C-Registry Adds Bulk URL Upload and Image Recognition Functions

Posted on 6/23/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

First previewed during last year’s PhotoPlus Expo and in beta since then, The Copyright Registry has announced the addition of two new functions: bulk upload of URLs and image recognition. Both help identify content owners and usages online.

The C-Registry is a free service that bills itself as the antidote to copyright infringement. It helps content buyers—such as publishers or advertisers—find owners of creative works online, while helping rights-holders find online uses of their works. The service is free but also offers a $25-per-year power-user option.

Now, photographers and agencies—as well as writers, newspapers and other content owners—can directly upload large text exports that describe the ownership and online locations of their image files. Combined with image recognition, this makes it easy for users to find image owners, says C-Registry cofounder Randy Taylor.

“When users are seeking the owner of an image, C-Registry will now suggest the most likely owner if an exact match can’t be found,” explains Taylor on the C-Registry blog. “This is significant, because rights holders don’t need to upload every frame and variation in a sequence to gain protection, and because it makes it very difficult NOT to find the likely owner when doing a reasonable search,” he adds.

Taylor is a longtime stock-industry executive and former Associated Press, Sygma and Black Star photographer. The C-Registry is a service of Taylor’s StockPhotoFinder.com Inc., a New York technology company that also runs a stock-image search engine and offers other services and software to the creative industries.

The latest addition to such services is Creators Circle magazine. Launched in May, the magazine is dedicated to copyright, online infringement and orphan works issues. The publication aims to be “an organized source of credible information on these critical topics,” according to Taylor.

Between the C-Registry, Creators Circle and presentations at this year’s CEPIC congress, much of Taylor’s recent activity has revolved around the forthcoming orphan works legislation, seemingly inevitable in the U.S. and several other countries. While Taylor says his goal is to help content owners protect their intellectual property, the service he launched to achieve this goal has not been as well-received as its founder might have hoped.

The chief problem has been C-Registry’s initially overly aggressive marketing language, which was interpreted by many to suggest that using the service was mandatory to protect works from being considered as orphan works and thus not subject to the same legal intellectual property protection as works with known authors or owners. In March, industry group Advertising Photographers of America issued an alert cautioning its members against using the C-Registry, stopping just short of calling the new service a fraudulent scam. (The APA has since issued a second, less vehement but still cautionary statement; PDN Pulse has a detailed report.)

Though needlessly inflammatory in light of no evidence of actual wrongdoing on behalf of C-Registry beyond an aggressive sales pitch, the APA statement correctly pointed out that “the only way to insure you receive the rights due a photographer with an infringement is to register images with the U.S. Copyright Office. No copyright registry company adds any more protection or rights under copyright law.”

While using the C-Registry does not change one’s protection or rights, it does offer the content owner tools to monitor and enforce them—and perhaps to also generate new revenues. In contrast to the APA, the American Society of Media Photographers has endorsed C-Registry as a valuable tool and pointing out that “the Copyright Registry has been very open to modifying the terms so that they accurately reflect the worthy intentions of the service.”

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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