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'10,000' images in National Trust rights controversy

Discussion in 'News - Discussion' started by CSBC, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. zuiko

    zuiko Well-Known Member

    About 10 years ago i took some images of the displays of Rhododendrons at Sheringham Park Norfolk. As a contibutor to Alamy i received a recent e-mail informing me of the fact that about 20 images, mainly of plants will be deleted because it is a NT location.
    A petty measure because after all when i take an image part of the reason is the hope that it would be used to encorouge people to visit that same location.


  2. halftone

    halftone Active Member

    Yes. I'm sick of the slide toward restriction and prohibition of photography, the endless unprincipled exploitation of photographers, the promotion of suspicion in the name of security, and the general Orwellian control-freakery of our society. Even photography in the street is endangered by evolving privacy case law. Now we have Project Argus , 60,000 more jobsworths tasked to harass photographers. There isn't a week goes by without more of this drip-drip erosion.

    So the NT stuff is just one element among very many. It's particularly egregious because here we have a national treasure, whose mission is to safeguard and preserve part of our culture, landscape and heritage. A very big and photogenic part. At the same time it is acting like a bully and vandal toward another part of our culture, photography.

    You don't believe they've rolled their tanks onto your lawn, well that's your prerogative. I think the evidence is there in NT's various actions, contract terms and public and private statements. All I can tell you is that in law, law means what the words say, not what anyone intended. Wishful thinking is no defence.

    Do I have a personal grudge against NT? Not at all. My little anecdote is from 20years ago, and was just to make a point about NT's ingrowing corporate idiocy. I've not had any reason to photograph at NT pay-for sites since, nor do I have any work with Alamy nor any other stock outlet.

    Hobbyists might not care too much about all of this stuff, for them it's a take it or leave it issue. People who have committed to photography, for whom it's a central part of their lives (and I do not mean financially, money isn't an end, it's a means to support a passion for most people), can't help but see which way the wind blows. We don't really have a lot of choice; we either do what we can to stop the rot, or get steamrollered.

    The threats are on every front: changes in IP and privacy law, police excess & propaganda, terrorism legislation, unfair contracts, privatisation of public space. Photography is becoming difficult because so many want to control it to their ends. Unless and until photographers push back, this will continue to worsen.

    http://photorights.org and http://copyrightAction.com are weathervanes, campaigning sites against these encroachments. EPUK itself is. Flickr has photo rights groups. AP itself has a campaign. Pro-Imaging does. Organisations like the NUJ, BPPA, AOP, BAPLA, BPC, every pro and non-pro organisation has concerns that outstrip resources. We are all in different ways reacting to pressures that threaten photography. It's not just me being paranoid.
  3. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Well it's quite evident that you will see what you want to see and nothing I say here will make you change your mind so there's little point in me trying. All I see is a lot of bleating about the erosions of freedoms and rights but no actual evidence of it.
  4. brummie

    brummie Well-Known Member

    I agree whole heartedly with what tony has to say, I think fabs you are being extremely nieve. I suggest you start reading and learning as if it hasn't already hit you it will. tonys version of the picture is far more accurate, fabs you obviously have never been locked in a legal battle with a corporation or the government before or been on the receiving end of jobs worth 's. as some one who has, I can agree with all tony has to say.


  5. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Just because I don't agree with a point of view, doesn't mean I am naive and I would thank you not to make this personal.

    My opinion is taken from the facts in front of me (In this case the Ts & Cs on the NT website) and not from an organisation which has its own political agenda.

    The question here is whether NT do not allow photographs taken on their sites to be used on flick, facebook etc. I stated that I didn't believe this to be the case and I have seen no evidence that it is the case. I also stated that it was my belief that the said Ts & Cs were purely to do with commercial photography. I asked halftone if he had thought about clarifying the matter with the NT and he has declined to comment. This speaks volumes in my opinion.
  6. poldie

    poldie Active Member

    Brummie wrote:
    I read there, and the AP story, and I don't see where the NT is suggesting you can't take photos from public footpaths and other property they do not own.

    However, Amateur Photographer (AP) understands that many of the photos will escape the crackdown as they were captured from a public highway, outside National Trust property boundaries.

    'If the picture was taken from a public highway, including a public footpath, that's absolutely fine and we want those pictures to stay on Alamy,' Capel told AP.

    If you could stop people photographing your property then papparazzi photographers would be out of business.
  7. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    [Devil's Advocate mode]But isn't it equally perfectly valid to see the NT as standing up for their rights against parasites wishing to deprive them of income to protect the things they hold in trust for the nation? Particularly in the case of people who have set up their own picture libraries with confusing names, too?[/Devil's Advocate mode]

    You've changed your tune - part of your case earlier was that the NT's byelaw itself wasn't valid because it wasn't being used for it's intended purpose. In any case, I doubt if any court of law would agree with you on your reading of that byelaw, as the word "any" would seem to clinch it. But surely the reason why they've not tested it in the courts is exactly the same reason why they'll never challenge an amateur in the courts either - £20 plus £2 a day simply isn't worth their while.

    You also seem to have changed your tune about the legality of publication - only last week, you wrote on one of your sites "It has been rumoured that, should the National Trust not adopt more live-and-let-live policies regarding photography, the new library may simply distribute its photographers' work for free in direct competition to the NT Picture Library's fee-licensable stock. Since the photographers' ex-Alamy work could no longer be sold this wouldn't represent any further loss of income. It would also be non-commercial and comply with the restrictions National Trust insists upon, so it is hard to see what they could do about it."
    So, if you don't think the NT could do anything about such a blatant move to cost them income, why are you now attempting to scare amateurs into believing that the NT would stop them showing their pictures on Flickr? I'm sorry, but the two don't stack up in the slightest; why would the NT not actively pursue something costing them revenue, but take on those costing them nothing? But I think the likely answer is hidden just a little further on: "the bizarre situation where pro's are giving away their life's work to undercut rights-grabbed amateur photos being sold at commercial rates". Ah, now there's a reason to put amateurs off the NT - it's surely an attempt by the pros to restrict competition. A bit like what the NT are doing, but it's alright if it's done by photographers for their own benefit, unacceptable if it's done by the NT in the interest of helping to finance the preservation of the nation's heritage...

    But above all, surely the best way to take this up is with the NT themselves, rather than with endless protest websites?
  8. halftone

    halftone Active Member

    What political agenda is what, exactly?

    We are talking about the T&C's I've copied to this thread from the NTPL site for which I gave the direct link. I don't see how that can indicate bias.

    I am not a lawyer, but we need to look at them as a lawyer will, to understand their scope. So I'm waiting for the precise deconstruction that makes them say what you think they do.

    No, that is not the issue. The issue is whether the terms as phrased could be used in such a way. There is a big difference. At no point have I said the NT is acting to force work off social networking or personal sites. It's just that the T&C's are, in my view capable of being used to do so should NT wish to go that direction.

    There is a point here, which is : never accept a contract that you aren't happy with. You have no idea how it may come back to bite you in the future.

    In fact I have some doubt that the NT contract is legally enforceable, but as we have seen with Alamy and countless unrelated instances, threat is enough. Were NT to wave those T&C at Flickr, you'd likely see NT photos removed PDQ. All web services tend to act first and ask questions later. Legit stuff gets pulled from YouTube all the time, as well as infringing material. It's then up to the poster to convince them to reinstate. Guilty til proved innocent is how it works for the users, thanks to fear of lawyers backed by corporate budgets.

    I repeat : NT are <u>NOT</u> taking any action regarding Flickr etc. at present. This conversation is about what precisely the terms say, and their potential for problems should NT decide Flickr or any other service are causing them lost revenue, some time in the future. Photos that you take now at NT pay-for sites will be subject to these terms.

    I have an evolving list of questions for NT but I'll get round to that at my convenience, not yours. Meanwhile you are as able to ask NT to explain their T&C's as I am. It's not my job to do it all for you.
  9. brummie

    brummie Well-Known Member

    "Just because I don't agree with a point of view, doesn't mean I am naive and I would thank you not to make this personal."

    I not making it personal, its just to me it seems you don't get the imprecations of terms, placing images on facebook would fall foul of nt's guidelines because from facebooks terms.

    "By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide licence (with the right to sublicence) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorise sublicences of the foregoing"

    so those mean you would fall foul of nt's terms and open yourself to litigation.

    I deal with ip terms daily, I lecture in ip as well. So I still maintain I support tonys stance, and no I am not making it personal, its based on fact.

    while I do grant that the nt would not go after someone for £20, its not the point, the nt's position has changed, its a now a monopoly and its taking advantage of that, so maybe its position needs to rethought, because for me the coastline is property of the nation not some bullying old quango.


  10. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Oh for crying out loud. So now your saying what COULD happen? Well I'm afraid I'm only interested in what IS. As for what political agenda, I wouldn't have the foggiest but there's definitely one there as there is with all political activists and that's what your particular organisation appears to be.

    As for whether it is your or my job to contact the NT for clarification, well you are the one making the definitive statements so I would suggest it's yours and as far as "in my own time" is concerned, maybe it's something you should have done first before jumping to your own conclusions and signing up to forums to try and brow beat people into your way of thinking.
  11. halftone

    halftone Active Member

    NT is not saying this. They agree you can take photos for sale from public RoW.

    The problem is that the NT request caused Alamy to threaten to delete all the images with NT-site keywords, including many taken from RoW, paid permissions etc. Photographers now have to go through their images, in some cases hundreds or thousands of them, to prove to Alamy that they are legitimate.

    True, but as I say, the photographers have to prove this to Alamy. This is non-trivial to say the least and will often be impossible. How does anyone prove they were standing on a public footpath, not the NT grass next to it? But the inverse is true : if NT can't prove any byelaw offence, where is the case for removing the photo?

    However as I understand it, the deletion date has now come and gone and the images are still online. It's possible Alamy may have wondered if they were perhaps a little too ready to roll over and help a commercial competitor gain a monopoly position. However that's pure surmise, I have no info.
  12. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Well I would have to admit that, not being a facebook user, I was unaware of their Ts & Cs which I have to say are appalling based on your post. As such, I would say that the NT have every right to want to prevent people uploading NT images to Facebook. Flickr's are certainly not in that vein and therefore would not breach The NTs' Ts & Cs.

    So from what I can tell, you still haven't proved any wrong doing on the NT's part.
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The Facebook T&Cs are a whole other story (debated on these very boards) - suffice it to say that they're in the process of changing them, and they won't be like that for much longer.
  14. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Must have missed that thread. Not surprised that they are in the process of changing them.
  15. ermintrude

    ermintrude Hinkypuff

    Theyre already changed, or at least the users have voted on the new edit as opposed to the old standard, although Im not sure if its activated yet, I think its in my trash can... (the complained about perpetual rights thing was removed a few weeks back)
  16. fabs

    fabs Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the update Erm.
  17. ermintrude

    ermintrude Hinkypuff


    2. Sharing Your Content and Information

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how we share your content through your privacy and application settings. In order for us to use certain types of content and provide you with Facebook, you agree to the following:

    2.1 For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).
    2.2 When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
    2.3 We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

    But also note Section 12:

    12. Amendments

    12.1 We can change this Statement so long as we provide you notice through Facebook (unless you opt-out of such notice) and an opportunity to comment.
    12.2 For changes to sections 7, 8, 9, and 11 (sections relating to payments, application developers, website operators, and advertisers), we will give you a minimum of three days notice. For all other changes we will give you a minimum of seven days notice.
    12.3 If more than 7,000 users comment on the proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.
    12.4 We can make changes for legal or administrative reasons upon notice without opportunity to comment.
  18. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    How things change. In 1987 (I remember the date because it was the morning of the great storm) I asked Waddesdon Manor (NT) if I could use the house as a backdrop for a Citroen photoshoot. For those that don't know the house is French chateaux style. So with extras dressed as gendarmes etc we rolled up but the car couldn't make it through the storm and we had to postpone for a few days. This was all accommodated by the powers that were at no cost whatsoever.
  19. halftone

    halftone Active Member

    Let me ask... does NT attempt to prohibit or control the writing of novels, poems, magazine articles or even making paintings of their properties? Why can you sell those without issue? Will a notebook or tape recorder get the warden yelling at you? Do you need to pay for a permit to use a pencil for commercial purposes? Can NT stop an author writing an historical novel or text book about a place they own?

    Behind this is a whole world of wrong-headedness, that photography steals souls and now, apparently, property. It's a legitimate creative act that happens to reflect the reality in front of the camera, just the same as those other activities do.

    Where it causes disruption or trades on the brand value, fees have always been levied, and that's fair enough. But photos of nature taken in woodlands, on clifftops? Criminal offences if you manage to sell them? It's barking mad.

    The tune is consistent : misinterpretation. I'd argue that the heading, 'Hawking' limits the cope of 'any commercial purpose' in the byelaw.

    The misinterpretation of the T&C's is similar. I think it's clear they limit reproduction of any kind and supply to online services, which includes social networking and personal sites.

    The NT hadn't bothered to try and enforce the byelaw for 30 years, so it's possible they won't enforce the T&C's. But the Alamy incident shows that the byelaw has suddenly been invoked to get 18,000 images removed. You'd have to be an optimist to think the T&C's have been expanded for no reason.

    We'd need lawyers and lots of money to reach a definitive conclusion about either of these.

    That was written before the expanded T&C's came to light, and is now incorrect. Since the added terms now prohibit even non-commercial reproduction and supply to any online service, NT could still have a damages claim against people distributing free photos (for lost NTPL sales). This will only apply for photos taken at pay-for-entry sites. They'd be unable to act against photos made on or from open NT locations, since the only possible contraint is the iffy byelaw.

    I'm trying to be clear, but obviously confusing you.

    NT's drive is against commercial uses however they occur. The trouble is the breadth of what they deem commercial, and the gray areas of web 2.0 photography. Much of which is commercial in nature even though it seldom benefits amateurs financially.

    NT have explicitly said that they forbid entry to competitions with a commercial aspect.

    Where you draw the line regarding commercial use on sites such as Flickr is genuinely difficult. Yahoo! runs the service to make money.

    Still, lets assume NT is sensible and tolerates Yahoo! exploitation of 'their' properties. From a user point of view Flickr is largely non-commercial and regardless whether you agree the expanded T&C apply, NT are unlikely to have a purge on all Flickr photos of pay-for NT sites.

    But there is plenty of commercial activity spun off Flickr which NT may well not tolerate, eg Schmap and Getty trawling. Getty especially, who pose an even bigger threat than Alamy.

    Amateurs are even less likely than pro's (who by and large struggle with this stuff anyway) to read and understand complex T&C, they just want to enjoy their hobby. And if someone comes along and offers representation or byelines for commercial use, they'll not look at the small print too closely.

    A fine conspiracy theory, spoiled only by the fact that pro's can't legally sell NT stock according to NT. Why on earth would I/we expend time and energy on the massive campaign of sour grapes you infer?

    The real explanation is simple. We're all photographers, there are no tidy divisions between amateur and pro now. Everyone and his dog wants either to stop us doing photography that they in some way find inconvenient, or to steal any value there is. Divided we fall.

    I agree, but 3 letters will make no odds. The purpose of publicising this is that if enough people feel shoved around to take it up with NT they may listen.
  20. poldie

    poldie Active Member

    I don't know the first thing about Alamy, but I don't think it would do their reputation much good if a large company sourced images from them, only to be sued by NT when a large commercial campaign turns out to contain images NT "own". Does Alamy pay their customers legal bills, or are customers expected to pay once for the images, and again to lawyers to get photos checked out?

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