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Author Topic: Fascinating story about the consequences of sharing your art in the Internet age  (Read 10388 times)
JavaJones
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« on: March 19, 2011, 02:06:20 AM »


^ Movie Link ^

So would you be happy, upset, or both if this happened to you? I think I feel pretty much the same as him, if people are making a good amount of money from my work without compensating me that's upsetting. But I'm also a fan of the power for rapid iteration and "art evolution" that the Internet has. How to reconcile...

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 02:33:30 AM by mouser; Reason: attached image instead of offsite link » Logged

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mahesh2k
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 03:46:12 AM »

Attribution, sharing doesn't help artists. Plagiarism is really nasty virus embeded in human DNA.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 12:51:30 PM »

I watched the video up to the part where he said that National Geographic licensed his picture for the cover of a magazine.
Even though I do understand that people doing money on his work is terrible, he did also get some fantastic publicity out of it and ended up with a sell that he probably wouldn't have otherwise. I'm not sure if he is a victim in this story.
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wraith808
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 01:16:50 PM »

I watched the video up to the part where he said that National Geographic licensed his picture for the cover of a magazine.
Even though I do understand that people doing money on his work is terrible, he did also get some fantastic publicity out of it and ended up with a sell that he probably wouldn't have otherwise. I'm not sure if he is a victim in this story.

So 1 paying gig with a picture makes him not a victim?  And what about the people who are taking credit for his work?  And beyond this, that sort of ignores the underlying problem- how many people are being taken advantage of to a lesser extent?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 01:19:38 PM by wraith808 » Logged

JavaJones
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 01:25:52 PM »

I'm not even necessarily saying he's a "victim". It's the complexity of it that I find fascinating. On the one hand he got more exposure for his art, more interest in it, than most artists can ever hope to get. On the other hand the vast majority of it was *not attributed to him*. So from one perspective he gets the satisfaction of knowing that something he created is really appealing and resonant to people, and doesn't that make all of us happy? But then there's the credit issue - how important is that, and why? Is it that, had he been credited, he himself would be more famous and perhaps wealthy and successful? If people had needed to give credit, would the image have spread as far even? Not that there is an inherent limit on things once attribution is factored in, but in a theoretical world where attribution was required (and enforced somehow), the landscape does change.

Obviously all I have are questions, no real answers. I think it's partly or largely a personal thing. I'm still trying to decide if I'd be overall happy or upset! Which is again why it's so interesting. cheesy

- Oshyan
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wraith808
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 02:03:24 PM »

^ In the latter part of it, he says he has no problems with the renditions that appear that are for arts sake- even though not attributed to him.  His big issue seems to be with people making money off of something that isn't theirs, which is what my issue would be, also.
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 02:42:07 PM »

^ In the latter part of it, he says he has no problems with the renditions that appear that are for arts sake- even though not attributed to him.  His big issue seems to be with people making money off of something that isn't theirs, which is what my issue would be, also.

which seems fair enough!
Someone in the comments suggests getting a lawyer/attorney and going after the publishers etc that used it, most of whom would probably pay X now rather than having to pay 10X or 100X later. That route must be a major PIA too though...

The image really struck a chord, didnt it...
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Tom
JavaJones
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 02:47:46 PM »

Yes, I agree. With all the hand-wringing (and legislating and lawsuits) about copyright, it's a shame (and IMHO a serious indictment of policy) that when it comes down to it, it doesn't really serve the individual. Sure the laws on the books apply to them, but if you can't afford the legal fight needed to actually enforce your copyright, what's the point? Not that he even tried that, of course, but I know from many other cases that it's an issue.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 04:16:41 PM »

Ok, I will sound as an asshole, but whats up with the victim mentality?

His creative work:
Pose making a funny face, take a picture and then place it on flickr.

Total time: At most. including creative thinking, one day. The work itself, 1 hour.

Total Cost: One picture roll + development of pictures (if he did not use a digital camera). Near to zero if he did use a digital camera.

That means that at most, he got stolen 1 day of work. Which if you count the publicity, and pay work he got because of it, its nothing. As he got more than the day of work worth. Now he gets to play the victim in the video in order to milk more of it.

Or is anyone suggesting that a 1 day of work  is supposed to bring you money for the rest of your life?

As of his work stolen, either he was really really REALLY dumb to put work on flickr and expect that no one will use without telling him. Or he did it on purpose to get publicity for his work. Either way, he does not deserve pity.

As for consequences of sharing the art of the Internet (if you want to get paid). You could just keep it on your portfolio (and loose free publicity of your work), you could just place a low resolution version (difficult to use on printing), or you could add a watermark to it.

If you are doing it for fun or for the art, then why would you have a problem with others using it? Either you care about the money or do not care about the money, do not be a hypocrite. And don't expect to work once and get paid the rest of your life.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 04:27:35 PM »

Ah, so the time it takes to do something defines the entirety of its value and how much one should be compensated? Better tell that to all the billionaires out there. The world already does not work on linear time=value relationships. Who are you to suggest how much money a photo is worth, simply based on time and effort? Obviously the market determines worth, and the only way to know how much it was really worth would be if each person that used it had to pay for it. Perhaps it would have been much less "valuable" if it had actually cost something, which is another interesting consideration.

But regardless, if money is made on someone's work, should *they* not be compensated (unless they authorized it and agreed to no compensation)? Regardless of the time it took to create it?

- Oshyan
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wraith808
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 05:49:36 PM »

As of his work stolen, either he was really really REALLY dumb to put work on flickr and expect that no one will use without telling him. Or he did it on purpose to get publicity for his work. Either way, he does not deserve pity.

So the same copyright protections don't apply to him as to everyone else?

Quote
All the photos i upload to Flickr are under "All Rights Reserved" and i also write it in the description just in case..

If someone did the same to someone with the means and motivation to take legal action, that he did no work to come up with the image would not hold up in a court of law.  And how much something is worth is rarely a function of the time it takes to create said work in the case of photographers.  Photojournalists get paid quite a bit for just snapping a picture that is At most. including creative thinking, one day. The work itself, 1 hour.  So what's the difference here?
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2011, 10:26:24 AM »

This kind of reminds me of a psychology experiment I saw somewhere:
One person is given 2 choices:
1 - he gets 5 bucks and the person next to him gets nothing.
2 - he gets 10 bucks and the person next to him gets 20 bucks.

Personally, I would always choose option 2, but incredibly some people choose option 1.
In this matter, my opinion is this: had he never had the misuse of his picture (which I see as publicity), would he ever have the cover of the national geographic? Would he actually make any money from the picture he posted to flickr? Also, if the people who made money on his photo had to pay for it, would they even buy it? In this situation, I tend to go for the "no publicity if bad publicity" moto.

My father (a civil engineer) told me an interesting story that sounds pretty much like this: In the early 80's, when Autocad came out, it was way worse than its competitor (which I can't recall the name). However, it had a main difference: it was way easier to copy. People ended up getting hooked on Autocad since they could get it for free, and now it has a very large share in its market (which I would say it's a monopoly, but I'm not sure).

I'm pretty sure that if this guy knows how to manage his publicity from now on, I'd say he has more open doors now than he had before his picture got posted everywhere.
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2011, 11:45:26 AM »

One person is given 2 choices:
Was he given a choice?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2011, 12:40:27 PM »

I tend to agree with jgpaiva overall. The opportunities this creates for him are more than he likely would otherwise have had. So although there is unfairness in the profiting from his work by others, he too can now potentially profit more. Interestingly, although he was *not* given a choice, the end result may be much like the $5/$10 experiment; he may be getting less than others off his own work (who knows), but at least he's getting something, and that's better than nothing. It doesn't change the underlying injustice of abuse of rights to his creative work, and as a matter of principle one might decide to get hung up on that, but in the end, practically speaking, of what value is it? I'm very much in favor of standing up for one's principles, but ultimately I do feel that doing so ought to have practical value in some way...

- Oshyan
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wraith808
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2011, 05:05:32 PM »

Sometimes it's not the money, it's the principle.  And people are equating this to "at least he has more opportunities".  What if that's not the point?  He clearly states in his video that he doesn't care about the fair use by people who aren't making money off of it.  That would tend to make the experiment *not* apply to him, wouldn't it?  And that would tend to make the arguments that he's getting something from the use of his art irrelevant.  I'm sure that the first person who took his artwork wasn't thinking 'wow, he'll get exposure and might get something from this'.  That NatGeo wanted to make sure that they erred on the side of caution, did their homework, and offered him a contract pretty much seems a spurious argument when looked at from this perspective.

As AndyM rightly says above:
One person is given 2 choices:
Was he given a choice?
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2011, 09:04:40 PM »

The problem is people usually don't treat artistic work as any other kind of work. This guy sees his work stolen (and sold) and what he gets is "But now people know your work, it's good for you" and weirdly it sounds normal to a lot of people. If a guy went to a shop everyday, stole food and share it with his friends and tell the shop owner "Now everyone knows you sell good food, it's good for you", i'm pretty sure the shop owner would respond "I don't care, just stop stealing my food" and most people would agree with him. But artists, they should be be grateful for doing what they love for a loving and shut the hell up when their work is stolen.
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 09:42:22 PM »

I'm really surprised by a lot of the comments here. It is HIS creation! And others are taking credit for it and selling it. And now I see that many don’t even consider him as victimized!?

Baffling.

Jim
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« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 09:52:25 PM »

Or is anyone suggesting that a 1 day of work  is supposed to bring you money for the rest of your life?

That's the point of copyright and patents. You work once, then get paid later, and hopefully get paid a lot for a long time. smiley

1 day is extreme though, but it happens. How many music band have written a song in a day and gotten paid for that?

Art is hard. You go through dry spells. You need to capitalize on your creativity when it happens.

Anyways, just a thought. Did I sound like an asshole too? cheesy tongue (FWIW: You didn't sound like an asshole.)
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« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 10:47:32 PM »

Ignoring the idea of copyright and not being compensated by people that are making money off his work for a minute, there is another issue that exists here...that's HIS face...not a doodle, a paint splotch, a pic of a flower or a dog...his face.

How would you feel if one of the photos of yourself or your family, that you uploaded somewhere to share with friends and family, suddenly ended up everywhere...printed on t-shirts, skateboards, book covers, magazines, etc. and you have no control over the context in which it is used? How about if someone was using your face on a dating site profile, claiming it is a pic of themselves? How about using it in some sort of context you would object to on moral grounds? If you are pro-choice, a photo of your baby being used in anti-abortion propaganda? How about your face appearing in an ad for a Herpes medication, in a way that would imply you have Herpes?

How would this make you feel?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2011, 11:02:37 PM »

I for one didn't mean to imply I have no sympathy for his concerns nor that I ignore the injustice that's done here. I just think it's interesting to examine pragmatically speaking and see where the "greatest good" lies. I don't have a simple answer, and I would feel very similarly to him if this happened to me, but it's also not black and white IMHO.

The fact that it's *his* face does potentially change things a bit, but not dramatically so in my view. Stolen work is stolen work, whether it's stealing your art, or your face (there's the story of a family whose photo ended up on a billboard...). Both are wrong, legally as well as morally.

Great debate all around, regardless of perspective. smiley

- Oshyan
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« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2011, 01:05:26 AM »

Here's a twist...

You're standing around somewhere when someone nearby snaps a picture of some of their friends and you're in the background doing something. You do not own the copyright in the image... Now suppose the composition has some sort of unique quality like being funny or whatever, and you play a significant role in that. It goes viral or is used commercially.

Is that a problem?

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jgpaiva
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2011, 05:33:07 AM »

I see things in a different light, as that's the way I feel with the way I work.
An example: I distribute GridMove for free for everybody but companies, so that the publicity from personal use can get me some enterprise users. And It has worked a few times already. I'm pretty sure that if I asked for a registration fee from everyone I wouldn't get 10% of the revenue I get with this licensing scheme.

I agree that there are is a important points here: his licensing was not respected. The comparison would be if someone used GridMove's sources and created a new app from it, sold it and it got very popular that would make me terribly sad. Still, if in the end some company found that they were using illegal material and wanted to buy me my version for more than 100 times the money I've gotten up to this point for this work, I'd sure be glad!

I understand it's terrible when someone's work gets misused. What I don't agree is that this specific guy is a victim in his story.

Now, the point that app raised is a different story. It's terrible that his photo is spread all over, but I guess renegade is right: today, any image becomes a stupid meme from one second to the next: any image of ourselves posted on the web could become widespread in days. This actually makes me wonder if I shouldn't rethink the places where my photographs are posted.

[edit]
AndyM: I think you made a good point also: whereas I do have a choice on the way I license GridMove, the way this guy's work was used was not his choice, I'm not sure how I feel about that.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 05:36:09 AM by jgpaiva » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2011, 10:42:41 AM »

I have no quibble with any of the logic here (can't say that very often about a conversation, except maybe around here).

I do think the question of choice is quite important, but in the real world there's often little or no choice about things that happen, and perhaps only some choice about how to deal with those things after the fact.
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2011, 11:08:32 AM »

There's a big difference between commercial use in ads, shirts etc. and non commercial reuse for learning, sharing, sampling etc.

And the greater good is NOT criminalising the latter in order to prevent the former. Not matter how good a story you trot out.

I have had my images reused, my copy copied word for word to be used on a competitors brochure etc. but I will never consider that in order to protect me for this, people should be given the right to take children to court for "plagiarizing" Harry Potter on a home video, or make it ok to put limitations on my device that prevent totally legitimate use in order to protect from hypothetical non legitimate use.

After all we can also never forget that everything we create, write, code is hugely inspired from things we have seen, read etc. that has someone else's copyright. We are all sharers, remixers and plagiarists - learn-by-by-copying-and-doing is how we are wired.

For example the image in question is hugely reminiscent of art that others were doing before this guy did it - he inspired himself and copied the style, and it is very similar to many others - it doesnt make it right to pinch it, not when it would take the shirtmaker 10 minutes to do a good enough image to use... On the other hand most of the other "offenses" he mentions are people inspired by the t shirts to do a graffiti... and articles about the story.

Actually it is not clear at all how this all started, who was inspired by what where...

PS: many of my "reusable" images on flickr are CC of course i dont mean those when i say that my images were reused without permission
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 11:10:49 AM by iphigenie » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2011, 01:05:19 PM »


Or is anyone suggesting that a 1 day of work  is supposed to bring you money for the rest of your life?

Depends...  If he worked at a video store - or at any "job" - for a day, the paycheck he receives is all he gets.

But he created a piece of art - and though it is only a photograph, it is still his "art" - not just performed one day of work. As long as other people decide to sell his art and make money, then yes, that is supposed to bring him money for as long as anyone is using his art commercially!

Not my opinion, but black letter law.

Quote
As of his work stolen, either he was really really REALLY dumb to put work on flickr and expect that no one will use without telling him. Or he did it on purpose to get publicity for his work. Either way, he does not deserve pity.

Really dumb? Maybe so. How does that make it OK to steal his art? And yes, that is stealing; how can you honestly think otherwise? People do "dumb" things all the time, but that still doesn’t give anyone the right to steal from them because of it! Do you really believe what you said there? If a person performs a "Dumb" act then nothing that happens as a result is wrong? Nothing can be considered criminal because after all, the person did a "dumb" thing? Please tell me that you don’t truly believe that. Sure, there's a lot he could have done to protect his work... Well, actually the only real protection is to not put anything of value online for display. Of course the value of anything isn't really determined until you find out what people are willing to pay for it.  But in no case should theft have to occur in order to find out.

Jim
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