Sunday, May 31, 2009

Image Recognition, Bulk Uploads, Magazine Launch

Here's a treat for readers of our blog ... a sneak peak at the week to come. I leave soon for Dresden, Germany, where I am a speaker at two seminars at the annual CEPIC Congress & Conference:

- "Know Your Rights - How To Cope With Image Rights" - The MILE Project focuses on two key metadata issues (image piracy and the practical application of copyright metadata), trying to improve the security of digital images online by showcasing and discussing potential solutions to image piracy with technological developments such as digital watermarking and image tracking.

- "Orphan Works in Practice - Registries, databases, collecting societies: What to do to protect your work?" This seminar focuses on rightsholder solutions to global orphan works legislative initiatives.

Two of our big announcements this year will be the addition of image recognition and bulk uploads.

Currently, a user can find and contact the rightsholder from any copy of their work at any website in any language if the image is registered in the C-Registry database. By adding image recognition, our process will now suggest ownership of images that are nearly identical if no exact match can be found. (It's actually "pattern recognition" for things like music, but everyone calls it image recognition).

And, we've added a simple bulk upload process. So, rightsholders that have large quantities of images accessible online, like stock photo agencies, can now export their database as URLs to the images with an ultra-simple upload process (comma-separated data). There is a file size limit of about a million records per text upload. Manual uploads via the web interface are immediate. URLs are processed via automation within days, sometimes hours. (No 18-month waits here for results).

What does this mean? The combination of bulk uploads and "similars search" means it will be virtually impossible to not find the owner or agent of any stock photo online anywhere in the world. A "reasonable search" will turn up a rightsholder or authorized agent from any uncredited or unauthorized stock photo on the web for everyone who adds their URLs to The Copyright Registry. Virtually every image in the stock photo industry can be covered with minimal effort. If an exact match of the file isn't found, C-Registry's unique process will suggest the owner of the closest variation, which is most likely the same image sequence or cropped variation found at a subagent.

This functionality is part of the authentication upgrade, which costs $25 per year for unlimited uploads.

But wait, that's not all. We're also launching a magazine! Creators Circle Magazine is dedicated to copyright, online infringement and orphan works issues. Despite the fact that over 1,000 magazines have ceased publication in the U.S. in the last two years, we felt a compelling need for an organized source of credible information on these critical topics. Issue One covers a range of great stories and new information for the industry. It's available as a glossy, 32 page print version for about $6.40 plus shipping (USA/Canada/Great Britain), and as a free 72 dpi PDF. Watch for it and future issues at

While a lot of work remains for the creative community in its ongoing efforts to educate and affect the industry about the solutions that are becoming available, the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of creators and rightsholders, especially photographers.

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