Discussion on the ownership of uploaded photos

This is a feature with great potential! After seeing it announced in the build 880 release notes, I jumped in to give it a try.

My immediate reaction is: cool functionality, but where’s the facility for annotating every image submitted with its provenance (photographer credit, copyright status, website found on if applicable)?

That lack seems deeply problematic.

I uploaded a couple of photos for musicians I noticed lacked pictures (Charlotte Kemp Muhl and Eden Rice) – but I had the right to do so because I took the photos, hold copyright, and thus have the right to permit use of the photos within Roon.

If people start harvesting images from who-knows-where, that seems like a big mess.

And photo credits are always appropriate.


Right now we have about a quarter-million photos that we purchase rights to, and almost all the adjustments you make are to those images.

Uploads are a small minority of the images, but you should post things that are in the clear (wikidata, your own images, etc…). Additionally, we do adhere to DMCA takedowns.

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Understood about the licensing for that massive original corpus of photos.

I still contend, though, that once you start accepting images from users, you should really be collecting information about their provenance as well – right from the start, lest it become a big inconsistent mess in the fullness of time.

Photographer credits for pictures are just as important as artist and engineering credits are for music – that this is software whose primary purpose is to serve music doesn’t make that any less true. When someone’s creative work is presented, it should be attributed.


That’s so beside the point that it makes it hard to believe you actually understand “the copy problems”. As you certainly know, not only is there a concept called “no equality in illegality”, but making those pictures is a lifetime of work, both in terms of skills and in terms of access (ask @Charles_Peterson about it), so there’s really no grounds to think that just because someone else already stole that work, it’s more OK for you (or RoonLabs, via its users) to steal it again, which is what you sound like you’re arguing.

As @Jeffrey_Moore pointed out, attribution seems like the very least one could ask for.


Artist web sites are a good source for approved photos if people are in doubt…


I am having a look at adding some artist picture and noticed you have some great images that you cannot make small enough for the banner. The adjustment is already at the minimum so centralising is all you can realistically do. Any thoughts?

Hi Danny, and the rest of the Roon team, I agree with the concerns about copyrighted content. Please take this in the spirit in which it’s intended. Enno and I disagreed on this very topic at dinner at CES many years ago, so I’m sure you and I will disagree here as well. No hard feelings.

I can’t in good faith download a Pear Jam song from YouTube, upload it into a friends app/service, and intern he uses it to improve that service for which other users pay. Sure, that’s a different form of art. OK.

What if I had an app/service where users could upload code to improve the app? Then I put out a call to all my users to help make the app better by scouring the world for better code to upload. As long as users uploaded Roon’s code to the app, rather than me putting it in there, all would be OK if using this same logic. You’d then have to know my app existed, pay for it just to see if your code is being used, then issue a DMCA request. Yes, this is a crazy illustration that has technical melding of different worlds and legalities, but it gives me the same sour taste in my mouth as crowdsourcing copyrighted content.

User generated content on public websites is one thing. We’ve been down this road many times in the online publishing world. But, crowdsourcing copyrighted images that you embed in your paid-for service really rubs me the wrong way. Roon users, myself included as I’ve paid for my subscription since day 1, could replace all the images you license currently. Then to even see if an artist’s work is being used, that artist has to pay for your service, manually search all the artists he/she has shot over a lifetime, and issue DMCA takedowns. Again, it rubs me the wrong way.

When can we start uploading music? Only kidding, we all know how that story end. Audio recording rights holders have deep pockets and political power. Photographers on the other hand don’t.

Thanks for listening.


Is there a way to know if an image is licensed or crowdsourced from within Roon? Seems like it would be nice for copyright holders to know if the image has been properly licensed. It would also save on DMCA takedowns.

@ComputerAudiophile… what’s the alternative to
the DMCA takedown request? I am not understanding what you are proposing.

Even if an uploader claimed ownership, isn’t the takedown mechanism still DMCA?

The alternative is to license the content the way you already do, rather than crowdsource copyrighted material and wait for the takedown. This seems like encouraging infringement and the model that asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission.

Nobody in their right mind would allow audio uploading. Nobody should allow image uploading.


The feature has the potential to safe money and time for the company “Roon”. Work is outsourced to the members or users.
We Users have the benefit of better graphic material, if many contribute. If the rights of photographers are respected, this can be quite a positive feature.


What @Craig_Palmer proposed a year ago, maybe ?

Ah ok, I understand. You were right, we fundamentally disagree on this point.

I find crowd sourcing to be brilliant, and gives many people massive joy to contribute. I personally contribute to multiple crowd sourced data sets (outside of Roon).

It should also be noted that we already use crowd sourced data (Musicbrainz and Wikipedia). We also crowd source our internet radio directory as well as app translations. We also plan to add more to this list.

If you feel like you don’t want to contribute, it’s ok. Just don’t contribute.

We already do license data, but Getty and others lack a lot of content. The long tail is long, and our users listen to a lot of that stuff.

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Yes, and that’s why @Jeffrey_Moore is right that keeping tabs of what comes from where, and making said database easily searchable, is a good idea.

To keep things in the music analogy sphere, wouldn’t you agree that there’s a huge difference between building a Napster for artist pictures, and building the Musicbrainz of artist pictures ?

Ad absurdum, are we to understand that RoonLabs’ official position on copyright law is that it’d be OK if a user uploaded the Wu Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin to The Pirate Bay, because it’s absent from all streaming services, provided that TPB comply to DMCA requests if and when they hit ? :wink:

To take a really innocent, but somewhat by-the-book example, I couldn’t in good faith go take a picture from a band’s Bandcamp page and upload it to Roon, because neither you nor I can know what the contract that was negotiated between a photographer and / or their rep and said artist was. This becomes even worse when you’re dealing with multiple jurisdictions: earlier in this thread, you were encouraging an Italian user to upload material that they in all likelihood don’t have rights to. The only thing you’re crowdsourcing there is copyright infringement, and it’s a very different thing than contributing reviews that users themselves wrote, or crowdsourcing the training of a portrait-framing AI.


Crowdsourcing is brilliant. We agree Danny. However, when you or I contribute to Wikipedia or Musicbrainz, we voluntarily do this.

If I spend $100,000+ on an MFA, and travel the world shooting photos of artists on my own dime, intending to make money from this and to create a catalog from which my heirs will benefit, you think it’s totally fine to use my images without consent or remuneration? And, you think it’s fine the images are hidden behind your own paywall / subscription? And, you want your paying users to do the work creating this database?

Eventually Roon will be able to stop licensing images form third parties. Those third parties will then not pay the photographers.

This is something a shady company would do Danny, not the good guys from Roon who have created something so loved by so many people.

I just don’t follow your logic Danny. Why not start allowing us to upload the best versions of all our albums? Crowdsource the ones with the best sound or dynamic range, and feed those back to the Roon users all over the globe. If an artist files a DMCA then you remove it. Absurd? Absolutely.

When reading this and comparing it to Roon’s stance on using copyrighted images, it really sounds like protection and rights for me, but not for thee - Terms & Conditions - Roon Labs


Yes, ok… and you are right.
Basically…i am already taking the pictures in the Internet. And I think that’s OK.
But I understand that it’s different if this is done by a company making profit on them.
I’ve read the discussion so far…

I think the only solution is to make roon free :slight_smile:

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So how does one do this? How does one validate the “from”?

How does an artist know if you’ve licensed his/her images?

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US copyright law does not work that way. A copy of a 2D object is not a new copyrighted work. You see this often when people take photos of paintings. That new photo is not a new copyrighted work.

When a user uploads a copy of a photo, that new file is not a new copyrighted item.


How does an artist know if you’re using the licensed version of his/her work, or the unlicensed user uploaded version of the same work?