5 February 2017

SWPE Writers: Respect the Copyright Laws.

SWPE is a Socialist organisation.  We campaign for a better society for the people of our country.  In a Socialist country, the basics of life are taken over by the State in order to free up the people to explore their potential.  Allocated housing which is not 'adequate' but is enough for a family to live comfortably, removes the stress of finding money to pay rent or to pay a mortgage.  The vision of SWPE is for every family in the coming Federal Socialist Republic of England and Cymru, to have a home where there is room to live and which has land enough to allow for self-sufficiency in food, with the voluntary sharing of produce with neighbours in the local community allowing for a wide variety of available food stuffs.  In addition, we envision the inclusion of workshops for every home, to allow every family to engage in productive activity for the purpose of boosting self esteem and enriching the culture of the entire nation at local level.

With this aim for the end of drudgery and the expansion of productive leisure, the individual and the family unit will be able to contribute to the culture of society.  This may be in the creation of works of art (painted, drawn, sculpted or otherwise made), or in the creation of music and dance, or in the use of the workshops as places of light industry, cuisine, or whatever the family concerned wish to use the workshop for.  Socialism isn't a system of servitude.  Unlike Capitalism, the ethos of Socialism is freedom from the spiritual and cultural poverty which is a part of material poverty.

The articles on this site are contributed by various writers.  Some people prefer to be named, others to remain anonymous.  That is for each writer to decide for himself or herself.  The published work is not always thoroughly scanned to make sure that copyright laws are respected, and this has not generally been a problem.  However, the inclusion of a single copyrighted image which the owner has not given explicit permission for us to use, can lead to costs being incurred.  When the writer does not pay for what she or he has misused, the responsibility goes to the organisation as a whole, leaving comrades to pay for the oversight of an individual who cannot pay the costs herself, or himself. SWPE writers do not tend to get into this mess, and only a comrade of poor calibre (worthy of fast becoming an ex-comrade!) would willingly allow for a fellow comrade to foot the bill for her mistake, or his.

Isn't Copyright a form of ownership and of control?  In some instances yes, but in the case of the protection of the property of the creators of work of cultural value, copyright has to be seen as a means for allowing the work of the individual to be widely seen, without impacting upon the earned income of the individual.  The anarchist, Proudhon, argued that property is theft. Proudhon's slogan has become popular with bourgeois elements who do not understand that Proudhon was speaking of the land for the production of unearned wealth through sale and leasing.  Proudhon didn't mean that the individual has no right to his or her own possessions.  SWPE is Socialist, not anarchist, so there is no contradiction in the desire for the maximum possible freedom alongside the total respect for the individual to have safety in the knowledge that his or her own possessions are exclusively his or hers.

With the specific issue of Copyright theft in regards to imagery obtained online, the following is a post (used with permission!) from the website of photojournalist, Lynda Bowyer:

Preserving the integrity of one's photographic work is something that I, along with countless other photographers, take seriously.  Very seriously.  Which is why this article caught my eye on PetaPixel today.
Rather than post a long piece about how much photography theft and copyright breach annoys me more than finding there's only one square of toilet tissue left on the roll, I'll leave it in the very capable hands of Cheri Frost from PetaPixel, who sums it up rather brilliantly here.
Lynda Bowyer Photography's work is digitally and in some cases visually watermarked to preserve copyright.  Thinking of using professional photographer's images without permission?  You might want to reconsider that...

The following is a letter from Lynda Bowyer to SWPE, which all of our current and potential contributers should read.  Lynda's livelihood is her work, and it would be anti-Socialist to steal the product of her honest labour.  Thank you again to Lynda for giving permission for the use of the above post and the following letter to help SWPE members and supporters to keep the importance of respecting the means of earned income of others.  We must not fall into the trap of attacking all forms of ownership with a brash disregard for the impact upon the well being of others, or the repercussions against ourselves should we become so arrogant or lazy that we behave in a manner unbecoming to the principles of Socialism.

For anyone using images either online or in print, there is a process of due diligence to ensure that the image is copyright free.  Most often, with either a reverse Google image search or using a free app called TinEye, you can check other instances of usage of the image.  The chances are, even if only a press syndication name is used in the attribution and not the name of the photographer as well, it'll be copyrighted.  You run the risk of both the agency AND the photojournalist coming after you.  Add court costs to it, and it gets rather messy - and costly.

I always advocate this to people - if they are ever in doubt, try to obtain your own images.  If you know you are going to run an article or a blog post on a specific matter, try to attend similar events and garner your own library so you are free to do whatever you wish with your own images.  Let's take the Donald Trump saga at present - a very political hot potato in terms of subject matter and, with the many demonstrations taking place at the moment in various cities around the UK, it'd be easy to click a few photos of your own doing.

Copyright infringement is a huge issue for today's working photojournalists, and costs many thousands in lost revenue, in addition to the further risk of infringed images then being further orphaned in the marketplace (people who, perhaps, saw your blog post would then lift the image of mine and re-purpose it for their own particular ends, or make a meme out of it).  It creates ever-increasing circles of infringement.

On the other hand, if sending someone out with a camera or smartphone to take photos of protests, demonstrations, social unrest etc is deemed too risky (or time consuming), then if all else fails - approach the relevant photojournalist whose photo you've taken a shine to.  Send them an email and ask permission to use it, stating clearly who you are, what you're about etc etc.  The chances are, if they are personally or politically sympathetic to your cause or mission then they may offer you use at a reduced rate.  If you're really lucky - they might offer you use of the image for free.  We don't bite, us press types.  We just like to preserve the integrity of our work - and it's value.

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