Friday, June 7, 2013

7. I give my permission for you to...

I haven't had much time this week to engage with the 23 mobile things topic of photos + apps + maps. This weekend I plan to do a walk around town and take some pics. For now though, seeing as copyright is in my head following on from yesterday's post, I thought I'd have a look at the copyright issues around adding photos to Historypin and WhatWasThere. Here's the discussion question posed on the ANZ 23 mobile things blog:

What happens with the photographs you are uploading to these sites? Do you still own the content? Are there any issues with copyright?

The answers to these questions are available in the terms of service (TOS). These aren't found in the apps themselves, but are easily found on their websites. They are rather long, complex documents although I think some effort (especially in the case of Historypin) has been made to avoid legalese and use common language.

Map symbol-pin
public domain image
It's clear from the TOS that you continue to own any images that you take and upload in regards to both of these apps. But through the act of uploading it (publishing it) you enter into a licensing agreement with the companies that own the apps which basically says that you give them permission to use, modify, reproduce (and so on) your image in a variety of ways. Historypin actually lets you choose the type of license you want to have for your content, which is great! WhatWasThere on the other hand, doesn't. Also Historypin is a non-profit organisation whereas WhatWasThere is not. Just remember, licenses and contracts override copyright law, which is why it's so important to know what you're signing up for when you contribute content to sites like these.

In regards to copyright, the most dangerous thing you can do is upload an image that you didn't take, and for which you don't hold copyright. By uploading it to the site, you are claiming it as your work, so you'd better make sure that's really what it is!

Also, better not modify an image in any way - don't use a photo editor to paint the town hall red and then post it to the site! Not having read the TOS is not a good defence if you've breached copyright...

One annoying thing they tend to say in the TOS is they can change it at anytime, so check back regularly. They really hold all the cards, don't they?