NY Times Advocates Theft

Discussion in 'News' started by wogears, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. This one is, shall we say, beyond belief. An NY Times blogger openly advocates stealing protected images from the 'Net and using them to decorate your home. Why didn't I think of it? The blog post actually contains the following remarkable construction.
    And if you’re wondering about copyright issues (after all, these aren’t my photos), the photos are being used by me for my own, private, noncommercial use. I’m not selling these things and not charging admission to my apartment, so I think I’m in the clear.
    I think I will switch from photography to sculpture. Thay way my art will be too heavy to easily steal, and I will have a maul and chisel in my hands.
    Les
     
  2. Existing thread
    http://www.photo.net/business-photography-forum/00Tkln
     
  3. I think photographers need to do a better job educating the public as to the issues of ownership regarding photographic works, especially given the current atmosphere of ubiquitous media and instantaneous information dissemination.
    To be fair, if a photographer posts a picture on Flickr and makes it publicly available, they can't really have much reasonable expectation that their work won't be appropriated in ways that disregard their copyright. If a photographer really thought it important to safeguard their ownership rights, they would not upload their work onto Flickr for everyone to see, download, and use, Creative Commons licenses be damned.
    That's the thing about CC: It's legally valid but just because unauthorized use is restricted by law, does not mean it will do anything to stop infringement. It's a bit like home security to stop theft. Just because trespassing and theft is illegal, does not mean everyone can now just leave their doors open and unlocked at all times.
    But let me also point out that copyright infringement is not quite the same as theft. If you steal someone else's personal property, you have taken something from them. They no longer have it. But copyright infringment is unauthorized reproduction or duplication of an original work. If someone makes a copy, they have not taken your original. You still have it. You may be entitled to remuneration or additional damages for the presumed loss of revenue that would have been generated from the sale of that work, but that is an entirely different legal position than outright theft. That is not to say one is more acceptable than the other. It simply means that the precise term to describe the proposal put forth by the NYT blogger is "advocates copyright infringement."
    The problem though, as described above, is that the owner of the work, by making it publicly available on Flickr, weakens his/her own claim on copyright, because the simple act of accessing the web page containing the image automatically results in the creation of a local copy on the client's machine. Furthermore, publishing the work under a CC license actually permits such "personal use" as described in the article. That is the argument the blogger is using to justify their actions.
    Another issue arises regarding the use of Flickr and CC, which was illustrated in a still-pending case. The photographer cannot sign away the rights of people depicted in the image. So for instance, if I take an image on private property of someone who gives their verbal consent but does not sign a release granting commercial use of their image, I cannot then license that image under CC (except if tagged non-commerical use only). Here's how it works: Say I take personal images of a friend doing something embarrassing or silly while on their property. We have an implied agreement that such an image is okay for our own personal use. But then I decide to share it, publicly, with our mutual friends via Flickr, and tag it CC. This is where I've now done something wrong, because the subject has never consented to the commerical use of their image, and I have now misrepresented that fact. A company finds that image and decides to use it in an ad campaign, causing my friend serious distress and loss of privacy that was unanticipated. Who does my friend sue? The publisher, or the content creator, or CC?
     
  4. To Peter: NO! Flickr allows you to post as CC, but also as 'All Rights Reserved'. The NYT blogger does not differentiate. She does not mention copyright, except as I quote above.
    The problem though, as described above, is that the owner of the work, by making it publicly available on Flickr, weakens his/her own claim on copyright, because the simple act of accessing the web page containing the image automatically results in the creation of a local copy on the client's machine.
    Categorically incorrect. I have agreed to SHARE the image on the Web, not to allow it to be printed. People sue for just this kind of use all the time, and win significant judgments.
     
  5. I think you're taking this a bit seriously. He's not talking about claiming credit for them, selling prints, or using them to pretend he has a portfolio. He's talking about running off a print on his inkjet to put on his wall.
     
  6. Ah, but I don't think this issue is being taken seriously enough. I actually agree with Les about this--it is a difficult issue and content creators should be more vigilant about protecting their rights. The RIAA/MPAA does a very good job of this because they have enormous financial resources. What of the self-employed, struggling photographer? The law is written to be fair, but its application is all but fair.
    Les: I'm not saying that the arguments I presented in my previous post are what I personally believe is right or even legally valid. I am trying to illustrate that in many cases the law has not sided with content creators as a result of some of the arguments I have put forth above. As a result, there is a burden of responsibility upon content creators to ensure that they take appropriate measures to safeguard their work from infringement, and that includes the use of Flickr. I would also argue that such safeguards apply to any site that is not hosted and managed by the content creator for the specific purpose of establishing their online business. Whether such measures are overkill or not is besides the point. In this day and age, the law may still be the law, but you don't leave your car unlocked just because the law says it's illegal to steal.
    Furthermore, what is substantively different from viewing a shared image on the web, and printing it? These days, the line is quite blurred. There are such things as digital picture frames that display images directly from the web. Like I said, it may not be "right." But technology moves fast and there are ways in which original works may be used that were not previously anticipated.
     
  7. He's talking about running off a print on his inkjet to put on his wall.
    Which is violating copyright law, especially on all of those marked ARR. Many professionals post samples on Flickr and other sites as a way of being seen. They also sell prints of these same photos. Yes Andrew, it is serious. And if you read the article, the author updated it with one of the most arrogant statements I've ever seen with regard to this subject, stating examples which are ALSO illegal.
     
  8. I sell prints. I do not give them away. Yes, I do 'take it a bit seriously' when a major news organization tells thousands of people, "Don't pay for prints. Just steal them. It's so easy." How am I to make a living then? Wouldn't a normal, moral human being at least ask permission first? And thank the photographers for allowing her to use their work?
    It is true that posting an image makes it available to anyone. Leaving my door unlocked means someone can steal my cameras. That's okay with you? I just love moral relativism.
     
  9. [[Which is violating copyright law, especially on all of those marked ARR]]
    Are you claiming that printing a work released under "CC Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives" is a violation of copyright?
     
  10. Allow me to rephrase.
    I post a photograph on Flickr, in high resolution. I check off the appropriate boxes and retain all my rights.
    By the act of uploading the image to a public place (not even my own server) I have implicitly agreed that members of the public may download it and have a copy on their hard drive. Why? Because I'm not a moron and I know that's how web browsers work.
    However, I now expect that members of the public, who are not legal scholars, will not interpret their right to view my image on a screen, and to have a copy on their computer, as also being a right to have and view a copy the image on paper. Am I being reasonable? Probably not. In fact, I'm 50% sure I've just convinced myself that the guy who prints it is legally justified.
     
  11. Many professionals post samples on Flickr and other sites as a way of being seen.​
    Which, due to the general public's complete ignorance of copyright law, as so aptly demonstrated by the NYT blogger, is why I argue that using Flickr as publicity is a really poor idea. At the very least, if a photographer is going to do such a thing, the samples should never be full size and should always be clearly and indelibly watermarked.
    To use the personal property analogy yet again: Not uploading to Flickr at all = not leaving valuables in your car to be stolen. Uploading a small thumbnail = leaving a mockup or facsimile of a valuable (e.g., fake jewelry). Uploading images encapsulated in a Flash program = locking the door. Okay, so it's not a perfect analogy. But the point is that there are many ways to prevent people from casual unauthorized use of your images.
     
  12. Are you claiming that printing a work released under "CC Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives" is a violation of copyright?
    No, I'm not, where did you get that???
     
  13. There are plenty of nuances to this discussion, but the real issue is cultural. We're now dealing with an entire generation that thinks found on internet = free, and they're applying it to studio recordings, films, stock photos for web content, and (it seems!) wall art.

    This is just one facet of a much larger juggernaut-sized sense of entertainment entitlement that is going to be hell to straighten out. Just like all entitlements, real or imagined, there's huge inertia involved. Photographers, writers, musicians, composers, film producers, actors - they all need to make educational efforts in this area, to help straighten people out on the topic.
     
  14. Les: I started as a sculptor and had to switch to painting & photography because the sculpture takes up too much space, and moving the marble blocks and carvings becomes hard as you get older.
     
  15. If you are worried about your photos be stolen then just watermark your work. Better yet don't put the best ones up on the website, just put 3 or 4 star ones and save
    the good ones for your web page.
     
  16. He's right with respect to Patents, but wrong with respect to Copyright.
     
  17. There is now a followup article. Seems the NYT has enlisted the help of a law professor and flickr itself in defending the original article. Basic gist seems to be it's ok to lift even the ARR photos, as long as you ask, or at least feel contrite, because the law is so grey in color. Yeah, kinda twisted like a lawyer wrote it.
    It would be interesting to hear photo.net's take on this subject and whether the admins and management think the same holds true for us. (I think I already know the answer, but maybe best for everyone to hear it :))
     
  18. I reckon that anything posted on the web by the creator whether images text or video is almost certain to be copied or used by someone. Its s a fact of life and anyone publishing in this way is going to have to live with the consequences. Like it or not people are going to copy images or music; this has been an issue since the invention of the cassette recorder in the 1960s. Moves were made by the record industry to ban home recording but it never happened because it was not enforceable.
    The Copyright issues on the web are an issue which are very important for all photographers; artist etc. I do believe strongly that people should have the right to download and use web content for their own personal use and that includes printing. If a photographer publishes a high resolution image on the web he must accept this will happen. If you don’t want to risk it then don’t publish!
    Commercial and re-publication on the web is It a legal minefield ; I would hate to see the day when photographers are running the risk of being sued by all and sundry who might object to their personal property being photographed. It’s happening commercially and I am very worried about the future of photography on the web for personal and artistic purposes.
     
  19. Les:
    Most images are complely worthless. Decorating a home with them would do them a favor. It's not "stealing", it's adding value to them.
     
  20. If someone downloads a picture from my website and prints it out to hang on their wall then then this is a breach of copyright. However, if I don't know about it, I can't really care about it.
    Copyright law does not exist to punish offenders as such, it is there to protect the rights of the originator of the work to benefit from sales, etc. Someone printing it out for their own use is not going to affect anything as far as I am concerned.
    Surely though, printing the picture is not much different from looking at my website and having one of my images on the screen. Take it a step further and put it on a digital photo frame. Is that still ok? Where do you draw the line between acceptable and not acceptable?
     
  21. My photographers brain says that making a copy and hanging it on a wall is wrong. However, if I hang a LCD on a wall and look at the photo on the LCD it is OK? this distinction seems meaningless. If I send out a fliers for my gallery show or make a catalog available for free there is nothing to prevent someone to hang those images on a wall and appreciate them. If a photographer uploads images for altruistic or self promotional reasons then controlling their use (as long as someone else doesn't make money off them) seems morally questionable
     
  22. I haven't read all the responses, but I agree with Andrew - most respondents seem to be taking this a bit to seriously. Once posted on the web those bits that encode your photographs are out there - like the words I'm typing now. What if the NYT blogger uses the images he finds here, or on your photo web site, for his screen saver, is that OK? What if he freezes his screen saver on a single image so it's fixed there on his computer screen, is that OK? If not, for how many seconds can he look before you deem him in criminal violation? What if he hangs his flat screen on the wall with the on-line image displayed on it? Where do you folks draw the line with an image you've posted on the internet asking (dare I say 'hoping', 'wishing') that someone will actually look at it and like it? The only well defined line to draw is the one the original NYT blogger made, his "own personal private use". I don't want police coming into my house asking for receipts for all the stuff hanging on my walls. To everyone that's so irate, I say, don't take yourself - or your photographs - so seriously. If someone wants to print out something from my photo.net portfolio for their own personal, private use, I say, have at it. Send me an email telling me of it and I'll be flattered. The posted stuff is low res jpeg so won't look very good, and if you want a high res enlarged, matted and/or framed, I'm happy to sell that to you.
     
  23. The lawyers quoted make interesting points. The gist isn't that if you feel bad it's okay. One lawyer says it's a gray area and she's not sure. The other argues that the precedent is the Betamax lawsuit, in which Sony was sued by broadcasters who wanted to control when and how people viewed TV shows, which was being hurt by Betamax VCRs that allowed people to record and watch later. The court ruled in Sony's favor. It makes some sense.
    He's probably right, but the only way to find out is to find somebody who's printed out one of your photos from Flickr and sue them. That would establish precedent, which is how you clear up gray areas, but be warned, you might lose. You see a copyright violation, somebody else sees a fair use.
     
  24. if its non-commercial use, then the blogger's intended use is fine by me.
    But then again i do not make a living off my photos, which is largely motivating my stance. so this issue of legality is very difficult to articulate because we cannot even resolve an ethical standard that is robust to individual perspective.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/frdchang/
     
  25. There are many issues raised here, both moral and technical. On the moral side, creators of an artistic work have the right to be compensated for it, but also have a responsibility of a reasonable level of care to safeguard their asset. Talk about being ripped off, if DaVinci had access to hi-rez lithography, ran off a stack of Mona Lisas and left them on the street corner, does he have the right to wail and bitch when people take them home to hang on their walls? No. He still got ripped off by talented copy artists, but the burden of acquiring the 'ripoff' copy precluded wide-spread theft.
    Likewise with contemporary work. Flickr was designed to promote distribution, not suppress it. Don't put your best stuff on the street corner and whine when people make off with it. Don't post high-rez images on Flickr, because most people's systems won't resolve it to full benefit to begin with, and if they do download and print a low-rez image, do you care? Use the streetcorner to generate interest in and link to your online store, and pay a web professional to lock it down. There are well-known ways to prevent downloading, print-screens, etc. but you won't find them at the 'one size fits all' website store. All you pros out there complaining about losing business to P&S wedding photogs that then try to go cheap on the tech side by DIY need to re-think that strategy-br
     
  26. Why bother to try and enforce the unenforceable? If we put an image on the internet and someone downloads it to use for their personal pleasure, what can be done and why should we do anything at all? Do we not display the images in the first place for the accolade of our peers and to have our artistic skills recognized and justified? To then cry foul because someone likes it enough to display in their home seems naive. If I thought an admirer had one of my pictures hanging on their wall across the world, I would be flattered. Yes, it is wrong to steal an image to either resell or use for commercial purposes and you have a means of redress for such occasions if you find out. But the digital age has given us all a chance to display our occasional achievements of excellence and there are now countless thousands of incredible online images that a decade ago would have sat fading and obscure in a dusty photo album. It is inevitable that these find their way into people’s homes. Anyone can print an archival image for pennies, anyone can load up a digital picture frame with works of art, anyone can make a screensaver slide show of photographs they admire. Isn’t this a good thing, to have our work alive and providing inspiration and pleasure to people around the world? Do we always have to assume that something we upload has an intrinsic monetary value?
     
  27. 'This one is, shall we say, beyond belief. An NY Times blogger openly advocates stealing protected images from the 'Net and using them to decorate your home.'
    That's nothing. Here in the UK, newspapers such as The Times commonly advocate the despicable practice of 'ripping' CDs of copyrighted music to portable music players for entertainment purposes. This is, of course, completely illegal under UK law. You might argue, of course, that this is an absurdly outdated law that should be adjusted to reflect the reality of how we use copyrighted material in the digital age (even the government now thinks so ). Or you might live in a country that already applies 'fair use' exemptions to this sort of situation. But if I should be able to transfer copyrighted music to my iPod without fear of legal consequences, why not a photo I've downloaded from Flickr, perhaps for display on my TV screen? And if I can make a digital copy for personal use, why not an 'analogue' copy..?
     
  28. If you don't want the kids to take the cookies without permission, then hide the cookie jar.
    People do these things because they can. It has no bearing on moral or legal obligation. Use large watermarks or flash files to discorage the majority of greasy fingers. Limit the damage or don't bother posting.
     
  29. Here in the UK, newspapers such as The Times commonly advocate the despicable practice of 'ripping' CDs of copyrighted music to portable music players for entertainment purposes. This is, of course, completely illegalunder UK law.​
    That's illegal?! For your own use, when you own the CD? Ridiculous.
    Good thing we beat you guys in those wars.
     
  30. I don't mind people printing and displaying images I post on the Net.
    I do mind when people infringe on my copyright by reproducing my images for profit.
    See my "Hall of Shame" there. I got the idea from Phil G.
     
  31. Simple fix, really -- Just don't upload high-resolution pics. If they want a pixelated print to hang on their wall, well that's their poor taste. If you want to have a place for legitimate customers to download high-quality prints for sale, then there are many options out there on the Web, you probably are just going to have to pay for it.
    For the record, whether it is legal or not, I feel people shouldn't do this, at least to pro photogs who are trying to make a living. But the fact is there are ways to protect yourself.
     
  32. Well if the photographer posted a full res image I could understand their annoyance, but surely that's unwise? To publish on a public site is surely going to result in some people printing off images for their own use. It is a shame that many photographers only publish rather small images to the web. I am prepared to publish larger images on my own websites but still not to their full resolution.
    Les could take up sculpture, but then a photographer could take photos of his sculpture and publish them as original works.
     
  33. I always wanted an original Ansel Adams, who knew the $10,000 price tag was merely a suggestion.
     
  34. If you don't want it printed, don't post it as a large file.
    --Lannie
     
  35. [[No, I'm not, where did you get that???]]
    In an argument such as this I think it is important to be specific. Your original statement was not. It was broad and did not differentiate between various types of photo licenses available on flickr (beyond CC and AAR there's also the public domain images). Hence my question.
     
  36. First, calling it theft just sounds ignorant and weakens your arguement to most people, it is not theft in law and it is not morally theft. Theft deprives the owner of its use. When you get overly dramatic like this, the people who you want to "educate" will have tuned you out before you get to your point.
    Second, printing for personal home use is fair use under copyright law. And it makes sense, you haven't lost a sale. Do you really believe every person who prints an image from the web would have paid you for that image otherwise?
    Third, there seems to be a line of thought in this thread where everybody who posts to flickr should use safeguards to make sure their images are not used that way. There are many, many amatuers out there who post to flickr who would be flattered to know someone cared enough to print their images. These are people who take snapshots and get a lucky shot once in a while. Why should they act as professionals and try to prevent uncompensated use of their pictures? They'd rather get on with enjoying their lives. And since they see no problem with someone printing their pictures, they see no problem printing someone else's. As a professional photographer, you are in a very, very small minority on flickr.
    So, they do have the law on their side, and the majority of flickr users would see no problem using pictures that way or having their pictures used that way.
     
  37. John, even the two lawyers quoted in the follow-up article are not sure if it fits within fair use, so how come you know it does? Could you provide some references?

    One of the lawyers in the follow-up article says: “The real core question is, is this a fair use or not?” said Corynne McSherry, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group. “Frankly the answer is, we don’t know.” Ms. McSherry suggests playing it safe and always asking.

    The other lawyer, from the Free Use Project at Stanford, says that there are a lot of parallels with the VCR case. But a VCR (at the time anyway) takes a crappy, rapidly deteriorating copy of the original broadcast and leaves the commercials in. The commericals are what pays for the material, so there is compensation just as much as when the viewer is watching the show live. Currently you can make a non-crappy copy of a non-HD broadcast on a digital hard drive but the ads are still in. Clearly this is not the case in the case of an unauthorized print of a copyrighted photo. No one gets compensation.

    However, I tend to agree that it's not possible to prevent this from happening and it's best not to upload high-resolution files. The main problem with the original article is that it is essentially the NY Times advocating decorating your house with prints made from other people's images without asking for permission or giving compensation. And that shows that the author and the newspaper do not care about the value of photography as a creative pursuit (as long as it's not theirs).
     
  38. " Second, printing for personal home use is fair use under copyright law."
    Could you please tell us where the Copyright law states this? I'm curious. Because from what I read on the US copyrights own website "Fair Use" is defined as
    "Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research."​
    It seams pretty clear to me that printing for home personal use and enjoyment does not fall under that category.
     
  39. 'That's illegal?! For your own use, when you own the CD? Ridiculous.'
    Yes, of course it is (and never enforced). But why is this different to making copies of an image made freely available on the web, or of one you paid for (like a professional wedding photo), provided it's for personal use?
     
  40. I thik Ilkka's right to remind us that the NYT blog article is insensitive to photographers' rights. If the article wasn't in a blog it would be outrageous for a newspaper journalist to suggest that people decorate their homes with copyright images.
    One would have thought that the writer could have at least suggested that buying prints from a photographer provides for archival quality full resolution prints.
     
  41. By the way, what gives a wedding photographer the right to enter a venue, photographer people there dancing, etc, and then selling the images of those people (the guests) to a third party (the bridge and groom) for profit (a commercial use), without getting a model release from every guest?
    What gives a photographer the right to use images of people and recognizable structures in their portfolio (which is a commercial use if you use the portfolio for commercial use, ie to attract new customers) without getting model and property releases?
    @Geoff, just a quick comment, the people who would print from flickr don't care about archival full res prints. It's something quick and dirty and if it fades in a few years, they'll print something else to replace it. This is an example of knowing your market, and these people are not your market.
     
  42. Second, printing for personal home use is fair use under copyright law.
    Do you have a citation for the case law on this?
    You mean I can download Steve McCurry's 'Afghan Girl' and put it on my wall? Ansel Adams? Irving Penn? Wow! No one will ever have to pay for photographs again! (Unless they make money from them, in which case they just need to steal from amateurs on Flickr who can't afford lawyers.)
    First, calling it theft just sounds ignorant and weakens your arguement to most people, it is not theft in law and it is not morally theft. Theft deprives the owner of its use.
    Awesome! Like, I can just download a cracked copy of Adobe Design Suite! Damn, I thought I'd have to pay for it. But Adobe isn't deprived of its use, so... Thanks, man, that's like totally rad!
     
  43. 'Good thing we beat you guys in those wars.'
    Some of the more rabid elements of the US music industry would have you believe that CD ripping for personal use is equally illegal on your side of the pond:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/28/AR2007122800693.html?hpid=topnews
    and Dan's definition of 'Fair Use' doesn't seem to cover it either. But it's 'common sense' that this isn't really illegal or, if it is, it shouldn't be. I suspect that most of the people posting to this thread wouldn't think twice about loading a CD into iTunes. But is there any real legal or moral difference between copying images for personal use and copying music? A large proportion of my CDs and records were originally recorded before consumer mp3 players became available, and some pre-date cassette recorders. In other words, the original artists were releasing their material with no expectation that consumers would be able to run off a second high quality copy to play in the car or in a portable player. When the technology changed that's exactly what we all did, of course, and without compensating the artists in any way. Yet we get terribly upset when someone suggests doing something similar with photographs.
     
  44. By the way, what gives a wedding photographer the right to enter a venue, photographer people there dancing, etc, and then selling the images of those people (the guests) to a third party (the bridge and groom) for profit (a commercial use), without getting a model release from every guest?

    When the bride and groom make an agreement to rent the venue, it is implied that they can invite whoever they want into the event, including the photographer. It is generally understood that weddings are events which are extensively photographed for the bride and groom & their families and friends. The guests understand this and by being present give their consent to the photography.
    What gives a photographer the right to use images of people and recognizable structures in their portfolio (which is a commercial use if you use the portfolio for commercial use, ie to attract new customers) without getting model and property releases?

    Either written or verbal consent. I don't think the "recognizable structures" and "property releases" part is particularly relevant in most parts of the world or most venues, otherwise there might need to be a contract between the photographer and the venue that takes care of such issues.
     
  45. @Richard.
    "A large proportion of my Cd's and records were originally recorded before consumer mp3 players became available, and some pre-date cassette recorders. In other words, the original artists were releasing their material with no expectation that consumers would be able to run off a second high quality copy to play in the car or in a portable player. When the technology changed that's exactly what we all did, of course, and without compensating the artists in any way. Yet we get terribly upset when someone suggests doing something similar with photographs."
    We also didn't know that our LP's would become obsolete. I think that I am entitled to continue to use my musicical recordings by transferring them to a different medium. I wouldn't mind paying a small fee for doing so - preferably directly to the artist. I can't see how there is anything similar in the argument about copying music to another medium and printing photographs. Except that printing photos from a website is a change of medium. These people do not own a reproduction of the images like I own a CD or LP. At least one hopes that in the case of music it is owned by the person doing the copying to another medium. I haven't bought an itunes player yet.
    Personally, I can listen to music on the radio and can listen to a complete recording. I could record that music to my hard disk recorder but would prefer in the case of music I liked to buy a CD and that is exactly what I do. I also buy stock photos for use on my websites.
     
  46. It's been an interesting discussion with lots of good points raised. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the photographer. I've been to websites with fabulous images that cannot be downloaded. Other websites have watermarks to dissuade potential use. If you upload a great high-resolution picture that is attractive and desirable then it's fair game for download. That's the nature of media today and whilst higher intellects spend the next decade arguing the ethics and morality, your work will grace walls and digital frames around the world. You can either, lie awake and count the dollars fluttering out the window or let it go and move on. We live in a world in which the image is everything. Since the day the Hindenburgh crashed we have been mesmerized by photographs of every subject ranging from the iconic to the everyday. We can't restrict the images in our homes to a collection that reflects life through our own narrow viewfinder. We need to flood our vision with works from other photographers and other cultures to inspire and remind us of our place in the world. How else can we grow?
     
  47. 'I can't see how there is anything similar in the argument about copying music to another medium and printing photographs. Except that printing photos from a website is a change of medium. These people do not own a reproduction of the images like I own a CD or LP.'
    I'm really not sure I see the distinction. In the case of an online image, you could say there's implicit permission to make a personal copy of the image to your PC (in the web browser's cache), but the photographer usually doesn't intend the viewer to make any other use of it. For a CD or LP, we own the physical object, but not the music on it, and the only permission we really have is to play it from the original medium. In both cases, we're only supposed to use the copyrighted material in a limited way. I also feel 'entitled' to transfer the music I've bought to a different medium, but I don't think there's any particular legal basis for this belief (especially in the UK). It's just that a public consensus has developed that this is 'OK', which is ahead of the curve defined by the law. If a similar consensus is developing about the personal use of copyrighted images, perhaps it's a little hypocritical of us to get too upset about it. What about a reversal of the original example, where (e.g.) someone scans a pro print (perhaps a wedding or school photo) they've paid for but don't own the copyright of, and uses it as their PC desktop wallpaper, or prints out a second copy for their wallet or desk at work? I know there are photographers who'd be outraged by this sort of behaviour, but I wonder if they'd give a second thought to ripping the CDs they 'own'.
     
  48. Has anyone ever tried this bit of software?
    Secure Image Pro 5.0
    The most portable image protection solution supported in all web browsers.
    Copy Protect images displayed on web pages

    Secure Image Pro is the recommended image protection for when you don't want
    to restrict your visitors to plug-in downloads before being able to view. Browser
    and software support is available for all platforms including Windows, Mac and
    Linux.

    * Image watermarking option
    * Slideshow and swap image for image or text effects (print protection)
    * Configuration wizard for setting properties of individual images
    * Image encryption for JPG, GIF, PNG and TIFF images
    * Domain locking of images to a designated web site
    * Batch processing for 1,000's of images at a time
    * Command line options for single file or batch conversions
    * File names optimized for automatic image sizing
    * Elevated runtime privileges for Java 1.6 and later
    * Image encryption software is supported across all platforms
    * Web page image viewer is supported across all web browsers

    Grab and spider protection

    Search engine spiders and web grab applications such Xenu, Teleport Pro and
    others can locate any file linked to your web pages. Some applications like Adobe
    Acrobat can download your entire web site and publish it as a book. However
    ArtistScope encrypted images while they may be downloadable, cannot be viewed
    unless displayed from your web site.

    No right mouse click

    Mouse clicking offers several options for saving or copying the page or image.
    Secure Image prevents right mouse click operations in several ways, depending on
    which applet style is used. If the standard display is used then visitor trying to right
    click on your image will be transported to the hyperlink that you nominate. If swap
    image or show text display options are used then all the visitor can do with their
    mouse is display the alternate message/image. They will not be able to mouse save
    any of the images. If no link is on the image they will find that a mouse cannot
    activate a menu from an ArtistScope security applet.

    Domain Lock

    Each registered site uses a unique key based on an algorithm of the domain name
    for the password to decrypt the image. The ArtistScope security applet checks the
    host that is displaying the web page to see if it matches your key before displaying
    the image. Domain Lock codes are not stored on the web site and therefore not
    retrievable by any process except by using an ArtistScope security applet. Instead
    Domain Lock keys are embedded into the encrypted images.

    Encryption

    The most important reason for using encrypted images is because they are
    protected after download by being irretrievable from the web browser's cache.
    Secure Image Pro encrypted images are most secure on the server and protected
    from distribution by your employees, webmaster and staff employed by your web
    host.

    Browser support


    Secure Image supports all commonly used browsers on Windows, Linux and Mac
    computers. The software for encryption is also available for use on all platforms

    More info here: http://www.artistscope.com/secure_image.asp

    A partially functional demo is available at the Artiscope site.
    Cheers!
    BTW, I am in no way associated with Artiscope, or any of its employees, or distributors (if any).
     
  49. "Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research."
    It seams pretty clear to me that printing for home personal use and enjoyment does not fall under that category.​
    "Such as" is a term that implies a non-comprehensive list. The fact that something is not in the written list may not be used as evidence that it is not part of the category.
    Has anyone ever tried this bit of software?
    Secure Image Pro 5.0
    It does not work. I can't post it here because it's an image I don't own, but there is a photo of a model with ridiculous gold sequined eyebrows on the Secure Image Pro web site that is a demo of their technology. I now have my own copy in a JPG file. Also, if I view it in Firefox and don't disable Adblock Plus the image doesn't display. And it requires Java.
    Some of the more rabid elements of the US music industry would have you believe that CD ripping for personal use is equally illegal on your side of the pond.​
    They are, fortunately, incorrect.
    These people do not own a reproduction of the images like I own a CD or LP.​
    Of course they do. You gave it to them. You uploaded it to Flickr, hoping for people to view it on their computers. You are not an idiot and therefore understand that viewing a copy on their computer requires a copy to exist on their computer. A reasonable person can interpret your putting the photo on a public site as intent to put copies on the computers of various members of the public.
     
  50. Printing the content of web pages for personal use is fair use.
     
  51. A reasonable person can interpret your putting the photo on a public site as intent to put copies on the computers of various members of the public.

    A reasonable person can also come to terms with the fact that the technological requirement to have a bitmap file as a temporary cache resource in a web browsing application - in order to actually see the image - doesn't change the terms of use expressed by the copyright holder when the visitor makes use of the web site that's displaying the image.

    Sure, a web browsing app needs to, from a house-keeping point of view, make a short-lived copy of an image file in order to display it. Likewise, a book store needs a front door you can walk through in order to browse through the store's wares. That there are logistical necessities in making the browsing of the wares or display visible to a web visitor or a walk-up audience doesn't change the ethics of using that access to reproduce the artist's work for other use. So a book store needs to put the books out where you can see them. There they are, right in front of you! Does the your-browser-cache-means-you're-off-the-hook theory mean that you're also OK photographing every page of a book in a book store, and then walking out? After all, it was on display in a store open to the public, right?

    I find the moral relativism that people are willing to exhibit, just because one facet of a communications technology gives them some latitude, to be really astounding. My personal theory is that people trot out the "well, it's already in my browser cache, so obviously the photographer wanted me to be able to reproduce her work as I see fit, and hang it on the wall" are being completely disengenuous, and are just looking for some cover so that they don't feel so bad, later, when personally ripping off music and movies online.

    As for the notion that it's the photographer's responsibility to save people from their own ethical failings and make it too difficult to rip off their images? That's like saying it's a shopkeeper's responsibility to prevent shoplifting - not the shopper's moral responsibility not to steal stuff, lest they waive any claim to their own possessions.

    I do not care about the legal or semantic hair splitting over theft vs. copyright infringement. People who are ripping somebody else off know who they are. There's no need to make it any more complicated than that.
     
  52. As for secure image pro, it wouldn't load the demos even though I have Java installed. I have yet to see anything on my monitor that couldn't be screen captured.
     
  53. ...people trot out the "well, it's already in my browser cache, so obviously the photographer wanted me to be able to reproduce her work as I see fit, and hang it on the wall" are being completely disengenuous...​
    Not disingenuous at all. The discussion was whether printing is analogous to CD copying. The statement was that the situations are different because the CD owner owns the CD but the image viewer doesn't own a copy of the image. But it' exactly the same, because both the image owner and the record company will tell you that what you have is a license for limited use of the copyrighted work, and the CD or image file is just a medium for conveying the content and does not come with the license.
    It's exactly the same thing:
    The record company provides me a CD and says I'm allowed to listen to the music, but instead I transfer it to my MP3 player to listen in a different way.
    The photographer provides me an image file and says I'm allowed to look at the photo, but instead I print it to paper to view in a different way.
    It's not stealing. The photographer gave it to me. He even put it on a web site that advertises it's for sharing photos. Sharing. And you want to use the site for advertising your business and then tell me to look at it on the monitor and not on paper? I call BS.
    You obviously disagree with my interpretation but it's not disingenuous, it's based on what I consider a reasonable reading of the situation.
     
  54. "Such as" is a term that implies a non-comprehensive list. The fact that something is not in the written list may not be used as evidence that it is not part of the category.​
    But "Such as" does imply a category that things would fall into would it not? Tell me where "personal use" falls into one of those categories, or even comes close.
     
  55. 'My personal theory is that people trot out the "well, it's already in my browser cache, so obviously the photographer wanted me to be able to reproduce her work as I see fit, and hang it on the wall" are being completely disengenuous, and are just looking for some cover so that they don't feel so bad, later, when personally ripping off music and movies online.'
    Andrew has already covered this very well, but I'll just add that I'm not looking for cover for anything (non copyright holders making other people's work available for public sharing is a different issue). Nor am I suggesting that many Flickr photographer actively want me to print out their images for personal use, any more than the makers of a random CD I just grabbed from the shelf (which explicitly prohibits 'copying or recording in any manner whatsoever') actively want me to rip it to mp3, again for personal use (I'm sure they'd rather I bought a second copy for my iPod!). But I do think the distinction we tend to make between these activities (would YOU ignore the copying prohibition on the CD?) is essentially artificial (perhaps because we're photographers, and not necessarily musicians).
    I also think there's also a pretty widespread misconception about the way the web works. When you set up an image website, you're not offering a window on to a private gallery, but rather a set of files to be downloaded by any software that can communicate with your server. Back in the early days of the web (and sometimes more recently, when logged into a remote system) I used the Lynx browser, which only displays text unless you explicitly choose to download an image and view it with an external application. Is it wrong for a Lynx user to select the 'download' link? Or for that matter, is it wrong for the user of a graphical browser to ever use the built-in 'print' and 'save image' commands, since most of the material on the web is copyrighted? And if printing is allowed for personal use, is it wrong to pin the output to your wall?
    I personally wouldn't do what the author of the NYT piece suggested (which if nothing else, is pretty tacky), but exactly why is this shifting of the medium to enjoy the art elsewhere not 'fair use', if we accept that ripping CDs is fine? Until very recently, the music industry was 'copy protecting' many of its discs in a vain attempt to prevent exactly this (and the movie industry is still doing so). But these non-standard CDs were widely disliked, partly because some of them attempted to install harmful software on the user's computer, but mainly because all of them aimed to prevent what most people regarded as legitimate media shifting.
     
  56. Thanks Bob, for the tip on Secure Image Pro. I will definatly be having a look at it. I would love to display my images on the internet but the issues at play here are why I don't.
    In the meantime: I've run across websites (not photo ones) where the right click save as option is disabled. It's a mystery to me why sites like Flickr (and Photo.net) don't offer this.
    Furthermore, it would be great if someone would come up with a feature where, if the Print Screen button is pressed the screen goes blank (or a message is displayed: Ex. "You don't have the right to download this image")
     
  57. Disabling right-click or print-screen is usually just a javascript trick, easily circumvented by disabling Javascript. It's also irritating to legitimate users who (e.g.) use right-click to open a link in another window or tab. I didn't even get as far as viewing the Secure Image Pro demo, as it required a Java update I couldn't be bothered with (real users used to web pages 'just working' may have a similar reaction). I guess Flash would be another option, though many Flash sites are slow and irritating enough to be offputting, and again may require a software update that could discourage a proportion of the potential viewers.
     
  58. Any browser-side script that can disable your right-click (a generally obnoxious thing to do anyway, as pointed out above - people use the right-click for many other navigational tasks) can itself be disabled through a simple browser plug-in or behavior setting. That accomplishes nothing.

    Blocking print-screen functionality? You do not want the person running some web site you're visiting to be able to have that sort of influence over the behvior of your computer's operating system.

    There is nothing you can do to prevent an image on your screen from being saved/copied by an even barely motivated visitor to a web site. This isn't a technical or practical issue, it's an ethical one. And since ethics shouldn't be situational, decorating your house with prints made from images that were put up to be shown on screen as promotional/portfolio examples (a la many people's use of Flickr et al) isn't any different than decorating your house with prints made from photographs you've taken with your camera of someone else's fine art photography hanging in a gallery for exhibit/sale. The technical differences are meaningless because the there are no ethical differences whatsoever.
     
  59. I'm going to go full devil's advocate here, because somebody's got to do it.
    The technical differences are meaningless because the there are no ethical differences whatsoever.​
    Of course there are differences. The gallery is private property, and it's there for selling artworks. You have an agreement with the owner to sell works there. Flickr is a public space and it's explicitly stated that it's there for sharing photos. It's not your advertising site. Flickr is walking around on the sidewalk holding up a large print of your photo and yelling "Hey, look at this!" Using Flickr to advertise and promote your business while expecting people to follow your ideas of what an appropriate use of the photos you've left out in public is, isn't just impractical, it's using a free public venue for commercial purposes, which is bad netiquette.
    If you want to retain control over your images, don't put the good copies in such public places, and don't expect the public to have the same interpretation of your rights as you do, because they don't. In the absence of a mutually agreed upon definition of the ethics there are no grounds to accuse the copiers of an ethical violation. All there is is a technical violation of copyright law that may or may not apply, because as stated above, it's a gray area.
     
  60. I like the idea that once you have the image in your hands you can do whatever you want w/ it. It isn't anybodys business what goes on inside your own home. I agree w/ Matt. There are no ethics involved in this what so ever. If I wish to plaster my walls w/ images of the Mona Lisa, photos from books, text from novels, so what? They're my walls and my private property. In the words of Huey Long, it's my castle, no matter how humble. It all sounds too Big Brotherish to me.
    Besides, we're talking about photos on the web. I want someone to explain to me the difference between viewing them on my monitor, which is the POINT of putting them on the web, and printing them out. The image is there in both instances. In one it's glowing pixels, in another it's in ink. So?
     
  61. So, Andrew, you're saying that it's the average Flickr visitor's ignorance of copyright law, and likely unwillingness to note whether or not someone has posted an example of their work under the Creative Commons, or with All Rights Reserved, etc., that makes for the gray area? A fine art print hanging in the front window of a gallery, facing the sidewalk, is also unlikely to be accompanied by a large sign with lay language explaining that it's being hung there to garner interest in the artist's work, not to be reproduced by passers-by with good enough lenses in order to decorate their walls, no matter how hip the New York Times says it is to do so.

    We may not expect the average Joe to actually understand copyrights, but we can expect someone writing for the NYT to perhaps stop short of deliberately worsening that situation. It's not about Flickr, per se. It's about the larger problem of death by a thousand cuts. And that sense of entitlement does, in the absence of an informed perspective and routine reminders from artists and the venues showing their works, turn into a tacit enforsement for the ripping off any entertainment that one might want.

    Most young people don't get how destructive that is to the very artists they pretend to respect. But if you don't fight the little battles on the fringes, you'll never keep the barbarians from the gates. I'm simply proposing that people like the twit writing for the NYT get an appropriate thrashing for contributing to the wider "everything is free if you're cool and know how to get it" atmosphere.
     
  62. Flickr isn't "public space", it is a website maintained by a private company. Selling your work through flickr is forbidden in the terms of service, but that doesn't mean that the images are in the public domain. The artists keep their copyright (unless they specifically give up on it). There is no difference in this respect between images on flickr or another site which you maintain yourself - either way it's copyrighted material which may be viewed with a web browser temporarily by anyone with access. Making a permanent physical copy of the work is completely different from temporary computer viewing.
     
  63. Statement from NY Times' Michele McNally:
    A. I have received a number of queries about Ms. Zjawinski's recent post on Gadgetwise, a New York Times blog about personal technology, in which she discussed downloading and printing Flickr images for use as home décor. Here is where The Times stands on the issues that have been raised about the post:

    We are strong proponents of copyright protection. The New York Times does not endorse, nor is it our policy to engage in, the infringement of copyrighted work. We apologize for any suggestion to the contrary.
    The above is the full text of the answer found on McNally's blog . I certainly welcome her comments.
     
  64. Matt, I'm offering an argument that goes something like this: The average viewer's ignorance of the finer points of copyright law makes the issue legal, not ethical; to do something you don't know is wrong may be illegal, but is not unethical because it caries no ill intent. To argue the position that the home printer has done something wrong requires that what they have done be wrong; legally, it's a gray area, and we don't know if it's legally wrong or not, but it's apparently easier to make the argument that it's legal than the argument that it's illegal. I've made the argument that the photographer gave a copy of the image to the user, and provided precedent in the form of other cases that are similar in nature, and no reasoned refutations have been offered.
    You are saying it is an ethical issue, so it doesn't matter if the legal issues are a gray area. But it is not, because ethics are relative in ways that laws are not, and the ethics of a photographer are as different from the ethics of an average web viewer, as much as the ethics of an architect are different from the ethics of a doctor. Unless you can construct the ethical argument without falling back on copyright law, as you have done here, your argument is flawed. The critical piece you are missing is: in the absence of a governing law, and in the absence of material harm to the artist, why must an average web user not print a copy of a work he's been given? Not how the slippery slope eventually causes you injury, but why that person must not do that. Maybe there's a link, but you haven't constructed it.
    Because from the perspective of the average person who is not a content creator, between the copyright law extension to help Disney keep Mickey Mouse, the easily abused DMCA, the RIAA and the woman who's forced to pay more money than she'll make in her lifetime because she downloaded 20 songs on the internet, the Sony lawyer who wants to sue people for copying their paid-for CDs to their iPods, the publishers who suggested outlawing public libraries, etc., etc., the slippery slope is tilted in favor of the copyright owners who have been abusing the government at the expense of the average citizen. The general public feels wronged by the copyright enforcers who people feel have overstepped their authority. To them, your slippery slope argument carries no weight at all, so what do you say to them?
    What I'm trying to get here is the argument that makes the printing wrong, ethically or legally. If we have that argument, it gives us, as content creators, more power. But what we currently have is a logically flawed, unsupported argument using emotion, a weak induction, a very well known fallacy and some name calling. Which is to say, nothing.
    By the way, for personal and non-commercial use I'm allowed to take whatever photograph I want to from my position on the public sidewalk and there's a board full of street photographers here who can back that up.
    Also, since "theft" is a crime, "advocating" crime is often itself a crime and nobody here has presented any well reasoned and unrefuted argument that this Flickr printing is a crime, isn't it time to stop bashing the NYT writer and instead apologize? She's done her due diligence and got two legal opinions on the matter, and you've called her a "twit" simply for disagreeing with your (incorrect) legal opinion, while Les has accused her of "advocat[ing] theft".
     
  65. By the way, for personal and non-commercial use I'm allowed to take whatever photograph I want to from my position on the public sidewalk
    Of course. But if you take a photograph of artwork (say a painting which is being sold on the street) and reproduce it to a print of the painting at home, you're involved with copyright violation. The question you should ask yourself: since you can just take a picture with a digital camera, why should anyone buy a painting? Why should anyone attempt to do art for a living if it is free game for copying and there is no chance to make enough money at it? Why should a society encourage this kind of a practice?
     
  66. '...the slippery slope is tilted in favor of the copyright owners who have been abusing the government at the expense of the average citizen.'
    'In the words of Huey Long, it's my castle, no matter how humble. It all sounds too Big Brotherish to me.'
    Indeed. Big Media, of course, loves the ability that digital technology apparently gives them to dictate how legitimately obtained 'content' is used in the privacy of your own home. Yes, we're happy to let you watch that DVD you bought from us. As long as you don't mind sitting through our compulsory 10 minute trailer reel and anti-piracy infomercial. But don't try copying it to your iPod, as that would be a DMCA violation. And don't even think about watching it in Europe, where our valued customers have the privilege of buying the price-hiked Region 2 version. Is it too unreasonable to suggest that control and policing of legally obtained copyrighted material should stop at the front door, and only start again when it goes back out the door to a 3rd party? This is already the effective situation for audio, whatever local laws may say.
     
  67. The question you should ask yourself: since you can just take a picture with a digital camera, why should anyone buy a painting?​
    I cite Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction".
     
  68. It's trivial to obtain a DVD player that is region free but that won't give you subtitles in your own language. Europe has dozens of languages to which the regional DVDs have either dubbed or subtitled versions in. Of course the price is higher as there is higher taxes and extra work involved.
    Is it too unreasonable to suggest that control and policing of legally obtained copyrighted material should stop at the front door, and only start again when it goes back out the door to a 3rd party?

    Of course this is how it is in practice for photographs also - nowhere is the police going to come in and arrest people for the possession of a print that is in violation. That doesn't mean that a newspaper in leading position should advocate copyright violation on the grounds that since it happens within four walls no one will know. People will do what they will, but at the very least they should be aware of whether they're doing something the artist intended or not. Some people will use software for which they do not have a license - since it happens within four walls, should the NY Times encourage this activity? What's the difference? For either artwork or e.g. software in digital format, you cannot allow unlimited copying or you're not going to be able to live from making it. The fact that illicit copies are made "behind the front door" shows that people have no respect for the work because it can be so easily copied. They think that because they're in possession of the bits they can do what they want with it. They are happy to use it, as long as they don't have to pay for it. Advocating that this practice is ok just means that those people who do obtain legitimate rights to use it have to pay for it much more than those who couldn't care less about the originator of the work. If this is not theft then I don't know what is.
     
  69. 'It's trivial to obtain a DVD player that is region free but that won't give you subtitles in your own language. Europe has dozens of languages to which the regional DVDs have either dubbed or subtitled versions in. Of course the price is higher as there is higher taxes and extra work involved.'
    Obviously region-free DVD players are readily available (though unfortunately region-free BD players are still rare and expensive), but I assume you'd have to condemn them as they allow the content to be used in a way the artists did not intend (if they did, they wouldn't bother with region coding). And isn't it curious how Spanish and French subtitles in US and Canadian DVDs don't seem to make them more expensive than DVDs intended for the UK market, where no subtitles are required? (we'd generally be perfectly happy with the US version). I assume you'd also condemn ripping CDs to mp3, or not erasing a time-shifted TV recording after a single viewing? If not, why not?
    'Some people will use software for which they do not have a license - since it happens within four walls, should the NY Times encourage this activity? What's the difference?'
    I think the difference is that the copyright holder did not make the software available to everyone as a free download. The subject of this thread is more analogous to someone making multiple copies of a legitimately obtained program for (e.g.) use on their desktop and laptop (some licences explicitly allow this, of course).
    'For either artwork or e.g. software in digital format, you cannot allow unlimited copying or you're not going to be able to live from making it.'
    Well, the web is pretty much designed to serve (more or less) unlimited copies of any stored file to anyone who asks. Once the file is downloaded, of course, there's little point in making a large number of further copies for your own personal use (though as in my ripped CD example, more than one copy may be desirable). Or do you mean copies for distribution to 3rd parties? Nobody in this thread is advocating that. I'd be happy to condemn anyone who is selling your images as their own, or publishing them in a book without permission, or putting them on their own public website.
     
  70. I don't think the artists have anything to do with region coding; it is Sony et al. who maintain it. I use a region free (actually a Sony) player myself as I have lived on two continents it was necessary to program it that way, to be able to play the DVDs I own. It's a system easy to go around if you have a good reason to. I doubt that the artists get more money for DVDs sold in Europe than they do for the disc sold in the US.
    Pretty much all photographers have images on the web; in many cases they show their best work. They do not put it online so that people can do what they want with it. They put them out either to showcase their work to a larger audience or to communicate with their friends and family. If the image is of such nature that an outsider would want to hang it on their wall, it's most likely that the artist wants to be notified and may want compensation. In the case of a web viewing, no compensation is given, and the originator isn't even notified of the view in the case of flickr. It is inappropriate to use the image outside of the web browser unless the originator of the image specifically gives permission to do so. When you view an image on flickr, it says clearly "All rights reserved." on most images. How hard this is to understand? By contrast, when you download "free" software, what you can do with it is clearly indicated in the license agreement.
     
  71. Ilkka, in the space of one post you just said you use a region free DVD player to get around the viewing restrictions studios (the copyright owners) put on DVDs, and then said it's inappropriate for people to print images they see on Flickr.
    Seriously? That's what you're going to go with?
     
  72. Ilkka PAID for his DVDs. The downloaders do NOT pay for the images.
     
  73. Right. They didn't have to pay. They were given the images for free. It's the same thing. The rights owner sells or gives permission to use the content in some particular way, then the person who received the content used it in some other way - transferred to iPod, ripped the video to play on portable device, evaded region coding, printed the image to view hardcopy.
    You guys are saying all these misappropriations of content are fine except printing the photo. This is clearly ridiculous.
     
  74. I agree with les- Ilka is right. Ifwe pay for our Cd's or LP's then although we are not allowed to copy them to another medium many people do not have any qualms in doing so. In the case of LP's I didn't agree in buying one that at some time in the future I would be no longer able to play it as the technology has moved on. In fact I have LP's that cannot be replaced by existing CD's. The cost of a CD is distributed not only to the artist but also to the retailer as well as the publisher. It may be illegal to copy a CD to another medium but ethically I don't see why I should have to pay anything more than a token amount to do so.
    How on Earth people think that printing high resolution images for their own use is Fair is beyond me, it's not as if they have paid some license fee; unless of course the photographer does not mind. If the photographer does mind then as mentioned before, some people will print the image for use in their home regardless. If the photographer doesn't want this then all he or she has to do is refrain from publishing high res images. Or only publish a section of a photo. For my own work, most of my images do not communicate my intentions or the magic of what I captured unless they are viewed at a certain size -as the image is not really revealed.
    But apart from these arguments there is a move afoot to deny our copyright in our images unless we can prove that we own those images. And as I understand it we would need to register all our images with the US Patents office at 45 USD an image to protect our work! This is applicable even if we are not US citizens. http://www.lettertothepm.co.uk/violation_berne_copyright_convention.htm
    Some pepople might believe that good photos can easily be taken just by buying a decent digital camera. And so for those who have an eye for a good picture this may be so, but the vast majority of good photos are only produced by professional or artisitic photographers and they should not be deprived of the remuneration that they are entitled to for their experience when they are promoting their work.
     
  75. 'It may be illegal to copy a CD to another medium but ethically I don't see why I should have to pay anything more than a token amount to do so.
    How on Earth people think that printing high resolution images for their own use is Fair is beyond me, it's not as if they have paid some license fee'
    You really don't see a contradiction here? Your LP sleeve probably contains some text expressly forbidding you to do this, as such things go back rather a long way:
    http://www.alchemysite.com/blog/2009/01/eula-end-user-license-agreement-edison.html
    http://www.natch.net/stuff/78_license/
    Record players are still available, so there's nothing to stop you using the media exactly as the copyright holder intended. But copying gives you convenience, and the ability to enjoy the music away from the record player (in the car, on the train, when out running), just as someone who prints one of your images is free to enjoy it away from the computer screen.
     
  76. Wow.
    When you "pay for" a DVD, you are paying for a license to view the content. This license forbids breaking the region code. When you access flickr, you are granted a license to view the content. It makes absolutely no moral or legal difference whether or not you have paid for that license.
     
  77. Are you saying that I am no longer allowed to play the DVDs that I purchased in the USA when I lived there, since I now live in Europe? Should I have sold them at a 70% or greater loss and then repurchased them in Finland? Wow.
     
  78. Ilkka: Exactly. You are not allowed to do that, unless you also brought a region 1 DVD player with you or a computer that you left as region 1. It is no more legal or ethical to use electronics and software to evade region coding than it is for some guy to print a photo from Flickr. In many cases, it is more illegal.
    That may not apply to Finland specifically, in some countries it's legal to copy a DVD, but it certainly does apply in the US.
     
  79. Ilkka Nissila. Yes, that's exactly right. And if you don't like it, don't buy DVDs. If everyone stopped buying DVDs over that issue it would stop, but people don't care. If you don't like people printing your Flickr images, don't post your images to Flickr. It's really simple.
     
  80. John and Andrew: it's good to check facts before posting; helps improve the quality of the forum. In Finland it is legal to sell and use region free players, to program players to be region free, and play other regions' DVDs. It doesn't matter what the producer of the disc itself thinks about this matter since the local law overrides whatever laws might be in place in the country where the disc originates from. In some countries (e.g. Australia, according to Wikipedia) it is illegal to sell DVD players that are not region free.
    As another example of how the regional legislation can override these practices that try to limit trade, Nikon claims that their digital cameras and scanners have only regional warranty but in the EU the importer of the a product is responsible for manufacturing errors for 2-3 years (depends on country) irrespective of the origin of purchase of the product (as long as the same product is sold in the country where warranty service is seeked) or the claimed duration of the warranty. I read that in Finland Nikon lost a law suit with respect to this matter though I have no further details about it. Notice how prices between EU and US are this year more homogeneous (difference is typically only the difference in tax, while it used to be 10-30% more in many cases). I think they've had to realize that they can not maintain such large artificial price differences across markets any more; otherwise regional camera stores simply die as consumers become more and more internet aware.
     
  81. You're in Finland and it's legal there. I did say it might be. However, the writer was writing in the US where we live in a DMCA-induced gray area, and the legality in Finland or Australia does nothing to address the ethical concerns, and this isn't a see-how-countries-are-different issue.
    The question is, if you as a content consumer do not feel bad circumventing the DVD rights holders' intentions to control the ways in which their movies are viewed, when these intentions are made quite clear through their use of region coding (or the anti-MP3 intention of the record companies which have been made very clear in their public statements) why do you feel you write from a position of moral authority when you as a rights holder condemn the Flickr content consumers for circumventing the less-clearly-stated intent of some photographers to control how their photos are viewed?
    Also, I'm still waiting to see those apologies for accusing the NYT writer of promoting crime and calling her a "twit".
     
  82. No apology forthcoming, Andrew. I don't pirate DVDs, and I don't respect people who are paid to create intellectual propery (like, say, writing for the NYT) while simultaneously being a glib supporter of the content rip-off culture. The prevailing tone of that message wasn't "it's like taking the CD you paid for, and shifting it onto your iPod" ... but rather "you know, why pay a photographer for their art when you can pretend you didn't see the fine print where it says 'All Rights Reserved' under that guy's nice landscape photo on Flickr?"

    You know perfectly well that the wink-wink-nudge-nudge nature of that suggestion wasn't a subtle bit of protest agains DRM that lets you time-shift your TiVo recordings but doesn't seem to apply to the CD you bought in 1994... this was a simple case of "here's how to get some free stuff, and if you don't bog yourself down with the little details about whether it really is or should be free, you can skip the whole guilt phase and just conctentrate on what color frame to buy and whether it will go with your upholstery."
     
  83. You know perfectly well that neither of us have a properly reasoned argument one way or the other that arrives at legal or ethical certainty. Present one or accept that this area is gray, drop the personal insults and let this entire thread die a well deserved death.
     
  84. I haven't insulted you at all, Andrew. And I find that it's perfectly reasonable to establish this ethical certainty: photographers who post their images in a context that's clearly meant to expose their work to a web-viewing audience, but who take the deliberate step while doing so to indicate that they're reserving all rights when it comes to further reproduction in any form are being ripped off when someone decides that the assertion of those copyrights doesn't apply to them, and crank off prints to decorate their house. The salt in that wound is the author's self-congratulatory tone, and blythe erring on the side of "I'm in the clear," rather than erring on the side of ... reading the words "All Rights Reserved" and thinking that, just perhaps, that might actually be the artist's wishes. Flickr has more than one licensing model for photographers to choose from. The author sweeps them all under one ethical and legal carpet. Of course that carpet will look lovely with that new artwork on the walls.

    This thread does indeed deserve to die if it can't stop fussing over semantics and just pay attention to the very simple ethics of the situation. The photographer who shows her work (say, in a gallery, or on Flickr) isn't also granting visitors to that gallery the license to reproduce those images by other means, unless she says she is. Whether or not a piece of web browsing software needs a temp file of the JPG to actually display the work doesn't change the moral situation or indeed the legal circumstances at all. Where's the gray? The photographer has, or has not made it clear that visitors to the gallery are welcome to reproduce their work. Has, or has not. Black, or white.
     
  85. Sorry for being unclear, I was referring to the insult to the author, though I did get called "disingenuous" earlier.
    And thank you for phrasing your ethical concern in that concise and sensible way - I think you've got to what I've been trying to get somebody to get to :)
     
  86. Ilkka: You feel that since you're in Finland you are morally free to ignore the copyright claims of American content creators. How is that any different from me, here in Canada, saying that I am free to ignore your Finnish copyright claims?
    If you need not respect the wishes of foreign content owners why should anyone outside your own country respect yours?
     
  87. 'And I find that it's perfectly reasonable to establish this ethical certainty: photographers who post their images in a context that's clearly meant to expose their work to a web-viewing audience, but who take the deliberate step while doing so to indicate that they're reserving all rights when it comes to further reproduction in any form are being ripped off when someone decides that the assertion of those copyrights doesn't apply to them, and crank off prints to decorate their house.'
    Similarly, you might say:
    'And I find that it's perfectly reasonable to establish this ethical certainty: recording artists who make their music available in a context that's clearly meant to bring their work to a CD-buying audience, but who take the deliberate step while doing so to indicate that they're reserving all rights when it comes to further reproduction in any form are being ripped off when someone decides that the assertion of those copyrights doesn't apply to them, and crank off mp3s to fill their iPods.'
    If not, why not?
     
  88. I think this is being taken far too seriously.
    Imagine this scenario:
    You have a website with images on it. Someone you don't know and will never meet downloads one of your images, prints it out and hangs it on their wall. You don't know about this and you never will.
    What are you going to do about it?
     
  89. 'And I find that it's perfectly reasonable to establish this ethical certainty: recording artists who make their music available in a context that's clearly meant to bring their work to a CD-buying audience, but who take the deliberate step while doing so to indicate that they're reserving all rights when it comes to further reproduction in any form are being ripped off when someone decides that the assertion of those copyrights doesn't apply to them, and crank off mp3s to fill their iPods.'
    That is legally correct. Except for one thing, which does NOT change the illegality--the 'artists' MAY very well want to have their music on your iPod or whatever, but the record labels oppose their wishes.
    Also note: copying a CD produces a bit-for-bit identical product; the artist's and producer's intent is maintained. Not so with a cheap inkjet print of a Web-posted JPEG. I am NOT advocating any illegal practice, mind. I also think that the New York Times should not advocate illegal practices.
     
  90. '...the 'artists' MAY very well want to have their music on your iPod or whatever'
    I think that's probably true. Which makes me wonder why many photographers see media shifting for personal use so very differently.
    'Not so with a cheap inkjet print of a Web-posted JPEG.'
    Or a low bitrate mp3...
     
  91. Steve: imagine this scenario...

    A writer for one of the most influential media companies in the world (who depend utterly on copyrights to stay in business, and regularly defend those rights against copyright infringers in civil law suits) makes a sweeping recommendation about how to get around paying for copyrighted art. It's not about what you're going to do about someone you'll never know about contemplating one of your landscapes while sitting in the bathroom every morning. It's about giving moral support to the larger epidemic of entertainment piracy, and moral comfort (and tactical advice) to those that think they are entitled to free entertainment, on their own terms, no matter what the artists who create what they want have chosen as a publishing model.

    There are artists who are OK (indeed, deleriously happy) with strangers enjoying, sharing, reproducing, displaying, modifying or otherwise using their art as they see fit, at no charge and with no legal entanglements. Those artists use things like the Creative Commons license models specifically to lay out the framework under which they'll allow and encourage people do just those things.

    Flickr provides a mechanism for photographers to do just that, or to exhibit their work in a more restricted manner, in terms of subsequent reproduction. But the author glosses over the distinctions between these licensing models and the way that they reflect the artist's engagement with their audience. The author asserts that his private use of the art means that the artist's copyrights don't apply. Which is exactly how many people justify ripping off movies it costs millions to make, novels it takes years to write, etc, to avoid paying a few dollars.

    Again: this isn't about debating the nuances of whether media-shifting your purchased CD is something that needs to be revisited, from a standards/practices point of view. This is about the author's thesis, to wit: "This is for my private use, so the artist's copyrights don't apply." That's simply wrong on the face of it, and for a paid NYT writer, it's a short-sighted, self-destructive devaluing of the rights that he enjoys - at the expense of other artists generally - in exchange for a fleeting bit of NYT blog traffic.

    It's the hypocrisy that chafes, here. I called the author a 'twit' because that cognitive dissonance - that juvenile embrace of immediate gratification without cost or thought to consequence - isn't what you'd expect from a person paid to think and write. Especially when they are paid by a company that, without the ability and demonstrated willingness to protect their copyrights and seek legal redress when infringed upon, wouldn't be able to meet their payroll. His paycheck doesn't bounce because his employer defends his copyrights. He celebrates that system with the smug observation that the same shouldn't be true for photographers.
     
  92. "It's the hypocrisy that chafes, here. I called the author a 'twit' because that cognitive dissonance - that juvenile embrace of immediate gratification without cost or thought to consequence - isn't what you'd expect from a person paid to think and write. Especially when they are paid by a company that, without the ability and demonstrated willingness to protect their copyrights and seek legal redress when infringed upon, wouldn't be able to meet their payroll. His paycheck doesn't bounce because his employer defends his copyrights. He celebrates that system with the smug observation that the same shouldn't be true for photographers"
    Exactly!
     
  93. I think that's probably true. Which makes me wonder why many photographers see media shifting for personal use so very differently.
    I said the artist MAY want you to rip his music to your MP3 player. On Flickr, which the NYT blogger discussed, you can (legally) DECIDE if you want All Rights Reserved or variations on Creative Commons license. Dear Sonia didn't bother to mention this. I truly wish that musicians had a similar right when they have contracts with major labels.
     
  94. @Geoff: Funny, it's the hypocrisy of the people who think copying images from flickr is bad but (ripping mp3s, breaking region coding, etc) is fine. When legally it amounts to the same thing. Ignoring the wishes of the copyright holder and making illegal copies.
    @Les: Of course the musician has all those same rights. If they choose to sign with a major label, they're choosing how to exercise their rights.
     
  95. Well for those of us who do love to find images on the internet might I suggest if you do a google search on a topic, add source:life at the end, you will be directed to a marvellous collection of downloadable images from decades of Life magazine's archives. For private use only of course. Mostly black and white but full page reproductions.
     
  96. It's not like a person who would print out a low res web reproduction (with my watermark) for their house would otherwise buy it. Unless they are selling it or taking credit for it I'm not too concerned. If you are then don't post your images online.
     
  97. Lots of valueable copyright talk going on here but regardless of intellectual laws etc etc, "Intended use" vs "Actual use" should be viewed as the same thing.
    As a producer of art, images, music, or otherwise, we have to know that if we are using the internet, then the likelihood of someone downloading it is inherent.
    Music, programs, movies, photos......Nothing is secure.
    We should understand and accept this whether it is right or wrong because this is just the way things are.
    Not saying that we should passively roll over on this issue. We just really need to understand the way things work online, and take the necessary measures to control the quality level (use low res ONLY), and prevent the sampling of images (flash protected).
    These are things we can do.
    Not protecting yourself leads to endless amounts of copyright talk, and negative feelings of infringement.
    an
     
  98. Oddly enough I personally would be thrilled if someone printed out one of my photos to decorate his wall :)
     
  99. Oddly enough I personally would be thrilled if someone printed out one of my photos to decorate his wall :)
    But wouldn't you prefer it if they asked you first? And gave you credit, so others would know about you?
     

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