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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Comments

Dear Mike,

Oh, you are SO much kinder than I would be. I'd be naming names and pointing fingers from the get-go.

NO2 seems to have adopted the "Fred Picker Approach to Criticism"-- go on the attack, lie and bluster rather than admit you're wrong.

pax / Ctein

"(Note to our U.K. readers—in the U.S., the phrase "p*ss off" doesn't mean "go away" like it does for you, it means "to make angry" or "to become angry.")"
Actually, I'd say that in the UK, 'You p*ss me off' meant 'you make me angry.' The difference is when you say 'I'm p*ssed.' In the UK that means 'I'm drunk.'
But that's just me being pedantic.....
Please follow this story and let us know the outcome.
Any suggestions for raising the awareness of the general public (worldwide) about who owns what on the internet?
Simon

Looks like the parties have straightened things out and NO2 has finally taken down the photo. Hopefully that's the end of the saga.

If I said "Mike, piss off", then i would be saying go away.
If I said "Mike, I'm gonna piss you off", then it would would imply I'm gonna make you angry or mad.
Pissed off is also feeling angry.
I'm in the UK.
Ciao.

Okay, I said I was going to take the day off today, but some things just piss me off.

It means exactly the same in the UK.

Name names, pure and simple the thieves deserve to be made public . Especially thieves in need of an attitude adjustment.

Mike, thought you might find it amusing (or is it simply sad...) that the photo of the high school has been replaced by a photo of the H.S. mascot, which also appears to have been taken from the high school website and is published on the NO2 website without attribution!

This is usually where the "All media should be freeeeeeeeeeeeee! Think of your fellow man!" people show up. I understand why that position is attractive in concept.... but in practice not so much.

Stephen,
Right. There were a number of comments in the thread saying "it's no big deal" and words to that effect.

The thing is, it's the owner that gets to decide if it is or is not a big deal. If you own a bakery and a man steals a loaf of bread from you, you're free to say, "Oh, it's not a big deal, it's just a loaf of bread, keep it." But if you say, "hey, that's mine, give it back," the thief can't say "what are you complaining about? It's just a loaf of bread. It's no big deal. I'm going to keep it."

I think everybody naturally understands the principle.

Mike

Funnily enough p****d off means the same thing in both countries - to be angry.
If I tell you to p**s off that means go away as you said, the real difference is when someone says "I'm p****d" - in the US that means "I'm angry" but here in the UK it means "I'm drunk". Go figure, to coin an americanism.

We are very used to US speech via films and TV but the thing that really grates with me is when some says something like "not that good OF a car", it sounds *wrong*. Here you'd only here someone say "not that good a car". It really, really sounds wrong when you have a US scriptwriter and a british character saying it, it really jars. (e.g. Rachel Weisz on the boat in The Mummy - "Not that good of a kiss")

To be (briefly) on topic, I did wonder if the proprietors of NO2 are two young men in a room, an online only production has a very low barrier to entry and they may not even have a camera...
I suspect not as you know the site in question but such stupidity does smack of inexperience or incompetence. Or a bad day I suppose.

I'm not a pro (just a wannabe) but I share your feelings on this, if you're going to 'borrow' (ahem) a photo you really should check the copyright/ownership. It's pretty basic stuff especially if you are in the publishing business yourself.

"the thing that really grates with me is when some says something like "not that good OF a car", it sounds *wrong*."

Bill,
There's a good reason for that...it's because it IS wrong. [g]

Sounds wrong to me too, and I'm American. (Although it is common, I'll admit.)

Mike

Yeesh. That sort of "I'll go on the attack and bluster and shout in the hopes that no one will see me for the dishonest jerk I am" approach seems increasingly common these days.

To me, it just reeks of insecurity.

Mike Johnston said,
"...There were a number of comments in the thread saying "it's no big deal" and words to that effect.

The thing is, it's the owner that gets to decide if it is or is not a big deal. If you own a bakery and a man steals a loaf of bread from you, you're free to say, "Oh, it's not a big deal, it's just a loaf of bread, keep it." But if you say, "hey, that's mine, give it back," the thief can't say "what are you complaining about? It's just a loaf of bread. It's no big deal. I'm going to keep it."
I think everybody naturally understands the principle."

Unless you're talking about somebody else's building, and it's being tagged by graffiti writers. Then it's art, and the building owners have no right to complain. 8-)

JC


a quick google search of any of your comment quotations will find the page. people should go comment there as well.

Love the bakery example Mike. In fact, I might even steal it. :)

"NO2 seems to have adopted the "Fred Picker Approach to Criticism"-- go on the attack, lie and bluster rather than admit you're wrong."

Ctein - Care to explain?

I only know Fred from his book, "The Fine Print". I haven't looked at the thing since shortly after I bought it in 1975, so I just pulled it off the shelf – I think I'll give it a read tonight...

Just to add more to the "p*ss" thread, in New Zealand (or at least the southern bit where I originally hail from) to "be / go on the p*ss" means to be driving around in a vehicle while consuming alcohol, with at least two people in the vehicle and often more. It has a sort of social connotation, as you can't really "go on the p*ss" by yourself. Not that all this means anything - just thought I'd share it.

"Unless you're talking about somebody else's building, and it's being tagged by graffiti writers. Then it's art, and the building owners have no right to complain. 8-)"

JC,
Smiley duly noted (nice glasses), but I think you let your status as a building owner color your view of that issue. We *never* condoned the perpetrators of the graffiti. We defended the photographer who was documenting the situation.

(For the record, though, I apologize for my "depends how good the art is" comment. That was flippant and inappropriate and it diverted that conversation in a bad way. Mea culpa.)

Photographers are observers. They are witnesses. They provide evidence of what happens in the world. Without them, the rest of us have less information about what goes on in the world. That's the principle in that case. The observers simply can't be held responsible for what they are observing--the idea is absurd, unworkable, insupportable. The only exception is when photographers instigate a situation or event in order to photograph it. Jonas Lara did not do that.

I'm surprised that people had such a hard time with the idea. What would you say about a reporter who infiltrates a street gang in order to write about them? About a photojournalist who photographs drug dealers or junkies? About a reporter who goes on site with strikers or protesters or squatters or illegal immigrants or whistleblowers? Are they responsible for morally evaluating the position of all the principals first and only observing and reporting on it if all the activities they're witnessing are safely legal and approved by the authorities? The idea is just not tenable. It's just not the role of the photojournalist to control the event.

Mike

"Better to be p*ssed off than p*issed on."
-old family saying

John Camp: I wrote this before. My wife and I were at a gallery opening. In the corner, a joint was being passed. I was not going to call 911.

Hunter Thompson rode with the Hell's Angels, for a series of stories.

Go after the vandals, not the 'tog.

Hey Mike, yer in the wrong thread [vbg]!!!!

It does appear that some people only care about property rights when it's THEIR property. There must be enough intellectual property theft on the internet to fuel the salaries of a multitude of lawyers. Unfortunately, when the cost of your stolen photo is less than the legal cost to get compensated all you can do is send an email yourself to the offending party and hope for the best.

Dear Dave,

I think that's pretty self-explanatory.

Fred Picker may have known a great deal about photography but he was not fun to deal with. He was nasty, dishonest and unscrupulous.

I did my best to stay off his radar, but I only had 99% success. The other 1% caused no end of grief for Darkroom Magazine; NOBODY there liked Picker. Good riddance.

pax / Ctein

The depressing undercurrent of many of the comments on NO2's site regarding the N1-NO2 photo use issue is that photographs have no value. This is an increasingly pervasive (and painful) notion.

Mike wrote: "Jonas Lara did not do that."

At least we are in agreement that if he did "do that" he would be culpable. It is up to the legal system to make that determination.

Ctein said:
"Fred Picker may have known a great deal about photography but he was not fun to deal with. He was nasty, dishonest and unscrupulous.

I did my best to stay off his radar, but I only had 99% success. The other 1% caused no end of grief for Darkroom Magazine; NOBODY there liked Picker. Good riddance."

I'm fascinated by characters like that. Picasso was a spectacular example, as I suppose, was Carravagio...or Jean Genet...and maybe many more that we don't know about. They have some god-given gift, but otherwise, are complete @55#0135. Makes them interesting from a distance.

Mike, I'm curious, how often do you find your articles on "spam blog"? Couple of times a year? More often?

It might already exist, but a plug-in (for Wordpress or any other blogging software) which would do a systematic search on the net to find "stolen" articles would be a useful tool.

Tregix.

To 'take the p*ss' means to tease, mock, or jeer, or appropriately enough, to act in a disrespectful and advantage taking manner.

What a flexible word p*ss is, and what a wonderful thing is culture!

Might not the whole matter have been helped if the photographer who took the picture been given credit at the time for the photo on the high school web as they do in print? "Photo By Number One."

It would have made it difficult for number two to steal and number one might have made more money.

Actually TOP comes up as the first google result (at least with the quote I googled). I did find the guilty party easily enough, though.

I agree that you should have named names. "NO2" was enough of a jerk to forfeit its right to anonymity.

N1 has a great chance to win this p*ssing contest. Would be easy to call everything NO2 does into question. Who believes a thief?
bd

We could, of course, continue to discuss the respective etymologies of 'pissed' in the UK and USA. There are, however, more interesting cultural dissonances.

For instance: 'Boston'
(US English): Thriving New England metropolis, major cultural and academic centre (sorry, center), principal port of the north-eastern USA, cradle of the American Revolution.

(UK English): Muddy small town, disfigured by a nest of particularly vile, traitorous tea-abusers, tax evaders and inexplicably aggressive anti-Hanoverians. Would be much improved by a garrison of spring-break'ing Hessians.

I think both this thread and the "graffiti" thread point to something...how the photos are being used.

In the news organization case, we have the photograph being used (without permission) for two different purposes. The first is by the school (non-profit, non-competitive with the rights owner). The second is with a direct competitor to the rights owner. The implication is that there is some indirect financial gain at the expense of the rights owner.

In the case of the graffiti situation...
Am I wrong in suggesting that it makes a difference if the photos are for a news article versus being for direct profit to the photographer as a "graffiti" book or direct sale to the public? Is the photographer simply an observer if he stands to gain from others misfortune? What does it take to be considered encouraging crime?

One other note...
Does the type of property matter? What if someone were "tagging" private citizen's cars? Would we see someone who wanted to do a photo book on tagged cars as simply an observer?

Two comments:

1. N1 made a mistake. If you're a content producer, it's fine to let others use your content, but you need to assert your identity. The picture should have appeared on the school Web site with a "photo by N1, used with permission" or some such moniker. You don't release your children into the wild unlabeled unless you don't want to claim rights.

2. A whole heck of a lot of folk think that they can be a Media (big M) outlet without creating original content. But if you publish things that have appeared elsewhere, don't you think at some point people notice? Likewise, if you publish things that have never appeared elsewhere, don't you think people notice that, too? This is part of the downfall of newspapers, actually. Take a quick look at your morning paper today and note how many articles are AP/UPI/WP/NYT or some other pickup from an affiliation.

I don't see anything that suggests the ownership/copyright was transferred to the school, so I don't see how NO2 can possibly think this is okay. Even if there was a transfer, it still appears they took it without asking the school.

If the situation was reversed between NO1 and NO2, I am sure NO2 would suddenly see a big problem with it.

"This is part of the downfall of newspapers, actually. Take a quick look at your morning paper today and note how many articles are AP/UPI/WP/NYT or some other pickup from an affiliation."

I agree. Last year I bought a copy of our local paper to read about a certain just-completed sporting event. (I can't actually remember what it was.) To my surprise, the newspaper's article was the exact same text I had read on the web that morning. A quick look determined that of all the stories on the paper's Page One, only *one* was an original article about a local issue. The rest was filler I could have just as easily gotten elsewhere. So why have a local paper? And why subscribe to it? I could only conclude it must be for people who don't have internet service and yet for whom the Milwaukee paper (Milwaukee is 20 miles away) is just too cosmopolitan.

I definitely get the same feeling elsewhere as well. Network television, for instance, seems increasingly to be low-content filler meant to fill to the scuppers with ads. My son and I were talking about this the other evening, and I counted the number of commercials during each break in a new show--on average there were ten, three of which were "house ads" for the network. That happened every seven or eight minutes or so. Plus, there were some single commercials with as many as 29 separate cuts, which I find visually exhausting. It's no wonder viewers have no energy left for content.

Mike

Are you people really that bored? Well, I am too ;-)

Here we go: Mike, I agree that No2 should have sent their own tog, and about most other thoughts you expressed in this context. But I don't agree regarding the owner of the bakery: "I think everybody naturally understands the principle". Nope, not everybody. Because the notion of private property when it comes to means of production is not a law by nature, it is laws that were made by owners of bakeries (speaking fig. here). People being forced to steal bread in order to survive is then also plain natural, or what?! And don't tell me BS about the American rags-to-riches story.

And there are comments returning to the sprayers story again. Then I take the chance and add some more of my viewpoint: It seems so natural that the sprayers are vandals, that graffiti is not art (or 99%) and the suggestive question "what if it were your house... bla" can only be answered with "all right, send that criminals to 100+ years in jail". Only because they are vandals by legal definitions doesn't mean that this is the only valid viewpoint. Here in Austria we had a lot rightful people doing unimaginable things because it was "right" back then. These laws are made by people who are the direct profiters of them. For me, morally if I dare say, it is more of a vandalism to let real estate rotten beyond recognition for peculiar monetary reasons. I don't say that was the case here, but it often is. And this leads me to the suggesting question: I have hardly seen graffiti on private houses where people actually live. Almost always graffiti is at places where doom and decay are already around. In these instances it is usually a visual upgrade, and I don't care if it is vandalism by legal definition. Further I would ask differently: "What if it was your son, who should go one year to jail for [insert 'shooting sprayers' or 'spraying' here]?". And how many photogs are using graffiti walls as backdrops for portraits, or as urban landscapes? Where do you want to live, in an open world where everyone is allowed to breath, or in a fascistoid closed society? With some of the tidy men here I have my doubts... That p*isses me off. But I love TOP for even raising such discussions.

Whilst I lived in Australia, especially when I started to read newspapers from other countries, I would walways get this feeling that our news was second-hand. Also, being such a geographically isolated country, and also having a low readership, doesn't exactly build a great business model to have reporters overseas I suppose.

One particular article that really opened my eyes though -- was the retirement of the F-14 Tomcat. This made almost all the newspapers in Australia due to all the cultural references this particular aircraft had (e.g. Top Gun, Robotech, etc.).

However, reading them all: they all sounded very similar, so investigation was necessary.

How similar? I used Google to check articles on the F-14's retirement -- and sure enough I could almost correlate the particular article in the Australian newspaper to another international source. More worryingly, the text was clearly paraphrased, and in some cases just left the SAME.

How the edit got through, I do not know. But journalistic integrity took a real dive in my eyes that day...

Pak

Why not identify the parties involved? After all this all happened publicly and was published.

While not exactly analogous, I once received a resume and cover letter that was so full of Dilbert-speak that I had to google a few phrases. I found that the candidate had cribbed his cover letter from some "how to write a resume" site. Along the order of "effectively created value by leveraging synergies between undervalued resources." And on and on. And while the letter went out to expound upon his attention to detail in spelling and grammar in presentations given to high level clients, the resume was full of errors of both types.

I passed on the resume but for some reason my boss hired him anyway. He lasted two years, during which time nobody is quite sure what he actually did from day to day. The day he was called to be laid off, he was at the zoo with his kids instead of out in the field working. The layoff was permanent. But since then, he has submitted his resume twice for his old job back. I never did see the cover letters ...

Very interesting article. This comes up quite a bit in my job. I work for a governmental organisation, where I maintain the website, post news articles, and do lots of general graphic design. I'm always amazed at how many people are of the firm conviction that if something is on the internet, then that means that it's in the public domain legally.

People who should know better frequently suggest that I should use images from the web for various reasons, just because they're there. I've had to explain numerous times to people why we can't just rehost video from a TV station's website without getting permission, and why we can't just download photos taken of our people at an event by a professional photographer "for our archives" without getting permission. Sometimes it feels like I'm explaining copyright law to a brick wall.

But as I'm also the photographer (and chief bottle washer), I know the other side of the story, and so refrain from ripping other people off. Anyway, NO2 sure had a lot of chutzpah.

Did you read about the local section of the LA Times being outsourced to India? Not sure if it was a Miami paper instead, but I am sure I'm not making it up and did not read it on April the 1st! Some accountant/executive discovered that Indian writers are cheap, hence...

Strange times.

Had something similar happen here. Local organization hired photog (sadly, not me) to do a series of shots around town. Usage spelled out in contract, etc. Other local organization wants images to illustrate website, so surfs over to first orgs' site, nabs a shot or two.

When called on it, they said, "It's on the Internet, so it's free to take."

umm, no.

"The only exception is when photographers instigate a situation or event in order to photograph it. Jonas Lara did not do that." This is hard line that if he crossed, he has no sympathy. But there is a grey area here.

What happens if the gang who write thing on the wall like to be photographed and being photoed is part of their fun.

To expand the case a bit, how about all those AP/... war zone photographer who join the army to go there. If they got shot, would they actually deserve it partially because from the other sides, they are part of the gang.

Of course many of the photographers like those in Thailand now is there on their own expenses or at least travel there independently. They took a lot of risk and we got the other side of the story which is important as we sometimes know that we might not be dealing with good vs evil but just different political view.

I am mostly on your side but sometimes I think I am not sure in some cases. If Jones just walk by or just in the area of photograph those act, I am with him. If it come with gang, I think that is grey area and in fact I think he is on the wrong side of grey area -- just like DDD on Korea War. For American and as a photographer, I think "This is War!" is good. But being a Chinese (even though I am not on the North Korea side who cross the line first), I am not sure. One of the most famous Chinese song is about a movie made for that war and about how Chinese without much weapon just joined in those crazy time of Cold War. Once you have a take on the other side (owner of the building say), sometimes even if you like the picture (as I like DDD picture in that book) or those drawing on your wall, you are not sure whether this is right or wrong.

"It is dangerous to read newspapers" (by Margaret Atwood) as you are the one who bring the bomb!

A rather genteel American lady executive I know brought the house down when she sat down at a UK boardroom and announced "Boy, have I got a sore fanny today".

Yet another off topic message about British English: a 'piss-up' is a [more or less riotous] drinking party, e.g. of university students doing what they do best. Which leads to the oft-used epithet for a disorganized person: 'He couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery.' Vivid and effective, no?

Regarding the language points that Bahi addresses: A very pleasant way for a non-Brit (like this German) to become aware of the expressions that he mentions is to read Irvine Welsh.

The word “fanny” by the way was even translated incorrectly in the German subtitles to “Billy Elliot”. The translator must have had a strange way of playing doctor as a kid.

Carsten

The photographer is at fault for signing a work for hire agreement in the first place.

Mike
I would like to see the school mentioned in the piece. Could I ask you, please to show me a photo that you have taken. On condition that;

a/ you use the worst digital camera you have.

b/ dont make a special journey to get there fit it on way to elsewhere.

c dont get out of the car for photo
winding the window down is optional.

I'm hoping that the school is in your town if its not then I dont mind a photo of the equivalent establishment in your town. Afterall i'm in cornwall england so I'll be non the wiser either way. How hard can it be? It's an mindset that seems to say because you enjoyed takeing the photo or playing that song or whatever you dont need payment the applause is enough.
Whereas Joe the Plumber you gotta pay him( listen Joe when you put that U bend in you enjoyed that so i dont need to pay you OK)

Sometimes I just think I'm P*ssing into the wind.
I coundn't resist the P*sstake.
Thank's for the site, it's like hanging out at the pub without the beer. Leigh

Leigh,
I'm not quite sure why you're asking, but there's a photo I took of the high school my son attends here:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2008/12/the-canon-5d--2.html

The school mentioned in the post is in California, and is farther away from me than Cornwall is from Istanbul. It wouldn't be easy for me to get there to make a snap of it!

Mike

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