Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts United States Your Rights Online

Removal of Photo Credit Qualifies As DMCA Violation 71

Posted by timothy
from the ripping-off-labels dept.
mattgoldey writes with this excerpt: "A federal appeals court in Philadelphia has reinstated a photographer's copyright lawsuit against a New Jersey radio station owner, after finding that a lower court came to the wrong decision on every issue in the case. Most significantly, the appeals court said that a photo credit printed in the gutter of a magazine qualifies as copyright management information (CMI) under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA prohibits the unauthorized removal of encryption technology or copyright management information from copyrighted works."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Removal of Photo Credit Qualifies As DMCA Violation

Comments Filter:
  • I had a dickhead take one of my photos, cut off the copyright notice and try and pass it off as his own.

    • Copyright law already protects your photo, whether the copyright notice has been cropped or not. This is a stupidly broad application of "copyright management information".
      • by Smallpond (221300)

        also, how is it "Digital" so that the DMCA even applies?

        • by Tharsman (1364603)

          It's illegal if you remove it with Photoshop?

          • by Plekto (1018050) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:20PM (#36547978)

            If you use it for your own personal use (say as a background image on your computer screen), no. Though, few people are that anal to go to such lengths for such a minor thing. If you use it in any commercial way or in any manner that is shown to the public, yes. This is basic copyright 101, folks. You can't show it or make money off of it, directly or indirectly, unless you pay royalties.

            This is exactly like removing the signature from a painting and passing it off as your own work. Of course they got reamed in court over it.

            Lazy employee costs company millions in legal fees. News at 10...

            • by ratboy666 (104074)

              Wrong on a few points. Copyright doesn't mean I can't make money off a work that I don't have Copyright for. In many cases (not all, there are explicit laws preventing this universally) I can rent the Copyrighted material out.

              For example, I could create a "pay-for" library. No copying takes place, and I make money "showing books to the public".

              I can remove the signature from a painting, and then sell it. I can even claim I painted it; that would be plagiarism, but not a copyright violation.

            • by RockDoctor (15477)
              Muddy water (from your phrasing) :

              If you use it in any commercial way or in any manner that is shown to the public, yes.

              So, if I use your photo of ... a flange sprocket ... for my manual on generic flange-sprocketery which is most emphatically only distributed to card-carrying members of the Outer Mongolia Society of Flange Sprocketeers, who have to use their blood sample and DRM equipment to read the manual (this is definitely NOT "the public", in any way, shape or form), then my commercial use of your ph

        • by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:42PM (#36547486) Homepage Journal
          The title of a bill has no legal force. The statute covering such attribution is Title 17, United States Code, section 1202 [copyright.gov], which does not require that "copyright management information" be in digital form as a condition of protection.
        • The photo was digital. The watermark was digital. What part was analog?

          • by MachDelta (704883)

            The photons.
            Sometimes. :P

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by element-o.p. (939033)
            From the TFS: "...the appeals court said that a photo credit printed in the gutter of a magazine [emphasis mine]..." Yes, there are print magazines that are also published in electronic format, but TFS sounds like it was the print version, which TFA corroborates: "After the image appeared in the magazine, someone at WKXW scanned it without permission [emphasis mine, again]..."

            The radio station published it electronically, but the original image was published on paper and scanned by t
            • by Anonymous Coward

              While I agree with your point that it wasn't really digital when it is on paper, I'm pretty sure being in print doesn't evade the DMCA in regards to the CMI (which does not specify it has to be digital). It would be trivially easy to bypass the DMCA if it were, just print and scan again. You have to remember that this just the copyright information, not a copy protection technology.

            • We are in the digital millenium, which some felt required new laws for copyright. The content covered is not necessarily all digital.

              That being said, in this case, once it was scanned, it became digital. And all the prepress on the magazine was probably digital.
            • by grahamm (8844)

              Had they included the Photo Credit information in the (digital) image's metadat, would it still have been a DMCA violation?

          • by pz (113803)

            They scanned a printed version of the photo that appeared in a magazine. The magazine version had a copyright notice with the photographer's name in the gutter (the spaces in between columns or between the content and the edge of the page) that the radio station employees either did not scan or cropped away. There was no digital watermark mentioned in the article.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Unfortunately, the digital is simple the buzz word in the title. The actual law deals with all sorts of copyright issues whether digital or in print.

          • by Smallpond (221300)

            Parse error on my part. It is the Copyright Act for the Digital Millennium, but I guess CADM doesn't sound as memorable.

      • Copyright law already protects your photo, whether the copyright notice has been cropped or not. This is a stupidly broad application of "copyright management information".

        No it isn't. A copyright notice is practically the definition of
        copyright management information

        (1) The title and other information identifying the work, including the information set forth on a notice of copyright.
        (2) The name of, and other identifying information about, the author of a work.
        (3) The name of, and other identifying information about, the copyright owner of the work, including the information set forth in a notice of copyright. ...

        Again, this ruling has absolutely nothing to do with the anti-circumvention or take-down notice sections of the DMCA, so don't apply what you have heard about those part of the law to this ruling.

      • by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:31PM (#36548902)

        I'd rather have the courts stick to the letter of the law and implement congress's bad law then have them try to dance around bad language and end up with a situation that's just as bad and has no clarity. This type of thing SHOULD fall under the DMCA and some high profile people should get stung by it.

      • Copyright law already protects your photo, whether the copyright notice has been cropped or not. This is a stupidly broad application of "copyright management information".

        How so? Do you believe that copyright law 'already' protects "copyright management information" (absent the DMCA and this interpretation)? Or do you believe that removing "copyright management information" like this is not a bad act and does not create any additional harm? I hope neither, because on both counts you're wrong.

        Pre-DMCA co

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        True, but it is also quite expected that attribution printed in the gutter of a magazine should count as copyright information; thus, this decision means 'I didn't know' doesn't fly if the info isn't attached to the actual picture.

    • Does that really require a DMCA violation to enforce?
    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Glad I wasn't the only one who thought that. This is exactly the sort of thing that copyright law should be used to protect!

  • Karma's a bitch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Caerdwyn (829058) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:25PM (#36547288) Journal

    We can all argue about what fair use of copyrighted materials should be, but I think we can also more-or-less agree that deliberately stripping off a creator's name is uncool. Of course, the conduct of the defendants in question (RTFA, they were shock-jock DJs who responded to the photographer's cease-and-desist with a smear campaign chock full o' slander and libel and just-plain-lies) probably made it a lot easier for the judge to apply the bitch-slap to 'em. They deserved it.

    • Now probably isn't the best time to point out that stuff printed in the gutter, in graphic design, is extra filler around the main content that due to registration errors (off-center printing) might not show up... If they took their copyright seriously, they wouldn't put it there.
      • I have an automated script (using Image Magick and a transparent PNG I made) that stamps the copyright at the lower left of the image. Yes, people can still strip off the copyright notice, but it would be a lot harder than a simple crop job. The script also rotates the images if need be and resizes them for posting to the web. This means that the image, even if the copyright notice were stripped somehow, wouldn't be useful for print publication.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What I find jaw-dropping about this story is how all of those lower courts consistently came up with the incorrect ruling on what is a total no-brainer copyright case like this one was.

    • Well...it was a total no-brainer copyright case, yes. But I fail to see how the DMCA should be involved in this one. If the plaintiff sued exclusively on the basis of the DMCA, I can totally see how the lower courts would side with the radio station, since the radio station didn't strip copyright information from a digital image. I could get the DMCA bit, if they removed a watermark or EXIF data from an image they scrounged on the web, but that's not what they did. Rather, they converted an actual, phys
      • I fail to see how the DMCA should be involved in this one. I could get the DMCA bit, if they removed a watermark or EXIF data from an image they scrounged on the web, but that's not what they did. Rather, they converted an actual, physical photograph into an electronic format.

        DMCA is Digital Millennium Copyright Act, not Digital Medium Copyright Act... the medium involved is not at issue. Welcome to the digital millennium.

        • by swalve (1980968)
          HA! People are morons. "I'm a Bears fan, not a Patriots fan, so the PATRIOT act doesn't apply to me! Stupid court system!"
  • Even if the picture in question was released under a Creative Commons Attribution license, you'd still have to include the attribution. If you don't include attribution in the first place you should be expecting to get sued.
    • by pavon (30274) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:16PM (#36547918)

      Yeah unlike the anti-circumvention portion of the DMCA which bans tools just because they could be used for piracy, and thus effectively prevent any fair use of works, the copyright management information [cornell.edu] section seems fairly reasonably. It is entirely focused on removing or falsifying attribution of copyright. I don't know that the section needs to exist; removal of attribution could just be treated as strong evidence of willful infringement, which already carries higher punishment. But it doesn't seem actively harmful.

  • Now Photoshop is a tool that can be used to circumvent CMI restrictions. Of course no court would declare Photoshop illegal. But what reasoning would they use?

    • by ArcadeNut (85398)

      Unlikely because PhotoShop has significant "non-infringing" uses.

      • Unlikely because PhotoShop has significant "non-infringing" uses.

        More to the point, it puts Adobe in a pretty sticky situation. Adobe uses all kinds of DRM and activation on their products, and Photoshop is among the most pirated pieces of software in existence. They rank pretty high up on a list of BSA members when sorted by columns involving dollar signs, so clearly they have a very vested interest in having a DMCA to throw at pirates. They don't (at least not in any high profile cases to my knowledge), but it's certainly a back-pocket play for them, should it ever be

  • Too many comments asking this to reply to them all, and I don't want to explain it more than once.

    The copyrighted image was being hosted without permission on a website. In order to force the site to remove it, one must file a DMCA takedown notice. If the radio station had, for instance, copied the image and had it published in a different magazine without credit (which would not happen because the magazine would have asked for a credit to publish, but go with the example anyway...), DMCA would not apply.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

Working...