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Orphaned Works and the Requirement To Preserve Metadata 129

An anonymous reader writes "Orphaned works legislation promises to open older forgotten works to new uses and audiences. Groups like ASMP think it's inevitable. But it comes with the risk of defanging protection for current work when the creator cannot be located. Photographer Mark Meyer wonders if orphaned works legislation also needs language to compel organizations like Facebook to stop their practice of stripping metadata from user content in order to keep new work from becoming orphans to begin with. Should we have laws to make stripping metadata illegal?" The author notes that excessive copyright terms may be to blame; if that's the case why lobby for Orphaned Works legislation? On a related note, Rick Falkvinge asks if we should revisit the purpose of the copyright monopoly.
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Orphaned Works and the Requirement To Preserve Metadata

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  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:24AM (#42177189)

    bring back legal deposit libraries and registration.

    if your work is important to you then register it.

    make it so that there's no exception for works which have been registered.

    If you find a work who's source you can't find then you have to do a search for registered works if you want to use it.
    We have the technology.

    even for images. A searchable database is totally possible and reasonable. A heavily edited or recompressed photo might not match but how often do companies want to use ultra low quality images?

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:35AM (#42177225)

    Should we have laws to make stripping metadata illegal?

    The solution to bad laws is not more bad laws. The reason we got into this mess is because of copyright, and the idea that websites like Facebook have any right whatsoever to your creative rights beyond non-exclusive publication. If you want to set things right, start by making the authorship rights of the individual who made the creative work something that cannot, by any contract or legal instrument, be abridged in any way. Oh, I know, businesses everywhere will be screaming bloody murder: What about our marketing? Our advertising! Oh however will we pay the bills without access to all your personal data! It's easy: Clicking like isn't a creative act. Telling people your likes and dislikes isn't a creative act. Creating metadata based on creative works (like keywords being used in status updates or comments) isn't a problem either -- in fact, the company can happily claim copyright to the resulting database and use it however it wants. And that's what most of the marketing and crap is based on. That's where the money comes from.

    And one more thing: Those rights aren't transferrable or abridgable in any way, nor are they exclusive... but they do expire at the time of your death. No hand me downs for the relatives. No "150 years plus the life of the author" crap. No: Once you're dead, everything you ever said is fair game for the general public. You're the only one that should be allowed to benefit from your own work, and once you're dead, there's no more benefit to be had... so the rest of the world can reproduce your work freely... They just have to give you credit, like always.

    Don't get into this argument about who owns what and derivative works and derivative derivative works and works for hire, and blah blah blah. It's a trap. An Ackbar trap, even. The moment you start to play that game, you lose, because there'll always be another argument, another subtle change, another justification. No. If you want to get a handle on intellectual property, you draw a firm line in the sand and say "This far, no farther." You do not ask for new laws to patch up old ones -- you get rid of the bad laws, strip it down to the bare metal, and then build it up right.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:39AM (#42177245)

    How can you ban people from deleting the meta data.

    +1 retarded.

    Just because you (should) make something illegal doesn't mean that you can enforce it completely.
    Murder is illegal but completely preventing it would create a society that we don't want and we are willing to live with an occasional murder every now and then.

    If stripping of metadata was illegal then it would be hard for large companies to have this process automated or to have an widely know policy about it.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @05:50AM (#42177281)

    Once the term expires NO-ONE can use the material to make a profit.

    Wouldn't be any Hobbit movie.

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:01AM (#42177327)

    Sometimes it's more important what it's a photo of. Not everthing can be replicated.

    If you don't know what photographer took an old photo of one of your dead parents should you have to make yourself a criminal in order to make copies before it can degrade?

    under the current system you do.
    You may not get caught but that's beside the issue. as it stands you could be sued if the photographers grandchildren ever found out that you had made copies for your family members.

    but lets take your approach: if it's that important we can always just dig up the corpse and pay a photographer to make a similar one, or make it ourselves. Easy.

    oh. wait. in the real world your "sollution" is os obviously stupid that I can't believe you didn't realise that it's impractical. you know it's stupid but you parrot it anyway.

    Indeed any photo of anything which can't be reproduced hits the same problem. a dead person. a long gone building. a historic event.

    If you can't find the guys who snapped the photo or figure out who his estate reverted to then you cannot legally make a copy. You can only leave the origional to rot and degrade taking the fine details of whatever it records with it.

    you could ignore the law and make yourself a criminal which is what people already do but any law which makes everyone a criminal is a broken law.

    that's why. it's a broken system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:20AM (#42177407)

    Wow, comparing stripping metadata to murder. Now I really have seen it all.

    Making it illegal to mess with metadata has to be one of the most retarded things I've heard in a while. That's like telling someone they aren't allowed to rename files. If you have data you absolutely cannot live without being in your pictures, either encode a watermark into it or put the damn image somewhere on the picture in a non-compromising location. Modifying your pictures is something people aren't allowed to do because of copyright. Leave it at that please. We don't need anymore absurd laws on the books.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:02AM (#42177589)
    re: Truly, the USA has far bigger problems than excessive copyright protection:
    Yes: unreviewed and unreviewable drone killings of foreign declared terrorists and of US citizens declared terrorists; border patrol run awry throughout the country and deep into the states and highways well past the actual borders; retroactive okaying of warrantless wiretapping of USA citizens; abuse of civil forfeiture law to increase LEO coffers; declaration of "1st amendment zones" (how brave-new-world double-talky is that phrase?) around political activity areas to suppress free speech; TSA at the airports abusing their authority; ICE at the subways/trains/buses and now roving through highways well past their initial bailiwick of the border for immigration and customs enforcement; generals living like corporate royalty and having their suits laid out for them by valets and them being unable to deal with civilian positions like being Director of the CIA.
    There are many many other problems that are more important than copyright, and sadly the citizenry takes those problems just as seriously as they do the abuse of copyright and patent laws: they don't really notice it at all.
  • by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @08:16AM (#42177879)

    The law doesn't have to say "it's illegal to change metadata", just that it's illegal to remove copyright attributions that would result in an erroneous orphan work. Stripping metadata is like removing the name-tag from someone's jacket or computer so that it becomes lost property. You hand it in, and when the owner doesn't claim it within 3 months, it becomes your property. But if you hadn't removed the tag, it would have been easy to reunite it with its owner. Removing identifying marks is dishonest, and potentially fraudulent.

    The BBC is one of the groups supporting "orphan works" legislation in the UK, but the BBC routinely strips meta-data from readers' contributions to the site. Contributors could claim that the BBC misled them, claiming they would retain ownership of their works, but then failed to take insufficient measures to protect the rights that they had promised their readers. That sounds like a lawsuit in the making....

  • by Ankh ( 19084 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @10:13AM (#42178607) Homepage

    Published works are automatically copyrighted in most countries, including the USA, because of ratification of international treaties such as the Berne Convention. The old US-specific requirement of marking something as copyright has long gone. (in other countries requirements varied, but e.g. in most Western countries items published anonymously, or published without explicit marking, get full copyright if the creator's identity becomes known. Just because a photograph is unmarked does not mean you can use it without permission!)

    However, it's true that if you mark something as copyright you may do better in court, particularly in the USA, and that registering copyright, still available in many countries, can help.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!