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Wednesday, 13 November 2019


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"Published by kind permission of the owner of the JPEG image; the print, I'm sure, is in the public domain by now."

Wait, there are separate copyrights for digital images and prints?

It's not always perfect, but the Wikimedia Commons is an exceptional resource for editorial images like this. Most of the images have a standard Creative Commons license agreement, where you are free to publish it (with proper attribution, which is not particularly onerous).

A quick search for "darkroom enlarger" yielded this image:


It may not have all the drama of the (really quite beautiful) image you have used today for the post, but it at least gets at the nugget of it for non-critical illustrations.

Thanks for including the Kathleen Ewing article link. That was like stepping through a time warp, back to the era of Miles Davis sans mute. Good times, mumbled the old geezer.

If a photograph is in the public domain, one can't simply make a copy of it (JPEG or otherwise) and claim a new copyright.


[Yeah but I don't actually know if it's in the public domain. How would I, unless it were so labeled? So it's still kind of a risk. "I thought it was okay" isn't a very good defense in a lawsuit, I'm guessing. (IANAL.) --Mike]

You're not alone in your need for quick usage rights; the whole Internet moves at that speed. I would think there must be (or could be created) some kind of "single-use-for-free" permission that could be attached to on-line photos that would allow a single use by anyone, as long as credit is given. Arranging either formal permission (or payment) is something that would simply kill most uses by Internet blogs. I would think the owners of the photos would WANT them to be used, even if used free, in the hope that a single use might lead to further paid uses. They should, or could, think of it as free advertising.

>>the image on the easel is faked

I spotted that right away. As clever as he may have been, he forgot or intentionally disregarded the fact that an enlarger projects a negative image. This photo makes it look like he simply placed a normal print in the easel.

Ohh 8x10 Saltzman.
I had an opportunity to buy one complete with a Navy shipping case for $30 but had to pass because it wouldn't fit in the van we were using. It's always been my dream enlarger. The $8 M3 with summicron was easier to carry.
If I were building up a new darkroom...

A bowtie and cufflinks! A marketing/advertising picture is my guess.

Any man who works in the darkroom wearing a bow tie and links in his French cuffs is a far better man than I. Wonderful!

"My guess is he's holding the shutter bulb in his right hand. And the image on the easel is faked—he was a great multi-negative printer, quite a master of darkroom techniques."

Simpler to just place a finished print in the easel, no? The cone of light from the enlarger is more intriguing, IMO. I suspect that was added "in post".

For the most part Americans are uptight. In public they are hung up on inconsequential morality. In private they consume sin. Without a puerile interest in porn there would be no VCR, no internet as we now know it today.

In 1896, a film called Le Coucher de la Mariée showed a woman performing a striptease thus becoming the first ponographic film. The invention of the VCR, liberated porno movies from stag parties, making it easy to view salacious movies at home.

The WSJ said that Dannie's Hard Drive invented e-commerce (1997)—with the on-line selling of nude photos. On-line sales drove the demand for bandwidth, and created web-based payment services (PayPal, etc). Like it or not, porn equals progress.

Had the image on the easel been real, it would be negative.

AFAIK flickr (and presumably other image resources) will let you search for images covered by Creative Commons licences. Mind you, they don't make it easy to add them; even when I have CC-BY in my Copyright field, flickr still defaults to "All Rights Reserved", and I usually forget to change it, sadly.

Regarding John Camp’s comment: Creative Commons licenses were (in part) an effort to solve this problem. Almost 20 years later, results are mixed, but they can be useful, if you want to encourage the free use of your images within some defined limitations.

I would think the owners of the photos would WANT them to be used, even if used free, in the hope that a single use might lead to further paid uses. They should, or could, think of it as free advertising.

That’s a dicey assertion, especially the bit about free advertising leading to paid uses. Sure, that works if you are an artist ultimately aiming to sell prints, but creative individuals aiming to license their content for commercial use (or work for hire) can get pretty upset about how many people want to offer nothing but free advertising in exchange for their work. Frequently, free advertising leads to nothing but more free advertising.

Cultural heritage organizations (like the Maryland Historical Society) are an interesting case, because they often have a public service-oriented mission, and so may be eager to share, but sometimes they still get weird about these things, because they are protective of their holdings, or desperate for cash, or even nervous about their own legal liability to other rights holders.

Have you been harassed by Higbee & Associates, the trolls who file thousands of copyright claims on image uses? We were harassed by them for a year before they understood that we were a nonprofit educational society and our use was considered fair use under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They ain't very smart. One aide claimed we could not be a non-profit because we took credit cards!

DMCA: https://www.copyright.gov/reports/studies/dmca/dmca_executive.html

However these trolls have changed the way we write our newsletter. We no longer post images from the web without permission even when we don't need it; we simply summarize an article and post a link. And we removed hundreds of images from the last 25 years of our online newsletter that we could not verify permission.

Your comments allow users to post photos, so I suggest you register as a "Safe harbor." See https://buchwaldlaw.com/2017/08/dmca-copyright-safe-harbor-explained-website-needs-dmcacopyright-policy/

The image is probably not in the public domain, because copyrights tend to expire 50 to 70 years after the 1st of January that follows the death of the maker. And if this is a self-portrai, that clock did not start ticking until 1971 (Bodine died in 1970).
More importantly, giving permission for publication is NOT the right of someone who published the JPEG if they are not the holders of the publication rights for the work.

Sorry to tell you this, but it is far from certain that you are legally off the hook. Let alone that the nature of copyright also entails that the jpeg and the print have no separate "owners" (you probably meant "rights holders") as we must assume that the jpeg does not constitute a separate work. Instead it is "just" another reproduction of the work, in which no separate rights are vested.

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