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History dude

Picture Sheffield Change

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I don't know if you have noticed but all the images on Picture Sheffield now have the words (in white) "Picture Sheffield.com" on them. Even the small thumbnail.

Clearly they must have got fed up seeing the images on websites. Or perhaps have changed the policy (in these days of cuts) so that people have to always pay for the images. If so they have turned themselves into a commercial photo library, who also don't allow images to be just copied to hard drives.

Rather sad really, spoilt a good site :(

Personally I can't see the point of using it anymore. For one thing the words will obscure parts of the picture, particular on group photos of people, perhaps hiding the faces!

Probably will be easier to go to Local Studies (pick a busy day with lots of people in) order the image and when the staff are not looking snap it with the small mobile phone cameras people have these days lol

So what do you think? Have they shot themselves in the foot with this change?

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I'm very disappointed with this too. Especially as they have put some on I donated when they have not even bothered to say thank you to me. I know I am not the only

one that will think twice about donating images to them now as I have friends who have had the same experience

Lyn

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I'm very disappointed with this too. Especially as they have put some on I donated when they have not even bothered to say thank you to me. I know I am not the only

one that will think twice about donating images to them now as I have friends who have had the same experience

Lyn

I did the same Lyn, no thanks at all. I donated around 146 only a few months ago and all excellent photos.

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I urge everyone to e-mail the library archives like I did yesterday to register my annoyance of what they have done with their archive photos. I've pointed out that I do not mind people using my photos but not for business purposes.

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I think History Dude is probably right, that they're fed up with their images being plastered all over the internet, particularly without any acknowledgement of the source or ownership. I do think they have a pretty cavalier attitude to donated images though.

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I think History Dude is probably right, that they're fed up with their images being plastered all over the internet, particularly without any acknowledgement of the source or ownership. I do think they have a pretty cavalier attitude to donated images though.

Yes, but it's a double edged sword. The numbers coming to the site will drop dramatically as a result, as nobody will want to download those images. That's fine if site visitors are not important to them, if they can make money out of people ordering prints instead from the few that will come anyway to the site. But I fear that if the people who look at the bills for Picture Sheffield see that only a small number now come to it, then will not think twice about what to cut next, especially if picture ordering fees are also down.

That's aside the other issue that it was set up from public money to provide for the general public, not just as "Commercial Picture Service", which to all intent and purpose it now appears to have become.

In fact I have made a complaint using the Council's website saying that they have turned it into a Commercial Photo site with this action. And have asked for these words to be removed. I will let you all know what happens if anything.

I think it is disgusting that if people have donated images to Picture Sheffield that they haven't even got a thank you e-mail at least from them.

When I donated a copy of a translation of ACM S78 to Archives (over 10 years ago) I got a proper letter from the head of Archives thanking me.

Edited by History dude

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The libraries are under a lot of pressure to make money, and the ways available are limited. This must seem an obvious way, though I doubt it will make much, I'm inclined to agree it will discourage users. There's a halfway means, they could allow free and open access as now, including watermarks, but have a subscription system which would allow access to unwatermarked images, but it would take a lot of setting up and running. Plus it's contrary to the whole principle of public libraries being free to use, especially when so much of the material in this case was donated by the public.

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Below is a response to my complaint:

Thank you for your comment regarding the Picture Sheffield service. We are passionate about providing access to the City's heritage - the Picture Sheffield service provides unparalleled access to over 55,000 images (with many more added every month). Unfortunately such services come at a cost, and despite the income we receive from authorised reproductions (both for private study and for commercial use), the Picture Sheffield service does not cover its costs. Given that the Library Service is facing very significant reductions in its budget (minus 50% since 2010) we are having to raise income in order to help maintain our service. We would like to continue adding additional images to the service rather than leave it with its present number.

The costs involved in providing the Picture Sheffield service include storage of the original hard copy image, scanning, cataloguing, resizing and transfer to our web service, storage and back up of the master digital image, annual webhosting and service charges on our ICT equipment.

The watermarking of the image is there to protect unauthorised use. Regrettably there have been cases where an image has been used without any payment or copyright clearance.

However, given your comments we will continue to monitor the effect of any changes we make to the service and keep such changes under review.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Evans

Peter Evans
Archives and Local Studies Manager

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Below is a response to my complaint:

Thank you for your comment regarding the Picture Sheffield service. We are passionate about providing access to the City's heritage - the Picture Sheffield service provides unparalleled access to over 55,000 images (with many more added every month). Unfortunately such services come at a cost, and despite the income we receive from authorised reproductions (both for private study and for commercial use), the Picture Sheffield service does not cover its costs. Given that the Library Service is facing very significant reductions in its budget (minus 50% since 2010) we are having to raise income in order to help maintain our service. We would like to continue adding additional images to the service rather than leave it with its present number.

The costs involved in providing the Picture Sheffield service include storage of the original hard copy image, scanning, cataloguing, resizing and transfer to our web service, storage and back up of the master digital image, annual webhosting and service charges on our ICT equipment.

The watermarking of the image is there to protect unauthorised use. Regrettably there have been cases where an image has been used without any payment or copyright clearance.

However, given your comments we will continue to monitor the effect of any changes we make to the service and keep such changes under review.

Yours sincerely,

Pete Evans

Peter Evans

Archives and Local Studies Manager

What did you say to them Edmund if you don't mind me asking?

As for Mr Evans response. How do you raise cash from putting a Watermark on the image?

Visitor numbers will fall, as people cannot view the images or they simple pay the MASSIVE fee for the image.

If someone has used and not pay the law allows them to recover the money for such infringement. They can do what the record companies do with downloaders.

However since you now have to pay for the service to get hold of an image, that to me says the site is now in all but name a commercial photo site. In other words you have really to pay to use the site. Yes I can look at the pictures, but a commercial site will allow you to do that too.

For example here's something on the Bridgeman Art Library about Sheffield.

http://www.bridgemanart.com/en-GB/asset/125019/decent-martin-contemporary-artist/the-full-picture-1998-gouache?search_context=%7B%22url%22%3A%22http%3A%5C%2F%5C%2Fwww.bridgemanart.com%5C%2Fen-GB%5C%2Fsearch%3Ffilter_group%3Dbridgemancopyright%26filter_text%3DSheffield%22%2C%22filter%22%3A%7B%22filter_bw%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_colour%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_creator_id%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_footage%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_group%22%3A%22bridgemancopyright%22%2C%22filter_horizontal%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_image%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_illustration%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_location_id%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_object%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_orientation%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_photograph%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_square%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_supplier_prefix%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_text%22%3A%22Sheffield+BALHANDLED+%22%2C%22filter_text_within_new%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_text_within_queue%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_vertical%22%3Anull%2C%22filter_web_category_id%22%3Anull%2C%22original_filter_text%22%3A%22Sheffield%22%2C%22filter_searchoption_id%22%3A%222%22%7D%2C%22num_results%22%3A%229%22%2C%22item_index%22%3A2%2C%22sort_order%22%3A%22best_relevance%22%2C%22search_type%22%3A%22search_assets%22%7D

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What did you say to them Edmund if you don't mind me asking?

As for Mr Evans response. How do you raise cash from putting a Watermark on the image?

Visitor numbers will fall, as people cannot view the images or they simple pay the MASSIVE fee for the image.

If someone has used and not pay the law allows them to recover the money for such infringement. They can do what the record companies do with downloaders.

However since you now have to pay for the service to get hold of an image, that to me says the site is now in all but name a commercial photo site. In other words you have really to pay to use the site. Yes I can look at the pictures, but a commercial site will allow you to do that too.

For example here's something on the Bridgeman Art Library about Sheffield.

http://www.bridgemanart.com/en-GB/asset/125019/decent-martin-contemporary-artist/the-full-picture-1998-gouache?search_context={"url"%3A"http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bridgemanart.com%2Fen-GB%2Fsearch%3Ffilter_group%3Dbridgemancopyright%26filter_text%3DSheffield"%2C"filter"%3A{"filter_bw"%3Anull%2C"filter_colour"%3Anull%2C"filter_creator_id"%3Anull%2C"filter_footage"%3Anull%2C"filter_group"%3A"bridgemancopyright"%2C"filter_horizontal"%3Anull%2C"filter_image"%3Anull%2C"filter_illustration"%3Anull%2C"filter_location_id"%3Anull%2C"filter_object"%3Anull%2C"filter_orientation"%3Anull%2C"filter_photograph"%3Anull%2C"filter_square"%3Anull%2C"filter_supplier_prefix"%3Anull%2C"filter_text"%3A"Sheffield+BALHANDLED+"%2C"filter_text_within_new"%3Anull%2C"filter_text_within_queue"%3Anull%2C"filter_vertical"%3Anull%2C"filter_web_category_id"%3Anull%2C"original_filter_text"%3A"Sheffield"%2C"filter_searchoption_id"%3A"2"}%2C"num_results"%3A"9"%2C"item_index"%3A2%2C"sort_order"%3A"best_relevance"%2C"search_type"%3A"search_assets"}

Its a stock answer written before any complaints were received, I got the exact same answer from Mr Evans so they knew full well what people would think.

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Unfortunately the threat of legal action for infringement is just that. The Council do not have the money to take people to court, even if they are sure they'll win.

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Unfortunately the threat of legal action for infringement is just that. The Council do not have the money to take people to court, even if they are sure they'll win.

They don't need to take websites to court or people on the internet. They can contact there ISP provider and say to them that these people are breaking the terms of their agreement, forcing them to remove such material. The ISP provider sends them a warning notice. If the person continues to post material from Picture Sheffield then the ISP can remove their Internet access.

I hardly think that a lot of Picture Sheffield material has been used for commercial purposes illegally. So generally speaking we are talking about people who might be unaware of what they are doing breaks the rules. Or even if they are, a threatening e-mail would do the trick with them.

For example if I was to post a Picture Sheffield image here, this site would remove it because of the fear Sheffield Council could take action. Indeed they did remove images some Henry Tatton images I once posted (not from Picture Sheffield I might add).

Also Google themselves will remove copyright material from searches if told about it.

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Does Sheffield History have a central library of images which have been donated for everyone to use ( not commercially )? I have seen peoples individual albums but these are a bit random. I am considering creating an interactive map of the City using joined Ordnance maps which are on the site and inserting hyperlinks to photos for each specific street. For this to work it would require a central depository of photos. If anyone is interested in helping create such a map please get in touch.

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I received this e-mail this morning;

Thank you for your further comment.

Having considered the comments and feedback from a number of customers we are in the process of reducing and repositioning the watermark to make it less obtrusive. I’m hoping the change will be complete within the next three weeks.

With regards,

Pete

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I received this e-mail this morning;

Thank you for your further comment.

Having considered the comments and feedback from a number of customers we are in the process of reducing and repositioning the watermark to make it less obtrusive. I’m hoping the change will be complete within the next three weeks.

With regards,

Pete

Though that would be a better thing to do if they were operating a commercial service, as a Council service it's not good enough!

I'm sorry but they need to remove it completely as the inclusion of the watermark makes them no better than a commercial library. If they are using public funds to operate the service then they have to allow full public access to view the images clearly. Otherwise it's no different then charging a £10 fee to enter Archives or the Local Studies library.

I will e-mail them myself shortly and point this out to them.

They either are a commercial Library or public funded one. Which means they have to find other ways to stop the images being displayed elsewhere or excepting that such images will be reproduced elsewhere.

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Which means they have to find other ways to stop the images being displayed elsewhere or excepting that such images will be reproduced elsewhere.

What could be done to prevent them being used elsewhere?

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I have just sent the following e-mail to Sheffield Archives:

To whom it may concern.
As a user of Picture Sheffield I'm am disgusted by the use and inclusion of a Watermark on images. Thus forcing users to purchase expensive images from the site. I believe this action is not only regrettable backward step for this site. But also turns the whole site into a commercial enterprise. Apparently the reason for it's use is to stop images being used on other websites etc, without acknowledgment. I understand you might feel the need to do something about this, but you can not as a body (that has received funding from both the National Lottery and also from tax payers) charge the public to use the site, which is what you are doing. I can visit sites such as the Mary Evans Picture Library and the Bridgeman Art Library, who allow me to see images with Watermarks on them etc, so how are they any different to Picture Sheffield? Well there's one difference they don't get money from the taxpayers to operate their collections.
I have read that you have received several complaints and have looked into the Watermark issue and seek to making it smaller etc.
However I can tell you that this is not acceptable.
If the Watermark is not removed completely. I will write to my MP to say that Picture Sheffield, by the inclusion of ANY watermark has turned itself into a commercial enterprise and therefore should CEASE to receive public funds. And if it continues to use the Watermark should be forced to pay back any grants given to it by bodies (such as the National Lottery) as it no longer caters to the public as a whole.
As for the issue of infringements of the use of pictures taken. Then Sheffield Archives (or whoever is responsible for the images) should take action or warn (I believe many might be unaware they are breaking the rules) those that are using Picture Sheffield images on other websites. Or accept this will happen. Or find other ways that allow the images to be viewed without spoiling the image.

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I received the same reply from Pete Evans as tozzin got to the above e-mail.

As a result I have sent him a message back saying that if the Watermark is not completely removed in the next month than a letter will be sent to my MP stating that Picture Sheffield no longer meets the requirements for public money and should therefore have it's funding completely removed. In that it's no different from commercial firms such as: the Bridgeman Art Library or the Mary Evans Picture Library.

I also said to Mr Evans that this is back door privatisation and is therefore not acceptable.

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Now that they have the watermark on them can we post them on here?

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I wondered that as well Mike. It seems a logical extension of what they've done.

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I would have thought most of the pictures on Picture Sheffield were given to them by the public and for public use, I do not think this gives Picture Sheffield copyright to these donated pictures, this applies also to pictures given to Sheffield Libraries and transferred to Picture Sheffield, if they intend to try and benefit comercially from these they will have to pay copyright to the owners.

Ian

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I would have thought most of the pictures on Picture Sheffield were given to them by the public and for public use, I do not think this gives Picture Sheffield copyright to these donated pictures, this applies also to pictures given to Sheffield Libraries and transferred to Picture Sheffield, if they intend to try and benefit comercially from these they will have to pay copyright to the owners.

Ian

When I was looking into the possibility of publishing a local history book, Sheffield Archives & Libraries wanted to charge me a certain fee, which amounted to the reproduction fee that is charged by Picture Sheffield, plus supply the images themselves, hence the fee. This was before Picture Sheffield started. Also requested that I donate a copy of the book to Archives.

Since copyright only lasts about 70 years, most of the images and material in Sheffield Archives will be expired. Once expired anyone can use it. But to reproduce such images requires a copy of the image. Anyone can charge what the want if they hold images in stock (a handling fee). That is why the Commercial Libraries put watermarks on the images online, so you have to purchase an image from them.

To reproduce a copyright image, the copyright owner would be contacted and a fee arranged. The copyright owner does also have the right to refuse the image(s) publication. Those also holding the stock can also charge fees. For example the National Portrait Gallery fees are very expensive and can vary as to where they are reproduced. For example on the front page of a book. They also insist that they supply the format of the image to be reproduced.

This explains why you see in the history books on Kings & Queen's lots of black and white images of colour paintings. B & W being cheaper to get from them than an colour versions (regardless of printing costs which for colour are much cheaper than what they were).

Everything in Sheffield Archives and Local Studies is for public use. This is why they are given public money to provide the service. However the internet has taken material away from the public buildings it was secure and housed in. And Picture Sheffield has made certain that images are available to all, so such images can be reproduced without paying any fee to the holding body. This is the crux of the Watermark issue.

As I see it they can provide a public service only if such images and material are provided in a way that a user can get them without occurring a fee.

The Picture Sheffield service no longer provides this service.

There are several options for it now. First they remove the Watermark and accept that images will be reproduced. 2. The Service is privatised. 3. The Service is privatised, with a special scheme that allows (Sheffield Residents) to join for free and get any image free of charge. 4 Picture Sheffield is scrapped. With images only viewable in libraries and access points. 5 Picture Sheffield becomes a charitable trust, given grants, but also allowed to operate and gain from commercial reproduction and commercial funding.

Footnote: Crown Copyright never runs out.

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I wondered that as well Mike. It seems a logical extension of what they've done.

Wasn't the none reproduction of images merely sort of a "gentlemen's agreement"? With Sheffield Libraries asking those in charge on here not to reproduce images? As you pointed in an early post the Council wouldn't take legal action against the Sheffield History for infringement.

Unfortunately the threat of legal action for infringement is just that. The Council do not have the money to take people to court, even if they are sure they'll win.

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No, the bar on posting PS images on here was acknowledgement of the condition clearly stated in the conditions of use of their images, that they may not be reproduced, including on websites, without their permission. Unfortunately not all websites have been as scrupulous, hence the watermarking.

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No, the bar on posting PS images on here was acknowledgement of the condition clearly stated in the conditions of use of their images, that they may not be reproduced, including on websites, without their permission. Unfortunately not all websites have been as scrupulous, hence the watermarking.

Yes - You just described a gentleman's agreement, on behalf of Sheffield History anyway, which as you say wasn't followed on other websites.

As you stated prior and which I quoted, there's nothing the boss of Sheffield Archives could have done if Sheffield History had not stuck to it.

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