Copyright/Intellectual Property Question

Participant ,
Aug 03, 2018 Aug 03, 2018

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So, I know this seems to crop up once in a while, but there never seems to be a clear answer...

Quite often my and other's photos get rejected as Copyright Infringement or Intellectual Property Violations. Most of the time these are completely correct and justified. Fair enough right, we'd be angry if someone stole our photos too.

However, what confuses me (and I think other people) is that you can search for the same subject matter in Stock and find the same images listed, and not even as editorial use only. As an example, I found images of Singapore's paper currency (current paper currency) which is absolutely not permitted for commercial use, and probably very strict about what editorial use also. I haven't taken any currency shots ever, so its not like I'm jealous, but I'm curious about why some things like that are allowed, and some aren't? Is it just an error on the review process?

If you download these as a customer, there's no property/model release attached, but obviously it's not Adobe who would get the take-down notice and possible legal action. So how does that work?

My curiosity is also if one of my photos slips under the wire unnoticed as a copyrighted piece of material, then who is culpable for litigation? Adobe? The trained reviewer? The contributor?

I'm just curious is all.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 03, 2018 Aug 03, 2018

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Hi DrSniffy,

You've asked a very pertinent question. There are some images that would otherwise be rejected that are accepted under certain stipulated conditions. Using the currency as an example: "Every country has its own stipulations when depicting currency. Adobe rejects any images containing reproductions of currency where more than 75% of banknotes are visible in the image." Therefore, it's not a case that bank notes are not accepted, but the entire note must not be showing, and at least 25% must not be visible. Architecture/building would also fall in the "foggy" category also.  Property release and protection guidelines for Adobe Stock should give you a clearer understanding of what is required. Known image restrictions will give you a more comprehensive knowledge of what is not accepted, and with other's, what composition is accepted.  To the extent of the strictness and tightness of the reviews, I do not think any get pass the reviewers. However based on the phrase "for your own protection" used in other discussions I've read, it can be interpreted as the contributor would be included for litigation.  I hope your questions, and curiosity was satisfactorily addressed.

Best wishes

JG

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Participant ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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Thanks for the reply!

So, this should or shouldn't exist? Money Asia - Buy this stock photo and explore similar images at Adobe Stock | Adobe Stock or any of that other photographer's currency images? Or as we can only see the front, that's 50%? Also this photographer (and many others) have numerous images of the Supertrees in Singapore, which are in a public park (no ticket required) but obviously they are recognisable landmarks. I also have images like this, albeit with different lights, so not identical, but rejected as intellectual property.

So I can only assume either every Supertree photographer got a release, in which case that release should surely be available to the stock purchaser? Or they somehow got under the wire/missed?

Here's another example. This is Taipei 101 (another similar but different 'lookup' I had rejected, which is listed in Adobe's "Known Restrictions" as only permissible in a cityscape. I wouldn't describe this as a cityscape.. Taipei 101 with white background - Buy this stock photo and explore similar images at Adobe Stock | ...

As you say, I think it's the foggyness and inconsistency that can be frustrating. There's an element of "he's selling photos of X, so why can't I?".

Weirdly, I've had images get rejected at Getty for intellectual property, only to have them accepted at Adobe.. which is a good avenue haha.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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Looking at the building example you highlight, I think that will get through based on this quote from the Property release and protection guidelines for Adobe Stock, "Sometimes you get thrown a curve ball, like the case with the New York Stock Exchange. Only frontal depictions of the NYSE are trademarked, so if you photograph the building from the side, you won’t need a release". I do not identify a trademark on the tower in that link. I'll have to find out some more about those bank notes before I can comment further.

Regards

JG

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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I don't think there is any clear-cut answer- apart from you have to be aware that images sold here are for commercial purposes, so when issues of IP Rights come into effect it can be a minefield. I think Adobe has to be careful what they accept, and if any potential issues arise with IP rights, they er on the side of caution and reject. Better that, than have a lawsuit. One has to be careful of logos and trademarks. This is the main issue and if any image contains either or both of these things, you need a property release.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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There is also the possibility that pictures that got accepted beforehand will not anymore now.Rules may change and accepted pictures may stay.The one looking at your picture needs to decide in seconds if the picture is acceptable. Sometimes I have the impression that there is a kind of examination pyramid. The initial exterminator s not sure about what to decide, so he send the image to the second level, who can send to a third level. I would organize my submission process like that.

Also, if you have local buildings not in the list of buildings to be rejected, how could an exterminator know that? Later, it can be common to reject such pictures.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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Seems plausible it was there beforehand, though that wouldn't me a  much if the photographer got hauled to court. "Ignorance of the law is no defence".

And sure, the reviewer may not know the building, but a general guideline for any photographer is that if the building is post-1990, it probably has a copyright. Though they don't display logos, they are still architectural designs (like our photos are copyright, even without a logo/watermark).

However, one interesting thing I found today was that publicly owned buildings aren't subject to this law. I have a feeling the supertrees are owned by the government, and therefore public property.

So that leads to another question.. if my image was wrongly identified as copyright, how do I explain to a reviewer it is public owned and not subject to copyright laws? It relies on the training again?

Actually Getty don't often outright reject images on copyright if they don't know, they ask for more info before making a decision.. maybe there could be an extra level of check in Adobe Stock if the reviewer doesn't know? E.g. I have a photo in Getty cropped so tight you can't tell what it is, they suspect it's copyright, but put it on hold and asked me to explain where/what it is etc.

Still, I just picked the Supertrees as an example. Taipei 101 Is clearly Taipei 101 and that photo even shows two logos, though you wouldn't know that if you didnt.. but its a shot from the street, not from a ticketed area. I'm sure I could do a search and find plenty of post 1990 architecture in the commercial image stock.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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DrSniffy  wrote

So that leads to another question.. if my image was wrongly identified as copyright, how do I explain to a reviewer it is public owned and not subject to copyright laws? It relies on the training again?

Look here: Re: Modern architecture with unique building structures requires a release

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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The Taipei building has two logos I can see.. those round things are the logo

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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If you're referring to the round things to the right, and left of the building, they are not completely visible.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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but half of a logo is also problematic...

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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Sorry, that was more in reference to an earlier post aboit there being no logos in view on the Taipei 101 photo example

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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However, it's a moot point. The intellectual property of a building has nothing to do with logos in view or not, it's the design of th building. Much like a model doesn't have logos/nametag showing for her/his face to be recognisable.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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From my viewpoint, the holder of the logo is recognizable, not the logo itself. I don't believe the holder should be an issue, except you're suggesting that I cannot place my logo in a round holder because it's already on this building. However, If I were to use this image for my project, except it had to do directly with this building, I'd blot out the small inconspicuous logo in the holder, which take us back to following the regulations set out as closely as possible. My understanding is, if logos are blotted out it's ok. Now if you're looking for an explanation as to why certain images are on the market while we're prohibited to upload similar images, then that's a different story, and that's what I thought this debate was all about.

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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I think this is becoming confused, I'm not suggesting you can't do that at all.

In an earlier post, someone speculated the image was approved because you couldn't see a logo in the photo. My point was that you can (though as you point out it's not clear to someone who doesn't know the building, but is to the owner). The circle is a container, but makes up part of the logo.. here you can see it's a circle with a square inside: https://goo.gl/images/LYX5np this is reflected on all four sides of the Taipei 101 Building.

I never said you can't put logos in circle because Taipei 101 did.. not sure why you think that's what I said lol??

How you use the photo is up to you. It's available for commercial use here. However, if it were me and I was using this image for commercial purposes, Id want to see the property release regardless. As I said, it's nothing to do with the logo, it's about the design of the building that is copyright.

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Participant ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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Here's Taiwan's law on photos of Taipei 101:

Taiwan

The reproduction of this artistic, architectural, or applied artwork, is covered under Taiwan's "Copyright Act" (1992-2016-present), which allows reproduction of works in a public place if the author of the original work is attributed and the reproduction is not solely for the purpose of selling copies.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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I get your point.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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Well, for me, the Taipei 101 building should not be in the stock, except if there is a model release. But as I do not know when and for what reason it has been accepted, I can not say more then this:

Pictures of buildings I want to put in stock get refused on model release issues.

Regards, Abambo
Hard- and Software Engineer and Photographer.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2018 Aug 07, 2018

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Hi DrSniffy,

I went silent for a while to gather some information. Here is what I understand. Fotolia.com apparently was more interested in volume over quality which resulted in a gallery of a huge number of non-licensable image. On acquiring Fotolia.com portfolio, Adobe inherited all these images. It was after Acquiring Fotolia.com that Adobe introduced rules of their own, which varies slightly with some of the laws of some countries; a point that spark several debates. Based on my latest update, there is "a team in place that is going through the entire collection in an effort to remove contents that do not meet Adobe's current criteria". As you might appreciate this will take a very long time based on the volume. My understanding is, a lot of progress is made since, however because of the volume, there is still much more to go through. Therefore we will continue to see these images up until the evaluation process is complete.

As it is now, following the current guidelines as set out by Adobe is the way to go in order to have your images accepted.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

JG

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Participant ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Just when I thought I understood it lol

I uploaded a whole set of images complete with property release.. rejected for intellectual property issue lol. No other logos in shot, just interior of a theatre space.

I'm convinced the reviewers need more training on the copyright and IP side, but with no way of contacting the Adobe staff about it, all I can do is resubmit the images and release again and hope a different person sees it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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The releases should be on file. You can look by clicking on uploaded files, then release to view them. What is the procedure you use to submit the images?

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Participant ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Hey, when you click 'yes' to recognisable property or models, you have to upload or link to an existing release to proceed.

I'll check again, maybe the wording wasn't quite right on the release.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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In which case since you're resubmitting you select "search for an existing release". Before you start uploading again let me take a closer look at what the rejection is about.

In the mean time double check to make sure the releases are properly completed and a copy of the relevant photo is attached to the release before uploading.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Hi DrSniffy,

I am getting the feeling there is something you're overlooking. Can you upload one of the rejected photos to the forum so that we can check to see if there's anything about the images that would cause the rejection?

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