Is it ethical to link another site

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by resummerfield, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Yesterday on another photo site, someone posted a thread with a question, something like “was the streak or unevenness in the sky caused by developing the negative or scanning the image?”, and posted a link to a site displaying the photographer’s work. The photographer who made the image responded (it was the scanner, not the development), and then proceeded to flame the poster for publishing the link without the photographer’s permission, stating it was an infringement of copyright, and illegal. Quite a few posts followed which were in agreement with the photographer.

    On this very site, almost every day, I see threads in which the poster adds a link to another photographer’s work, or site. No flame wars erupt, nor is anyone accused of copyright violation, as far as I can tell.

    So I’m confused. I copied the thread (before it was deleted) and asked my sister, a patent lawyer who specializes in intellectual property. She opined that it was legal. But I don’t want to debate legality—that’s what the courtroom is for.

    I do want to avoid unknowingly violating some ethical standard when I post. So I’m asking the wise folks of this forum to enlighten me, and others, as to any unwritten rules, or ethical standards, for posting a link to another photographer’s work or site. I’m not talking about defaming someone, but just posting an informational link.
     
  2. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    The problem was not the link - the problem was that the poster hotlinked to the image - that caused the image to show up on the second site.

    There are two problems with this procedure - first, the photographer did not want his photo displayed on the second site, and had not given permission for its use there.
    He had no problem with posting a link.

    Second, and this did not really get discussed at the other site - hotlinking steals bandwidth from the site on which the photo actually resides. Last month some kids at myspace.com and buddy4u.com hotlinked to a photo on my site, and then emailed it to their friends, who also hotlinked it. It caused my bandwidth to exceed my contract, resulting in my site being shut down for a month. I regard that as stealing the bandwidth I pay for.

    So, I would say the ethical standard is to post a link to something you want another person to see - don't hot link. And don't post another person's photo without permission.

    The person whose photo it was will probably have something to say about this as he posts here, too.
    juan
     
  3. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    My feeling on the matter is that if you link to someone else's page or web site, you are good but that if you link to an image file that you take out of context, you are on shaky ground ethically. Links are nothing more than references, when you write a paper in school, you must provide references, so if you are referring to someone's work and provide a link to it, you are good. As for in line links, they provide the apprearance of appropriation of someone else's work, that is more like inserting someone's photo in your paper in school without credit. Even if you give credit, I feel you need permission.

    I personally think that it was the photographer's embarassment which caused this situation. I am curious how concerned they would have been about intellectual property rights if the thread had posted the link as an example of great work, not sloppy scanning or developing. I think that if you post poorly scanned stuff on the net, you don't get to say who can link to it or look at it. It is like flaming someone for noting the typos in your book and claiming copyright infringement.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Posting a link to someone else's page is usually a welcome thing, though I can imagine that someone might have a problem if it were in a critical context ("Look at this crap!--http://www.joephotog.com").

    Hotlinking to someone else's image so that it appears just as an inline image, rather than a link, without really giving credit is more problematic, since it could potentially increase someone else's bandwidth fees without providing any benefit to them, and could be a misuse of the original image.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Juan posted as I was typing. I agree that hotlinking inline to a person's photo feels like infringement to me and I would have been pissed too. I have no idea what the legality is, but I suspect that the photographer would win here. The person making the comment should have posted a link to the photographers site instead of hotlinking.
     
  6. laz

    laz Member

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  7. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Just so you arent more confused-if you arrived at that thread late, the photo in question showed up in the thread itself at first but that hotlink was later deleted, and even later the entire thread was deleted. So if you showed up after the first deletion (which sounds like the case) all you saw was the link but no photo.


     
  8. RichSBV

    RichSBV Member

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    You're all right about the 'hot linking'. It is without doubt (to me) unethical.

    What is missed with tha thread though was intent. There are bad feelings between the poster and the owner of the photo. The poster was hiding behind a false name and obviously posted the comment and photo for the sole purpose of antagonizing the photo owner. That was revealed in the thread but not co clearly. The overall result was the whole thread was deleted as it should have been. Things like this probably wouldn't happen if people were forced into using their real names, or at least tracable 'handles'. I don't particulary like spreading around full real names myself, but neither do I hide behind a false one... That whole thread was simply a childish 'button pushing' that luckily backfired into the posters face. It's just a shame that the moderators didn't reveal his true identity!
     
  9. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    The photo was mine. The photo is and was originally intended for the BTZS site. I had asked Dave at the BTZS to size it small because of the crappy scan. John Stafford decided that he was entitled to use my photo any way he wanted and actually posted the picture with the thread in a size far bigger than it was intended. When you saw the thread the actual picture had been removed and all that remained was the link to the photo in the BTZS.

    Given that it was my photo, that it was intended for another site and that it was supposed to be posted in a very specific manner, I dont see how you can say I "Flamed" the guy because I demanded what is within my rights.

    Let me give you a hint, the Jorge over there and the Jorge over here are the same guy, you do not want to mess with me.
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    It might not stop it from happening but you have every right to ask the forum operator to remove your picture from his site if it was posted without permission. Why is this so hard to understand? WHen you do so, you are not "flaming" the guy who misappropiated your image, you are demanding that he desist from doing something wrong.

    Let me put it this way, how about I decide to start making ground glasses and I decide to auction them at E bay, so I hot link one of your pictures to my ad. Would you be as cavalier as to say..." Ah, no matter, it happens!"
     
  11. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Jorge, I’m not trying to “mess with you”, I’m just trying to learn something. I was unaware of the ill feelings pointed out by RichSBV. But my impression, viewing the original thread in mid-stream, was that the poster was being “flamed”. Apparently justified in this case.

    Wayne, you’re right, I arrived after the hotlink had been removed, so I was confused about the response, and the postings that followed.

    Laz127, thanks for the info. That was the PERFECT explanation, and just what I wanted to know.
     
  12. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Regardless of whether you have measures in your web site to prevent hotlinking, you have avoided the question, I am sure you would not have liked it much if someone used one of your pictures without your permission regardless of your measures.

    As to beating me, well, I am sure your glasses are very good, but nothing beats a ground glass etched with Hydrofluoric acid, so if I wanted to compete with you, this would be the way I would go and most likely give you a run for your money.

    As to the "do not mess with me" remark, I took excpetion to resemmerfield saying I was "flaming" the guy when all I was doing is standing up for my rights.
     
  13. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    true, but anyone who has been around these forums and others for a while knows the identity of the perpetrator.

     
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  15. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    You are the one who brough this up, I was just making an example and you were the one talking tough about how you would beat me. Like I said, I am sure you have a good product but from what I understand you use a grinding method as opposed to an etching method. I have owned both kind of glasses and the difference is like night and day, but then etching with HF is extremely dangerous.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Jorge, everything posted on the internet is at risk of being misused. Until, that is, there are software protections in place to prevent misuse. You exposed your work to misuse. It was misused. Tough luck. The only protection I know of is not to post. If you were not such a nice guy, you'd not have received bad treatment and wouldn't be upset now.

    Sorry,

    Dan
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I am not upset, the ones upset are those who apparently beleive I should not have said anything. As to whether I am a nice guy or not, I do not need more friends, I got all I need so I really dont give a rat's ass if you think I am nice or not, as a matter of fact why dont you just take your opinion of me an shove it....
     
  18. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Thanks for the unmerited ad hominem attack. Please reconsider your position.
     
  19. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    It is certainly unethical to hotlink to an image not on your server without permission of the server owner (and by extension the copyright owner). Links to pages are the foundation of the web and are certainly ethical in my mind.

    Depending on what web server you are running it is very easy to prevent direct hotlinking of an image. You may block a few legitimate users with certain privacy settings (in theory - but I haven't seen it), but it seems worth it to me. As was pointed out one hotlinked file could cost you a lot of money if it gets on a popular site. There are many sites that detail how to do this for the various web servers.

    Jorge, maybe you should request that BZTS enable this protection in exchange for using your images. It could save them some money as well. Given they are running iis it should be easy.
     
  20. dtomasula

    dtomasula Member

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    I participated in that "debate" on the other forum. I can understand why Jorge was not happy with the way his photo was used. And I think he had every right to voice his displeasure.

    The discussion was pretty civil until the original "infringing party" showed his true colors and reverted to his well-known 9 year old behavior. He spent the rest of the thread calling me out and telling me (and others) to "step outside." Thankfully the thread was erased because it deteriorated into name calling and just plain stupidity.

    But some good issues involving copyright infringement were brought up, which could have led to an educational, useful thread.

    And yes, I use my real name here and on other forums.
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Well tell me, what do you expect? In your wishy washy manner you imply I am not a nice guy, when you dont even know me. Additionally, you imply that if I am "nice" people would not have a reason to "steal" my images. This has got to be about the dumbest thing I have ever seen written on a forum.

    I guess you must think that things like personal responsibility, respect for other people's property and rights and making even just a little bit of an effort to think what is right and wrong are things that should be sacrificed in the name of politcal correctness and being "nice".

    Sorry bubba, you are barking up the wrong tree, not only will I not reconsider but you are now welcome to my ignore list, the one best feature of this web site.
     
  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Calm down please, folks - or this thread will follow the LFforum.info-thread into oblivion.

    Or maybe it should do that anyway?
     
  23. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    A hotlink is unethical. I love Cheryl Jacobs site who threatens to 'spank anyone and send them to bed without supper' that violates her copyright. :D (I wish I had thought of that one).

    I do have many sites that link to mine and am flattered by those that do.
     
  24. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Just for the record, I dont mind someone placing a link to any of my pictures, that is fine, but hot linking is absolutely out of bounds IMO.
     
  25. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    The best defense to hotlinking is to replace the hotlinked image with something that makes the hotlinker look like an idiot. Unfortunately, Jorge's images were not hotlinked from a site that he controls, so he didn't have that option. But I've seen some really great eBay auctions over the years, where someone hotlinked to a picture that the owner then replaced with the most amazing stuff. (One in partiuclar sticks in my mind...someone was selling motherboards and hotlinked to a series of pictures on another web site. The website owner replaced the pictures of the motherboards on his site with pictures of motherboards on fire, broken into pieces, etc. Great stuff!)

    As to the discussion on the other site, all I can say is that Jorge was not only within his rights to complain that his image was hotlinked without his permission or the permission of the owner of the site from which the image was taken, but also that Jorge did a masterful job of re-directing the conversation from being about Jorge's talents as a printer (which, in my opinion, are beyond reproach) to a discussion about hotlinking.

    Just my opinion folks...feel free to put me on your ignore lists if you want.
     
  26. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    This is easy to solve. Read the book; "The Fountain Head".
    "No man has a right to another mans work"
    "The creator has the sole right of ownership to that work"