Awe but therein comes the question, no it is not ethical to take someones "Work" but can an idea be claimed as work? the line is very thin and very gray...
Note: this was posted after three or four other posts, including your own, and is correspondingly reduced in value. I thought of deleting it but reckoned that its modest contribution might still be worth while.
Plagiarism is not usually very difficult to detect with the written word. If I lift your work wholesale, and pretend it is my own, then I have plagiarized it. But there is no copyright in facts, so if I describe your process in another way (better or worse), it is not plagiarized. If you are the only possible source, it is in poor taste not to credit you, but not plagiarism. Unless your process is patented or (less likely) falls under some other form of intellectual property protection, there is nothing you can do. Remember too the possibility of simultaneous invention, which happens surprisingly often: some people tend to imagine that their ideas are unique, even when they are not.
When it comes to photography, forgery is a good deal easier than plagiarism: if I make a picture in your style, then pass it off as one of yours, that is forgery. But if I make a picture that makes people say, "Oh, that's just like an Aggie", then sign it with my own name, it is somewhat like a copy of a painting: no plagiarism, no forgery. If I actually photographed one of your photographs, made a print, and signed my name to it, that is the only way I can see to 'plagiarize' a picture, but it would also be breach of copyright.
Reproducing an idea in a studio may be reprehensible, but it is not plagiarism. If used (e.g.) in advertising it might be 'passing off' but even that would be hard to prove. Any agency that made too much of a habit of doing this might find its credibility diminished, insofar as 'credibility' and 'advertising agency' can be associated.
My own feeling is that 'plagiarism' is an almost completely inappropriate concept in photography. I also believe that 'secret weapons' (or secret processes) are generally of less import than talent. If you can make great pictures with your process, and no-one else is as good, it doesn't matter, and if someone else is better, well, be grateful you've helped a better artist than yourself.
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 09-21-2006 at 12:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: See first para
Spurred by this, I consulted my little pocket legal dictionary (I keep the biggie at home).
Firstly, plagarism is usually defined within the context of literary work. And is not "illegal" - but certainly, most would agree, is "unethical". Legal matters only arise if the work that is appropriated has been protected by a copyright such that there is copyright infringement.
As such, it would be hard to argue that "mimicing" someone else's style of photography is "plagarism" and it certainly isn't illegal. Publishing someone else's copyrighted photo would, of course be illegal.
As to Aggies two secenarios:
The first seems to be one where someone else has "copied" a darkroom technique she believes she developed. While the person(s) who did this might be "unethical" I don't think their actions lie in the realm of plagarism.
If I watch you (or if you describe to me) a methodology you "designed" for obtaining an effect on photos and then use it, I am not being "unethical". If I go around telling everyone I designed the method - I am being a sleezeball but, unless you somehow patented the methodology - I am not breaking any laws.
As the the second scenario - someone who "mimics" another photogs style is no engaging in plagarism - so much as displaying an enormous lack of talent such that she/he is incapable of developing their own vision.
Along with what Roger said, "trendsetters" or people that had an original idea and produced that idea, can often start a trend that many people follow and the lines become blurred even more.
An obscure person may start a "trent" and a famous person "adopts" that and makes it his "style" and is credited for it, even though he didn't originate the idea.
There is also the people that place their tripods in the holes created by the greats and produce replicas of his work but then they are generally referred to as "devotees".
There can also be "movements" where at a certain time and place in history number of people start to produce work that is similar, but can be explained by an evolution of materials, or equipment or "trends" that would not be necessarily considered "copying".
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
Depends on how much of an idea you copy. If all you do is photocopy some body elses work it's clearly wrong. If you take some one elses work and use it to inspire you then it's clearly fine [at least to me]
Originally Posted by Dave Parker
Lets say I might not be able to define it but I know it when I see it
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As to my process that got lifted, yes it was used almost verbatim in the article that was written up. Sad thing is the old saying of, "What goes around comes around." will come into to play. Seems I'm now in contact quite a bit with those same people who wrote up that orginal article that the other apugger claimed as their process. It is all documented right here on apug who said what and where that other person got the information. I can easily push as discredit that other person. BTW this site and information there in is Seans property. Ultimately he holds the copyright of it since i freely discussed it here. Copyright laws are strange here in the USA. If you have it printed you still hold the copyright even though you did not formally get it documented and paid for via the copyright office.
Who I feel for is the other person being falsely accused of plagarisim. There are hundreds if not thousands doing exactly the same thing. In fact the person accusing orginally got their insights from still another apuger who generously heped aide them in learning photography and how to get the special nuances. So I really was truely wondering when the lines are crossed of ethics and plagairism.
I agree the person doing all of this is a sleazeball as has been described. Not much the others can do about it. I just find myself in a situation where I can do something about it, and discredit this person. Will I do that? I don't know. Would it be using my position in this adversely? or would it be righting a wrong? I don't know. All things are blurred on this one.
Copying a process is not plagiarism. Tha'ts pretty simple. If you had a patent,
then there could be some recourse.
If you are not going to try and patent your toning process, you could describe it here in great detail and record forever exactly what you do. That way, when someone points out that they invented a new process, you can point to this thread and show them that you were first.
And the same with style - you can copy a style all you want.
Why not give a link to the thread and let us see the situation firsthand?
"BTW this site and information there in is Seans property. Ultimately he holds the copyright of it since i freely discussed it here. "
My understanding is that original posters retain copyright for what they have written, not the web site that is hosting the post. The web site has copyright of the site itself, and not the posts, unless you agreed to release your rights.
Think about all the photos in the Gallery - does APUG own the copyright on them? I hope not - same with the posts.
Aggie, I have to believe you would never regret taking the "high road". The sleazeball types are almost always their own worst enemy.
I would but it also involves three other very well know apuggers. Best to keep it at "they" rather than get a huge fight going. I know they are reading this, and hopefully it will end the ethics question as to what the one is doing. I really feel for the ones who are falsely being accused. That to me is reprehensible. Self promotion is good. I applaud people who are go getters. I do not applaud them when they do it in such a sleazy manner. I do not condone it when they go out of their way to discredit another fine photographer that has worked just as hard and is not copying the first style, but a general style that hundreds world wide are actually using. It comes out to the pot calling the kettle black. So more feedback as to what ya'll think is ethical will get the message across even though I doubt any of the others will join in. It is up to us as photographers to understand what is acceptable even if it is not breakign the laws. Do we police ourselves, or do we wait until there are laws enacted as a result of some really ridiculous outrage? It is an ethical cundundrum. Albeit minor in the overall day to day scheme of things. Besides what happened to me happened well over a year ago. So you can see that I have taken a lot of action about it. I was just one of a number who has been used in this persons climb to recognition.
Originally Posted by Kirk Keyes