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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Old 04-05-2012   #81
Aristophanes
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Originally Posted by Al Patterson View Post
Stateside they can be exactly the same...
Copyright is not criminal theft except in cases of mass infringements for commercial intent, which is more akin to fraud.

Copyright violation is primarily a civil matter between private parties.

Calling the police to report a copyright infringement will get you no response. Calling a lawyer will cost you $300/hour.
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Old 04-05-2012   #82
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You treat a creation as a physical artefact. It is not. A book is a book, whether printed or distributed electronically. Because it is easier to copy an eBook does not make it more morally right. [...] You keep using the analogy about the car, or whatever, but it is just that, an analogy. [...]
Paul, it is quite exasperating that you seem to keep addressing your responses to me, while actually responding to a lot of phantom arguments that I haven't made. Nowhere have I argued that copying an eBook is morally right. Nowhere have I used a "car analogy" without making clear that it is an analogy (e.g. by using terms such as A, B, X and so on) and/or without making clear where I myself think it is flawed. Elsewhere you started bringing up "physical" property and pretending that this was something that had come from me. Elsewhere you identify me with the call for abandoning copyright altogether. And so on.

I think it would be helpful if we could all afford ourselves the little intellectual integrity to make it clear whether we are responding to arguments someone has actually made, particularly the person we're responding to, or to arguments that seem to be somehow floating in the air, or merely to your own fears and projections with which I have nothing to do. In the interest of intellectual integrity I myself in turn will refrain from lining you up with evil corporations, because my dislike for their behaviour is probably besides the point here and has in turn little to do with you.

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This is an entirely different argument - reproduction of books written a century ago or which are out of copyright is entirely different from the notion of abandoning copyright altogether.
Again, Paul, the notion of abandoning copyright altogether is something which I haven't said, not anywhere. Either you are projecting that onto me, or you are responding to it in general in a post that just happens to address me. I don't appreciate either.

Your question was literally that you wanted me to justify "what is the public interest in taking people's creations". As your question neither mentions time periods nor methods of "taking", it appears to be a general question. Therefore, it is best answered with a general answer. The general answer to that is the public domain. Project Gutenberg is just a particularly good example for the public domain, one that illustrates particularly well why and how it is beneficial. So, the public obviously does have a general interest in taking people's creations, and has in fact a right to do so, even though "taking" does not imply (as you seem to have meant) sanctioning the downloading of your copyrighted image.

The objective of copyright is to afford just a little protection and incentive to creative people such as you and me, by affording us a way to make a living off it. This is a protection granted to us by the public, for free, and consequently one which, in my view, entails a moral obligation for us to give back to the public in the form of giving them access to our works and creations. Rather than quabbling about lengths and periods and so on, however, I would very much prefer to arrive at some kind of reasonable extended, durable definition of "fair use". But that is only my own opinion.
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Old 04-05-2012   #83
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How will intellectual property be enforced, when you can pour a few powders into the appropriate hoppers, press a button and a few days later, drive your new car off the print area?
Having consulted the auto companies - purely about saftey - the state will refuse registration to any such vehicle, regardless of it's design.

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Old 04-05-2012   #84
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Originally Posted by rxmd View Post
Paul, it is quite exasperating that you seem to keep addressing your responses to me, while actually
Well, I was responding to your specific arguments, which is why I quoted you.

And while you might find it irritating that I associate some of the other arguments with you, I find it unhelpful that you attempt to associate me with companies like Disney, it's cheap propaganda.

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Originally Posted by rxmd View Post
Rather than quabbling about lengths and periods and so on, however, I would very much prefer to arrive at some kind of reasonable extended, durable definition of "fair use". But that is only my own opinion.
Seems entirely reasonable.

I entirely disagree with what I see as an implication that copyright is a privilege, not a right. Admittedly rights are always available for negotiation. This debate started because someone had his photo taken from him. It's an interesting debate, because he left his photo easily accessible, and asked too much money ([irony] rather like a car owner who left his keys in the ignition [/irony]) but yes, the act of taking his photo was morally wrong.

If it were me, and let's face it the photo is nice but hardly great, I'd settle for a formal apology, an explanation and a credit somewehre. I've done exactly this in the past, to a retailer who used my stuff - because they were nice. But I detest the notion that people think they can use other's work with impunity.

My work is still my work, whatever the domain. Of course, some uses vary - musicians have generally always accepted that live shows will be bootlegged, but to assume one has the RIGHT to bootleg their music is wrong, parasitical and doesn't benefit society.
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Old 04-06-2012   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul T. View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rxmd
Paul, it is quite exasperating that you seem to keep addressing your responses to me, while actually [...responding to a lot of phantom arguments that I haven't made] (you conveniently left out this key bit when quoting me)
Well, I was responding to your specific arguments, which is why I quoted you.
OK, I guess creative quoting is also a form of creativity.

You arguably quote me, but then you start talking about all sorts of things that follow neither from the text you quoted, nor from any other statement of mine in the earlier discussion. Examples: "creation as a physical artefact", "the notion of abandoning copyright altogether", "physical possession", "you are saying that it isn't stealing, because someone is taking something you didn't really use". Those are not "my specific arguments that you're responding to". These are things you've read or heard from some people, but not from me, yet you make them sound as if you were responding to me there.

These things are in your own head, from wherever, but not me. Please be so kind as to distinguish between things that I've actually stated and those that you merely associate with me somehow when responding to me.

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I find it unhelpful that you attempt to associate me with companies like Disney, it's cheap propaganda.
Don't you think it's a bit of a cheap shot to repeat that after I already pointed it out myself?
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Old 04-06-2012   #86
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OK, I guess creative quoting is also a form of creativity.
Your quote is immediately above, I shortened for brevity alone... don't take this so personally. remember, you're trying to diminish my livelihood, and I don't take it personally!


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Don't you think it's a bit of a cheap shot to repeat that after I already pointed it out myself?
Actually, no, because while I find many of your arguments well-founded - from your perspective, with which I happen to disagree - I found your first mention of Disney a cheap attempt to tarnish my viewpoint by association.

It's also a repetition of a cheap shot used in this debate at large, part of the fallacy that watering down copyright will damage only evil megacorporations, not individual producers.

This is merely a forum, I have no disagreement with you personally, only your arguments and some of the others on this thread.

Alack, as someone who is supposed to produce IP, I see I've spent an hour or more getting diverted. An occupational hazard. But today is a vacation day and I take off for the coast. Enjoy yourselves...
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Old 04-06-2012   #87
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It's also a repetition of a cheap shot used in this debate at large, part of the fallacy that watering down copyright will damage only evil megacorporations, not individual producers.
Complaining about cheap shots won't do if immediately followed by no less cheap polemic. I've come across next to no statement demanding a watering down of copyright - the whole subject of the debate is how and by whom royalties should be collected.

And there also is no doubt that most of the current proposals at national or international lawmaking level are by lobbyists of either the old or the new media corporations, and disregard the interests of the authors and end users alike.
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Old 04-06-2012   #88
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And while you might find it irritating that I associate some of the other arguments with you, I find it unhelpful that you attempt to associate me with companies like Disney, it's cheap propaganda.
Look, if you support the copyright status quo (as your comments seem to indicate), then it is disingenuous to not acknowledge that the status quo is a direct product of immense lobbying efforts by Disney and other MPAA and RIAA signatories.

The current law is their law. Bought and paid for. For example.

If you wish to separate the law-as-written from a more abstract and general view of copyright, you might want to make that distinction explicit.
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Old 04-06-2012   #89
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And there also is no doubt that most of the current proposals at national or international lawmaking level are by lobbyists of either the old or the new media corporations, and disregard the interests of the authors and end users alike.
Right. To pretend otherwise is absurd.
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Old 04-06-2012   #90
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Thou shalt not steal, but that was many years ago. As someone said here, she doesn't even realize that this is stealing. Photos done by someone else are the new Napster.

By the way Bill, very good subject thanks for opening it up.
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Old 04-06-2012   #91
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Look, if you support the copyright status quo (as your comments seem to indicate), then it is disingenuous to not acknowledge that the status quo is a direct product of immense lobbying efforts by Disney and other MPAA and RIAA signatories.

yes, you're right. Arguing that a photographer shouldn't have his photo used by someone else is EXACTLY like siding with Disney.

Yes, you're right. Of course someone outside of the USA is referring to a specific US copyright law that you personally are exercised about. (What, there are other countries outside the USA? Incroyable! )

Yes, you're right. This is a photography site. Of course we should argue against maintenance of copyright for photographers, musicians, writers and other content creators.

(You couldn't make it up. This is like watching turkeys vote for Christmas).
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Old 04-06-2012   #92
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I entirely disagree with what I see as an implication that copyright is a privilege, not a right. Admittedly rights are always available for negotiation. This debate started because someone had his photo taken from him. It's an interesting debate, because he left his photo easily accessible, and asked too much money ([irony] rather like a car owner who left his keys in the ignition [/irony]) but yes, the act of taking his photo was morally wrong.

If it were me, and let's face it the photo is nice but hardly great, I'd settle for a formal apology, an explanation and a credit somewehre. I've done exactly this in the past, to a retailer who used my stuff - because they were nice. But I detest the notion that people think they can use other's work with impunity.

My work is still my work, whatever the domain. Of course, some uses vary - musicians have generally always accepted that live shows will be bootlegged, but to assume one has the RIGHT to bootleg their music is wrong, parasitical and doesn't benefit society.
Copyright can be both a privilege (legal monopoly) and a right (assigned to you).

His photo was produced in an infinitely copied format. He asked too much. His work was appropriated and infringed, and the cost to remedy is not worth it.

I question the photographer's morality in how easily accessible and vulnerable a format he left his own private property. Do we often leave $250 items lying around? Do you leave your iPhone on the table at dinner in the restaurant and then rail at all the other customers after it goes missing?

The impunity exists solely because of the cost to remedy. If you cannot afford a lawyer and legal costs, don't post $250 photos. Forget the other guy's morality. Be paranoid and assume everyone will steal. Worry about protecting what is yours. Drive defensively.

If you want the right, then accept the responsibility that comes with it. How often people forget that simple truism.
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Old 04-06-2012   #93
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yes, you're right. Arguing that a photographer shouldn't have his photo used by someone else is EXACTLY like siding with Disney.
Since neither I nor any other serious person here is making any such argument (i.e., that photos should be used without permission), let me help you.

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Yes, you're right. Of course someone outside of the USA is referring to a specific US copyright law that you personally are exercised about. (What, there are other countries outside the USA? Incroyable! )
See above. The content of WIPO's rules and other trade agreements are driven by exactly the same multinationals that drive the content of US copyright legislation. You may have noted that I used the phrase "for example."

You understand what the word "example" means, yes?

For someone who claims to work in the field of IP, you don't seem terribly interested in how IP laws, rules, and treaties actually come into existence, or what their underlying intent is. It is a strange form of incuriosity.

---

In any event, perhaps you have opinions about some of the serious questions that are are actually under consideration by legislators, treaty negotiators, and courts:

Exactly how long should copyright persist before a work passes into the public domain?

Should there be criminal penalties for simple cases of copyright infringement? (As there are for actual theft.)

Should the police be spending resources on simple cases of copyright infringement? (As they do for actual theft.)

What should copyright holders be allowed to do -- with or without due legal process -- to suspected infringers?

What should copyright holders be allowed to do -- with or without due legal process -- to the common carriers that may be used to transmit data by suspected infringers?

What should copyright holders be allowed to do -- with or without due legal process -- to third parties (e.g., Google, Bing) who happen to index data transmitted by suspected infringers?

Should these common carriers and indexers be obligated to monitor, crawl, and/or log traffic by everyone in order to ensnare suspected infringers?

If so, how should the privacy of the majority who are not infringers be protected? And can it be protected at all?

If so, who should pay for all of this stuff?

And finally: should I be in prison because I am the proud owner* of a Taiwanese bootleg** of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, on transparent orange vinyl?

*It was a gift.
**Pressed back in the days when Taiwan was even more of a no-copyright haven than it is today.
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Old 04-09-2012   #94
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There's no intent to throw this thread into another direction but this is so close in my mind that I'm thinking everyone here will be interested to see how this one plays out between Sobel and Eggleston.

Sobel has sued Eggleston for printing new "larger" limited editions of original (smaller in dimensions) limited editions. He is claiming dimunition in value as damages. Should be interesting. A search for "Eggleston - Sobel lawsuit" should provide lots more reading and discussion

http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/04/05/45348.htm
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Old 04-11-2012   #95
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Bill Pierce (or anyone with a truly informed opinion): We are having a discussion on another thread, Robert Capa - Video, if it is OK to use a Magnum photo or video without permission so long as it is attributed and is for non-commercial use. The attribution is because the images are watermarked "Magnum Photo".

I have my ideas but I am the odd man out.

Please, tell us what you think.
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Old 04-11-2012   #96
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Bill Pierce (or anyone with a truly informed opinion): We are having a discussion on another thread, Robert Capa - Video, if it is OK to use a Magnum photo or video without permission so long as it is attributed and is for non-commercial use. The attribution is because the images are watermarked "Magnum Photo".

I have my ideas but I am the odd man out.
As mentioned in that thread, it would be important to mention that these photos are only available in a video, i.e. not as individual pictures, and are downscaled and compressed to extremely low quality, unsuitable for reproduction. This unsuitability is pretty important under fair use considerations.
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Old 04-12-2012   #97
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Interesting article.

The major point I take on this is that the author did not control nor contract for their work up front, and instead had to chase down compensation. They were lucky to be negotiating with an institution with deep pockets for a commercial outlay and were not feisty, lawerying up to challenge copyright due to the involvement of the ex-student who had a copy of the photo.

Chasing down infringement is simply poor business as it adds legal costs, outcome uncertainty, and lost productivity to the mix. Arguing copyright without contract is very difficult if multiple parties are involved. If the photog publicly contested the matter, they could be viewed as a "difficult" professional for agencies, clients etc. to deal with.

If you share your work it may likely be infringed at your cost to remedy. The right of copyright comes with responsibilities.
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Old 04-12-2012   #98
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Here's another nice take on whether downloading is "theft" or not, this time it's a court decision.

A programmer downloaded code from a company server in an unauthorized fashion. Sued by the company for theft of property, he lost in the first instance. However, now the 2nd District Court of Appeals has reversed the decision, stating that downloading does not constitute "assuming physical control" and that it does not "deprive [the company] of its use"; hence it does not meet the definition of theft of property.

The code in question is the source code of a computer system for high-frequency stock market trading; the usefulness of this software for a company is highly dependent on no one else having it, in other words there were some real damages involved, but according to the court this is not a case of theft (nor, in fact, of espionage).
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Old 04-13-2012   #99
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Originally posted by Bob Michaels:
Bill Pierce (or anyone with a truly informed opinion): We are having a discussion on another thread, Robert Capa - Video, if it is OK to use a Magnum photo or video without permission so long as it is attributed and is for non-commercial use. The attribution is because the images are watermarked "Magnum Photo".

=============================

From my perspective the current copyright laws are hopelessly outdated and offer very little protection to the individual photographer. (That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file for copyright, just that in many cases a copyright suit isn’t worth it nor is the copyright going to make you aware of the many internet thefts.) I really look at it as a matter of courtesy - not profit vs non profit, big vs. little - just courtesy. Email, phone, contact the photographer or organization. My experience is that in the great majority of cases someone with a relatively small, non-profit website is usually given permission. From my perspective, if you take something without asking, you are a thief. If you didn’t realize you were taking somebody else’s property, you are an idiot.
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Old 04-13-2012   #100
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............................. From my perspective, if you take something without asking, you are a thief. If you didn’t realize you were taking somebody else’s property, you are an idiot.
Bill, thanks for stating your opinion
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Old 04-13-2012   #101
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I question the photographer's morality in how easily accessible and vulnerable a format he left his own private property. Do we often leave $250 items lying around? Do you leave your iPhone on the table at dinner in the restaurant and then rail at all the other customers after it goes missing?
What's immoral is blaming the victim. Do you also think its ok to rape women who dress in slutty clothes? They asked for it by doing so, so its their fault, right?
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Old 04-13-2012   #102
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I wouldn't read too much into that decision, because from a legal perspective the real "codes" at issue are 2 federal criminal statutes (which are interpreted more narrowly than civil statutes), specifically Congressional intent regarding 2 terms in those statutes: (1) whether Congress intended to include intangibles like computer software as "property" under the National Stolen Property Act (which dates back to 1948) & (2) whether the computer software was used in "commerce" within the meaning of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.

If the case isn't appealed, my guess is that we will see attempts in Congress to amend 1 or both statutes.

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Here's another nice take on whether downloading is "theft" or not, this time it's a court decision.

A programmer downloaded code from a company server in an unauthorized fashion. Sued by the company for theft of property, he lost in the first instance. However, now the 2nd District Court of Appeals has reversed the decision, stating that downloading does not constitute "assuming physical control" and that it does not "deprive [the company] of its use"; hence it does not meet the definition of theft of property.

The code in question is the source code of a computer system for high-frequency stock market trading; the usefulness of this software for a company is highly dependent on no one else having it, in other words there were some real damages involved, but according to the court this is not a case of theft (nor, in fact, of espionage).
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Old 04-13-2012   #103
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What's immoral is blaming the victim[...]
I'm sorry, but no matter how strongly you feel about matters of copyright it does not justify you drawing analogies which are invalid (for reasons I will not discuss) and highly inappropriate. Calm yourself.

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Old 04-13-2012   #104
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PKR, when I email one of your pictures to a friend ("Gotta check out out this photographer!"), because I like your work so much, do you really feel like I've stolen it from you? Or is this maybe what culture is all about? Sharing what touches us? Singing the songs we love in the shower. Reciting the poem that moved us? "Stealing" is not an appropriate word when it comes to culture. It's bars of soap that can be stolen, not expressions of life.
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Old 04-13-2012   #105
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Are you someone who lifts images (no accusation - just an argument)?
No. I am not.
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Originally Posted by PKR View Post
I always wonder - as it looks like the sides in this dicussion are between those who own imagery and those who steal them.
Therin may lie the problem - you seem to see only two positions.
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Originally Posted by PKR View Post
(There are those who want their images published at any cost..)

I'm sure you feel "steal" is too strong a word, but that's what it is. If you take something that isn't yours, with out permission, it's theft.

Steal From Wiki:

"Theft, the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal
Answer the question I asked in post #92 and we may have some basis to discuss how closely "theft" maps to the wrongs of copyright violation.

You might also want to think on the analogy Chris drew, with the concept "crimes against property" in mind. That might lead you to what I found objectionable.

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Old 04-13-2012   #106
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If you email a link to a web site - that's fine, and expected. If you rip the photo and make changes in photoshop and claim it's yours and not mine - and then try to copyright the image, using the current law to defend your theft - I call my attorney.

If you buy a gallery print and make a scan of the image - take the work offshore and print posters of the image - with all copyright data removed - I call my attorney.. but he can't help if the image was sourced from a printer in Mongolia.

I could go on.. It's theft. Make your own images, don't steal mine. But the current art students tell me.. "You're old, you don't get it - everything is free now". They are being taught this in the local art schools.
I almost get the feeling you didn't answer my question.
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Old 04-13-2012   #107
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i think the point was missed. nobody is blaming the victim, merely identifying a reality and suggesting appropriate behaviour in accordance with the new order of things.

we can argue the moral code until we are blue in the face (which we seem to be doing) however most folks i speak with (a whole whack of nobody, broke and generally cynical folks with cameras) no longer see this as an issue to shed tears over.

to ignore this as a new reality would be folly. to adapt your way of dealing with it and seek new funding models would be advisable. the chance of the status quo returning to what we once thought it to be is very, very slim.




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Originally Posted by PKR View Post
Seems you didn't like the way Chris made his point.. I do agree with his argument. Are you someone who lifts images (no accusation - just an argument)? I always wonder - as it looks like the sides in this dicussion are between those who own imagery and those who steal them.

(There are those who want their images published at any cost..)

I'm sure you feel "steal" is too strong a word, but that's what it is. If you take something that isn't yours, with out permission, it's theft.

Steal From Wiki:

"Theft, the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal
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Old 04-14-2012   #108
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What's immoral is blaming the victim. Do you also think its ok to rape women who dress in slutty clothes? They asked for it by doing so, so its their fault, right?
Wrong analogy. You're improperly equating criminal actions with civil ones.

Try and make an insurance claim on your house for a break-in if there was no evidence of forcible entry because you left the doors unlocked. Sure, the cops will come and file a report...that says you left the doors unlocked!

If you are irresponsible in protecting your own private property through copyright, then you must pay to enforce. If that is beyond your means, you lose. You cannot even call the cops to report such an action because it is not a crime.

If you leave digital files unprotected or in the hands of others who have less strident reasons to protect the inherent IP, then you create your own risk where none existed before.

Read that last paragraph again until you get it.
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Old 04-14-2012   #109
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For someone who's supposed to be a lawyer, IIRC, you don't half talk some rubbish.

If you leave your back door open, someone comes in and steals your possessions, and the Plod happen to catch him - he's likely to be banged up just the same. As the OP opined, stealing is stealing.
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Old 04-14-2012   #110
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Originally Posted by Aristophanes View Post
Wrong analogy. You're improperly equating criminal actions with civil ones.

Try and make an insurance claim on your house for a break-in if there was no evidence of forcible entry because you left the doors unlocked. Sure, the cops will come and file a report...that says you left the doors unlocked!

If you are irresponsible in protecting your own private property through copyright, then you must pay to enforce. If that is beyond your means, you lose. You cannot even call the cops to report such an action because it is not a crime.

If you leave digital files unprotected or in the hands of others who have less strident reasons to protect the inherent IP, then you create your own risk where none existed before.

Read that last paragraph again until you get it.
You don't get it. You will, though, when someone sues you and the courts slap you down so hard you'll have to sell your children into slavery to pay for your stupidity. I've seen a few of your kind run with your tails between your legs when the letter from the lawyer arrives. They have always paid without going to court because the cost of doing so would bankrupt them (not simply the cost of hiring a lawyer..they knew they had violated the law and would be spanked for it in court).

Yeah, it costs me some money to get the letter sent, but I always get it back because they pay the attorney fees too. Its worth the trouble.

Intellectual property is protected by law even if, as you say, the doors are left unlocked. I'd love to see you try an idiot defense like that in court. The only way you'll survive that is if the judge laughs himself to death.
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Old 04-14-2012   #111
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From my perspective the current copyright laws are hopelessly outdated and offer very little protection to the individual photographer.
Civil laws like copyright are not there to protect you.

They are a set of rules permitting you to protect yourself and your works that are an assigned extension of you.

It is YOUR responsibility to protect your copyright. You may resort to the law as necessary, at your cost, on your time. There are jurisdictions with punitive compensations (the US) for the outlay effort but in an international, digital world...good luck enforcing those. Most jurisdictions have no such protection and likely never will due to severe income disparities and related political realities. Most cases I have seen are not resolved and the copyright owner usually is forced to suffer in sullen resentment. I see more failures than successes.

The major problem in this thread is the complaint about the behaviour of others. Copyright assigns a legal right to you for your work but it is a very difficult moral dictate that runs into historical, international, and cultural issues a every turn making consensus near impossible.

Relying on complex, esoteric, and easily infringed laws to be internalized by everyone as a moral compass does not replace taking responsibility for your own works independent of that assumption. Assuming others will behave to your works as you expect them to is inadequate protection of your own property given the clear lack of societal consensus and easy capacity to infringe. Turning it into a morality play is a sign of failure, much as it sounds right to stand on a soapbox and yell "Thief"!
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Old 04-14-2012   #112
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You don't get it. You will, though, when someone sues you and the courts slap you down so hard you'll have to sell your children into slavery to pay for your stupidity. I've seen a few of your kind run with your tails between your legs when the letter from the lawyer arrives. They have always paid without going to court because the cost of doing so would bankrupt them (not simply the cost of hiring a lawyer..they knew they had violated the law and would be spanked for it in court).

Yeah, it costs me some money to get the letter sent, but I always get it back because they pay the attorney fees too. Its worth the trouble.

Intellectual property is protected by law even if, as you say, the doors are left unlocked. I'd love to see you try an idiot defense like that in court. The only way you'll survive that is if the judge laughs himself to death.
I am a lawyer. I have written those letters. I've worked for a judge. I now work writing laws. Very few people ever get spanked in court because the cost of getting to court is so astronomical with the cost of pursuit even higher, very often running into solvency issues. I detailed a case I worked on in an earlier post.

The successes you claim are extremely rare, mostly local, and are nowhere near the norm. This is openly acknowledged in every statistical study and through Bar or law commission reviews. My advice is to control your product absolutely and only relinquish it through contract. If you become a chaser of copyright infringement, you are doing something wrong on the business side of being a content producer.

Meanwhile, I just noticed my kid is watching a YouTube video of some old Boney M track in clear copyright violation. The reason why some letter has not been filed is because the cost to enforce outweighs the economic loss (look the later term up in a legs dictionary).
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Old 04-14-2012   #113
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I am a lawyer. I have written those letters. I've worked for a judge. I now work writing laws. Very few people ever get spanked in court because the cost of getting to court is so astronomical with the cost of pursuit even higher, very often running into solvency issues. I detailed a case I worked on in an earlier post.

The successes you claim are extremely rare, mostly local, and are nowhere near the norm. This is openly acknowledged in every statistical study and through Bar or law commission reviews. My advice is to control your product absolutely and only relinquish it through contract. If you become a chaser of copyright infringement, you are doing something wrong on the business side of being a content producer.

Meanwhile, I just noticed my kid is watching a YouTube video of some old Boney M track in clear copyright violation. The reason why some letter has not been filed is because the cost to enforce outweighs the economic loss (look the later term up in a legs dictionary).
I don't believe you. You are not a lawyer and you don't 'work writing laws'; if you did you would be a congressman or a state legislator, and politicians don't hide behind anonymous internet handles. You're some loser who can't make a living with his photography, so you're here pretending to be something you're not so you can discourage those of us who are making a living at it.

The Youtube video is still up because the owner doesn't know its there or doesn't care. It wouldn't cost a penny to get it removed. The DMCA forces providers like YouTube to remove copyrighted material if the owner simply asks. I've done it hundreds of times with blogs, facebook, myspace, etc. and a few times with YouTube where someone has used one of my photos in a video. There's no money to be made from the YouTube infringer, but it gets the video off the internet.
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Old 04-14-2012   #114
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I don't believe you. You are not a lawyer and you don't 'work writing laws'; if you did you would be a congressman or a state legislator, and politicians don't hide behind anonymous internet handles. You're some loser who can't make a living with his photography, so you're here pretending to be something you're not so you can discourage those of us who are making a living at it.

The Youtube video is still up because the owner doesn't know its there or doesn't care. It wouldn't cost a penny to get it removed. The DMCA forces providers like YouTube to remove copyrighted material if the owner simply asks. I've done it hundreds of times with blogs, facebook, myspace, etc. and a few times with YouTube where someone has used one of my photos in a video. There's no money to be made from the YouTube infringer, but it gets the video off the internet.
You can believe what you want. I am in Canada and I work for the Government of Nova Scotia, though I spent 7 years with the Federal Ministry of Finance and worked in international trade relations in the Pacific Rim (I am from Vancouver and have my undergrad in Economics) where IP issues were always a top-5 item, largely based on complaints from copyright holders.

I've never made a living though photography. It's just a hobby. I simply offer my perspective having watched many frustrated copyright holders complain to government only to be told they have no recourse other than the expensive legal option. Most of them end in failure.

I have no agenda to discourage anyone. I merely point out that to avoid discouragement tend to the business side of your work and build copyright into your contracts which are much easier to enforce due the counterparty chain.

The owner "doesn't care" does not mean it is a not a copyright violation. You contradict yourself by asserting copyright as an absolute right but then make it a non-issue due the emotion of "care". If you choose to spend your productivity using the DMCA, by all means. It does cost to use the DMCA. It is a major cost-centre for corporations. That's why it is a trade issue. Perhaps you should think more about not making your photos so easy to obtain. If they go offshore, you will likely have no recourse. I have seen that firsthand uncounted times. I have gone into Wal-Mart and seen infringing designs on products imported from overseas at the loss of the copyright holder who had too few legal resources to prove the right.

This is not really a legal or moral argument. It's an economic one. The right is only valued if the costs of creation + the cost of distribution = ROI. Add in the cost of copyright pursuit to the cost of distribution and you have a problem, which is why BitTorrent still thrives; it's too expensive to chase down. And, legally or morally assaulting the mass consumer is problematic in that consumers vastly outnumber producers, especially politically. The cost of enforcement of copyright can easily cost more than the cost of production, and the outcome may be uncertain, especially if borders are involved, where the outcome can drop to nil quickly.

So the best way to counter is to take the cost of enforcement out up front as part of the distribution. Carefully control your files and contract to those who work with them. Document everything. It is far easier to pursue a breach of contract successfully than copyright. I have watched a major artist have his works infringed by a major art poster company, sold to cruise ships, and then he got nothing because the infringing poster company went bankrupt. Yet, his works are everywhere on a cruise ship as inventory in their gift shops he cannot pursue as they are based overseas and the cost to pursue would exceed his resources.
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Old 04-14-2012   #115
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Civil laws like copyright are not there to protect you.

They are a set of rules permitting you to protect yourself and your works that are an assigned extension of you.

It is YOUR responsibility to protect your copyright.
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to be aware of many copyright violations on the internet. They are the needles in a very large haystack. And, of course, the foreign needles are in the haystacks of farmers who are only concerned with the locals. (The Nixon picture referred to in the introduction to this site was used as an album cover in South America. That must have been some strange tunes.)

You sort of have a choice of disfiguring your web images with copyright notices across the center of the image or not posting a decent sized, high quality image. As we all learn from experience, there is an increasing trend among my friends to not display a large number of good images on the web, even though those images are copyrighted. Sad, but true.
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Old 04-14-2012   #116
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Galen Rowell vs Costco

From my memory, Costo (the big box store, not the Chinese shipping Co.) bought a large number of posters containing Rowell's photos. They trimed off the borders containing Galen's name and used them as a point of purchase display in the photo section of their stores.

Galen and his wife died in a plane crash in the middle of this suit against Costco. The Foundation stayed on top of the proceedings for the Trust set up for his kids.

I spoke with the fellow now heading the Foundation and he told me that Costco settled for a large amount of money - but could not tell me the amount as per the settllement.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...0&slug=2552051

http://www.photosource.com/psn_full....umnists&id=297

http://www.mountainlight.com/posters.html
That's an excellent analogy.

The cost to Costco of finding original work was outpaced by the lower cost of infringing work. All it took was a trimmer, copies, a display, and a price gun.

The photographer may have recovered some of that difference (we won't know due to the settlement) but could only do so because they had a Foundation with $$$ to pursue. Costco may still have benefitted in the end. We don't know.

How many photogs here have equivalent resources? Despite all the Leicaphiles here, I suspect very few.

And this case was from 16 years ago when digital copying was only a fledgling child, so the cost to infringe is now even lower.

Your ability to protect your work is limited not by the other party's morality but by your access to legal and financial resources. The moment you need to explain this through morality arguments or threats of litigation is an acknowledgment that you've already lost control. There is therefore the risk of not getting it back.
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Old 04-14-2012   #117
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The Galen and Barbara Rowell website:

http://www.mountainlight.com/

Note the prominent placement of "Image Licensing". I guess so.

Click on it and you get a slideshow. Drag a photo as a file from the show and check the resolution. Pretty low. Too low for anything else but a web-based slideshow. That's one way to protect work. Limit the functionality of the picture, limit the infringement potential.
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Old 04-14-2012   #118
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Photographer's copyrights are spoken about alot, but what we often don't discuss is the grey area surrounding the repurposing of photojournalism or documentary photography for commercial sale after the fact - which happens all the time. The commercial exploitation of a person's image and/or likeness is also infringement.

Most photographers who may be 'guilty' of this (in the eyes of those photographed perhaps) are able to hide behind the ambiguity surrounding commercial galleries, and the dual nature of photography as art, but also as commercial work.

People will be guided by their own ethic, which I think is much better than being guided by some hollow institutionalized code of ethics, but it is interesting that some photographers will play the commercial side when there is something to be made, but hide behind art when there is something to lose.
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Old 04-14-2012   #119
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http://asmp.org/tutorials/enforcing-your-rights.html

Note the small claims court approach for breach of contract as opposed to copyright. That's another strong incentive to contract.

The DMCA only works on US-hosted websites. It's irrelevant elsewhere.

And as for the economic argument, this is what the ASMP has to say:

"So why not sue? Because taking a case to court can be very expensive, and if you don’t win, you’re out a bundle. And if the value of your work — the market’s dollar value, not the value you feel in your heart and soul — isn’t all that high, the payback via the amount awarded by the court may not be enough to pay off your attorney."

Thanks for the links.
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Old 04-14-2012   #120
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Originally Posted by ryan26 View Post
Photographer's copyrights are spoken about alot, but what we often don't discuss is the grey area surrounding the repurposing of photojournalism or documentary photography for commercial sale after the fact - which happens all the time. The commercial exploitation of a person's image and/or likeness is also infringement.
I think you may be confusing what you term "commercial sale" with "commercial use" of a photograph. In my juristiction (YMMV):
Quote:
What is "commercial use" ?

In a photographic context, commercial use does not mean the sale a picture, but rather the use of a person's likeness to endorse some product or service, or to entice others to buy it.
See:

http://4020.net/words/photorights.php#commuse

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