« A Perfunctory Guide to Converting Photographic Film to Digital Prints, Part III | Main | It's Dangerous Being a Cameraman »

Friday, 22 October 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Controversy over uncited quotes aside, that's a great photo on the cover of the book. Did the authors provide a photo credit or was that also considered "an interuption of academic apparatus?"

"Plagiarism," "fraud," "unethical," "theft" - none of the descriptions that occur to me are even neutral, much less positive.

You know they would not have done that, or responded that way, if they had been ripping off an established publisher with a legal department.

They assume an Internet blogger doesn't have the resources, so they don't care - though one suspect that if someone used their material without asking or crediting, they would be outraged.

My library has the book on order, and I have it on hold. It will be interesting to see.

Oh - and yes, there are indeed wide sectors of the public who consider honesty an "academic apparatus" or some such, and not worthy of emulating.

Sounds like a case of the lazies to me. Back in my high school English teacher days I used Google frequently for quick phrase searches of suspicious papers. It works well, and usually the cut-and-paste jobs stand out clearly from the student's own work.

They don't need footnotes in a book like this, but some citation somewhere, a note on the sources, should be standard practice.

Is there a reasonable expectation of intellectual-property rights here? If I write something in a comment on TOP and my text is used without my permission in a published book is that not plagiarism? Would I have a case for copyright infringement?

It is probably frivolous, but really I am curious about the way US copyright laws might or might not cover this.

Does anyone know?

Oh my goodness this is interesting, but sadly, not surprising. As an instructor of future teachers, so many even at the advanced undergraduate and post graduate level have no understanding of, or control over, citations. It's almost as if we are defending a dying tradition. A lot, too, has to do with a weakening of the moral tradition. While this is stealing/theft, it is looked upon with a "so what" type of attitude, which is very reflective of the current societal trends with regard to morality.

Holy cow, I went to a sub-par community college and even I know better. If Professor Ding-Dong caught you doin' that kinda stuff, boy, he'd throw you right out the window.

Bottom line: I'm not sure this lapse disqualifies the book from purchase, but for me it might. [1]

It does for me. Shame on them.

[1] Quote take from this site :D

The publisher's blithe dismissal of the fusty old practice of citing sources is breathtaking.

Two responses, both strictly to Mike's post -- I haven't looked up any of the relevant information for myself.

1. I have noticed that photo book publishers often have a cavalier attitude toward ordinary bibliographical apparatus. It's often hard to tell who the author is (photographer or writer) and dates, cities of publication, and ISBNs are omitted or placed in improbable spots in the back of the book. I'm not sure what drives this, but it smacks of arrogance. They think they're above that kind of banality. It is reminiscent of the arrogance shown by "Johanna" and Howarth.

2. I'm reminded of the attitude that was common among some journalists ten years or so ago that anything they found on the web was in the public domain -- the equivalent of someone standing on a street corner and talking to whoever walked by. I'm pretty sure this is legally empty and in any case no one believes it anymore. But perhaps Howarth and company are reaching for it as an excuse.

I don't buy a lot of photo books (the library is my friend), but if I did and if Mike's account is accurate and complete, it would disqualify this book from my consideration. (For the record, I expect Mike's account is accurate and reasonably complete -- just crossing my "t"s and dotting my "i"s.)

As far as your usual readership is concerned you must be preaching to the converted.

But you are absolutely right to still post the facts about this book and your views on crediting autors, here on TOP for anyone who'll find it, e.g. when searching via the title of this book.

Year after year I have chaired so-called 'plagiarism panels' in my university department. These are called when a student has plagiarized someone else's work...as is so easy these days, what with Google and cut-and-paste. Sometimes the plagiarism is just a matter of hurried disorganization or sheer gormlessness. In many cases, though, the student has systematically passed someone else's work off as her/his own. If people did not live and prosper by their individually attributable work, then who cares? But since they do, then plagiarism is the verbal equivalent of theft.

Still, I've heard some pretty funny excuses...

Ok, rephrasing it (or is it paraphrasing it? - these academic apparatuses - or is it apparati? are always so subtle):

"...Even if [the authors] had provided citations of sources for each and every quote," says Johanna, "who gives a s**t, just go ahead and drop all references, we're trying to make for light reading here, and if you're unhappy, try and sue me"

Plagiarism (there, I said it) is not a crime but rather a moral offense. Reproducing copyrighted material and claiming it as your own, however, is NOT legal. The irony is that if "Street Photography Now" is copyrighted and the 2point8 blog isn't, the book writers have more legal protection than the blog writer. I can't help but notice that each one of Mike's blog posts ends with notice of his copyright. As we might say in the vernacular, "His mama didn't raise no fool."

Plagiarism is plagiarism. Had these folks been in my class, I'd have given them an "F" and asked them not to come back.

I certainly wouldn't buy it, knowing how casually they regard using without credit the work of others.

We could all write nice books doing that. How ill-mannered to do it at all - how arrogant to dismiss the questions of others when they are caught red-handed. Shame on them.

BIG thumbs down from me too.

Is this the new open economy? I kind of prefer the old one.

Maybe someone should start a blog that freely used unattributed quotes from that book, see what happens then.

Would a rose by any other name...?
Plagiarism is plagiarism is plagiarism.

If the appropriated web site is copyrighted, then a lively 'interruption of legal apparatus' is certainly in order... spelled 'lawsuit'.

Sounds like these authors/editors are of the subset of the current generation of students who WERE taught proper journalism, but chose to ignore that and go with "I rd it on th inet, so i cn ct&pst it n2 my bk" and to hell with giving proper credit.

Plagerism is alive and well?
Or perhaps as a once journalist can understand the off-handed convenience of using works of aomebody else and then crediting said works to the originator.
Happens more than we might want to magine Mike, in too many situations.

Too much familiarity with many phrases would bug me knowning my own work is being quoted back at me, without my name or credit being recognized. In this era of loose thoughts and vague directions, borrowing from somebody else and calling it your own just isn't right!

I also do not own this book although I have browsed an early copy of it. (Honestly no, I don't intend to buy it.)

On the one hand, it's true that the point of this anthology is the images. It becomes very clear that T&H is trying to ride today's street photo craze with a relatively inexpensive book of eye work designed to appeal to semi-casual practitioners rather than scholars. Reading neither required nor recommended.

Having offered that opinion, however, I do believe that it was careless for T&H to put such little attention towards the text. Their history is of better scholarship than that. Event the little single-topic paperback books they now sell everywhere generally feature quite good essays. Making matters worse, defending this oversight on some blog, no less, makes them really look like south ends of northbound livestock. Bad judgment. I think they needed a graybeard to intervene.

But I will say that thumbing through an early copy of this book does confirm their defensive assertion; this ain't scholarship being sold here. This is more like a collection of (basketball) 3-point shots and flying lay-ups.

Ya want scholarship on street photography? Get a copy of "Bystander: A History of Street Photography" by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz. I think it's out of print now but you should be able to snag good used copies. It's perhaps the definitive work on the subject to-date, and a jolly good read, too!

Ya want good street photography? Buy a monograph of a good street photographer's work.

I would think that once something goes to print, one would want to (be required to?) note and attribute sources.

Dear Mike,

Well, it's going to go on my "do not recommend, do not buy" list. Heaven knows, there are more books out there that I want than that I have money for or time to read. I'll reward the authors whose behavior I approve of.

(Your previous column reminded me to go order that Davidson collection-- my Xmas present to myself... unless something even better comes along in the next two months, in which case it will have been my Halloween present to myself, he rationalized.)

But I digress. Frequently.

A minor correction-- the post from Sophie is signed by both authors. So we have the publisher and both authors presenting a united front (and from the phraseology, they clearly discussed this with each other before posting).

If it were just the publisher and the authors repudiated this, or at least fell on their swords, I'd feel differently. Authors should not be punished for their publishers' sins. I can tell you of much worse, with the authors being dragged along kicking and screaming. But the authors are wholly behind this.

Y'know, I can't even see the point. If a quote is especially pithy and well-written, I could see including it for rhetoric's sake even if one lacked a citation. But random, unattributed quotes? Why, as a reader, would I care?!

pax/ bemused and concerned Ctein

That lapse would get them up before the academic standards committee, or whatever, if they'd done it in a student project at any college I know about. Quite possibly get them expelled.

Now, they may not want to be academic; but the standards on plagiarism developed there are applied rather more broadly.

Some of the blame here should surely fall on the book's editors, for allowing quotes to be used uncited? And if the reason really was to not interrupt the flow, there should have been nothing stopping them from citing sources in an appendix, with page references.

This seems to me reflective of an attitude that has grown up with the internet - that information should be free, that everything should belong to everybody. That's a particularly strong impulse when quoting material taken from a blog, for which the blog did not pay. If I voluntarily submit this comment to TOP without expecting payment, why shouldn't another form of publication be able to pick it up (without payment) and use it? Who loses in that transaction?

Well, in that one transaction, probably nobody. You could even make the argument that everybody wins -- the submitter's thought gets extended, the blog's reputation as a source of material is enhanced, and the ultimate user gets free type.

The problem problem comes when that attitude takes over, and ALL material becomes subject to his kind of appropriation, including material that still has value. Look at Google's effort to put all books online, without anybody's permission. They eventually had to work out a payment agreement, but the payment is trivial compared to the resource accumulated.

As a professional book writer, it has occurred to me that a well-trained researcher (like, mmm, myself) could kludge together a pretty good book on any generally researched historical topic (Gettysburg, say, or the Life of Matisse) purely from online sources; print those sources out and do a cut-and-paste rearrangement; and then a full write-through to even out the prose. A skilled person could do this in a few weeks.

This would be particularly easy to do in the case of art works: you get permission of the artist (or the owners of the art works) to use the art, and that carries the book. You would normally then have to spend several tens of thousands of dollars paying well-known critics and experts for an extended commentary on the work.

Alternatively, you could create a cut-and-paste critic for a few thousand dollars. Perhaps that's what you're seeing with this photography book. The only indiction of the appropriation would be that sometimes, some material is written in such a smooth and economical say that it's almost impossible to write-through without essentially copying; and some ideas are so strong that you can't keep yourself from using them; and some especially felicitous phrases seem to stick to your fingers, and you wind up using those, as well.

(I know this not because I've done it, but because I write-through each of my novels several times, and I've learned that some phrases and ideas tend to spread through the book...so I may repeat myself several times. I have to go through and weed that stuff out. But the original doing of it, is almost undetectable. You don't mean to do it, it's just that the phrasing is there in your mind.)

So, what's wrong with this cut-and-paste? You've done the research, you've done the writing (except for those few phrases.) Well, the real problem is that you've only done meta-research, not real research, and you've stolen somebody else's real research, and their ideas, for which they paid in money and time, and for which they hope to get repaid. Your theft makes it less likely that they will be repaid, because people can buy the stolen version of the same work and ideas, instead of the real researcher's. And because you haven't paid for that, there's a good chance that you'll be able to offer your version of it cheaper than the original version, in which those higher costs have to be covered. And you've stolen it from publications which are generally (though not always on the 'Net) copyrighted.

Google, for example, thinks is perfectly okay to copy all books...but I doubt that Google would think if fair for everybody to copy Google's search software, and donate it freely around the Internet. In fact, I suspect they'd be outraged, and would start firing off lawsuits in every direction. But the research in books is just another kind of software, coded with a particular person's work, ideas and personality (and their salability, too.) To simply lift it, is, IMHO, theft.

I should add that while the 'Net makes this process much, much easier, the same thing has been done before. Norman Mailer was widely criticized for his book "Marilyn," which was basically a photo book about Marilyn Monroe. He did (apparently) almost no research, but based his book on another book, published earlier. (I think he was either sued, or threatened with a lawsuit, and settled.)


"Bottom line: I'm not sure this lapse disqualifies the book from purchase, but for me it might. (Just depends on how I feel about it when it comes down to making the purchase decision.)"


Mike, I assume that provocative statement was meant to generate responses - so - here's mine:

I suppose one such as yourself (proprietor of a very popular photo blog - with intellectual property at risk of predation), could also consider the following in your decision to promote this book:

1. given the ability that popular photo blogers have (demonstrated time and time again) to affect sales, one could come-out hard against such behaviour - and perhaps band together with blogers of similar ilk - to negatively impact sales of the book (and send a clear message to those who steal intellectual property); or

2. given that the authors/publishers of this book seem to think it is OK to use intellectual property generated by someone else (without giving them credit), it should be perfectly OK to buy this book, copy the contents and freely use the material for any purpose, without acknowledging the content creator(s).

One of these paths could eventually lead to an end to this type of theft whilst the other lets anarchy rule.

I guess one could also decide to ignore the book and not lend to its promotion at all...although this seems to be at odds with the reason to run a blog.

Cheers! Jay

Failing to citing the source of your quotes is not doing away with "academic apparatus" it's plagiarism. As a journalist for more than 30 years, I was taught to always verify my quotes and never use a direct quote without attribution. It seems these days that the the younger generation thinks it's OK to use whatever they want in whatever way they want without permission, just because its on the Internet. Information may want to be free, but quotes want to be attributed.

We're ignoring one other aspect of this, which is that citing original sources protects you. If the BFD does an interview with Partin Marr*, I don't just say, "Partin Marr said." I say "The BFD reports that Partin Marr said," or "Partin Marr, according to an interview in the BFD, said." This protects me from any possible errors the BFD might have made, or from any animosity that might exist between Partin Marr and the BFD--because I don't really know what Partin Marr said, I only know what the BFD *says* he said. If the BFD made up the original quote specifically to make Partin Marr angry, I'm protected. Because I've only reported as much as I know to be true. If the quote is scurrilous and Partin Marr's lawyers are combing through the case law, I could be in trouble too, if I repeat the quote as though I know it to be accurate.


*Any similarities with real names entirely coincidental.

@ Bruce
Controversy over uncited quotes aside, that's a great photo on the cover of the book. Did the authors provide a photo credit or was that also considered "an interuption of academic apparatus?"

That is a Matt Stuart photo on the front cover.

In the end it´s basically a case of bad manners and very good reason at least for me not to order this book.

It's sad, to say the least, how prevelant the notion of "if you own it, but I want it so I'm going to take it", attitude has become. Look at the mess we're in because parents have failed to teach their children what is acceptable behavior. I'm affraid we're all going to hell.

Isn't this the point in the discussion someone suggests going back to your post (with video clip) of Harlan Ellison? ;)

[See the video here. Still makes me chuckle. --Mike. P.S. We paid for it, too.]

Dear Christian,

Broadly speaking, anything you write is automatically protected by copyright in your name. In addition, Mike has a compilation copyright on material that appears on this website. That doesn't compromise your ownership; it's an extra layer of protection.

There's a set of specific exceptions called "Fair Use." They describe circumstances in which another can use your work without permission. There's no sharp dividing line between fair and unfair use (there are never sharp dividing lines in IP matters) but there are guides to where the fuzzy lines are. Your writing cannot be used willy-nilly.

The most common circumstances under which your words can be cited under fair use is if they are newsworthy or they are being used for the purpose of a specific commentary, criticism or analysis.

To illustrate, if I wanted to write an article or a book about people's knowledge and attitude towards copyright on the Web, I could grab a handful of comments, including yours, as examples to support points I was making or to dissect and analyze.

Similarly, someone else writing an article about what tools people prefer to use in Photoshop could quote an excerpt from my recent column as an example a preference for Curves.

Blanket copying without that specific purpose is not permitted, and merely declaring you have a specific purpose isn't sufficient -- it has to pass the stink test.

In the case of the book here, which I haven't seen, the quotes may be permissible under Fair Use... or not... but the issue we're taking with is the one of doing so without attribution, which may or may not be legal but is definitely unprofessional, rude and uncouth.

I hope that makes the situation clearer for you.

pax / Ctein

Give an "appropriate" Customer Review on the book seller's website of your choice...

"Peter Pauper Press"
So for today's episode of "any two random things are connected" Peter Pauper Press, who produced some drop dead gorgeous cookbooks and poetry volumes in the 50s and 60s that I've been collecting ( letterpress with block printing is the next big thing I keep telling people )
seems to have fallen into the scraping stuff off of the internet and printing it racket.
where they seem to get as much grief for attributing the quotes as Sophie Howarth et al get for not attributing. Now if it were printed like their collections of public domain / fair use material in the 50s was by inky metal slamming into some cotton pulp, rather than shiny clay coat offset...

"The irony is that if "Street Photography Now" is copyrighted and the 2point8 blog isn't, the book writers have more legal protection than the blog writer."

I think that the blog is protected by an automatic copyright the same way that your photographs are automatically protected as soon as you take them, but not your tweeted thoughts.


This is different than the case of videotaping someone speaking in an interview where the person making the video owns the copyright not the speaker unless they were reading from a prepared statement.

(disclaimer: my father-in-law the receives royalties on song lyrics based on the definition of love copied verbatim from a dictionary, and lyrics copied verbatim from a collection notice from Brooks Brothers.)

Sorry to hear about all this, especially because I've been taking part in the Street Photography Now Project on Flickr which seems somehow affiliated with this book. And I was enjoying it. Ah well, perhaps I should post a question linking to this site to see how the authors respond to your posting, Mike, and the comment thread above.

"Bottom line: I'm not sure this lapse disqualifies the book from purchase, but for me it might."

This seems excessive to me. Regardless of the faux pas of the publisher / authors, why should we punish the photographers or the genre this way? Potential buyers are really not interested in the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the authors, they are interested in the photographs. It's a *photo* book, for goodness' sake.

Gordon, you said The irony is that if "Street Photography Now" is copyrighted and the 2point8 blog isn't, the book writers have more legal protection than the blog writer. Isn't all IP considered automatically copyrighted by the IP creator at the time of creation? Sure there are mechanisms to provide good, clear documentation of the authorship of the IP which serious copyright holders tend to follow, but I am under the impression that that's not legally necessary, merely useful and convenient.

Am I mistaken?

Would a comment on a forum be somehow different? (Someone in a comment here likend a blog post to talking on a street corner and not, therefore, IP - but they were not espousing their own view, I believe) Anyway, are there legal precedents that anyone knows of that clarifies whether writing on the internet is IP or whether it is a digital variation of casual conversation in a public place?

This is all preaching to the choir but...

Their argument about "academic apparatus" etc. is nothing but pure BS. How can we take them and their book seriously?

If I were to take some passages from Street Photography Now, by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, and incorporate them into my on line or print work unattributed, do you think the authors would mind?

I won’t give my money to people who are thieves. You can paint the lifting of some ones work any way you like. It appears that in this case, they did it knowingly. Publishers know copyright law, as they are the first to sue if something is lifted from them.

I’ve had the Kinderdigi lift work, and ask for bigger files when they couldn’t find them on the web. These people are so accustom to stealing, that they think nothing of it. When I refused one Webie demanding use of an image, I was told: “You don’t get it.. every thing is free now”.

I think it began with software, then music, now, any kind of published art. It’s not that they don’t know what went into producing a piece of art, and that it’s someone else’s work and intellectual property.. they don’t care, they want it, and will take it, and claim it as their own if they can.

"This seems excessive to me. Regardless of the faux pas of the publisher / authors, why should we punish the photographers or the genre this way?"

Exactly why I still linked to the book, and suggested people should make up their own minds. I'm acknowledging that it might be a reason for some people not to buy the book, but that other people might well be less bothered by it.


It's probably not high on the list of major world disasters but, at best, it's sloppy work, it misrepresents something the reader should be aware of, and it's discourteous. And it is plagiarism.
It also marks the authors and the publishers as people whose work cannot be respected or trusted. They've done themselves far more harm than that done to Michael Murphy, and exacerbated that with the rather lame brush-off given for an excuse.

This is not a copyright issue, because 2point8 didn't say it, the photographers being interviewed said it. They're the ones who own the rights to whatever was said, and in any event, the use of short quotes is almost always considered Fair Use. (I would say "always" except there are bound to be some sort of exceptions somewhere, somehow.)

The issue is standard journalistic practice--proper attribution and credit. 2point8 did the work of gathering an generating and publishing the material, and should be credited for having done so, and the book's readers should know where the material originated, for one thing to help enable them to judge for themselves its likely reliability. But copyright issues really don't enter into this case.


The Amazon listing states the book covers a number of photographers. I wonder if this problem exists in all of the descriptions.

In any event, just to kick the dead horse a bit more, the inclusion of a footnote number and a discreet "endnote" page would hardly constitute the visual imposition of "academic apparatus." "Johanna" is just blowing smoke to hide potential losses. The potential buyers of such a book belong to a rather select community, many of whom will care about things such as the proper treatment of others' words and works. Now that the cat's out of the bag, it may not sell very well.

Regardless of whether this book is good or bad, I won't buy it. I have no intention of condoning ethical lapses, let alone something of the magnitude that you report.

This is more than an ethical lapse - even if attributed, taking such a wide swath from the web site, especially for commercial purposes, is a clear violation of copyright law. Ethical publishers would accept responsibility when shown the evidence and withdraw the book from sale.

Copyright protection extends to web sites as well as more traditional forms of publication.

Since some comments mentioned copyright, some misconceptions should be noted and cleared up.

As soon as a work is set down in a permanent way, the copyright to that work is owned by the creator. The words "copyright 2010 John Doe" are not needed. Nor is it necessary to register the work. (The words and the registration have significance for things like proof of intent, damages, etc.)

So Michael David Murphy owns the copyright to everything that he writes on his blog 2point8, as soon as he writes those thoughts down. No copyright notice is needed.

Now the interesting twist is that, according to most authorities, the copyright to the words of a person being interviewed is owned by that person. That is, Martin Parr owns the copyright to his own words as they appear in Murphy's interviews with him. (That's almost certainly the legal reality, though technically there's still some room for interpretation.)

So there isn't a *legal* issue as long as Martin Parr gave permission to the authors of "Street Photography Now."

There certainly is an ethical issue.

Some lawyer is going to have a big day with this.

That lack of citations is lazy, and makes me angry.

Some have posted above that "kids these days"* don't know any better and that the world is doomed. Being younger than the median contributor to TOP, I grumble and mutter at the imprecation that such behavior has anything to do with me, my peers, or my younger friends.

*Irony quotation.

To briefly address the comment by Gordon Lewis, who said "The irony is that if 'Street Photography Now' is copyrighted and the 2point8 blog isn't, the book writers have more legal protection than the blog writer."

Anything that appears on the Internet is considered "published" and is therefore eligible for copyright protection, whether a statement to that effect appears or not.

Lest we get carried away here, I might point out that the photographers in the book didn't do anything wrong, and Thames & Hudson is a very good publisher generally, who have done a large number of excellent books. So we need to watch the width of the brush with which we are doing our tarring.


As Nick and Mike have already pointed out, wrong as it was to not give credit where credit was due- it would be an even greater indiscretion to punish the photographers whose work should be duly noted and appreciated.

Getting your work published in print (particularly in book form) is a celebratory achievement for any photographer. Voice your displeasure at the publisher(s) as loud and often as you want- hopefully, it will have the desired effect and curtail such (in)action in the future. But don't punish your fellow photographer for something he or she couldn't possibly have any knowledge of, or control over.

Dear Mike,

You say that this is not a copyright issue, and I am inclined to believe that, mostly because it's not likely the publisher would be that stupid. Although I could be wrong about that-- an author I know just got into a row with her publisher because they tried to take a chapter of her instructional book and insert it into a different author's book... without telling her!

Not making that up, honest.

But... 2point8 has a compilation copyright on its website, the same way you do for TOP. If the publisher got the comments directly from the folks quoted, great. If they lifted them from the website, not so much. (The latter might be unprovable, but we're talking about legal principles, not rules of evidence.) It's not different than someone copying an article that was published in PHOTO Techniques. The author may own the right to the intellectual property, but PT owns that particular embodiment of that IP. Same way I own the manuscript for DIGITAL RESTORATION and can even copyright it in my name, but Focal Press holds the copyright on the book.

Also, brevity is a defense of Fair Use, but it is not close to being the sole criterion, or necessarily even the most important. HOW the material is being used counts for much more. If I were to "write" and have published a book called "The Wit and Wisdom of TOP" that consisted of nothing but very brief quotes of the very best writing and turns of phrase by you and the other readers and I didn't have y'all singly and collective permissions to do so, I would be in very bad trouble. That does not fall under the Fair use exceptions. ("I think this is cool" would not meet the legal standard for criticism, analysis, or commentary).

Neither of us have actually looked at this book, so we are not in a position to judge if their use was Fair. As I said, I will assume it is until their utter stupidity is proven. But that's an assumption, it's not a legal principle.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Well, after reading this I've just deleted it from my amazon shopping cart. That's one less copy you'll sell, smartasses - this may have some impact on your financial apparatus.

I believe one is obligated to cite not only quoted passages, but even statemenets and ideas that are paraphrased from another source. Faliure to do this, in my opinion, casts doubt on the integrity of the entire work, photos included. I am not suggesting the author(s) did not actually take the photos. Rather, the integrity of the sentiment portrayed by their photos is possibly diminished.


Whilst some cavalier editorial decisions were made and later compounded by clumsy and disingenuous responses to Michael David Murphy's legitimate grievances, internet mobs are not the apex of elegance either.

There have been three negative reviews on Amazon.com since this posting (this of course is none of Mike's fault). One of them says: "Sadly, it seems that significant portions of the text were lifted from other sources without appropriate attribution". Come again? two mis-/un- quotations have been turned into "significant portions". Some sense of measure would be welcome as would be -perhaps- some spare thoughts for the photographers whose work is featured in the book.

The disclaimer bit: I am not in any way affiliated or know anyone in the editorial team, although I do know personally one of the photographers (sub-disclaimer: I have not been in touch with that person in the last couple of years). Also and finally, I thoroughly enjoyed that particular tome.


Thanks for correcting my assumptions about copyright law, folks. I genuinely appreciate being given the facts. I still find it remarkable that those in the business of producing copyrighted material would make remarks that suggest a cavalier attitude toward respecting the copyrights of others.

I bought the book in question before any of this was made public and I have to say that I would still buy it now. The book is full of excellent photographs and does credit 2point8 as a resource inthe back of the book.
However, if people are still wary of purchasing this book can I recommend an alternative that features several of the photographers included in Street Photography Now (including Matt Stuart who took the cover photo). The book is "10" and 'is published to commemorate ten years of the in-public international street photographers group and features ten images from each of the groups 20 photographers'. (Quote taken form the publishers website). The book can be ordered from here:


>>If the publisher got the comments directly from the folks quoted, great. If they lifted them from the website, not so much.

As I understand it, the copyright to the words of an interview are owned not by the publisher of the interview, but by the person who spoke the words. See, e.g. http://www.publaw.com/interview.html

As I wrote earlier, above, if Martin Parr gave his permission to the publishers of Street Photog Now, then his words from the published interview can be quoted by them at length.

Not all authorities agree, and the issue has never been completely settled, but that's the consensus of what the law would support.

I think that the whole issue has blown out of proportion. This book is a revolutionary step in recognizing the genre of 'street photography' within mainstream photography and art circles.

Michael David has some right to be upset that some of his quotes were lifted from his blog. HOWEVEVER, this is an issue for himself and the publishers of the book. I commend Mike Johnston for raising the issue also.

What I don't agree with is how the whole subject has been exaggerated by those with a chip on their shoulder and an axe to grind. Most of the grievances have spawned from those over at HCSP on flickr. They know who they are. There is just so much bile and unrest emanating from HCSP, particularly from those who were not chosen to participate in the book. This book represents the epitome of street photography and their disappointment is understandable. What I don't understand are the unwarranted attacks on Sophie and Stephen.

It is unfortunate that some members of the wider photographic internet community have jumped on this issue as a way of expressing disappointment for not being included in this excellent publication themselves.

This small issue with the quotes (and it is small) doesn't provide a ticket for open season on the publishers and the authors. End of story.

Has this book now been withdrawn in the UK?
I managed to get Magna's last open copy. It seems though it is now almost impossible to get it from any other retailer or the publisher. The National Portrait Gallery had dozens two weeks ago but now say its no longer available. It would appear this book has in fact been withdrawn from sale.

...Its a great book by the way

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007