Ethics of linked images

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Frank R, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    I am building a medium format folding camera database for readers who ask the question "which MF folder should I get?".

    The result will be a report that will list the camera names and then sort them by their features (coated/uncoated lens, coupled/uncoupled rangefinder, etc.).

    I have the opportunity to add a thumbnail image of each camera in the listing. This will help readers differentiate between cameras with the same name but different features (I have seen three very different versions of the Franka Solida II for example).

    I would like to copy images that I find on other websites to include in my database. I would then link each image back to its original page.

    What are the ethics involved here? Do I have to get permission from each image owner before I use it? I am not making any money from this and I will probably generate traffic for their site through the links.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I would ask permission before hotlinking images from another site (i.e., the image stays on their server, but you use an img src tag to link it). On the one hand you are generating traffic if you link back to the source page, but on the other hand you are increasing bandwidth usage by hotlinking.

    I would also ask permission before using an image from another site, even if it's not a hotlink (i.e. you download the image, and upload it to your server), just because it's someone else's image.
     
  3. argus

    argus Member

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    Hotlinking is not done. It's simply stealing bandwidth.
    But I don't think you plan to do that.

    Always ask permission to use other peoples images, the same as you would like for your own images.

    G
     
  4. kombizz

    kombizz Member

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    It would be much nicer to get a permission first. Also would be nice to explain about your project.
    Good luck
     
  5. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Am I missing something here? I think it's a safe assumption that the original poster of a camera image put it online to be referenced. You don't have to get permission from say, Wikipedia to link to one of their references. Asking permission from each image poster makes a good project unnecessarily complicated.
     
  6. Frank R

    Frank R Subscriber

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    This is what I was thinking. Being that the web was originally designed to be an open source of information.

    Right, no hotlinking.

    If I find an interesting image on Ebay, I may copy it and use it later. Only because it is a temporary image and I cannot link to it.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't see any problem with having a text link pointing to another page. I would just ask permission if you were going to actually show the image from another page or copied from an auction on your page.
     
  8. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    What ever happened to the ability to use copyrighted materials for educational purposes?
     
  9. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Fair use is limited. That is why universities (I work for one) have to restrict access to some class materials, even if the rest of the course is open to the public.

    Just because text or images are on the web does not mean that they are public domain.

    Hot-linking does two things - it can cost the original host money for bandwidth. It may even by-pass any advertising they may use to off-set the expense. Secondly, the original site is under no obligation to maintain that image or its location. The next time their site is re-vamped, your links die.

    I would ask the original site holder for permission to copy the file (usually with attribution).

    I have sent a few nasty-grams to people using block text extracts from my sites for use in auctions. That is because the exact text implies I might be endorsing the transaction. But I have no objection to their paraphrasing the information.
     
  10. kaygee

    kaygee Member

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    I would absolutely agree with David. No hotlinking, for sure, because even if it is unintentional it is stealing. You don't know how much bandwidth this website has, and if you push it over the limit if say, your website is very popular, then their site goes offline. Can you tell I've had this done to me?

    Also, yes, you ask for permission to use an image. Imagine if somebody took one of your photos to use as a reference for something, but without asking. Would it bother you? I look at it as having control over an image. Unless the image is under creative commons licensing, it's completely copyrighted.

    Have you tried specifically looking for images of what you need that are under creative commons? I believe flickr has a search function for this specifically. You can also go here:
    http://creativecommons.org/

    I believe they have a search function.
     
  11. mjs

    mjs Member

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    The only real objection I can think of to hotlinking is the danger that the source URL may change and your link end up pointing to the bit bucket. On the other hand, I wouldn't bother asking for permission to hotlink and I would ask permission to copy someone's illustration to my website, so there are plusses and minuses each way. If they don't want it linked to, they shouldn't put it on the web.

    mjs
     
  12. Justin Cormack

    Justin Cormack Member

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    It is possible that using a thumbnail of someone else's image would be legal, but I would consult a lawyer first. Fair use has little case law and you could be sued anyway - the fact you make no money is not a defence.

    Its in your best interest to work with a community project like wikipedia where all contributions (including images) are available for reuse in any form under very reasonable conditions (do read exactly what they are).