Using pictures that aren't yours....

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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby Teresa » Oct 30, 2010 10:33 am

NZcaver wrote:
The problem is Teresa, you're missing the point. Last I checked any original work by you, me, or anybody else (while not under contract or in the course of a job) is automatically copyright unless you specify otherwise. It doesn't matter if you're crying over spilled milk because you feel you lost your bragging rights. If somebody copied and used your images without permission (outside of the copyright act "fair use" clause), THEY are at fault. Regardless of their motivation or yours. To assert your rights, you don't need to list your photos on istockphoto (which has really crappy caving images, by the way) or anywhere else. Nor do you need to have lost income, or be concerned about plagiarism.


I didn't miss the point. I was asking Sungura what her real objection was. Loss of income, plagiarism of work, loss of control or loss of attribution of her work? Those are the big four reasons for copyright in the first place.
You don't need to list your photos anywhere for copyright purposes, except with the Library of Congress registrar. Without registration, you may hold the copyright, but you cannot legally enforce it. The burden of proof is on the creator to prove it is their original work, which requires either formal registration, or some other means of proof of date of creation and by whom. "Poor man's copyright" is to snailmail a work to yourself to get a legal proof of date. Earlier dates supersede later ones in court.
Dates in digital files can be altered, so they do not constitute proof. Publication in dated hard copy is also a proof of date.
How to prove photos are yours? This is more difficult in digital...possession of original negatives or slides, while not 100%, makes a good argument as evidence.

In order to bring legal action, you *do* have to prove loss of income...at least $999...or that your work is being misrepresented by a third party without permission to do so (fair use exclusions apply for parody, and commentary, of course.) There is a gap between the letter of the law and actual enforcement of the law-- a gap which is generally bridged by "cease and desist" threats which work in some cases.

Develop a personal style, and people will know the photos are yours, regardless.

Not necessarily true. Photography is not quite the same as painted media or creative writing. While many photographers allow their left brain to go wild and create weird, wonderful and unique images, good photography is not all about original creativity from an artistic perspective. It's also about being in the right place at the right time, and capturing the right moment.


In many instances of nature photography, you may only have a few options of photos to take, but I disagree...anyone beyond just a snapper will have a style, or an approach that can be recognized, just as you can tell an Ansel Adams print from Edward Steichen. True, some photos are serendipitous, but many more are "recognized" or planned. And that creates style.
For example: search Google images for Alley Spring. Many of the photos are of the red mill there. There are limited places to take that photo. If you look on pages 5 and 11 you will see an identical image with different file names...it's mine, which has been taken by others and renamed. I put it up as a 35k file. Am I bent out of shape that people have stolen it? No. Do I have proof that it's mine? In this case, it was taken on film and I have the negative. (I have old slides taken by my deceased father, too. Possession isn't proof, but it is evidence that you some relationship with the images.) But, I bet you can pick out which photo is mine as opposed to all the other red mill photos on there. That's what I mean by style.

The only bunch I really detest are people who steal stuff and make money for themselves off them by using them without credit.

I agree. I don't detest anybody who uses my images without permission with no intended monetary gain. I'd just rather they ask permission first, like any reasonable person should know to do.


Even though I make most of my living from creative endeavors, the end of the public domain was a big mistake in my opinion. There still is "sort of" a public domain-- images created by the federal government can be freely used, and most state photography can be used without notification, but with attribution, as well as images set loose by the photographers. I'd personally like to see single, one-time, incidental use of images with photographer attribution be made legal. I'm often in the position I need to illustrate an article with generic stock images...say, someone canoeing, or a white tail deer...there needs to be a reservoir for such things that people could contribute to and take from. Right now, the stock photo companies are my only resource for things I personally have not taken photos of, and often things go unillustrated because of the cost of the images.

However the bit about mother nature being kind enough not to copyright the cave - while it may be true for him personally - is irrelevant to this argument. Mother nature didn't copyright Yosemite or the Tetons either, so should those images by Ansel Adams also be reproduced freely in the public domain? Just because the subject matter is public, doesn't make it right to use of somebody else's photographic image or artistic creation as you please.


Did you know you cannot take photos in a national park or forest, and many state parks, and legally use them for commercial purposes without permission? Some people even interpret this as for editorial purposes. This is something which gets skirted just as photo copyright off the Net does. More regulations to read....grrrrr

I suggest folks take a look at this online article about copyright myths. Yes it's rather dated, but the key points seem to be as relevant as ever (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Don't trust any copyright advice website, (well, perhaps the Library of Congress' is OK) including my post. Get a copy of the laws and regulations, and read them. You might be surprised what's there. :cavingrocks: :cavingrocks:
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby NZcaver » Nov 1, 2010 10:27 pm

Teresa, thank you for a very comprehensive response as usual.
Teresa wrote:I didn't miss the point. I was asking Sungura what her real objection was. Loss of income, plagiarism of work, loss of control or loss of attribution of her work? Those are the big four reasons for copyright in the first place. You don't need to list your photos anywhere for copyright purposes, except with the Library of Congress registrar. Without registration, you may hold the copyright, but you cannot legally enforce it. The burden of proof is on the creator to prove it is their original work, which requires either formal registration, or some other means of proof of date of creation and by whom. "Poor man's copyright" is to snailmail a work to yourself to get a legal proof of date. Earlier dates supersede later ones in court.

I had assumed your earlier reply was a generalization, and not directed specifically at Amy (Sungura).

I'm aware of the Library of Congress formality, and of the old poor-mans snail mail version of copyright date stamping. As I understand, it all boils down to this. Any creator of original work can deem their work to be copyright - period. However, in order to effectively enforce that copyright in civil or criminal court a person should register his/her copyright work. Additional measures such as metadata tagging, watermarks and so forth identify the creator and dissuade unauthorized use of the work.

I'd personally like to see single, one-time, incidental use of images with photographer attribution be made legal.

So you think it should be legal for anybody to "borrow" (or steal) any image created by another person and use it one-time for free so long as attribution is provided? Is this a case of the old rationale "lots of people are doing it anyway, so why don't we just legalize it?" Are you thinking this should be part of the "fair use" clause?

Here's an idea. If you want to share your images the way you described, you are perfectly free to do so. So am I - if I choose to. I'm sure you've heard of creative commons licensing. In some cases I do choose to share my images under this kind of license. But the bottom line is that it's my choice. And I should be able to choose to share photos online for people to view and enjoy, but not to copy and repost or reuse anywhere they want without permission. Oops, I think I'm repeating myself. Any moment now Bill will accuse me of trying to steal his title of King of the Diatribes. :laughing:

Did you know you cannot take photos in a national park or forest, and many state parks, and legally use them for commercial purposes without permission?

Yes, I frequently see this on permit applications and other park-related info. As you say, another rule that frequently gets ignored.

I suggest folks take a look at this online article about copyright myths. Yes it's rather dated, but the key points seem to be as relevant as ever (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Don't trust any copyright advice website, (well, perhaps the Library of Congress' is OK) including my post. Get a copy of the laws and regulations, and read them. You might be surprised what's there.

I took a wander around some of the official US Copyright Office website, until the stabbing pain in my frontal lobe got to be too much. I'm not so much surprised by what's there, as much as irritated by how such incredibly long-winded legalize is so deliberately vague and in parts borderline nonsensical. Of course being a government entity, endless convoluted regulations are hardly surprising.

So from the basic bullet points on that not-to-be-trusted link I provided earlier, which information do you think is wrong? Number 3 or 5 or 8, 9, 10...? I'm certainly curious to know.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby Teresa » Nov 2, 2010 10:37 am

Teresa said:
I'd personally like to see single, one-time, incidental use of images with photographer attribution be made legal.
So you think it should be legal for anybody to "borrow" (or steal) any image created by another person and use it one-time for free so long as attribution is provided? Is this a case of the old rationale "lots of people are doing it anyway, so why don't we just legalize it?" Are you thinking this should be part of the "fair use" clause?


NZ, they tried to make alcohol illegal in the US once. Most drinkers ignored the law, non-collection of alcohol taxes hurt the government treasury and it became legal again. No, this goes back to something more basic: the human nature to want to communicate, create, preserve and share, and the fact that technology and that human desire have far outdistanced the law. At one time, the ability to reproduce creative work was highly restricted, expensive, hard to do in quantity or quality, and the concept was that only "special" people were chosen to either create or reproduce said creative work. A "producer/consumer" mentality.

With the introduction of bits, the assumptions of producer/consumer have changed radically, but the laws have been rewritten to benefit either the deep pocket, high infrastructure producers (movie companies, media conglomerates) or very restrictively to reserve rights to the creators, at the expense of the potential audience. Therefore, consumers are kicking back by stealing and reusing and rationalizing it a hundred different ways, because they have the technical means to do so, especially as concerns photos on the Internet. Music sharing seems to have made a little peace with this via the iTunes/Amazon 99c for a non-DRM tune download. Photos haven't gotten there yet. I think many people wouldn't mind making a micropayment like that to an author/photographer for use of their work...stock photos don't work that way, though.

The reason for my concept (reproducing with attribution) is that is the model which academia has run on for years. Fair use when information is being used for education/support of research is more lenient than in the outside world; on the other hand, attribution of source material is held as an almost sacred value. People get indoctrinated in that concept for 12-16 years. Why not just extend it to real life? Now, the other aspect of this is, academic use isn't for profit purposes. Once something becomes integrated into a for profit item, (say a textbook) all the permissions need to be obtained. That's fine. But most people are not taking photos and text from the web to make books (Wikibooks being the exception)

For me, the bottom line is the profit/non-profit motive. If you intend to make money off other's work, or reproduce for a third party, you pay. If not, you don't. That's how I would change the law. At the same time, I would set up some sort of system to expedite reasonable payments to make that exchange. I'd pay 50 cents to download a photo I really liked. I wouldn't pay $5.

Here's an idea. If you want to share your images the way you described, you are perfectly free to do so. So am I - if I choose to. I'm sure you've heard of creative commons licensing. In some cases I do choose to share my images under this kind of license. But the bottom line is that it's my choice. And I should be able to choose to share photos online for people to view and enjoy, but not to copy and repost or reuse anywhere they want without permission.


Copyright is a contract between the author and society as it relates to sharing creative work with another person or entity. You can write a contract to say anything you wish, as long as it is internally consistent. A contract only applies to people who sign onto the concept.


Don't trust any copyright advice website, (well, perhaps the Library of Congress' is OK) including my post. Get a copy of the laws and regulations, and read them. You might be surprised what's there.

I took a wander around some of the official US Copyright Office website, until the stabbing pain in my frontal lobe got to be too much. I'm not so much surprised by what's there, as much as irritated by how such incredibly long-winded legalize is so deliberately vague and in parts borderline nonsensical. Of course being a government entity, endless convoluted regulations are hardly surprising.

So from the basic bullet points on that not-to-be-trusted link I provided earlier, which information do you think is wrong? Number 3 or 5 or 8, 9, 10...? I'm certainly curious to know.


The reason I sent people to the LOC is because all secondary websites are just opinions.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby graveleye » Nov 2, 2010 10:54 am

figured I would weigh in too...

Without registration, you may hold the copyright, but you cannot legally enforce it. The burden of proof is on the creator to prove it is their original work, which requires either formal registration, or some other means of proof of date of creation and by whom.


Absolutely correct here. It's no different than music (which I have quite a few copyrights) or books or whatever. If your stuff is stolen then it's your problem and litigation can get pretty pricey. Say your beautiful Neversink picture showed up in a Smirnoff advertisement in a magazine. You're screwed. No way you're going to be able to put up a fight without proof. It's happened too.

This is the digital age... wasn't much of a problem when you had the negatives.

All I can say is that whether it's a novel, photo, or music... whatever it is, it is your art and your creation. I personally would be royally pissed off if someone else stole it from me.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby NZcaver » Nov 2, 2010 2:54 pm

graveleye wrote:Say your beautiful Neversink picture showed up in a Smirnoff advertisement in a magazine. You're screwed. No way you're going to be able to put up a fight without proof.

I think I can prove that one is mine. :big grin: But yes, I see your point.

All I can say is that whether it's a novel, photo, or music... whatever it is, it is your art and your creation. I personally would be royally pissed off if someone else stole it from me.

Amen.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby NZcaver » Nov 2, 2010 8:38 pm

Teresa wrote:Copyright is a contract between the author and society as it relates to sharing creative work with another person or entity. You can write a contract to say anything you wish, as long as it is internally consistent. A contract only applies to people who sign onto the concept.

This last sentence is an interesting assertion. When taken in context with the first sentence, it seems you're implying that society should rebel against the traditional concept of copyright. Or did I misunderstand?

If an implied contract only applies to people who "sign on to the concept" - does that mean I can opt out? Can I go out and get some books, DVDs, music CDs, paintings and prints, bring them home, make copies, and share them with all my friends and the rest of the world? Why not? I didn't sign anything to say I wouldn't do that.The creators of the material obviously wanted to share it, right??

The reason I sent people to the LOC is because all secondary websites are just opinions.

Opinions, or interpretations? :question: As I'm sure you realize, many of the finer points of US law hinge on interpretations and precedents.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby wyandottecaver » Nov 3, 2010 8:16 am

I get around all that legal mumbo jumbo. I just make sure my pics are so bad nobody wants to steal them. Then me and my friends can enjoy them in peace :)
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby Teresa » Nov 3, 2010 10:36 am

NZcaver wrote:
Teresa wrote:Copyright is a contract between the author and society as it relates to sharing creative work with another person or entity. You can write a contract to say anything you wish, as long as it is internally consistent. A contract only applies to people who sign onto the concept.

This last sentence is an interesting assertion. When taken in context with the first sentence, it seems you're implying that society should rebel against the traditional concept of copyright. Or did I misunderstand?


You skipped the first phrase: "Copyright is a contract between the author and society." One, obviously that has been codified into law. Copyright law is the strictest protection. Just as many states have laws which are more lenient than federal law, but they are barred from making laws more strict, "the people (content creators)" via Creative Commons, copyleft, etc. have come up with more lenient arrangements which suit them. Those more lenient arrangements are contracts, not law, but contracts are legally binding, or else there wouldn't be a need for copyright lawyers, book agents, photo rights release forms, etc.

Obviously a content creator can choose what to do with his/her rights in the law. They can sell them, give them away, be like Emily Dickinson and never show anyone more than .01% of their work while they are alive, or write profusely and toss it directly into the trash can.

I think current copyright law is too strict, and lasts for too long a term, and has too much emphasis on control of distribution, not preservation of attribution or income. I think "fair use" should be better defined, and more in balance between the creator and the audience, and this is coming from someone who creates stuff. I personally think one's intellectual property should go into the public domain on one's death (or perhaps the death of a surviving spouse, however children would have no rights), and I have problems with corporations controlling the output of a single person. (e.g.: a big Hollywood studio can retain control of a movie they made as a joint venture for hire, but the Mark Twain trust which controls his literary works, image use, and so forth would be dissolved. BTW, he has no living direct descendants.) I don't agree that things (for example, anonymous folksongs) that are in the common heritage of humanity should be able to be brought under copyright after the fact..in fact, I don't think that anything should be able to be "re-copyrighted" by anyone but the living creator.

In short, I'd like to be paid for what I do, unless I choose to give it away, which is my right, too. I would be happy to share, if people share in exchange. Most of what I do I sell only first rights. I'm also a big believer in non-exclusive rights...where you sell the right for someone to use your work, but you also retain the right to do something else with it in the future. It makes life so much easier.

This all got me to surfing...I found a number of "donated art" clipart sites, and some "donated photo" sites where contributing gives you the right to use other's stuff, and no money exchanges hands. Sort of like contributing material to a good cave survey where you can then access other data not yours by right of sharing for the common good.

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act addresses things like time-shifting (use of a VCR or DVR for later viewing), making legal digital backups of purchased audio files and rights concerning actual computer programming files. The DMCA, however, was so focused on technological fixes, it largely ignores text, photos and graphics, which is why we are having this discussion. The assumption was that such fair use copying was addressed in the 1976 US copyright revision (which revised the 1909 statute in light of the physical copy machine) and the followup Berne Convention and World Intellectual Property Organization rules and regulations, both which the US signed on to. The WIPO puts stronger locks on material than the US ever did. In short, the US is operating under international standards of copyright right now, but the arbiter for in-country rules is still the Library of Congress, and defacto, we are still operating under the 1976 US Copyright Act, as amended and expanded by the 1989 Berne Convention and WIPO regulations.

I'd like to see the international treaties change in my direction, but the major reason they won't is because they cover countries where intellectual piracy is a substantial part of the regular economy. And we're not talking about swiping someone's photo which has little to no actual monetary value.

The reason I sent people to the LOC is because all secondary websites are just opinions.

Opinions, or interpretations? :question: As I'm sure you realize, many of the finer points of US law hinge on interpretations and precedents.


Legal interpretations and precedents, not one person's opinion, including mine. *|:-)
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby NZcaver » Nov 3, 2010 2:30 pm

All very interesting.

Sliding back towards the original intent of the topic, I took another look at Creative Commons licencing.

I will consider modifying my default policy for photo sharing. In general, I will continue to copyright label my photos as before. However in addition I could also grant a (non-exclusive) non-commercial, must-attribute Creative Commons license to people if they appear in specific photos. This would allow them to share images of themselves with their friends by reposting them on Facebook, etc (with attribution), but not to copy and reuse my entire album of photos.

This would be the same as before, except that people wouldn't have to ask me for permission to use (repost and share) my copyright images if they appear in them. I'll have to think about this some more.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby self-deleted_user » Apr 18, 2011 11:07 am

And this, this is why I am picky. Right here. Watch it. I've seen this image, never knew it was his work.

You aren't allowed to take information from text sources without citing it in your list of sources.

Why should people be allowed to take photos without citing their source?

If it's good enough to take and use, it's good enough to give credit/pay for the use of.

Yes, art not for profit is cool, but even if you're going to re-post on the Internet ask if unsure (like, if they don't have a clearcut CC or something for it) and just give credit!! It's not hard. And it's the right thing to do. Even with how fb does avatars now, if someone tags me in another photo not mine and i want to use it at my avatar, since it re-saves it to my album instead of keeping it in theirs, I be sure to edit it and say "taken by __, not by me". You never know when even these little things matter.

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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby David Grimes » Apr 18, 2011 11:55 am

wyandottecaver wrote:I get around all that legal mumbo jumbo. I just make sure my pics are so bad nobody wants to steal them. Then me and my friends can enjoy them in peace :)


Sorry you failed in your effort, one of my avatar pics you took. In all fairness I was in the picture so I pretty much ruined the quality lol.

I just wanted to mention something from a past thread, if your posting your pictures on Facebook, they own them according to their user agreement. On the other side without a watermark or something else how can you prove the pictures were actually yours and not just taken from the same spot. I know this is a ridiculous concept but in most cases you could not prove otherwise. I actually saw a picture of a cave entrance in a professionally created and published video that I am nearly positive is one of my photos but I cannot say someone did not take the picture from the same spot (even though the picture and everything in it lines up perfectly).
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby self-deleted_user » Apr 18, 2011 12:42 pm

David Grimes wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote:I get around all that legal mumbo jumbo. I just make sure my pics are so bad nobody wants to steal them. Then me and my friends can enjoy them in peace :)


Sorry you failed in your effort, one of my avatar pics you took. In all fairness I was in the picture so I pretty much ruined the quality lol.

I just wanted to mention something from a past thread, if your posting your pictures on Facebook, they own them according to their user agreement. On the other side without a watermark or something else how can you prove the pictures were actually yours and not just taken from the same spot. I know this is a ridiculous concept but in most cases you could not prove otherwise. I actually saw a picture of a cave entrance in a professionally created and published video that I am nearly positive is one of my photos but I cannot say someone did not take the picture from the same spot (even though the picture and everything in it lines up perfectly).
I only upload low res watermarked images there with my name embedded in the metadata to fb. And it's not that fb has ownership rights to the photo, this article explains more http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10165190-36.html
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby David Grimes » Apr 18, 2011 1:49 pm

I know they do not have actual ownership rights to your content but they are free to use it as they see fit inside of Facebook. No matter what a news article tells you, if you read through the heap of information they present you with all the user agreements and such they can use your content for their own gain inside of facebook and they can send it to their partners. These business practices are shady but it seems now days nearly every internet company who is offering a service for free simply sells your information to make up for it. This is why when you sign up for a free email service you get messages from companies you never signed up to receive. Facebook is no different just like all the other social networking sites.

There is very little chance they are going to use your content or most other users for any kind of monetary gain or even advertisement but they still have that option. If we had a similar rule in the TOS here on Cavechat we could do the same thing. We purposely do not claim any use rights and state that the author of the content retains the rights to the content but we could easily add a statement saying we have the right to use any content posted here or on online cavers and we could then use your content for advertisements and anything else because you agreed to the terms by using our service.

I am not saying anything bad about Facebook or any other company, I am only pointing out that your content is not exclusively your own once you add it to these sites.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby LukeM » Apr 18, 2011 2:16 pm

David Grimes wrote:This is why when you sign up for a free email service you get messages from companies you never signed up to receive.


I would question whether any major free email providers engage in this practice. I'd bet that you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn't explicitly state in it's privacy agreement that it doesn't sell user information. Also Facebook doesn't sell specific user information at all, but they do use the data to allow advertisers to target a specific audience and allow them to see how their ads are performing. Advertisers get very specific info on how well their ads are performing, but that doesn't mean they have access to your private information.
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Re: Using pictures that aren't yours....

Postby David Grimes » Apr 18, 2011 5:48 pm

I know they all claim they do not sell your information but there one little word they throw around allot and that is "partner". Your information is shared with these partners. If you do not believe me that is fine but simply go to yahoo and open a new email account, I guarantee you will start getting messages from companies you have never heard of. If they do not share personal information then why do you get spam messages about finding local singles in your area and so forth. I know if you visit a website they can easily track your location and send you targeted ads but when they come to your email when you never visited these websites, the only explanation is they received your information from the email provider.

There are legal ways around these rules and they take them for the most part, there are some companies that do not. I have some free email accounts that have never received an unsolicited message, they happen to be through the same email provider.

I am not a Facebook insider and I do not know the full details of their company and practices but I know enough to not trust that they are my friend and would never sell my personal information and/or content for personal gain. The fact is nothing is truly free and they find ways for you to pay for their services.
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