Ethics of "found" images...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cepwin, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    As I mentioned in a thread last week I bought an old Argus 75 that had an undeveloped roll of film in it. I developed the film and found 5 decent images which appear to be from a Family trip in mid to late 60's or 70's. The question is this. I'd like to post them (on apug, facebook, etc) to show what I managed to get out of the old film. Since four of the images have people in them is there any potential issues with posting them? (I will make it clear I *didn't* take the images, they were "found" in a camera I purchased.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    They are your pictures, you bought them. If you don't like them you may have been ripped off.
     
  4. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    As a means of sourcing the original photographer, not so much intent to identify the people in the photographs, social media can be invaluable. It is neither unethical or legally questionable, but rather a process of using modern technology to help identify people from 40-50 years ago, in the same way that DNA was used to positively identify the bits and pieces of Richard III. I'm sure if His Grace were around today he'd be mightily impressed with the means by which we commoners can undertake detective work that may just lead us to identifying people from half a century ago and, maybe, reunite them with a lost family treasurer. The possibilities are endless. I'd say scan the prints and bang up a Facebook page e.g. LOST & FOUND. See where it goes from there. :smile:
     
  5. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    if you were going to use the pictures as part of an ad to sell peanut butter you might run into model release issues if the people, or their heirs, recognized them and said "why is uncle filmore on this jar of peanut butter?"

    But if you just want to post them on apug, or facebook, or any other social media or photo web site, that comes under journalistic fair use, just like the newspaper: Look at these images I found, fun, huh? you're not using them commercially, you're just showing them to folks. It's your little bit of the First Amendment.

    Some artists use images like that for art collages, and they find their source material at yard sales and thrift stores. Same rules apply to you as them --

    so go ahead and show. No problem. They're your pictures, you just don't own commercial use of the images of those people.

    c trentelman, journalist.
     
  6. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Thank you for all the responses. That sounds like an interesting idea to post them on FB and essentially say "Hey, I found these..if you know who these people are let me know."..and perhaps the teenage/young adult man or the kids (now grown up) will see it
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    This is illegal in Germany.
     
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    AgX, Could you elaborate?
    In what way is it illegal?
    For example, in posting in a non-commercial way, it's really no different than if the OP had made the photos himself from the same vantage point.
    Or is it an issue of permission from the original photographer?
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In Germany it is forbidden to publish an image of a person against his will. There are exceptions to this rule, but basically it comes down to this.
    The punishment may be up to one year imprisonment.
    Prosecution will only take place on demand, by the person in question or his dependents in case of his death.

    A robot-translation on the german wikipedia article:

    http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fde.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FRecht_am_eigenen_Bild
     
  10. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I can see where if someone expressed they did NOT want a photo posted that they might have some recourse (in Germany,) but in this case we would not know if it was against their will or not unless we were contacted and told so. I don't see any problem with posting the photos.


    Kent in SD
     
  11. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    hmm that's a bit like saying it's OK for me to punch a stranger in the face if I do not know in advance that they do not want to be punched :smile:

    Extravagant examples aside, it's as well to remember that because something is legal (or illegal) or acceptable (or unacceptable) in one country, doesn't rule it out in others.

    The stateless nature of the internet of course makes the point a bit moot until the jurists get some case law under their belts about this sort of thing.

    Philosophically it's rather interesting - I've recently developed a roll of film that was in a camera I bought; it contains some holiday snaps, nothing contentious or (to me) very interesting.
    I certainly feel I own that roll of film.
    I don't however feel I have any claim of ownership to "the images". Accordingly I don't feel comfortable to publish them.
     
  12. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Let it be said: About two years ago I contacted a Craigslist poster (young, black female) who had a camera to sell. I negotiated a low price and she met me at a street corner in Philadelphia. The transaction went smoothly and all seemed well. I discovered a roll of film in the camera (amazingly, I had not opened it in her presence because it worked so well). I processed the film and they were normal images of people sitting, etc. I emailed here that I had her processed negatives. I heard nothing.

    I blame myself here: clearly I was violating privacy, even though in a very attenuated way. Still, I should not have done this and I was wrong. It's still prying even though no ill-will was intended. I consider her 'ignoring' me to be a gift, in a way: we all need to be routinely apprised of our own selves and how self-perceived assessments of ourselves might be skewed. - David Lyga
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Blame yourself for WHAT? You've confessed this transgression. So you're human... with normal human curiousity. Feel absolved and move on!

    p.s. would it have been any different if she had been an old white guy?
     
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  15. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Hey, we don't own the light photons that bounce off us...
     
  16. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Oh, I do not self-flagellate. I bring this up merely to 'look back' at my actions. I think that we all should do this retrospective and never be satisfied with 'good enough'. Don't tax yourselves over this but it's good to seek continuous improvement. Don't worry, I do not lose sleep but, to tell the truth, I don't think that I would do that again.

    The REAL crimes I commit are when I try all mental tactics to get cameras and lenses cheaply. I do not lie but I 'hold out' and become very friendly and convenient. Am I wrong here? It becomes VERY difficult to zero into just how much a film camera is worth today. At camera shows I am known to all, not by name but by face, and I am not hated for my obstinance because I become, oftentimes, the buyer of last resort. - David Lyga
     
  17. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Italy knows as well the concept of "diritto all'immagine" but, in fact, its actual field of application is much more restricted than a superficial reading of the norm would induce to think.

    After the enunciation of the basic right in principle, which is probably just like in Germany, the law or different laws state a great amount of exceptions:

    dispone, che si possa prescindere dal consenso, nei casi in cui ciò sia giustificato da motivi di, notorietà del personaggio ritratto, o dall' ufficio pubblico ricoperto, o dalla necessità di, giustizia, polizia, scopi scientifici, didattici, culturali, o quando la riproduzione sia collegata a fatti o avvenimenti, cerimonia di interesse pubblico o svoltosi in pubblico

    the consent is not required when [publication] is justified by reasons of notoriety of the person portrayed, the public office he holds, necessity of justice /police, scientific-didactic-cultural purposes or when reproduction is linked to facts or events, or ceremonies, of public interest or held in public.

    That practically paves the way to every sort of publication. You can publish the pictures shown in this thread, if they are a way to show let's say the apparel of the time.

    If there wasn't such a list of exceptions in Germany we wouldn't see all the war documentaries or all kind of documentaries where people is portrayed sometimes as close-up. Journalism and especially documentarism would be basically impossible. I believe Germany should not be different from the rest of the world under this respect.
     
  18. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Interesting discussion.... The seller actually advertised the film being in the camera...so the film was part of the deal. It actually made it more valuable to me as otherwise I'd have to purchase 620 reels.
    i actually contacted the seller the I had images but never heard back. I would happily send the jpegs to her. The fact that the law is so different in Germany shows that you needs to know your country's laws. My guess is she has no attachment to the images...probably bought the camera at a thrift shop or garage sale to resell on Etzy.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    You own the pictures and can do what you want with them. If you do something illegal or immoral with them, you are responsible. If you don't want the responsibility, destroy the pictures.
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are exceptions in Germany, but they are quite strict.

    The fact that so much is published against that legislation is due to the media (both as institution and as technology) having changed so much since 1907 when that legislation was passed, and many professional just don't care and many lay people just don't know. Others may only see the private law aspect in it and to establish this typically a layer is needed which means costs.

    Nevertheless there are regularly legal cases on this matter, especially with celebrities who try do divide between a public and a private life. But recently there was a case of a cafe/restaurant putting photos of their guests, who wanted to stay private, online, where by means of current ittechnologies the skipped the anonymity of the unknown cafe in a remote city and had been traced.
    Also recently there was also a case against someone just taking a photograph of someone else, and the issue was that he could publish that photograph, thus the situation being even aside of that legislation.

    Another aspect affecting commercial photography is the ban of publication of buildings otherwise free to publish photos of, in case the owner commercializes himself photos of that building.
    As you see another very delicate issue here in Germany.

    But this does not only apply to Germany, in a neighbouring country this applies to a world-known building that is banned too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2013
  21. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    But this is so sick to always want to ban everything. We walk openly on the street and are paranoid that people take photos. Who should care?
    I see so many great photos of people, friend, who ever. Then seeing discussions about if this is legal or not. It is sad.
     
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I agree with you that the moment I am on a street I am public. But be aware of the effects recent technologies can have seen that couple in that cafe I referered to above.

    Furthermore this thread is about found film or rather those images in those found films.
    Recently at fleamarket I found a stack of Polaroids of a couple photographing themselves whilst having sex. I doubt those people would like those photos being around. One could say those people should care about their photographs. But who knows how they got there? Furthermore I just could have bought them. Or I could have bought them to put on the net.


    Furthermore we are facing a generation totally unaware of copyright and right-on-ones-image issues but used to getting all for free, which here in Germany even lead to a political movement.
    Seen this I consider a discussion of legal matters quite usefull.

    This does not neccessarily mean that I take the view that laws are something cast in gold to stay forever.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2013
  23. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    If the neighbouring country is France and the world-known building is the Eiffel tower, as far as I know the "copyright on nocturne pictures" it's just a delusional and possibly less-than-honest pretension by the entity managing the building.

    In their web site they say that they own rights to the publishing of the building at night, because they hold the copyright of the lighting scheme. IIRC they don't even mention commercial use, they just claim money for any kind of publication.

    I wrote to them twice (once in English, once in French) stating that I am a professional photographer, that I do sell images of the Eiffel tower at night, that I have no intention to recognize any rights whatsoever to them unless they state the norms which would support their claims, and I received no answer in both cases.

    If you are prepared to pay, they do take the money. If you ask why should you pay, they don't answer. I do encourage everybody to ask similar questions to them.

    It's urban myth that you cannot take pictures of certain buildings because they are "copyrighted" (the Sidney Opera Theatre etc.). Yes you cannot use the picture commercially because the image of the building is tied to the organization linked to it, but that's true also for the theatre in Bayreuth or the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma or La Scala in Milan or whatever other Opera building or whatever other organization the image of which is tied to the building.

    The last image I sold portrays the headquarter of the Food and Agriculture Organization, which is in Rome. That building says "FAO" even when the FAO flag is not visible, and certainly cannot be used by anybody to promote anything without the consent of FAO. But that's not because the building is "copyrighted" (every building on Earth is copyrighted, just like any picture) but because it is linked to the image of the owner. The owner would object to the commercial use of the building as it would imply an endorsement by the organization to the product. That applies to the Moulin Rouge, to Michael Jackson's mansion etc.

    The well-known agency Alamy (http://www.alamy.com) has 4822 images of the Eiffel tower at night (just search for Eiffel tower night)

    Some organizations (such as the Moulin Rouge or the Eiffel Tower) apply scare tactics to photographic agencies and some agencies are so "timid" to actually withdraw the images without standing their ground as they should. One of these agencies is Alamy, which withdrew all their images of the Moulin Rouge some time ago, without informing the photographers. I had to re-upload my ones. I'm not the only one there are already some hundreds newly available.
     
  24. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I agree. If they didn't want people to see or photograph it at night, they shouldn't have illuminated it!

    You can only infringe the copyright of a lighting scheme (if it exists) with a very similar lighting scheme, not a photograph. I would consider the lighting to be part of the building and the Berne convention is very clear in that it does not consider a photograph to be an infringement of a building's copyright.


    Steve.
     
  25. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    What are the odds that someone would stumble over the scans you've published? And if that for some quantum mechanics reason happens, they probably instead will become curious on how the images showed up like that from nowhere. Publish, and put a disclaimer with "If you are one of the persons in these pictures, please contact me!", and if someone contacts you, you tell them the story and offer them a free print etc.

    :smile:
     
  26. AndreasT

    AndreasT Member

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    The thing is I think too many people have no common sense (my favorite teacher used to say common sense is not that common). You do't publish naked pictures. I do not need a law for that, come on.
    If people or objects are not allowed to be photography why are they in the public domain.
    People with a photographic memory should all be sued and thrown in prison, those thieves.
    Finding old photos and showing them to the world brighten up our lives. They can be shown, and who knows maybe the grandchildren find some old photos of their long lost grand parents.