UK Police Issue Copyright Takedown Over Speed Camera Photos

from the incentive-to-create? dept

Another day, another example of copyright being misused. This one, sent in by JJ, involves police in the UK demanding that certain speed camera photos be taken offline as copyright violations. They’re apparently pissed that a guy who used the photos to prove that the cameras are faulty has posted his story (with the photos) online:

“The content of these photographs are the property of Sussex Police and publication of them is a breach of copyright. They should be removed from the website forthwith. If they are not removed further action may be contemplated.”

The real issue is that the guy who posted the photos is one of a growing number of folks who have discovered that, if you know a little bit of math, you can often show that the speed cameras were flat-out wrong.

Copyright is a gov’t granted exclusive right solely for the purpose of creating incentives for works that otherwise wouldn’t be created. I can’t see how that applies to police speed camera photos at all — which seem to have a different incentive to “create,” whether it’s to make the roads safer (the official explanation) or to raise money from speeding tickets (the real reason). Neither one of those requires copyright at all. And, of course, posting the images hardly seems like it should be a violation of copyright. The whole thing is obviously being used to stifle free speech because the police department doesn’t like it, not because there’s any sort of reasonable copyright claim.

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Comments on “UK Police Issue Copyright Takedown Over Speed Camera Photos”

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Stephen says:

I live in a small town in Tennessee that has just installed traffic light cameras at 2 of the 3 traffic lights in the town. The city council explanation of the cameras is to make the intersections safer. Which I consider to be total bs. Said council nor the company (Trafficpax) which installed the cameras have provided any data to back up their claim of prevention of accidents. I find it interesting that the for-profit company installed the cameras free of charge and will take 60 percent of each ticket issued. I don’t think there has even been an accident at either intersection in 2 years. I just wanted to inquire what strategy, if any, might I take, short of destroying the camera itself, to get rid of them.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I just wanted to inquire what strategy, if any, might I take, short of destroying the camera itself, to get rid of them.

find out how much the 40% of the camera tickets net for the city annually and offer to pay the city more than that amount for a year with no cameras.

speed cameras are about revenue, plain and simple. you want the cameras gone, you have to provide more revenue to the town than the cameras do.

Someone says:

Re: Strike a blow for freedom

by NullOp
paintball gun

+1 for a paintball gun. Throw in a ski mask for bonus points and extra protection.

All honesty, this is just flat out silly and frankly a waste of the UK tax payers money to even issue copyright warnings, let alone an actual suit.

So when do millions of these photos get stolen out of the backseat of some boneheads car? It is the UK after all – wont take long I am sure.

Pure Evil says:

Clean that camera!

Speed cameras get dirty due to exposure to weather and the environment.

So it is your duty as a good citizen/subject to attach some steel wool to the end of a long stick, and clean the camera’s windows. To do a better job, wet the steel wool with ammonia to clean plexiglass, and dental flouride treatment gel to clean glass windows.


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