Legality of crowd sourcing content in EU

Not if you’re in Europe and intent of the law is a dangerous approach to interpreting the law.

Global trading implies local compliance in every country you trade.

Kind of a non argument here.

Roon is a commercial entity. Selling services comes at a cost. Deferring costs by profiting from services rendered by volunteers is expressly forbidden in the EU.

There are two reasons for this, both closely linked:

  1. By doing so, the commercial entity avoids having to pay wages or fees and by doing so takes away social security contributions. This undermines the social security fabric in Europe.

  2. Doing so is distortion of competition. It gives an unfair advantage over other companies that do pay for the services they need.

As for the use of artist pictures, it is evidently so that the photographers deserve payment for their pictures.

Ok… so I guess then roon should either

  1. Pay folks to curate content. And push fees up accordingly.
  2. Not enhance the content - which users are pretty vocal about not being happy with.

Glad it was a non argument. Seeing as I wasn’t being argumentative :smiley:

Way I see it, roon is offering a platform for us to enjoy our music. A news website pays journalists for content. Rightly so. If a site existed where you could publish your own “journalism” does that then fall foul of EU law? Because that site has an unfair advantage by not paying the authors? What does that make Facebook? Under EU law should users be paid for their posts there?

I’m genuinely interested. I don’t have skin in the game - I don’t work for roon and I don’t live in the EU. My background is data and algorithms, so I look at it through that lens.

Is this true? Can you point me to the EU law (or likely preferably an article about it) where this is defined? As a US citizen who has done a fair amount of work in Europe and lived in UK and Germany for a number of years, this is a surprisingly stark definition. Maybe I’m out of touch and this has moved rapidly in last few years? This feels like the root of the “disagreement” if so, and why there’s a bit of incomprehension on both sides. However, if that’s really a true depiction of the law as it stands, I can’t imagine how any company that relies on users’ implicit preferences from using a product to improve its performance can trade in Europe. Not just the tech giants but any company that is optimizing a platform. Would be good for me to understand the details here! Thanks.

That’s a whole other proposition.

We’re talking about users effectively and materially contibuting to a commercial product by actively changing the product. The users provide labour that Roon would either have to outsource (=commercial transaction permitting another business entity to function in trade) or would have to engage someone for (= creating labour).

Not doing so is circumvention of trade legislation. Roon is not a non profit entity.

Your Zuckerberg example is not applicable: Facebook provides a social media vehicle and clearly states (well… states anyway, somewhere in the small print) that it will use the statistical data for commercial purposes.

Roon users have not agreed to provide free labour for Roon AFAIK. Anyway, free labour included in terms of service would be iffy to say the least. There is a term for that, which I’m not inclined to use on an open forum.

Facebook would be in violation (and has already been found in violation) of among others copyright law. AFAIK Facebook has not used user produced content as a part of its proper product (i.e. their software).

If you want an example of European legislation, you can have a look at this Belgian law that specifically forbids volunteer labour for for profit organisations:

There is parallel legislation in the other member states. Social security is not trivial matter in the EU.

Do the research if you like. I’m done working for free now.

That looks like the normal EU worker volunteer stuff – but that requires subordination. I’m not convinced these laws apply to crowdsourcing, as no relationship exists between the contributor and the company.

Do you actually have any experience with the legalities of crowdsourcing or is this just armchair lawyering?

I get it now. The telltale sign of an online troll.


Well, now it’s a matter of some intellectual interest for me, since I don’t really have a horse in the race. I have not yet and likely would never work on my own images, but if I did I would be happy for someone else to benefit from my efforts, as it has zero marginal cost to me and I it gives me some satisfaction to think I’m benefiting other people.

Likely more germane though is that I feel like the imagery that Roon provides is not part of their software, any more than if FB signs a content distribution deal with a newspaper that that content is part of their software. Maybe those two use cases are different, either in the eyes of the law or in some way in which the licensing is struck. If that requires careful lawyering in the ToS, then so be it. Either Roon will figure that out or eventually they will get challenged by lawyers. I doubt Roon is a juicy enough target to get attacked by hungry lawyers, but perhaps. I think that’s the real point here - is Roon realistically going to face the same sort of scrutiny that the tech giants are? I’d be shocked. This strikes me as (especially given the good intentions of all parties, unless someone out there is willfully finding only copyrighted content to upload just to screw with Roon) a theoretical chinwag not a practical matter.

Unfortunately, people do exist who see copyright infringement as a lucrative source of income. A cautionary tale.

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here you go.

If the question is one of legality, I believe there is no reason to be concerned.

I believe Frank has thrown in a lot of bold statements with zero evidence backing his claim and then exited the conversation under the guise of “I’m not doing free work”.

The mistake he’s made is that he believes crowd sourcing contributors are volunteer workers, which they are not for multiple reasons (see above link). The smoking gun to me is that you can’t be a worker for the company unless you have a relationship with the company. Subordination is required. That makes sense, a worker for a company, volunteer or paid, must have a “boss”.

It is worthy to note that many other companies (many in Europe) and projects like reCaptcha would all constitute labor law violations if Frank was right. Every time a user identifies traffic lights or types in the numbers of a building with a reCaptcha, they are helping generate training data for Google Maps and Waymo.

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Super helpful, that’s exactly what I was looking for. I shouldn’t market my expertise in interpreting Sage Law summaries of case law, but based on my read, there’s no way that this passes the “real and genuine” or even an expansive anti-gig economy “under the direction of” test. At least not if I’m in your shoes.

The copyright issue is thornier than the voluntary labor law I suppose. I’m one of the people who suggested volunteer cropping/recentering back in the day, and that surely has no issues and I think is a universal good (Pareto optimal, but for the no volunteer labor originalism argument put to bed by the article you posted). Up to you guys how much copyright controversy you want to court. I can imagine you might want to have boxes that users must check off one of saying “I believe that this image is free of copyright” or “I am the rightful copyright holder of this image and know of no encumbrances yadda yadda” and perhaps a provenance field if you wanted to lessen or at least identify those who might share risk. But as an entrepreneur I’d say this seems pretty slim reason to worry vs the well-established “take down on request” approach. I certainly understand why some or many think that that’s not a great approach for society & creators, but I don’t think Roon needs to be holier than the rest just because it is for audiophiles, some of whom are creators. If folks don’t like the “take down on request” approach, I’d say talk to lawmakers. (And apologies, realize this second point belongs on the original thread).

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Agreed that copyright is a different situation, and for that other thread.

I just PM’d you my fee structure. I’m not working for free as I said.

I think it’s up to Roon to decide for themselves how to run their business and what’s legal or not legal. I just want to make sure what I do is legal and ethical. If I upload any more images, I will try to make sure they are not copyrighted.

Do go ahead searching for examples that do not apply. You received my billing proposal. Up to you what to do with it.

BTW, if you’re thinking of editing this post then kindly remove your “troll” and “armchair lawyering” comments.

No one is telling you to work for free or even asking.

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”No one is telling you to work for free or even asking.”

This was hilarious to me as I can’t tell if you’re talking about the topic of (a) working on Art Director to crop images, or (b) working on legal advice on legality of said Art Director work without just compensation.

I agree that no one is telling or asking anyone to work on either (a) or (b).

[edit: sorry, I mean “ironic or inadvertently funny in the context of the thread” not “you’re being ridiculous” which is the kind of comment I think people make way too often]

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