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  1. #1
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    Is it ethical to link another site

    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.
    —Eric

  2. #2
    juan's Avatar
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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. #3
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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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. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  5. #5
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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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. #6
    laz
    laz is offline
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    This will give anyone who wants it and overview of the problem and solutions http://altlab.com/hotlinking.html
    [SIZE=1]I want everything Galli has![/SIZE]
    [SIZE=1]I want to make images like Gandolfi![/SIZE]
    rlazell@optonline.net

  7. #7

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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.


    Quote Originally Posted by resummerfield
    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.

  8. #8

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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. #9

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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. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    Even though we have a specific purpose in mind for our photographs, I dont' see how it is possible to ensure that is the way it goes, I am not taking sides here at all, but once it is posted on the net, what is to stop the linking of it? Yes it may be un-ethical, and it may even be illegal, but it still does not stop it from happening...

    Dave
    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!"

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