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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Texas school requires students to give up copyrights to their works
Old 10-04-2015   #1
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Texas school requires students to give up copyrights to their works

"TEXAS — A month and a half into the new school year, junior Anthony Mazur is immersed in yet another battle with school and district administrators over the copyright and ownership of his photographs.

Mazur, who made national headlines last school year after the school district attempted to stop him from selling pictures of school sporting events to interested parents, is now fighting against another rule by the district. All students in the school’s yearbook class now have to sign an agreement that any work they produce as part of the class using district technology “belongs solely to the district.”

The Lewisville Independent School District contract says images will be “considered ‘works made for hire’ as the work is specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, including but not limited to a school newspaper or yearbook.” By signing this form, the contract says, students “release any claim of ownership to images taken of other students with equipment owned by the district.” The form is necessary to use district equipment, like school cameras or computers.


[...]"


http://www.splc.org/article/2015/10/...-to-their-work
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Old 10-04-2015   #2
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And then they take guns to school.
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Old 10-04-2015   #3
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Old 10-04-2015   #4
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It is a matter of principle the copyright belongs to the creator. But why would the school district want ownership? I don't understand their position.
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Old 10-04-2015   #5
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It is a matter of principle the copyright belongs to the creator. But why would the school district want ownership? I don't understand their position.
Money.

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Old 10-04-2015   #6
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Not to defend Texas fascists, but that agreement would be common in the workplace. An employee assigned to photograph an event with company equipment and on company time would not own the copyright. If, however, the event was photographed on the person's own time and with his or her equipment and then offered for sale, the sale agreement could specify which rights are attached to that use. All of that begs the issue of whether a student is an 'employee'.
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Old 10-04-2015   #7
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Aren't students legal minors? How can they legally sign away their rights? Sounds pretty easy to contest.

For transparency, I live in Texas and have two high school students.
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Old 10-04-2015   #8
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Do kids get paid to work on the yearbook/newspaper down in Texas?

It was many years ago in upstate NY we did it for free, one of my sons was on the high school newspaper here in Ames Iowa and he never got paid.

How can it be work for hire without getting paid?

Are High Schools now people too?

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Old 10-04-2015   #9
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I am originally from Texas and I don't like the swipes against Texas (a wonderful place to live, work, or study).

A sort of bureaucratic obsession with perceived "intellectual property" is common now in many institutions and is hardly confined to Texas. In my opinion it typically viewed as having more worth than it actually does. Also, as a tax payer, should I not have the same rights as that school or that student to use or sell such photos in any way I please? I helped pay for them - through federal taxes, and if I lived in that school district much more so through property taxes. It sounds like a slippery slope legally.
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Old 10-04-2015   #10
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Kid's parents, and the kid (?) are paying for the gear too. It seems unique to this Texas school district, rather than as you say, common. It seems to me it probably also has something to do with school privatization, the leeches want another revenue stream and Texas is accomidating to them.
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Old 10-04-2015   #11
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I teach at a state school in Ohio, and any work produced in a class under the direction of the instructor is jointly owned by both the student and the university.

This works out fairly well, it allows the instructor to use the work in future teaching materials, but allows the student to retain rights to the work.

In 15 years, I've never seen an instance where the school grabbed the students work or copyright right for profit or promotion, without the school first seeking permission and compensating the student.
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Old 10-04-2015   #12
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45 years ago in the middle of my junior year I walked out of the private high school where I had been sent to be molded into Ivy League material. Although I was "throwing my life away," the school contacted me the following year and requested my photographic archive, all the negatives of all the school activities I had photographed for their yearbooks. I was happy to give them the archive. When they expressed their surprise at my generosity, I told them that my hatred for their school did not change my appreciation for their desire to preserve their history.

The Texas bureaucrats are stupid.
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Old 10-04-2015   #13
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If school property was used to take the images, the school owns them. If on the other hand the student uses his/her own property to take the images on his/her own time the school does not have a leg to stand on..

When using school property, you are considered doing the work for the school. Therefore the school does have a right to ownership.

Years ago when I was the school photographer, I could not use any image taken with the schools cameras for personal use but if I used my own camera I could.. When I was in the Navy they owned all images I took with their property and the same when I shot for the newspaper...

So if he is in fact using school property he does not have a right to sell any of the images he takes.. If he wants to sell he needs to get and use his own camera. That way the school cannot force him to stop selling nor can they force him to sign a waiver..
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Old 10-04-2015   #14
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I've seen changes over the last twenty years when it comes to photographing sporting events. It started when I used to cover motor racing and entities like Clear Channel started buying the rights to certain motor sport events, so anyone who took video of the events had to pay Clear Channel to use the videos they shot themselves with their own equipment.

I am now seeing it more and more with high school sports, where the schools are limiting who is allowed to take pictures of their school sporting events and who is allowed to sell images from their sporting events. Kinda sad really, but I don't know the reasoning behind all of it. Seems like the schools are saying these events belong to us, and only we will profit from the sale or promotion of these events.

Sure is different from when I went to high school in the early 1970's.
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Old 10-04-2015   #15
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Texas is not big into the first amendment.
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Old 10-04-2015   #16
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Quote:
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If school property was used to take the images, the school owns them. If on the other hand the student uses his/her own property to take the images on his/her own time the school does not have a leg to stand on.........
OK, so who owns it when I use my lens on a school body and my girl friends memory card?

FWIW.....

With the exception of a 6x6 TLR I never used the school stuff, even when they had "Better Stuff". For my first year I learn on my old Konica IIIm while other shot with SLRs from the school. Then I got my Nikkormat...

Never used the Miranda the Yearbook had or the Minoltas the school lab had (open to all students).
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Old 10-04-2015   #17
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Texas is not big into the first amendment.
But they do love the 2nd......
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Old 10-04-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
Kid's parents, and the kid (?) are paying for the gear too. It seems unique to this Texas school district, rather than as you say, common. It seems to me it probably also has something to do with school privatization, the leeches want another revenue stream and Texas is accomidating to them.
Interesting angle.
The "No Child Left Behind" and "Common Core" programs are seen by many in the ed biz as attempts at privatization, or at the least a move by private industry to initiate a wealth transfer from the school budgets to themselves.
All, or most, of the curriculum and testing materials for 'No Child Left Behind' came from businesses in Texas.
It works for the armaments industry, why not the ed biz?
Crooks....
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Old 10-04-2015   #19
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Not to defend Texas fascists, but that agreement would be common in the workplace. An employee assigned to photograph an event with company equipment and on company time would not own the copyright. If, however, the event was photographed on the person's own time and with his or her equipment and then offered for sale, the sale agreement could specify which rights are attached to that use. All of that begs the issue of whether a student is an 'employee'.
I agree. This has been pretty common for some time. Shooting on someone else's gear and/or time? It's theirs... not saying this can't or shouldn't be challenged but it iosnt new. Pretty much the norm really.
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Old 10-04-2015   #20
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Not to defend Texas fascists, but that agreement would be common in the workplace. An employee assigned to photograph an event with company equipment and on company time would not own the copyright. If, however, the event was photographed on the person's own time and with his or her equipment and then offered for sale, the sale agreement could specify which rights are attached to that use. All of that begs the issue of whether a student is an 'employee'.

I'm a teacher. My students are not employees of Fort Wayne Community Schools. They're not even there by choice. State law in Indiana requires them to attend school until they turn 18. They are not paid to be there.

That's not employment. Employees are paid wages, they choose to work for their employer and they can quit at any time. They can even choose to not work at all, if they wish (and if they don't need the money).

Our district does not take our students' copyrights, even if they use a camera belonging to the school (most of our yearbook photographers use their own cameras anyway). Its about basic respect for our students' rights.
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Old 10-04-2015   #21
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Seems like the schools are saying these events belong to us, and only we will profit from the sale or promotion of these events.
That's exactly what it is.

I work as a recording engineer and I've recorded hundreds of concerts over the years. Especially as recording equipment became a bit cheaper it's become a hard slog to do these events without serious bureaucratic nonsense. Selling a "product" on gov't property can be a serious problem as the gov't entity often feels it is their product to sell. Enter the enthusiastic parent with $200 worth of cheap gear that will do it free and make CDs for sale through the school, and you've got a perfect reason to dump the professional. Same with photographs.
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Old 10-04-2015   #22
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OK, so who owns it when I use my lens on a school body and my girl friends memory card?

FWIW.....
Being a bit ridiculous. If the school has the camera, they also have a lens and card.
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Old 10-04-2015   #23
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I'm a teacher. My students are not employees of Fort Wayne Community Schools. They're not even there by choice. State law in Indiana requires them to attend school until they turn 18. They are not paid to be there.

That's not employment. Employees are paid wages, they choose to work for their employer and they can quit at any time. They can even choose to not work at all, if they wish (and if they don't need the money).

Our district does not take our students' copyrights, even if they use a camera belonging to the school (most of our yearbook photographers use their own cameras anyway). Its about basic respect for our students' rights.
The Lewisville Independent School District has a long history of abusive behavior toward kids so this is not a statewide issue.

Any school can claim copyright if their equipment is used but most don't..
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Old 10-04-2015   #24
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I guess that it's good to put these topics on the table now and then and bash out the various points of view and end up, as always, nowhere (where else can this go but nowhere?).

FWIW, my opinion is that a young student cannot enter into a legal contract, and inasmuch as the school knows this so the school forfeits it's right of copyright (if it ever had one) when it let's the students use it's equipment to make pictures.

(No doubt, my opinion will weigh heavily down there in the local school system. )
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Old 10-04-2015   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colyn View Post
If school property was used to take the images, the school owns them. If on the other hand the student uses his/her own property to take the images on his/her own time the school does not have a leg to stand on..

When using school property, you are considered doing the work for the school. Therefore the school does have a right to ownership.

Years ago when I was the school photographer, I could not use any image taken with the schools cameras for personal use but if I used my own camera I could.. When I was in the Navy they owned all images I took with their property and the same when I shot for the newspaper...

So if he is in fact using school property he does not have a right to sell any of the images he takes.. If he wants to sell he needs to get and use his own camera. That way the school cannot force him to stop selling nor can they force him to sign a waiver..
That's just not true and is manifestly not true as the facts of this story highlight. The school already tried to claim that because it owned the equipment and he was a student this kid's work fell under part 1 of the work for hire definition of 17 USC 101. It lost that case. It is not the school's just because it was the school's equipment. Because it lost that case it is trying to fit the work into part 2 of the work for hire definition which allows specific categories of work to be considered work for hire if there is a written agreement to that effect. Whether it will win that case remains to be seen.

Yes, it is the school's equipment and yes, the school can set terms and conditions on use of that equipment but it is simply not true that use of the equipment in violation of those terms and conditions entitles the school to assignment of copyright as a remedy.
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Old 10-04-2015   #26
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Being a bit ridiculous. If the school has the camera, they also have a lens and card.
נישט גאַנץ

Not Quite, my school only had 50mm lenses for the SLRs. No wides, no zooms, no telephotos. I only owned three lenses in High School, 24/2.8, 85/1.8, and 200/3, but they helped me win best high school photographer two years in a row.

I can see some kid having access to a macro that the school doesn't. What if the girlfriends card was much faster writing.

This is a sad example of how we seem to make mountains out of pimples. Some folks want to stifle kids making a bit of money, learning, having fun. Let the kid learn, grow and perhaps become a great photographer. Let him learn the business side of photography.

It is critical that we squeeze every dollar out of everything until there is nothing left for the masses?
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Old 10-04-2015   #27
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Old 10-04-2015   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
Kid's parents, and the kid (?) are paying for the gear too. It seems unique to this Texas school district, rather than as you say, common. It seems to me it probably also has something to do with school privatization, the leeches want another revenue stream and Texas is accomidating to them.
I'm just curious why do you feel compelled to use a photo forum, dedicated to rangefinder cameras of all things, for left-wing proselytizing against (at this moment) Texas? Or maybe you simply live on a soap box, but it's really rather tiresome and irritating. I'm sure you've won a few sympathizers, but insulting a few million people is a pathetic way to accomplish that.
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Old 10-04-2015   #29
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I'm just curious why do you feel compelled to use a photo forum, dedicated to rangefinder cameras of all things, for left-wing proselytizing against (at this moment) Texas? Or maybe you simply live on a soap box, but it's really rather tiresome and irritating. I'm sure you've won a few sympathizers, but insulting a few million people is a pathetic way to accomplish that.
Perhaps because this is America and he can do that? I may not agree with him but I will defend his right of free speech in a heartbeat. The same for you too.

The subject deals with photography sir. All he said btw was "goofy little fascists" far from left wing proselytizing I think.

What is that old saying about Texas? Everything is bigger... LMAO

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That's just not true and is manifestly not true as the facts of this story highlight. The school already tried to claim that because it owned the equipment and he was a student this kid's work fell under part 1 of the work for hire definition of 17 USC 101. It lost that case. It is not the school's just because it was the school's equipment. Because it lost that case it is trying to fit the work into part 2 of the work for hire definition which allows specific categories of work to be considered work for hire if there is a written agreement to that effect. Whether it will win that case remains to be seen.

Yes, it is the school's equipment and yes, the school can set terms and conditions on use of that equipment but it is simply not true that use of the equipment in violation of those terms and conditions entitles the school to assignment of copyright as a remedy.
Hit the nail on the head.

What a waste of money and time.

Amusing how that 'entitlement' stuff works huh?
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Old 10-04-2015   #30
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I'm just curious why do you feel compelled to use a photo forum, dedicated to rangefinder cameras of all things, for left-wing
Don't put him in my camp -- a lot of folks need to remove "left-wing" from their vocabulary. This thing is greed, and greed is well -- just greed.

BTW, love Texas, but never was there politically, just went to eat, drink, listen to music, and look at the scenery.
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Old 10-04-2015   #31
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I don't know too many greedy lefties myself. Really none...maybe I'm just lucky like that...
True lefty no -- but those who consider themselves enlightened liberals, a lot of greedy ones. I try to avoid knee-jerk use of the "right and left-wing" weasel words, I prefer a more nuanced description, especially of politicians.

I do not like the constant use of "left-winger" to describe many who are obviously moderates. The terms have been totally compromised.

Thomas Jefferson was a liberal, but we wouldn't use thinking like him as an insult?

Anyway this thread proves nothing about copyright IMO, other than people act nuts when they lose.
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Old 10-05-2015   #32
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Goofy little fascists.
You don't have a clue what fascism is, do you? Don't use big words you don't understand

This is a copyright issue, it has nothing to do with "leftist" or "fascism". I think the school has a standing, maybe the student does also - I don't know. Copyright doesn't lie with the creator if it is done on consignment. As I understand it, these are the pictures for the yearbook, how is that any different from taking pictures for a companies website or brochure? And he doesn't need to be in the class, just like you don't have to take a job.....
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Old 10-05-2015   #33
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You don't have a clue what fascism is, do you? Don't use big words you don't understand

This is a copyright issue, it has nothing to do with "leftist" or "fascism". I think the school has a standing, maybe the student does also - I don't know. Copyright doesn't lie with the creator if it is done on consignment. As I understand it, these are the pictures for the yearbook, how is that any different from taking pictures for a companies website or brochure? And he doesn't need to be in the class, just like you don't have to take a job.....
As I said in my earlier post: I am a public school teacher in the United States. Our students are NOT employees of our school. I'm an employee; the are not.

What's the difference? To begin with, I am paid a very good salary to teach. Students are paid NOTHING.

Second, I didn't just walk into a classroom and demand that I be allowed to teach. The school district hired me after I applied for the job. They checked my academic record to be sure I had the Masters degree that was my main qualification for the job, and they ran criminal background checks to be sure I wasn't a child molester.

The kids who work on our school's yearbook are not hired. They do not apply for the job; they just sign up for the class and they are in. Everyone who chooses to take the yearbook class gets to work on it. We don't check their academic record or any other qualification. In fact, we assume they have no qualifications, and that's ok because they are STUDENTS. Students, by definition, do not know how to publish a yearbook; the class is for them to learn this.
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Old 10-05-2015   #34
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I would not think that such a practice is limited to one state only. I hope that such practices will not make some of the students less creative due to withholding from them their ownership of the art that they create.

In music, we had great song writers, such as Jim Croce and John Fogerty. Both artists stopped writing songs for many years so that the companies who owned their songs would not make any money from their creativity. In the end, it was a loss for all who love their songs. Their actions seem to stem from feeling they were being exploited unfairly.
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Old 10-05-2015   #35
oneANT
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US $120,001.00
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/BACHELORS-of-...item35dddcf3be

Quote:
Up for sale we have a crisp, Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography, degree!

Have you ever wanted to add your name to the list of photographic gods, the likes of: Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Annie Liebovitz? With a click of the "Buy It Now" button, you can!

Why waste four years of your life slaving away in 5hr long studio classes, spending late nights and early morning spotting your prints or trying not to cringe while classmates in tears make excuses for putting up half ass work during a crit...Today you don't have to because I ventured into the art-bog to bring you back this priceless paper relic.

Though the degree has my name on it, you can either white it out and write in yours or you can change your name to mine. Totally up to you. Though the price may seem steep, I'm only asking for what I've paid. That single dollar at the end is my sweat equity...

Disclaimer: This auction is for a sheet of paper only as shown in the photographs, nothing else. UOTE]
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Old 10-05-2015   #36
mjc
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Intellectual property surrounding photography seems very complex to me. I noticed that dpreview was recently (i.e. a few days ago) soliciting questions related to copyright and IP for an upcoming interview with an attorney that specializes in this area of law....

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/300...ey-bert-krages

Last edited by mjc : 10-05-2015 at 04:29. Reason: grammar
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Old 10-05-2015   #37
kbg32
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Pretty soon our children will be taken away. Just because you fathered it, and you carried it to term doesn't make it yours.....I delivered it.
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Old 10-05-2015   #38
photomoof
Fischli & Weiss Sculpture
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneANT View Post
I will sell mine for 50k. And it is from a much better school than Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

If you want the companion MFA please inquire.
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Old 10-05-2015   #39
danwilly
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This has nothing to do with intellectual property. I think it has everything to do with a vendor contract somewhere and that vendor insisted on exclusivity.
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