Monday, September 25, 2023

Editor’s Message: We Need To Talk About Intellectual Property

Intellectual property means that when someone creates something it is their property, it belongs to them.  This can be art, music, film, but also includes photographs and all forms of writing in all spaces.  A creator automatically holds copyright of their creation. This is law.

At Nailed we do not claim anyone’s copyright.   Everyone who submits, photographs or writes for Nailed retains their own copyright, unless they donate it to Nailed, which is only common for board members. That work is used in perpetuity on this site, because the articles remain, but each individual can use and sell it elsewhere too. We will facilitate, but do not sell the rights to their hard work and skill as Nailed’s.  No change is intended to this policy.  This is highly unusual for any media outlet, but we strongly support the right of all creators to keep the rights to their work, especially in our beautifully creative and skilled home of Belper.  We want to bring us all together, not exploit each other.

So it is with some horror that we are seeing a sudden trend of thinking that Nailed work belongs to everyone in Belper and that people can just take it and use it.

In recent weeks the work of several Nailed writers and photographers has appeared in other places, for uses which they did not authorise, with their names, and Nailed, stripped from the work.  This is outrageous, and illegal.

Local groups often ask if they can use photographs which we have taken.  In each instance we talk to the individual photographer to see if they approve the additional free use of their work.  There hasn’t yet been an instance where any individual creator has refused to help a helpful group.  That use is ALWAYS conditional upon crediting the photographer, and if the photograph was specifically taken for Nailed coverage, or we take time to arrange the use of it, “Nailed: Belper Independent News” must be credited too.  But nobody can take them, and credit us, and think that that is fine either.  There has to be an agreement made.

Some incidents have been accidental, through not knowing that they couldn’t take our work, and those issues, with honest people, have been resolved.  Others have merely been deleted without apology, or they have blocked us from addressing their plagiarism in direct defiance of the law.  We screenshot all offences. Some people have been outraged that we would want to control our content ourselves.  The idea being that if it is about Belper, or is important, it belongs to everyone.  That is not at all the case.  Of course the things we cover are important to either some or all of the people here, but it is still the time, skill and work of an individual regardless of topic.  All news has importance, but you don’t steal a National Geographic shot for your promo – the only difference there is fame and fear.

What is being stolen is an individual’s work, time, skill, property, and the value of the work (which decreases with every public use).  In the case of the wording of our news, all of that still applies, but the taker is also stealing Nailed’s audience, and advertising revenue, as well as steering people away from important updates (eg. real time flood safety information).

We are a team of honest hardworking Belper people, not a mass media propagandist.  Our annual revenue from unobtrusive advertising and subscriptions/donations is usually a few hundred pounds, which covers the running costs of the website and our regulator fees.  The editors have covered the electricity, the equipment, the internet fees, and the time personally.  We do however have 2 memberships of bodies who will help with legal issues.

If you want to share the content of an important update, there is always a link on social media to do so.  You may not copy it and distribute it outside of those links.  There are no circumstances which render copyright void. The only time that anything can be used without permission is, ironically, for news, or satire – this is called “fair use”.  This still doesn’t allow for plagiarism and theft of photographs.  If you reported on Nailed, you could use our logo and quote us, with credit, but not our work.  If you wanted to satirise a public figure, you would have to find a free photograph of them, or the topic, but you couldn’t take one from our photographers (this is one of the thefts referenced).

Nobody who works on Nailed is rich and deserving of exploitation.  We are all volunteers, but mostly experienced skilled volunteers donating our existing skillset, the same skills by which we earn our meagre livings.  Our skills are all we have and we give them to Belper for free, sometimes at great personal expense.  The fact that the work is desired for other uses illustrates its value.

Although Nailed does not retain copyright beyond our stock and donated photos, we will act to defend the copyrights of our team members and contributors.

We aren’t horrible people.  If we were we wouldn’t give immense amounts of time and the products of our skills to help the town we adore.  We don’t deserve this stunning disregard.  Much of the work that has been taken took a huge amount of time to work on, costing those who worked on it a great deal, due to choosing to focus on Belper’s needs instead of profit making work. But despite our love for our home, these are our crafts that are being taken and used, in some cases for purposes that we don’t approve of at all (attacking people), and in all cases, without the credit due, or the common courtesy of asking to use the work that is desired.

Nobody would do this to an artist.  You wouldn’t think, “Oh that painting is exactly what I want.  It’s of my street, so that belongs to me just as much as the painter who spent years learning how to make that, and days or weeks doing it” and then steal it and put it up in your house and say it’s your work.  This is what people are doing to the work of individual writers and photographers.

Nailed is here to inform you.  Dozens of people come together to make it, giving voice to the community, and holding powers to account.  It is not a free resource to snag stuff from.

If you see something that is relevant to your cause, or about your group, and you really want to use our work then talk to us.  We are really quite kind and helpful people.  Unless there is a very good reason (eg. it’s a valuable artistic shot, the asker is a profit making company or political body), we will probably say yes, so long as you credit the right people, and we send you the limited release licence.  We’ve said yes many times.

But keep on stealing it, and we will fight back.  Nailed is founded on ethics.  Primarily to establish a model for news which defies media trends and establishes good ethical practice, but our ethics don’t stop there.  And this editor does not have a stop button for pursuing what is right.  Intellectual property is an increasingly stolen commodity. So, from this point onwards, we will invoice every person, page, or company who uses our words or images without permission.  We will report it to all relevant authorities.  We will pursue those invoices.   We will name and ban entities who have stolen the work of Nailed contributors.

We can lock the site to prohibit copying, but that would also stop hyperlinks working.  We can require logins, which holds personal data, but tracks page actions, and can then ban downloaders, but we really really don’t want to hold your data.  However, we will make such choices if the trend continues.

Don’t be rude.  Don’t break the law. Please, just ask us.

Image by Mohamed Hassan

Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

One thought on “Editor’s Message: We Need To Talk About Intellectual Property

  • joanna Kirk

    There is an event in January which people might be interested in – “Talk: A Beginner’s Guide to Copyright” is on Tues 28th January 2020 from 10am – 12.30pm at Derbyshire Records Office (Matlock). Booking essential – costs £3. Apparently its a beginner’s guide with info about recent changes in legislation.

Leave a Reply

GDPR, Your Data and Us:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.