SOPA And Photography

- - copyright

You have the DMCA so you don’t need SOPA (or PIPA).

Like many have suggested SOPA is like banning cars because bank robbers use them to get away. Overkill basically. And, in the wrong hands, ripe for abuse.

Also, there are some serious problems with the way SOPA is written, as Clay Shirky explains in the video below: It reverses the burdon of proof and doesn’t actually stop you from reaching a website. I think it will cause more problems than it solves.

Buuuuuuuuuut, let’s not kid ourselves here. As much as Hollywood and media conglomerates want to protect their businesses, Google and Facebook want to steal it. Nobody is fighting for your rights. They’re simply deciding who will be in control of the copyrighted material you produce.

This is a very difficult position for photographers to be in. You would like to take down rogue sites plastered with your copyrighted content when they don’t respond to DMCA notices and at the same time media conglomerates are finding ways to undermine your ability to make a living producing copyrighted content. Ultimately, I think it is best to not side with the Media Conglomerates. Their business model is dying. Breaking the internet will not fix it.

There Are 15 Comments On This Article.

  1. I guess the question then becomes, how does copyright exist in a free to copy world?

    Maybe we should go back to the biz model before licensing. Get your money up front and not wory about usage.

    • I agree with Von. We live so far apart- there’s really not a big deal if somebody borrows/copies an idea IMHO. Don’t flame me-I believe almost every idea today is borrowed anyways.

      Conglomerates are greedy and they miss the good ol times when they can throw lavish parties to the envy of the have nots.

      They are not suffering, just because of a few downloads. Screw SOPA. Those who download won’t buy because they can’t afford it not because they’re stingy.

      • It seems to me that SOPA and PIPA are more about distribution than copyright as it pertains to photography. Hollywood and the music biz are losing control of their distribution because of the internet and there is no stopping that trend.

        It is painful to watch these massive production companies clinging on to their old existence. If they were smart they would have started their own internet based streaming services 5 years ago. Tech companies like Apple, Netflix, and Google stole the distribution right out from under the production companies who were too dumb to even realize it.

        This is not to say that photographers wont be caught in the fringes of this conflict, but how, who knows. As photographers we dont really have a distribution problem. We have a client and we deliver to that client. If someone steals the image or copies it, thats another issue all together.

  2. Not siding with the movie conglomerates because their business model is dying is like saying don’t side with photographers because their business model is dying. It’s not about that. SOPA and PIPA are much more powerful than the DMCA, because a DMCA take-down notice will be ignored by a pirate site in China. On the other hand, if a pirate site is taken down by Google, they are out of business (until the figure how to get up and running elsewheere, of course). I agree, though, that in the end this is a money issue for all concerned. As a photographer, the bottom line for me is that the proposed anti-pirating laws make it harder for pirate sites to stay in business. If this means more work for Google and less ad revenue, I can live with that (and I do not believe Google’s statements that they will be put out of business by the proposed laws).

  3. I don’t know about you but I get my work locally- not from someone in China.

    I’ve seen my photographs in Chinese magazines- and I was laughing. Hey-I’m famous in China. But who would I be kidding? They would not have hired me- I’m from Malaysia.

  4. @Efrain Except SOPA/PIPA will have pretty much no effect on a pirate site in china, it would already be in breach of the adsense TOS, as well as paypal I believe so they probably wouldn’t be using any US based revenue service. Now that they have done a u-turn on the DNS blocking a US resident could still go to as normal.

  5. the dying business model is where media conglomerates are the middle men between a content creator and an audience. a monopoly allows you to profit heavily from bringing the two together.

    but, of course, I don’t want the zero profit model or the long tail model where the profits are so thin you can only make one if you bring billions together at once (Facebook and google).

    something inbetween… somehow.

  6. Super Zimmer

    Very interesting times indeed. God, I wish I had a crystal ball and could see how this will all shake out in 10, 15, 25 years. In the end, the piper always has to get payed. But exactly who the piper is and how they are rewarded is, um, uncertain. :(

  7. “SOPA is like banning cars because bank robbers use them to get away. Overkill basically. And, in the wrong hands, ripe for abuse.”

    I agree, SOPA is a joke, but I also believe this is the Film Industries way of obtaining worldwide awareness for the ever growing piracy/sharing (call it what you want) epidemic – something photography organizations have failed to do over the last 50 years. Photographers usage rights have never been taken serious.

    Fact is – the genie is out of the bottle – we’ll just have to find a way to deal with piracy/infringement issues before we all go out of business. My suggestion -stop “sharing” and start charging. Business 101 – you can’t create, give it away and remain in business – for long – fact.

    We survived before this misguided generation of “create then share without compensation” and we will survive the future – some how.

    We don’t need governmental legislation, we need a good spanking from grandma. My two cents.

  8. I am not sure where people get the idea there is not teeth in U.S copyright laws. I think it takes an enforcement organization to use DCMA and other laws to go after sites/thieves/offenders and do what has been done to MegaUpload. The actions taken were done with current laws.
    So why enact something that leaves no recourse for the inaccurately accused? I am all for beating down those like pirate bay, etc. I am just curious has Carolyn Wright chimed in on this. I don’t remember seeing anything of late from her. I will have to look.

  9. Brian Bennett

    Back in the Late 70s and early 80s it was common to see large 6 to 8 foot diameter dishes on the rooftops of houses. With those dishes, you could receive television programs from all over the world. They were expecialy popular in neighborhoods that had no cable providers. But, The local and national cable providers, went to congress and lobbied heavily against that new technology, As they said they were losing costumers, and that local sponcers were not able to reach their costomers through televised advertising. So congress passed laws that allowed tv, signals to be diditaly scrambled, which made those systems nearly obolete.
    We now have to use inferior systems such as DISH or Direct TV. which is not any better than CABLE TV. Which forces us to watch bogus local programing instead of international world wide TV.
    Fortunately the Internet is still Global, and gives me the freedom to search the Web. The Web is a my favorite source of entertainment and also provides me with knowledge. But SOPA and PIPA will take that privelage away!