph:
YOU authorize The COPYRIGHT REGISTRY to represent INFORMATION, YOU and your CONTENT in collective bargaining for use of CONTENT by third parties and to execute licenses on your behalf for collective uses of CONTENT on terms to be determined by The COPYRIGHT REGISTRY at its sole discretion.
That paragraph above has been removed. Interested to know how we know this? Ahh - the beauty of the GOOGLE cache! Try searching for this:
Several entries down, you'll see the URL that ends "=47", and instead of clicking the link, click the "cached" link, and there it is. You might try clicking this link to take you to the cached entry, if Google didn't expire the cache link. Then compare it to this link, of the currently displayed page.
This is looking more and more nefarious. I wonder what else they have switched out.
Further, did anyone bother to check the Network Solutions "whois" database, to learn that StockPhotoFinder.com happens to ALSO own c-registry.com? (information here).
A hidden plan or agenda? the plot thickens.....
- Photo Business News - C-Registry - The Discourse Continues, 3/28/09
- Photo Business News - What the....? C-Registry = Con Registry?, 3/24/09
- Photo District News - APA vs. ASMP Smackdown Over Copyright Registry, 3/27/09
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