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  1. #1
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    OT(?): copyright of (insignificant) images, screenshots, etc.

    Today I was in for a surprise when I visited Apug - in the tread here:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/22061-testing-shutter-speeds.html

    I found a link to a DIY shutter speed tester. Since I have a similar page, I opened the link to see what it looked like.

    Lo and behold, there was my screenshot of "Audacity" software at work!!!
    No credit given, apart from "I borrowed this from another site...."
    My web page, from which the image was taken without bothering to ask me for permission, is here:
    http://www.hrtranslations.com/photo/Shutter.html

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not another "Mr. Polaroid Patented Modification", and usually don't pay much attention to such stuff. I use Linux and I'm generally very much into "Open Source", Copyleft, and similar concepts - i.e. sharing of knowledge and experience without asking to be paid for it.

    After all, that's one of the reasons I'm a member here on apug. To learn from others and offer my help to those who might need it (however insigificant my contribution might be). In the spirit of camaraderie, and all that. Seriously. I'm that kind of guy.

    Very soon I'll be holding a short seminar at the local high school on "traditional" (i.e. analog) photography, since a couple of kids there heard about me and asked for help. They know about digital photography, composition, etc., but would like to learn darkroom work. I'll also donate some of my equipment to their darkroom (enlarger, dev. tanks, bulk loaders, perhaps a 35mm rangefinder camera or two...) - all free of charge...

    In short, I'm more than happy to help if I can...

    Now, to get back to the original issue.

    I already started to write a protest e-mail to this person who lifted my screenshot - mostly because he has a visible copyright notice on his site, and he didn't even deem it proper to ask me for permission (which, BTW, would have been given gladly, and free of charge....).

    Then I stopped and thought about it. I had a bad day today (don't ask, it's not photography related!), and I might be overreacting, and the issue in question is not really a big deal. My page is also not original, it was inspired by another person's (but I provided proper credit and link at the beginning of my page!), so it's not some original work which could or should be patented or anything.
    Besides, this person in question has an interesting site (I visited before and found some useful info...), and is probably not making any money out of it...

    Also, this kind of "impersonal" communication (via e-mail or Internet) sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, and I really don't want to look like a complete je*k

    What would you do? This is the first time it happened to me - my photos are usually too bad to be used for any purpose, so nobody has bothered "lifting" them yet...

    This is not really about this particular case of lifting a screenshot (of all things!) without asking for permission. It's just that this has never happened to me before.... and I'm a bit surprised.

    I still feel I'm being denied some elementary courtesy, and that's what bothers me, most of all.

    Heck, I'm always so surprised when I see any kind of rudeness that I don't know what to do... Maybe I don't really belong to any kind of Internet community

    Since this might generally fall under "ethics" category, I thought I'd ask here.

    What would be a proper course of action (if any)? What would you do?

    For myself, after cooling off a bit, I'm generally willing to let it go without any reaction. It's not a master plan for a free source of energy which will save the world or anything, so... No big deal....

    Regards,

    Denis

  2. #2
    Ole
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    Denis,

    I think you should send him a copy of your post here - or a link to it. While it is (as you say) no big deal, I agree that at least a reference should have been given - not just "another website".
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  3. #3
    juan's Avatar
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    I think the person should have at least given a link back to your site. I'd ask him for the courtesy.
    juan

  4. #4
    Bill Mobbs's Avatar
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    I understand what you are saying... And how you feel... I have had more than a few things "borrowed" from one of my web sites (unrelated to photography). I think, when you put anything on the web you are opening the door to unauthorized use. I'm wondering if this image might be owned by the "Audacity" software owner?

    Bill
    "Nobody is perfect! But even among those that are perfect, some are more perfect than others." Walt Sewell 1947

  5. #5
    Denis P.'s Avatar
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    Ahhhh, I don't know.... I think I'll let it go.. .I don't need any problems, and don't want to make a fusss where it's uncalled for... After all, it's just a case of (possibly) bad manners... Nothing serious. If it were another day, I'd never even gove it a second thought.
    However, I had a bad day today, so I'm a bit edgy....

    Thanks for your thoughts, they're appreciated. Bill in particular helped to put it into another perspective. Maybe the author of the software is actually the aggrieved party here.... ?

    Makes you think....

    Cheers,

    Denis

  6. #6

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    Denis,

    If your original work showed the copyright, I think it is, of course, reasonable to ask that your image be represented with its copyright info, and a reference back to your site.

    If you didn't show a copyright, then I wouldn't bother to make the request, but suggest you add a copyright symbol to your pages.

    Charlie

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denis P.
    Ahhhh, I don't know.... I think I'll let it go.. .I don't need any problems, and don't want to make a fusss where it's uncalled for... After all, it's just a case of (possibly) bad manners... Nothing serious. If it were another day, I'd never even gove it a second thought.
    However, I had a bad day today, so I'm a bit edgy....

    Thanks for your thoughts, they're appreciated. Bill in particular helped to put it into another perspective. Maybe the author of the software is actually the aggrieved party here.... ?

    Makes you think....

    Cheers,

    Denis
    Denis:

    Even if you do not want to "make a fuss", it is quite possible that the offending party would be happy to amend his site, and pass on credit where credit is due. He/she may even appreciate being advised of your concern.

    In other words, it doesn't hurt to ask.

    Matt

  8. #8
    127
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    I've been on the receiving end of this too... and it REALLY pissed me off.

    I wrote some stuff about 14 years ago (pre web) that was distributed via maillists/ftp sites etc. With the advent of the web it has been reproduced WIDELY (it's on hundreds of sites - perhaps my most sucsessful writing!). On the whole I'm really pleased about this, as in 99% of cases it's get my name on.

    One time it was posted on a commercial site without credit... I was pissed off, and emailed them. They promptly appologised and added credit. Problem solved.

    The most annoying time, a site took about three pages of my writing, tagged an extra half page on the end, and posted it as "adapted from various internet postings"!!! He then claimed to be the "official site" for the subject I was writing about. I emailed him repeatedly but received no reply... I'm still pissed of about it.

    All he need to do was credit it. I'm a great believer in stealing other peoples work, provided you have the decency to come clean and point out where you stole if from. You get credit, he looks good, everyone wins!

    You've every right to be pissed off. He is technically breaking the law. I doubt you can do much more than email him...

    Ian

  9. #9
    Craig's Avatar
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    I'll just provide some legal information here, as I used to work in the area of Intellectual Property, or IP. Copyright arises automatically upon creation of an original work, such as software code, or writing an article. It lasts for 50 years past the date of death of the author for natural people, (corporate authors are different) and a registration process isn't required. The timing can chage in various countries, but there are treaties that most of the countries of the world recognize the copyright of others.
    In this case, if you created the software and the webpage, you hold the copyright. Each item is sovered by a seperate copyrigtht, too. You can sue for copying, or give permission to reproduce as you see fit, or sell the rights to someone else, just like tangable property.

    Patents apply to inventions, not creative works, like writings, songs or photos. Patents are national, and need to be applied for in each country you wish to protect the invention. The application process includes a rigious examination, such that patents are generally the strongest form of protection and the most expensive to obtain.

    An example: You write an article describing a machine that uses a new process to make a wiget, and you've come up with a catchy name for the machine. The article and your writings is covered by copyright, the new method of making a wiget can be procted by a patent, and the name for the machine could be a trademark.
    See how it can be interrelated?

  10. #10
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127
    <snip> The most annoying time, a site took about three pages of my writing, tagged an extra half page on the end, and posted it as "adapted from various internet postings"!!! He then claimed to be the "official site" for the subject I was writing about. I emailed him repeatedly but received no reply... I'm still pissed of about it.

    All he need to do was credit it. I'm a great believer in stealing other peoples work, provided you have the decency to come clean and point out where you stole if from. You get credit, he looks good, everyone wins!

    You've every right to be pissed off. He is technically breaking the law. I doubt you can do much more than email him...

    Ian
    If you steal from one person's work, that's plagiarism. If you steal from three people, that's research...

    You could advise the plagiarist's Internet provider that he has copyright work on his site - if they are a responsible company (most are), they will tell him to pull it.

    Cheers, Bob.

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