from To be human department
Over these many years, we’ve talked about a myriad of ways individuals and businesses can respond to copyright infringement. The common, and probably most natural, reaction is for these copyright holders to completely freak out, scream about lost sales and “pirates!! 1!”, and then turn to their lawyers. Others take a more nuanced approach. Some video game companies play with pirates by making pirated games unplayable or boring. Others view piracy as a market force that shines a light on where potential customers are underserved. And still others try to actively engage with those who commit offenses in hopes of being seen as human, making a connection, and trying to convert them into paying customers.
Dreamstime, a photo agency, is an example of the last type of strategy. Like other photo agencies of its kind, Dreamstime has a program that scours the Internet for unlicensed uses of its photos. Unlike other agencies, however, the company has a relatively benign response to such illicit uses in most cases.
The Tennesse-based stock market website launched a new infringement tracking tool, dubbed LicenseGuard, earlier this year. But rather than requiring thousands of dollars, it will offer a smoother resolution. If the offender has only infringed once and it’s a real mistake, they can simply delete the image. Dreamstime will offer a “special version” of its regular image license that covers post-use licensing. The company will work to attract offenders as customers and provide training on best practices.
The reason for this approach, according to Dreamstime, is that most violations found are accidental. Examples may include people who purchased themes using stock images, people who don’t understand copyright law, and people who don’t understand the license.
Now, in subsequent statements, Dreamstime has been very clear that it will absolutely take the legal route for repeat offenders and those who are simply unaware of its softer method of reaching out. But as far as middle ground goes, it’s not terrible. First, treat infringers as if they were human beings rather than piracy fiends, show some understanding that copyright law is so counter-intuitive and pretentious at this point that honest mistakes happen, and try to convert them into paying customers. Then, for those who really want to infringe, go legal. Again, not necessarily perfect, but understandable.
And the most important thing is that Dreamstime sees it as a way to attract more customers, rather than being contentious backpacks that piss everyone off.
The company sees these publishers as ideal long-term clients and feels that the current approach, taken by some stock exchanges, is contradictory and scares people away from the industry.
100% true. And maybe being a little more human than the Gettys of the world, a little honey will catch more flies than vinegar.
Filed Under: copyright, application, stock photos