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Fair play in social media

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The world is getting more and more visual. As we all share more content on social media, we are unwittingly creating a copyright minefield, in which bloggers, content owners, social media platforms …

The world is getting more and more visual. As we all share more content on social media, we are unwittingly creating a copyright minefield, in which bloggers, content owners, social media platforms and brand advertisers all lose out. This presentation highlights the problems and offers a new solution.

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  • Good afternoon. As mentioned, my name is Christian Toksvig and I am the Vice President of Business Development at Getty Images.It’s a great privilege to be standing before the Adtech conference here in Singapore this afternoon, and I’m very happy to be talking to you today about playing fair with content in social media. My co-presenter is RahmanRoslan, a very talented young photographer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is a freelancer, who contributes frequently to Getty Images. His work has been published in media all over the world, including the New York Times, Time Magazine, China Daily and the Straits Times. In an minute, Rahman is going to show you some examples of his work and give you an idea of the amount of preparation that goes into creating good content. To frame context on the topic, I would like to spend a few moments to provide a bit more background on Getty Images and my own role, andwhy Rahman and I are standing here today.How many have heard of our websites, gettyimages.com or iStockphoto,com?For those not so familiar with Getty Images, we are the leading business to business marketplace for visual content. We serve as a key intermediary between content owners and content users. Our content ranges from photos to video to music and it includes creative, or “stock” content, and editorial content providing up-to-date and archival news, sport and entertainment coverage. Through our various websites, we represent the work of over 150,000 content producers and annually service more than 1.3 million customers. To give you an idea of what our content looks like and where it ends up being used in advertising and publishing around the world, I’ve prepared a short video showing our content in action!Roll video
  • As for my role with Getty Images, the Business Development team is essentially responsible for helping to develop a view of the future of our markets and opportunities, defining the strategies we need to position ourselves for that future, and help to implement those strategies through acquisitions, partnerships and creating new businesses. I have been at Getty Images for two years now. Before joining Getty Images, I have spent my entire career in publishing, both in magazines, newspapers and websites. I have worked here in Asia with magazines, publishing the celebrity title OK! Magazine in many markets, and bringing the free Metro newspaper to Hong Kong among others. So I spend quite a lot of my time looking into the future and trying to make sense of where the world is going. Now, I should stop for a second here and admit to you: I’m NOT a photographer! My idea of a great camera is the new iPhone! I’m the guy who once picked up a camera lens and put it to my mouth because I thought it was a coffee cup! Today, Rahman is first going to show you a selection of his work and talk a bit about what it’s like to be a creative professional. After Rahman’s presentation, I’m going to be talking about how the world is becoming more and more visual. How we are ALL becoming photographers. How a photograph is moving from being a memory to keep about our past, to being a shared experience now. I’m going to talk about how the fact that we are all sharing photos with each other – whether or not they belong to us or someone else – is creating a potential copyright minefield for all parties involved – content creators, publishers and advertisers, and what we’re proposing to do about it.
  • Good afternoon everyone, My name is RahmanRoslan, I am a photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.It’s a great privilege to be standing before the Adtech conference here in Singapore this afternoon, especially next to Christian, and I’m very happy to share a little bit about what my work and the behind the scene part of it.
  • For a start, These are photographs of me, taken by fellow friends. It is sometime interesting to be on the other side of the camera. Especially these kind of images, it helps me remind where I have been, and what iv gone through as a photographer.Btw, if you look at this picture (point at the bali picture), that’s me on the left. This was in Bali, back in 2009. I was photographing a huge festival called Melasti. A purification festival for the Hindu Gods.Many would think that it’s a fun fun fun thing to do; o be able to fly to an exotic island, dress up like one of the locals, witnessing amazing rituals from a close distance, etc.Well they are right, it is fun, but it is also hard work. Yes, lot of people misunderstood what we do. Photography, is hardwork.
  • Believe it or not, the photography part though the most crucial, but might be only 15% out of the total percentage of the whole creative process in creating an image, or a body of work.The other part consist of brainstorming, discussion + research, and logistics. The most crucial part is discussion and research. If this part is not tackled well, most of the time, the shooting part will be a nightmare for us, the photographers. Of course, in todays world of demand, I learn how to work within this requirements in lightning speed. I’m talking about, these whole process done in few days, or maybe a day.To be logic, you need a team to do these whole requirements. But most of freelancers like me, we work alone. Just imagine how much work we need to do.Yes, in a way, we do work, everyday.
  • After all the crucial preparation has been done, come the photography part.This is the most rewarding part I have to admit. I take my work very seriously, as I believe every other photographer is.The best work is the last one produced, so every time I am out there, the pressure is on! Always, push the limit.
  • This is a quick example, on how we photographers, often push our limits.Photographing this volcanic sand mine, in Yogyakarta from a distance is just not good enough. It is comfortable to be at this distance,Yes, I could sense on how big and serious the place is, but I need to meet the souls. I need to be the witness of others who cant be here.
  • So I go closer and closer, till I can see human form in my picture. But, my instinct told me to go closer. Curiosity, very crucial part of photography.Bare in mind that these people speak in a different languange then I am. So I was a bit worried if my presence willMake them feel uncomfortable. But what the heck, I made my move and smile to them.They smile back!
  • And this is the result. There’s no way I could potray how hard they work in this mine from a distance. Pushing the limits, often gives great result.Btw, being curious, I did try to carry a smaller rock than this one, it doesn’t move even an inch!
  • So all these pushing the limits, the preparations that we as photographers have to deal with to be able to create great images, will not be possible at all without the support fromPeople who publish our work, and also the right public image usage structure. When photographers are paid deservingly, it would help tremendously in terms of supporting the work that we are doing.They can put all the focus on producing great images and have more time to spend with their subject, therefore being able to make photographs that will give their subject the justice they deserved.
  • So all these pushing the limits, the preparations that we as photographers have to deal with to be able to create great images, will not be possible at all without the support fromPeople who publish our work, and also the right public image usage structure. When photographers are paid deservingly, it would help tremendously in terms of supporting the work that we are doing.They can put all the focus on producing great images and have more time to spend with their subject, therefore being able to make photographs that will give their subject the justice they deserved.
  • So all these pushing the limits, the preparations that we as photographers have to deal with to be able to create great images, will not be possible at all without the support fromPeople who publish our work, and also the right public image usage structure. When photographers are paid deservingly, it would help tremendously in terms of supporting the work that we are doing.They can put all the focus on producing great images and have more time to spend with their subject, therefore being able to make photographs that will give their subject the justice they deserved.
  • So all these pushing the limits, the preparations that we as photographers have to deal with to be able to create great images, will not be possible at all without the support fromPeople who publish our work, and also the right public image usage structure. When photographers are paid deservingly, it would help tremendously in terms of supporting the work that we are doing.They can put all the focus on producing great images and have more time to spend with their subject, therefore being able to make photographs that will give their subject the justice they deserved.
  • before I end this quick presentation, I would love to share a story with all of you. A story we would never heard of, without the support and involvement of a great client. In this case the Malaysian NGO Tenaganita.Nur would not exist to us if they didn’t invested their money, and their trust. This is a picture of Nur serving lunch to her family in Sukabumi Indonesia for the first time in 8 years, after she went in Malaysia.7 years before this picture was made, she made a journey to Malaysia, a foreign land to her, like thousands of other women who are trying to improve their livelihood by working in a foreign country.Not as an expatriate, but as a maid.
  • Unfortunately, Nur falls in South East Asia’s notorious human trafficking ring, and immediately became a victim. She was held ransom and abused by her employee for 6 years before she was rescued by a local NGO. After 2 years of rehabilitating and processing the necessary papers, the Malaysian government allows her to go home, and I had the honour and her consent to accompany her and photograph the journey.Nur leads the path to her home, in the village of Tipar. Its her first time walking on the path in 8 years, though she never feel that she will be walking the path again.
  • Nur sits alone outside of her ramshackle house. She recalls her haunting experience whenever she is left alone.I managed to spend a week with her on the first trip, and made few more subsequent trip after that to document her progress in terms of coping up with her life back home. After 8 years,There’s so many damaged to be managed. That includes convincing her family what really happened to her, since they thought she ended up with some rich guy in Malaysia and forget about her family.
  • Nur reacts as she unveiled her stories when she went missing for 8 years to her aunt (L), her mother (C), and her brother (R).
  • As soon as she wakes up in the morning, Nur was really excited to continue the journey to her village, in Tipar, about 2 hours journey from Sukabumi. She went to greet everyone, including a bird outside her brother’s house.
  • Nur sings her heart out loud while walking around her brother’s house in Sukabumi as she express how good she felt to be able to step foot on Indonesian land to me.Thank god, for Nur, she ends up in a safe environment, back to her family. But there’s many out there who does not share the same fate like her. As long as people fall as a victim to the human trafficking ring, this kind of story need to be told, and that is where all of us can contribute. We need to tell the story.For your information, this body of work was presented in the Malaysian parliament to help support setup a new law that protects immigrants like Nur in the future.
  • Nur asked me to take a photograph of her smiling to show how she felt so relief to be back home after what she has been through.And with Nur smile, I hope we will come out with something positive and sustainable for everyone from this conference.
  • Thank you Rahman. This truly thought provoking stuff. Now let’s put on our future vision glasses and jump in and look at how the world is becoming more visual.
  • The first reason the world is becoming more visual is, not surprisingly, that it contains a lot more cameras than ever before. This slide shows the explosion of smartphones in the last five years, and corresponding decline in sales of digital and film cameras. Today, there are about 2.5 billion smartphones and 800 million tablets with cameras installed in the world. And this is in addition to all the stand-alone cameras that are out there.
  • Because the camera is in everyone’s pocket, and the desire to share our lives with others is so strong, we take an astounding number of pictures. This data shows the number of photos taken per year from the birth of photography in 1826 to 2011. We can see how analog pictures peaked around 2000 when about 85 billion were taken. It is safe to assume that the curve of digital images taken is continuing its strong upward motion into today and beyond. Since it’s so easy to take and share pictures, they are no longer our personal keepsakes to help our memory of special occasions. Instead they are now the way we participate in an event here and now. Story about showing photo album to a stranger on a train 10 years ago.
  • A great example of this is the hit app ‘Snapchat’. How many have heard of Snapchat? It is a photo app that takes a photo and sends it to your friends. They will have a chance to look at the image, but after 10 seconds the snap just disappears. It’s about creating a connection and sharing a here-and-now moment, not creating a record.
  • [Add Snapchat]Of course, many of the images we take and share end up on popular sharing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr. Can I ask for a show of hands: How many in here have a Flickr account? And Instagram?These services become enormous repositories of photos. Here is a look at the volumes of photos that are being uploaded per day to the most popular sharing sites. I have included our own websites just for comparison. We certainly think we are doing a good job uploading around 50,000 images and videos to our sites per day. But we are dwarfed next to Flickr, with 1.5M per day. And Flickr, in turn, has nothing on Instagram with 40M per day. Snapchat, an app that was virtually unknown a year ago, uploads 150M a day. And the big gorilla Facebook with over 300 million images added – per day!
  • To give you an idea of what a typical day’s upload to Flickr looks like, a Dutch artist named Erik Kessels took the time to print out ALL the photos uploaded to Flickr in one day and putting them in a pile. This became an installation at Foam in Amsterdam in 2011. I hope he had a good color printer!
  • Facebook is now the single largest repository of images in the world – by a long, long distance. This chart shows just how big Facebook is in comparison with Flickr, Instagram and the US Library of Congress. And this slide is now over a year old, by the way.
  • But so what? Aren’t most pictures uploaded to Facebook and Instagram awful and tacky? With no intrinsic value beyond the memories they represent to the people who took them and shared them? These are my own Facebook pictures, by the way – I told you I wasn’t a good at taking pictures! Yes, most photos are artistically and commercially valueless and couldn’t be licensed for even 10 cents. But as most of you people in this room know, when these images are aggregated into billions of images, such as is done by the sharing services we are talking about, even my bad party pictures have a valuable property –they drive web TRAFFIC! And traffic equals eyeballs, which eventually equals advertising revenue. And suddenly, I’m no longer just a photo sharer. I’m a publisher. And I’m generating revenue.
  • As a result, gone are the good old days when publishing was limited to a select few professionals, like the newspapers. The publishers were selling their audience to advertisers and were accountable for the content they published.Today, the world’s audience and advertisers are up for grabs for anyone with a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone from any coffee shop orpark bench.As a content owner, for example an individual photographer, this should mean great things. More potential customers for my content. More potential revenue. The only issue is that this new mass of publishers is largely unaware of copyright, unaware of where and how to license content, lack the systems to manage content and, for the most part, have no budget to buy content. If you are a blogger on Tumblr or Wordpress, your audience is likely to be small and fragmented. And, in many cases, it is the platform such as Facebook that is making the advertising revenue, not the creator who has posted the content.
  • So here is where we end up…the world of the “right click”. This is a Getty Images example and it was all too easy to pull together.Here you can see how Getty Images content is properly licensed by certain outlets, but how the same content is being copied without any license or payment back to the content owner. Unlicensed content on Pinterest, YouTube and Last.fm.I wish I could say that such use is harmless, but it is not. As mentioned, these platforms represent a sizeable share of online engagement. They compete for the same audience and advertisers as those publishers who ARE licensing content properly. I do not believe this world is ideal for any involved.For content creators and copyright owners like you in this room, it means the obvious loss of compensation for use of your work. And why should you invest in future production when you can’t be sure of protecting your content?For individuals who use content without rights, it exposes them to copyright penalties and it prevents them from using the best content, which is paid for. For publishing and sharing platforms, it forces them to rely upon increasingly thin protections such as the take-down notices. Take-down notices are when a content owner asks a web platform to take down unlicensed content. For the advertisers who seek an audience on social media platforms, they risk becoming party to copyright infringement lawsuits, and they risk damage to their reputation by associating with illegal content. For example, most mainstream advertisers would hesitate to run display advertising on file sharing platforms such as Pirate Bay. Well, several well known social networks with high valuations in the stock market are doing this every day. Operating in this legal grey zone reduces advertiser willingness to embrace popular social media platforms. And it means that social media users are not producing their best content because they don’t have open access to the best content libraries. This state of affairs is NOT ideal for any stakeholder. So, the question becomes how do we collectively realize the opportunity instead of the risk?
  • Before I tell you what the solution is, because we do think that we have a solution, I’m going to mention briefly a related case where a popular sharing and posting service was seen as a den of copyright abuse until they found the solution that worked. I’m talking about YouTube.Remember when YouTube started to get really popular in 2007 and 2008? The movie and television industries, as well as the sporting federations, absolutely hated YouTube because it let its users upload and share their copyrighted content. You could find whole movies, tv shows, the best goals from the football leagues and much more on YouTube, on demand and for free.What Google did was invent something called Content ID. ContentID allows content owners to register their content with YouTube, indicate their willingness to allow their content on the site and for them to receive a share of revenue generated from their content where they allow the content to be published to YouTube. When a user uploads a piece of copyrighted content, Content ID recognises the content and automatically asks the rightful owner whether the content should be left alone, monetised, or blocked. The user never knows that a process to create revenue for the owner of the content is taking place. He probably doesn’t care, as he just wants to share the content he is passionate about. The system does not rely upon individuals to license content in their posts, it is completely automated and it allows content owners to opt in or out of the program. I understand that Google has made a tremendous step in introducing this program and the content included in the program is rumored to generate close to US$500 million in annual revenues. Like Youtube has done in video, the music industry has finally started supported streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Rdio. These services allow users to do what they like best, namely freely listen and watch while the system quietly takes care of the commerical and legal issues in the background.
  • So, judging from the experience from the video and music industries, it seems like the situation with regard to visual content is the following: Firstly, users don’t always want to own content. They are quite happy to just have access to it. They want to rent, stream, listen, view it. Secondly, publishing platforms like Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest have to accept that they are part of the solution. Their standard response, offering to take down copyrighted content – is not viable in the long term because most good content is copyrighted in one way or another. And it prevents their businesses from attracting mainstream advertisers.Thirdly, content producers and distributors like Getty Images, have to develop new business models. Traditional licensing of a creative asset is not enough. The new business models have to be based on views or streams, not actual sales of content. And the models have to be as unobstructive as possible, allowing users to go about their business without putting up paywalls or asking them to pay at every turn.[animation] This is how we ensure fair play in social media. Our end users are behaving no differently from those using video and music.
  • So are we not obliged to present a comparable solution for the image industry, like Youtube and the music industry have done? We at Getty Images think we are. Of course, Google is the biggest source of image search, and we are working to lobby Google to implement solutions such as ContentID for photos. But there are many platforms for photo sharing, not just one like YouTube for video. And we understand that they don’t all have the technical or financial resources of Google or Getty Images to implement a system. As a result, Getty Images has been investing to provide the core aspects of a broad-based solution.In 2011, we acquired PicScout. PicScout is an image recognition engine that finds image content online. That’s the first step. Find the pictures. [animation]We also initiated the development of an industry-wide photo registry to serve as a registry database for photos found online. This is called Image IRC. It contains over 100 million photos from most of the major photo licensing companies, including all of Getty Images. Image IRC identifies the images found by PicScout, so we know who they belong to. That’s the second step – Identify. [animation]Getty Images operates the registry as a stand-alone operation on a non-profit basis, and it is free to all content owners to join. Many individual photographers have done so already. More than 200 image banks and thousands of individual photographers.Once an online image has been found and identified, it can then be licensed - retroactively. [animation] The license can take many forms depending on the commercial model used by the content owner. For example, the social media platform can receive a flat monthly bill, or give a share of advertising or subscription revenue from its users based on number of page views. We at Getty Images have made big investments to be able to handle the complex financial processes of these new business models. [animation] As mentioned, we do not believe any one company can be THE solution, but we do believe Getty Images has an obligation as one of the larger stakeholders to help advance a solution. And we believe these are steps in the right direction toward a world where content is broadly accessible and utilized and where people like Rahman who create content are fairly rewarded.
  • So this is my view of how we make social media fair for users and content owners, and safe for platforms owners and advertisers. I would like to urge the platform owners and advertisers in this room to help push through viable solutions for fair recognition and compensation for content in social media. The solution is right here, it’s available and it works. We owe it to Rahman and his fellow creators to implement it now. Thank you.
  • With that, I am happy to answer any questions the audience might have during the remaining time. A couple of my team members and I will also be around after the session if there is specific interest to discuss collaboration and how we work toward a mutually beneficial goal.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Fair Play in Social Media
    • 2. Story Behind The Pictures
    • 3. Brainstorming30%Discussion &Research40%Logistics15%Shooting15%Time spent to create an image
    • 4. Nur : story need to be told
    • 5. The Photo of the Future
    • 6. 150401.50.05 300
    • 7. The Future of the Photography Museum, foam.org, 2011Photo credit: Gijs van den Berg / Caters News
    • 8. LicensedUsageUnauthorized Usage
    • 9. Fair Play in Social Media

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