Though non-repudiation services, such as MyFreeCopyright, Safe Creative and Myows, are not replacements for the U.S. Copyright Office, they do provide a powerful stop-gap verification for the nine-month wait for a certificate. They also provide a potentially valuable verification service to copyright holders in other nations who have their primary copyright interests lie outside of the U.S.
Unlike the Copyright Office, these services have been in a race to make their services as easy powerful as possible, all while remaining free. MyOws has focused heavily on its interface, MyFreeCopyright with its integration with RSS and Safe Creative has struck partnerships with Jamendo and Magantune among others.
However, Safe Creative recently announced two more new features that many artists will likely find compelling. The first is multiple author support, which is aimed at creators of more complex works, such as audio and video files. The other is an application for bulk uploading, which is aimed at those with a lot of content they want to register at once, such as photographers.
It’s part of a new development push at Safe Creative that I expect will lead to even more innovations down the road.
If you’re a musician or video producer, one of the biggest hurdles in using non-repudiation services is that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to indicate multiple authors. Whether it’s two or three writers working on a book, multiple musicians performing on a song or anything else with multiple parties involved, most sites only support one creator.
However, Safe Creative, as part of their new professional services offers just that ability. To access this feature, you simply visit your list of works and, using the drop down, select “Add Rights Holders”
Once you’ve selected that, you’ll be taken to a screen where you enter the email address of the other party. They will, in turn, be asked to confirm their email address and sign up for an account if needed (thus providing their information). Once done, the work will be linked to both accounts.
The process is extremely straightforward and, in my limited testing, seemed to work very well. All in all, this is a very compelling feature for those who routinely collaborate on projects with other artists, which is especially commonplace with music, a key target group for Safe Creative.
Automatic Registration Tool
The other new feature that Safe Creative has been touting is an Automatic Registration Tool, written in Java, that bulk uploads works to Safe Creative and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.
The tool itself is fairly bare-bones, you first have to give the tool access to your account, a largely automated process, and then all you have to do is select a folder of works to register and the application begins to upload and register the various items.
This application is ideal for photographers and musicians who want to register a large number of works quickly. The process itself is relatively quick, I registered about 140 images in under an hour, but the lack of features does hurt the application some.
For example, the app will blindly upload everything in a folder, including the thumbs.db file in my case, so it is important to make sure the folder is cleaned out completely before uploading (though you can always delete later). Also, the application just uses your profile’s default settings and there is no way to select a different license or even choose the content type, so all of my photos were listed as “Articles” in the service. However, there is no easy way, that I’ve found to repair that without changing the works individually.
Still, if you’re a photographer or some other artist in need of registering a large number of works with Safe Creative, this tool will be a godsend.
A Word About Professional Services
Multiple authors and the other features on the professional services page are exactly that, professional services. This includes versioning, private registrations, pseudonym in profile, etc.
Currently, professional services are free and you can “purchase” 30 credits (most services cost five per year) with the click of a mouse. However, this is only during the testing phase.
These services will, eventually, be charged for though it is unclear at this time how much they will cost.
Safe Creative’s features are extremely compelling and, to my knowledge, they are two that are unique to the service itself. Whether you are an artist who routinely works with others or need to do routine bulk uploads, Safe Creative is now an even more natural choice.
In the bigger picture though, the USCO could learn a great deal from these upstart non-repudiation services. Built with relatively small budgets and either by lone developers or a small team of developers, each of them have features, simplicity and integration that the USCO has failed to do with a multi-million dollar budget and years of development time.
Best of all, since there is competition in the field, unlike the USCO that has a monopoly on registration through it, there is a constant push to add features, make the process faster and simplify registration.
If any of these services managed registration for the USCO, I don’t think users would mind the requirement nearly as much.