The other day we wrote a post about the Plus Coalition. Besides being bombarded by emails from someone who would like to remain anonymous and seeing a post on another blog defending it , there was no reaction to it. It wasn’t a big surprise. If you add those who have never heard about it to those who do not understand what it does and how it works, there is not much people left. Sure, there are the few board members, that include some crooks, who could be more vocal about it, but hey, what’s the point ? It is not going to become the standard for licensing anytime soon.
However, one can see the underlying scheme surfacing a little more. After making an exclusive deal with Picscout for image recognition without even asking for bidding from other image matching technologies, it is now encompassing, slowly, the Creative Common. After all, even free is a license, isn’t it ? And Plus will still make money, as it will still charge a fee to access images in its Registry. The question is why would someone bother to attach a license that they are offering for free, but that is another issue.
Now, the CEO of Creative Common is joining Pic scout as a consultant. The strangling triangle is now fully closed. PLUS/Picscout/CreativeCommon. Everywhere you look, you will be forced to deal with one of the three who will certainly refer one to the other. What will professional photography licensors will gain from this ? Not much besides being forced to pay to play by parasite companies.
On the same topic, I had the great surprise to see that in the video/space, Copyright infringement and rights was moving into the right direction. Probably unknown by many people, YouTube, who has been in the forefront of copyright issues, has come up with a very interesting solution. Call Audio ID or Video ID, this service allows for copyright owners to upload their content so that the automated matching system can compare any other upload to that library. The result ? If someone attempts to upload a video, or a audio linked to a video with our proper clearance, Youtube automatically blocks it. The fee ? Free. The result ? Youtube can now safely add advertising to videos without worrying about copyright issues and Copyright owners do not need to monitor Youtube all day long.
If Plus had been a little bit smarter and less greedy, they would have done the same. Instead of forcing users to do a search on a private registry to check for licenses, their database could continually scan the internet. If someone uploads an image to a site without the appropriate license, a red flag would come up. Since the Plus system does not currently handle location of usage, this is currently impossible to do. Furthermore, it would entail that Plus would not make any money, which is also an absolute no no for them. It is too bad, because with a similar system, a user who would try to upload an image for a site without the proper license would immediately and automatically prompted to contact the copyright owner. It would finally make stealing almost impossible and licensing much much easier.
The beauty of such a system is that it would NOT require a central database. Ones image database could easily work as a registry. The image would call back “home” and check for license information.
However, Plus like other registries, coming or already in place, is just another business and another reason to suck up pennies from copyright holders. Sure, there are cost but then, why not create a subscription model instead ?
Needless to say, there is still a long way to make images more intelligent and simplify seller and buyers’ life. In the mean time we will have to cautiously navigate the treacherous waters of scammers and potion sellers.
More on Youtbe content ID here