"take all copyright/theft discussions that are not on topic to METATALK, thanks" July 19, 2006 2:37 PM   Subscribe


Now, where were we? Oh yes.

blaneyphoto: I'm gonna stick with "theft". The average person has no understanding of intellectual property or copyright issues, nor do they care.

The fact that the average person has no understanding of intellectual property or copyright issues is exactly why they think its OK to make copies of the pictures you took for them without your permission. Now, you can call it "theft," and that same average person will laugh in your face because it is patently obvious to them that it is not theft. Or you can call it copyright infringement and try to educate that person as to why it's wrong, even though it's not theft. The average person may not have much understanding of intellectual property, but they do understand--correctly!--that if no physical object is stolen, it's not theft. Calling copyright infringement "theft" will not stop anyone from making illegal copies of your photos. It will earn you much derision, and possibly prevent those you are trying to convince from rationally considering your underlying point, which is that they should not make illegal copies.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:38 PM on July 19, 2006


Ah, come on, DevilsAdvocate, you missed the part where they break into the photographer's house eyepatched and on peg legs, roaring ARRRRRRRRRRRR!, launch their parrots at the photographer's face, snatch the negatives, and flee the scene.
posted by Tuwa at 2:50 PM on July 19, 2006


Why aren't the photos derivative works of my face?

I emitted those photons and I aim to get 'em back!
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:54 PM on July 19, 2006


It will earn you much derision, and possibly prevent those you are trying to convince from rationally considering your underlying point

You said it more plainly than I could, and more politely than I would. Much as when pro-life folks call abortion "murder", when copyrightists call infringement "theft", it's like they're wearing a neon halo that flashes "I am an idiot. Please mock me. My argument is irrelevant. I am a tool."
posted by solid-one-love at 2:58 PM on July 19, 2006


Copyright infringement != theft, I agree. In fact, I would go so far as to say that copyright infringement is less like theft, then abortion is like murder!

There is a parallel between the relationships though, Copyright infringement reduces the possibility of a purchase, while abortion reduces (from near one to zero) the possibility of a child.

It's more like Tony snow saying that stem cell research is murder. You know, totally nonsensical.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2006


I emitted those photons and I aim to get 'em back!

Nonsense. They're being reflected from various lightsources. Your face is a derivative work of Sol, motherfucker.
posted by cortex at 3:17 PM on July 19, 2006


son, I hope for your sake that your face isn't emitting photons.
Unless you have a torch in your mouth, in which case, rock on, take it to the courts!
posted by NinjaTadpole at 3:18 PM on July 19, 2006


The bottom line for me is that in reading that, I realize that by having my photography-major sister shoot my wedding for all of 100 dollars, I made out like a bandit. Good pictures, too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:24 PM on July 19, 2006


...it's like they're wearing a neon halo that flashes "I am an idiot. Please mock me. My argument is irrelevant. I am a tool."

How odd. That's how I feel about people who make stupid analogies, too.
posted by cribcage at 3:28 PM on July 19, 2006


How odd. That's how I feel about people who make stupid analogies, too.

Yes, it is odd that we would agree on anything, but only in the sense that you would agree with anyone about anything.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:32 PM on July 19, 2006


I fucking love the "don't steal music" sticker you find on new iPods
posted by matteo at 3:49 PM on July 19, 2006


My you all have alot to say about this! Oh well... I must definitely be wrong then. Silly me. I guess I just have to stop going after folks who misuse my photography. What was I thinking?

Carry on with the nonsense.... :)
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:53 PM on July 19, 2006


Well, that's one way to completely miss the point.
posted by hototogisu at 3:59 PM on July 19, 2006


I fucking love the "don't steal music" sticker you find on new iPods

If it prevents even a tiny minority of people who thought about pirating music to think twice and stay legal, then the sticker has accomplished something.

And that's the point of any warning, really. People who put these anti-copyright infringement labels on devices, software, music, etc. understand that they only prevent those who were probably on the fence regarding the issue. Same with anti-drug/smoking commercials.

You hard-core junkies (or music, drugs, movies, whatever) are a lost cause and are clearly not the target audience.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 4:00 PM on July 19, 2006


blaneyphoto: you could try to actually debate the issue instead of making stupid little snide comments like the above.

My 2ยข: I'm you're average dumbass and I know the difference between theft and copyright infringement.

"The average person has no understanding of intellectual property or copyright issues, nor do they care."

Might want to step off that high horse.
posted by bob sarabia at 4:07 PM on July 19, 2006


Bob - I have no interest in debating it with you all and I find my high horse tends to get me where I need to go - so I plan to stay there.

Carry on.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2006


If you don't have any interest debating the point, why do you have an interest in droppy snippy, sarcastic one liners in the thread? You're in or you're out.
posted by cortex at 4:31 PM on July 19, 2006


so what's the debate? i really want to argue with someone but i can't figure it out.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:38 PM on July 19, 2006


Heh. Can we mock blaneyphoto's portfolio now? I mean anyone who would sue over banal photos like this deserves at least a little mockery, right? You can find better pictures doing a creative commons search on flickr.
posted by delmoi at 4:39 PM on July 19, 2006


your links cold eat a peter, delmoi.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2006


Maybe he deleted the pictures when delmoi posted a link to them.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2006


JUST STOP STEALING OTHER PEOPLE'S MUSIC AND SHUT UP!
posted by caddis at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2006


I was just looking at the various folders and they just...disappeared. Huh. They were there.

Now the whole link is 404.
posted by tracicle at 4:55 PM on July 19, 2006


They were pretty soft focus, though. I kept waiting for the nudity, but it never came.
posted by hototogisu at 4:56 PM on July 19, 2006


He hath deleted them. Paranoid.

Is that Anderson Cooper, a celeb look-alike, or him in his profile?
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2006


I was just looking at the various folders and they just...disappeared. Huh. They were there.

A copyright infringer must have stolen them.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:03 PM on July 19, 2006




All this bullshit about wedding-photo theft/copyright infringement/piracy whatever comes down to contracts.

If you engage someone professionally to photograph your wedding, then there's some kind of a contract involved. If not, both sides are idiots.

That contract should say who owns the copyright to the photographs and what's allowed to happen to them. If not, the photographer's an idiot.

The happy couple should read that contract carefully, if not, they're idiots.

When anything goes wrong, or one side is unhappy, you return to the contract. Scanning the prints rather than buying the negs, or changing the prices, is either in violation of the contract or it isn't and you take your small claims court action from there.

The question of what you're allowed to do with a CD you've bought is much more complicated because there's no contract. Record companies want to pretend there is one, or have laws created that embody an implicit contract.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2006


Huh, he took almost everything off his site.
posted by delmoi at 5:22 PM on July 19, 2006


I was just looking at the various folders and they just...disappeared. Huh. They were there.

...
A copyright infringer must have stolen them.

No, maybe someone stole the bandwidth.
posted by Tuwa at 5:28 PM on July 19, 2006


Huh, he took almost everything off his site.

I can't imagine why. "I disagree with your opinion so I'm going to make fun of your work." Nice, dude.
posted by cribcage at 5:36 PM on July 19, 2006


You missed the part where blaneyphoto grabbed all his toys and went home by himself. Then came the mockery.
posted by hototogisu at 5:47 PM on July 19, 2006


No, maybe someone stole the bandwidth.

Dammit, Tuwa, bandwidth isn't something you just put on a truck.

>Huh, he took almost everything off his site.

I can't imagine why. "I disagree with your opinion so I'm going to make fun of your work." Nice, dude.


The mockery is cold, but the pulling down of the site is a pretty wacky reaction.
posted by cortex at 5:47 PM on July 19, 2006


My work here is done. Thanks, Devils; you said everything I meant.
posted by baylink at 5:48 PM on July 19, 2006


I'm you're average dumbass

*grins*
posted by scody at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2006


this thread's awesome. you're all so smart.
posted by shmegegge at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2006


"Theft" is a metaphor for "copyright infringement" which average bovines can understand.

You're giving them way too much credit by claiming that calling it "theft" wont' win them over. Do you really think they grok the difference and will scold others for the abuse of it?

Come on. This is about scaring bovine America. Forgive the 2nd grade terminology.
posted by scarabic at 9:03 PM on July 19, 2006


The mockery is cold, but the pulling down of the site is a pretty wacky reaction.

I dunno; if I suspected my work was going to be mocked and my livelihood was about to be fucked with, I'd get my stuff down post haste before any specific, googleable comments were made about it.

Classless, shitheel bullying like that makes me nauseous.

Go fuck yourself, delmoi.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 PM on July 19, 2006


+1 vote for classless stupidity by delmoi.

On the original topic: if theft is removing a physical object from someone else's possession, then how does identity theft fit in?
posted by jacalata at 9:40 PM on July 19, 2006


"shitheel" is an excellent and descriptive term.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:40 PM on July 19, 2006


Classless, shitheel bullying like that makes me nauseous.

Eh, this is a guy who said he'd sue his clients in a minute if he found out they made unauthorized reproductions. That seems pretty petty to me, I would hardly call it bullying.
posted by delmoi at 9:45 PM on July 19, 2006


AmbroseChapel writes "All this bullshit about wedding-photo theft/copyright infringement/piracy whatever comes down to contracts."

AmbroseChapel is right!

Personally, whenever I hire a photographer, I make sure the photographs are bog-standard works for hire, and that I hold the copyright.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:57 PM on July 19, 2006


I dunno; if I suspected my work was going to be mocked and my livelihood was about to be fucked with, I'd get my stuff down post haste before any specific, googleable comments were made about it.

I see that angle, Alvy, but I also see this: pulling your work because someone is inclined to take baseless cheap shots is silly if you have any faith in the merit of your work. Pulling it down reads like an admission of failure—it suggests some sort of embarassment.

I know that's only one read on it. Another is that he just doesn't want the headache—take away the source material, and any further fuckwittery is pretty much 86ed. And given the copyright tension driving the whole argument, it could be a simple hardline move to prevent agressive, taunting infringement for infringements sake. Both are understandable. It just, well, struck me as weird.
posted by cortex at 10:01 PM on July 19, 2006


if theft is removing a physical object from someone else's possession, then how does identity theft fit in?

Identity theft is not theft, just as a hot dog is not a dog.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:16 PM on July 19, 2006


How right you are, DevilsAdvocate. I've recently assumed your identity and am about to drain your bank account, but that doesn't make me an actual drain.
posted by scody at 10:48 PM on July 19, 2006


OMG! I'm your average dumbass and I want to post and ridicule blaneyphoto's portfolio! ONOES!
posted by bob sarabia at 11:24 PM on July 19, 2006


Dude, shouldn't you be out busting up spy rings or self-linking conspiracies or something?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:34 PM on July 19, 2006


Only when the self-link signal beckons.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:38 PM on July 19, 2006


So how often do wedding photographers not shoot as work for hire? I'm quite curious. The photographer keeping the copyright seems like a pretty low thing to do by default, and something that no client would want if they were told.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:55 AM on July 20, 2006


I have been under the impression that most wedding photographers retain copyright, actually.
posted by cortex at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2006


AmbroseChapel writes "That contract should say who owns the copyright to the photographs and what's allowed to happen to them. If not, the photographer's an idiot."

By default the photographer owns the copyright, so no they aren't an idiot.

hoverboards don't work on water writes "So how often do wedding photographers not shoot as work for hire? I'm quite curious. The photographer keeping the copyright seems like a pretty low thing to do by default, and something that no client would want if they were told."

99.99% of weddings are not photographed as a work for hire. Besides the legal precedence their are quality control issues many photographers are concerned about. IE: they don't want their work reflected in prints made by a mis adjusted minilab operated by minimum wage drones at the local Quick Stop. When gramma is all green she doesn't encourage new customers.
posted by Mitheral at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2006


And, more importantly, if you dupe your wedding clients into keeping copyright (a fairly easy thing to do in the stress and hubbub of wedding planning!) you've got them right over the barrel for all eternity. You can fuck 'em right up the ass every time they request a print!

It's good to own a wedding photo cash cow.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 AM on July 20, 2006


I fucking love the "don't steal music" sticker you find on new iPods

It was on the first iPods, too.
posted by oaf at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2006


Nonsense. They're being reflected from various lightsources. Your face is a derivative work of Sol, motherfucker.

What?! First of all, the sun's photons are absorbed by my face as fairly undifferentiated noise. It is my face's unique constitution that re-emits them in the charming and financially rewarding configuration that you all know and worship. The sun could not produce the information required to reconstruct the photographer's pictures without the crucial component of my face. The sun does not contain those bits.

It is the information inherent in my face that provides the subject for the photographer. That information is my property, subject to my and my children's (and whomever they sell the rights to's) whims throughout perpetuity.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:14 AM on July 20, 2006


Compelling but unconvincing, sir. I could model your face with rendering software and create a pattern of photons indistinguishable from those collected from you in person. Clearly, the information is therefore not unique to your face.

What? Prior art? You believe that by modeling your face after you've already presented to the world is derivation? I see. But wait!

What if I write an algorithm that randomly generates face models? And through enough random trials, I create (among however many others) a face that is indistinguishable from your own, without ever having seen your face first? What then?

You, sir, are in a great deal of trouble. You'll be hearing from the Sun's attorneys.
posted by cortex at 9:32 AM on July 20, 2006


What if I write an algorithm that randomly generates face models? And through enough random trials, I create (among however many others) a face that is indistinguishable from your own, without ever having seen your face first? What then?

Crap! My highly symmetrical (and therefore low-entropy) features, though inordinately attractive, are more vulnerable to this sort of tactic than a more lopsided, pock-marked visage would be...

If you've got that much time on your hands, though, simply cycling through all permutations of a say, 300x200x256 image would yield me from all angles... not to mention every other picture... The Clip Art Library of Babel.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:48 AM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've been to that library, and I'm never going back. You know who the librarian is?
posted by languagehat at 10:06 AM on July 20, 2006


five fresh fish writes "more importantly, if you dupe your wedding clients into keeping copyright (a fairly easy thing to do in the stress and hubbub of wedding planning!) you've got them right over the barrel for all eternity. You can fuck 'em right up the ass every time they request a print!
"


I don't know how much stress and hub-bub their is in choosing a photographer. Assuming you aren't having a 6 week engagement there is lots of low stress time to shop and book a photographer. It's not like you need to do it in the last 30 days or something.

And there is no duping happening, wedding photography is simply a special case of hiring a freelance contractor. Freelancers are almost never works for hire, never have been. This is no different than getting your portrait painted or a sculpture made. You own the painting but that doesn't give you the right to crank off a few hundred copies for your friends and family. In fact if I was wanting to own the copyrights of any contracted photography I'd avoid the whole work for hire mine field and simply stipulate that the copyright owner transfers ownership to me on completion of the contract. Much simpler and straight forward and you don't need to worry about meeting one of the nine category qualifiers that enable work-for-hire.

PS: Work-For-Hire is a US thing and doesn't have a legal meaning in Canada. Canadian workers are much better protected from employers stealing our work.:
Employers may not enjoy shop rights. Generally, an invention made by an employee while in the employ of the employer belongs to the employee and not the employer even if made on the employer's time and using the employer's resources unless there is an express contract to the contrary or the employee was employed to invent. In Canada, the term "work-for-hire" has no legal meaning.

You see this in the building trades as well.

five fresh fish writes "It's good to own a wedding photo cash cow"

Which is why wedding photographers are sipping champange on a cruise ship for nine months of a year instead of holding down a day job to support themselves while they pursue their art.
posted by Mitheral at 10:50 AM on July 20, 2006


Hee.

Hey; I have no problem with photographers making a living; anyone who can manage to make a living off creative work without a patron my hat is off to.

Conversely, some of them aren't up front about precisely how they're structuring their pricing, and that's one of the reasons why clients get pissed.

Moving companies tend to get clients over a barrel and then jack up the prices as well. It's unethical no matter who's doing it.

I'm not saying OP's photog did, it could be that OP merely didn't read the damned contract before signing it; so few people do.
posted by baylink at 8:20 PM on July 20, 2006


I rather suspect many couples are unaware that the photographer holds duplications of their photographs at ransom. I present as proof the times this issue has come up on MeFi/AskMe, a group of people who I typically believe to be fairly well-informed and life-experienced.

And through enough random trials, I create (among however many others) a face that is indistinguishable from your own, without ever having seen your face first?

Better yet, a genetic algorithm that responds to feedback on the "likeness" of the image, this to be viewed by a third party that knows you by sight. Multiple third parties. You'd have him dead to rights pretty quick is my guess.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 PM on July 20, 2006


Canadian workers are much better protected from employers stealing our work.

But photography is a exception and is treated differently than other creative works in Canada. A person who hires the photographer is the first owner of copyright.
posted by squeak at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2006


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