Get intellectual about your property rights | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Get intellectual about your property rights

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Some businesses still think they can dominate their customers. A good case in point is the recent Instagram initiative to change the terms of use on the Facebook-owned social network so it could use member's photos and sell them for profit, without any compensation. The response from members was instant, and not a very nice one. Facebook made a fairly quick about face on the issue but they never should have tried it in the first place. 

According to the tracking group AppStats, Instagram lost half its active users since the story first came out and this is still sliding in a non-business friendly direction. Contrary to what online service providers think, users are interested in copyright and don't want someone to unilaterally decide that pictures or videos they take suddenly belong to them. For those in the UK there may not be any choice as the current coalition government wants to grab your stuff off the net and use it for their own commercial purposes, without citizens having any say. This will amount to government-sponsored intellectual property theft.

Justification is made by claiming that photos without any ID assigned is "orphan work" and by removing any international protection for this kind of image they can be commercially exploited. In essence photos from anywhere will be open to the voracious UK government, and photography groups in the US are already preparing to bring cases against the UK if the laws are enacted. Many photo editing products, e.g. Lightroom, allow you to include an owner's tag. The scheme will also have some kind of opt out feature for each photo, which is of course counter-intuitive and like putting "please do not steal" labels on all of your stuff.

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