Monday, March 31, 2008

Adobe Photoshop Express, Copyrights and IP

The Big Media reviews of Adobe's Photoshop Express are out today on Google News.   

So far, it appears that most of them must have been written early last week, before the news of the actual contents of Adobe's EULA hit at ZDNET, Ars Techica, MacRumors and others...all because of individual readership (not professional journalists) of the "Fine Print".

Apple Computer had a far more humorous EULA error this path month too - their fine print in Safari 3.1 for Windows said that it could only be legally run on Apple hardware.

Here's the fine print from Adobe:

Use of Your Content. Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed."

The key part is what it allows - - not what the alleges was its intent .  To that end, this text essentially gives to Adobe a free and unlimited license that they can do anything with, including selling your works, creating derivatives, selling it as Stock Photography, "Derive Revenue" etc, etc. .. and all without ever being required to give even a penny back to the actual Copyright holder.

I'd read enough.  This has shades of "Photo Contest" all over it.  

Photo contest?  Yup - you should go read their Fine Print inclusions sometimes too:  what you find is that they similarly leave themselves highly unconstrained.  It wouldn't be at all surprising if the underlying intent of at least a few of them isn't really to have a good old fashioned contest, but to harvest images with which to build a Stock Collection for free.

Thus, I've pulled my test photos OFF of Photoshop Express, just like I've stopped  entering 'Contests'.  

Thus, if you see this image out there, you know its probably been stolen without permission from its Copyright Holder:

Mufindi Starry Night, Copyright 2006  H. Huntzinger

Mufindi Starry Night (Tanzania 2006).

In the meantime, there's one possible "Poison Pill" for businesses that try to (cough) borrow Intellectual Property (IP) in this fashion:  the Photography Model Release.  An identifiable individual who hasn't signed a Modeling Release can cause trouble, although its also likely that a lawyer would argue that this "Perpetual License" puts the responsibility back on the Copyright Holder.  Well, maybe the IP owner does have a Model Release - - but Adobe (and all the rest) didn't buy a copy of that document.