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Censorship

Flickr Censors A Photographer's Plea 178

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-owns-what dept.
Bananatree3 writes "Popular Icelandic photographer and art-student Rebekka Guoleifsdottir has been targeted by Flickr for posting a plea for help in a theft case involving an online retailer selling copycat art. She requested that people send the retailer letters concerning the issue, and in response her original post was promptly deleted. It is still ironically available on Yahoo cache. In the end it appears that the retailer had been duped by a rogue art dealer under the title "Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD". However, Flickr seems to have overstepped its bounds in deleting this post." This whole case brings back up the messy issues surrounding content ownership in this strange new world of a services based internet.
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Flickr Censors A Photographer's Plea

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  • Overstepped??!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:25AM (#19144177)
    However, Flickr seems to have overstepped its bounds in deleting this post."

    Isn't it Flickr's site? They can do whatever they want. This isn't involving your rights online or anybody else's "right".

    • Re:Overstepped??!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:30AM (#19144233)
      Yes, it is their site, and they can censor as they wish. They could impose draconian laws if they wanted. However, that is unlikely as it would drive away people from their site. The kind of censorship of the kind described by this photographer is stepping outside of a rational bounds, not necessarily a legal one.
    • Re:Overstepped??!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by WED Fan (911325) <(akahige) (at) (trashmail.net)> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:37AM (#19144313) Homepage Journal

      However, Flickr seems to have overstepped its bounds in deleting this post."
      Isn't it Flickr's site? They can do whatever they want. This isn't involving your rights online or anybody else's "right".

      It is Flickr's site. And yes, they can do what they want. However, market forces can also force them to do what is right.

      So, do you sympathize with the photographer? If we go by the anti-copyright crowd, she doesn't have a case. It is "copycat" art. Or, are we going to protect her intellectual property?

      • the anti-copyright crowd is a convenient radicalization which can be better dealt with by the opponent: it worked with communism (fighting against the power of fake, anonymous capital became negating people whatever property and whatever freedom), it worked with nationalism (being patriot means being pro fascist/bushist right) it worked with geeks (depicting people who wants to share their own damn code and reverse engineer what is needed to interoperate in communist hippies who want all software to be free
      • So, do you sympathize with the photographer? If we go by the anti-copyright crowd, she doesn't have a case. It is "copycat" art. Or, are we going to protect her intellectual property?

        Keep in mind that an ethical position is not a legal position. Maybe one can say that she shouldn't have a case, but legally, she probably does have a legitimate case and could win if she had the means to fight it.

        Also, Berne convention means that a copyright in one country effectively translates to other countries, meaning th
      • Re:Overstepped??!! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @10:13AM (#19145699) Homepage Journal
        As part of the "anti-copyright" crowd, we do not support giving creator no right at all, simply reasonable rights.

        Pretty much everyone supports her right to be identified as the creator of the photograph. Was that done in this case? Obviously not.

        Most of us would support a reasonable copyright law, for example, with exceptions for non-commercial or private use, lasting for a reasonable time etc. In this case it was public commercial use, so she should be paid.

        Another subtlety that you miss is that the issues around copyright of software (obviously a major concern on /.), are very different from those around photography so we may take different view on the two.
        • by prelelat (201821)
          Your anti-copyright I would like some info on your standpoint. I could never understand the point of anti-copyright. I would like to get more for my work(I draw, code and sometimes humm) than a look what he did. If someone could take my work and sell it for a profit yay they are good buisness men but I get nothing.

          I'm all for copyright reform, free internet radio playback and I'm 100% against DRM, but someone shouldn't be able to use copywrite material outside of purchasing it and fair use. I think the
          • I have not completely made up my mind about all issues but:

            1) We need different laws for different types of work. Having the same requirements, duration etc. for software, books, music and films is plain silly.

            This exists to an extent: in thee UK recorded music has a shorter copyright term.

            2) I want exemptions for private and non-profit use. Perhaps even for not for profit re-distribution.

            3) Anything paid for with public funds should be public domain or something like a CC attribution license.

            I would probab
      • by blueskies (525815)
        So, do you sympathize with the photographer? If we go by the anti-copyright crowd, she doesn't have a case.

        Since you aren't marked as flamebait or as a troll yet, i'll respond.

        Why wouldn't you sympathize with the photographer? Someone is infringing her work. Explain how she doesn't have a case?

        And what anti-copyright crowd are you talking about? You are going to have to define your strawman a little better before you knock him down. Most people that don't like current US copyrights are agains
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by artjunk (1088603)
      Move along nothing to see here. Matter resolved peacefully...Flikr reposted the blog.

      Update 2:Flickr have acknowledged that made a mistake, and have restored _Rebekaa's blog.

      • Move along nothing to see here. Matter resolved peacefully...Flikr reposted the blog. Update 2:Flickr have acknowledged that made a mistake, and have restored _Rebekaa's blog.
        The usual corporate advocate :) There is still something to see here. It took a lot (story posted to digg, reddit, and slashdot) for Flickr to back down. You may not be that lucky the next time...
    • Re:Overstepped??!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gunnk (463227) <gunnk@NoSpAm.mail.fpg.unc.edu> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @09:09AM (#19144755) Homepage
      So you wouldn't feel wronged if Slashdot deleted your comment, right?

      Is it in there power to do so? Sure. Would that make it right? No. Her posting on Flickr wasn't inappropriate -- in fact, it should be important to Flickr. She's one of the most popular photographer's Flickr has. I fell in love with her work back with this one:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/rebba/47807949/in/set -72057594112345061/

      More importantly, this very popular photographer is having her work RIPPED OFF by some print shop in England. It's in Flickr's best interest for her to get the word out since this kind of criminal behavior scares people away from posting good stuff on Flickr.

      The deletion was just plain stupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the_tsi (19767)
        She *ALLEGES* that the shop in England is ripping off her work. Who are Internet users to be the judge, jury, and executioner*... particularly ones who are outside of the jurisdictions of the accused and the accuser? If her claims are fabricated, Flickr stands a chance of being liable for libel (spell that five times fast). I'd say it's perfectly in their power to knee-jerk delete this content to cover their own asses.

        * Oops, wait, I forgot. This is the Internet, where as soon as there is any hint of op
        • by blueskies (525815)
          If her claims are fabricated, Flickr stands a chance of being liable for libel

          They didn't stand a chance before, but now they do since they are policing content. How much more of a story is there? Her photos are being sold by someone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      Isn't it Flickr's site? They can do whatever they want.

      You might have a point there. Digg suspended one of my accounts for political speech. It was annoying but it's their site. You can't expect freedom of speech to apply on commercial property, even if that property is in cyberspace. If I don't like Digg's decision, I'm free to go publish it on my own personal site.

    • by lpq (583377)
      Was there a legal complaint?

      Does flicker want "safe harbor" / common carrier type protection under the DMCA?
      Doesn't the "safe harbor" status apply to websites who claim they don't have the
      time or resources to "pre-censor" people's posts?

      If flickr does have time, I take it they don't care about "safe harbor" protections?

  • The Conflict (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:26AM (#19144195) Journal
    From Flickr's Terms of Use [flickr.com], there are several reasons why this post was taken down. The ToS states:

    Flickr is intended for personal use and is not a generic image hosting service. Professional or corporate uses of Flickr are prohibited.
    How did they know that this isn't a PR stunt? Set up a facade company, sell your work through it with no traces back to you then post on Flickr about the problem. Bam! Instant exposure to thousands of people.

    We may, but have no obligation to, remove Content and accounts containing Content that we determine in our sole discretion are unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene or otherwise objectionable or violates any party's intellectual property or these Terms of Use.
    And, as a result of Rebekka's plea for people to send letters to OnlyDreemin, the blog entitled "Jumping to conclusions" states:

    Today I have been in contact with OnlyDreemin and asked for clarification on this issue. I was saddened to learn they have received death threats over this matter, proving once again just how passionate people are, no matter how misguided, when it comes to this type of theft.
    So while Rebekka's post wasn't necessarily threatening, it sure resulted in threatening actions which, if I'm not mistaken, death threats are illegal in the United States and most likely in Iceland as well. If you read the rest of Flickr's ToS, they are very stringent about targeting other Flickr users with any kind of content/e-mail/threats whatsoever.

    Why doesn't Rebekka just sue OnlyDreemin? They are legally liable for what they sell. If they can't produce the people who sold them the prints, that's their fault for doing business with shady people. Did they bother to ask the people for licensing information? I find it hard to believe that the art world doesn't have a way to catalog and look up sellers of art with licenses or anything like that. You don't just transfer (£3000.00) in cash or to an anonymous Paypal account. Come on, hold someone responsible, don't get on Flickr and start a smear campaign toward them!

    I honestly think Flickr did the right thing. They shouldn't be involved in this, they aren't a legal site or a petition site or anything like that at all. They are a general photo content site. Don't run your business from it, don't use it for your political or legal battles. That's it, plain and simple.

    There is a better place for this conflict, in the courts not on Flickr.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The courts are a bad case for any conflict - they're expensive, unpredictable, arbitrary and usually produce an outcome not satisfactory to either side.
      • Yea, I think trial by combat is a better idea -- lets leave courts out of it entirely and let g-d decide who is right!
    • My guess is that the post was caught by a generic bot looking for phrases that suggest matherial that has been ripped off.

      A complaint at being ripped off is likely to contain many of the same words and sentence order fragments as someone who is ripping stuff off.

      It's all part of the robot plan to take over the earth by Kafkaesque means...

    • Re:The Conflict (Score:4, Interesting)

      by lostboy2 (194153) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @09:57AM (#19145469)

      Why doesn't Rebekka just sue OnlyDreemin?
      That's a good question and the thing that makes this story interesting to me.

      On Rebekka's original page (Yahoo cache), she mentions having an Icelanding lawyer send letters to OnlyDreemin. The response, it seems, was less than satisfying:

      The letters did nothing other than make them take the images down from their site. Further letters got no response from them.
      She then says:

      My icelandic lawyer could do nothing else
      Presumably this is because an Icelandic lawyer is only certified to practice law in Iceland and OnlyDreemin is based in the UK. So, Rebekka's only other option is to hire a UK attorney. But, as she mentions in her comments, she doesn't feel that she can risk all of her money (literally) to hire a lawyer for a case that might drag on for a long time and which she might not even win (or might not win enough to make it worth it).

      So I'm curious if anyone on /. has had similar experiences (where an individual pursues legal action against a company in another country).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by modecx (130548)
      Why doesn't Rebekka just sue OnlyDreemin? They are legally liable for what they sell. If they can't produce the people who sold them the prints, that's their fault for doing business with shady people. Did they bother to ask the people for licensing information?

      Okay, here's some facts: She lives in Iceland, the company lives in Great Britain, and Flickr is owned by an American company. International copyrights are a strange beast. Do you really know that they are liable for damages, if they violate her co
    • by Skapare (16644)

      Why doesn't Rebekka just sue OnlyDreemin? They are legally liable for what they sell. If they can't produce the people who sold them the prints, that's their fault for doing business with shady people. Did they bother to ask the people for licensing information? I find it hard to believe that the art world doesn't have a way to catalog and look up sellers of art with licenses or anything like that. You don't just transfer (£3000.00) in cash or to an anonymous Paypal account. Come on, hold someone responsible, don't get on Flickr and start a smear campaign toward them!

      Why don't you loan her the money that such a legal action in another country would require up front?

  • That's what most businesses are run by. Craven cowards will crumble at the first sign of organized attack on them. It's ironic that they do things like that because it puts blood in the water for the other predators. In this case, that seems to be what Flickr did. They just folded and told their user to go to hell, until the outcry got big enough that they couldn't ignore it.

    Personally, I think what we need is a push for a counter to this complaint culture by creating a culture where people who complain to
    • by dave1791 (315728)
      "Personally, I think what we need is a push for a counter to this complaint culture by creating a culture where people who complain to get good things shut down without VERY good reason are subjected to no end of humiliation, emotional torment, destruction of their professional life, etc."

      You seem have a problem with freedom of speech I see. Freedom of speech means the right to say stupid and outrageous things. It's the price we pay. And no, having her images pulled by Flicker does not constitute a muzzl
      • by dave1791 (315728)
        "For weeks afterwards, I was reading editorials about how political correctness. Bull; all of it. "

        gah... must proofread!

        That should read: "For weeks afterwards, I was reading editorials about how political correctness is intruding on free speech. Bull; all of it. "
      • Freedom of speech means the right to say stupid and outrageous things.

        No, freedom of speech means that you are free to speak. You can say anything that you want to say. No one is allowed to keep you from saying it. Note that you do not have a right to speak, only the freedom to do so. And you are not free of the consequences of your speech.

        The right granted to the citizens of the USA is only the "right to the freedom of speech". Thus it is your right to expect to always be free to speak your mind in the USA
        • by russotto (537200)

          No, freedom of speech means that you are free to speak. You can say anything that you want to say. No one is allowed to keep you from saying it. Note that you do not have a right to speak, only the freedom to do so. And you are not free of the consequences of your speech.

          Right. So tommorrow, George Bush signs an executive order authorizing summary execution for anyone criticizing the president. They don't stop anyone from criticizing the president, they just shoot anyone after they do; after all, they

    • by tverbeek (457094)
      This reminds of a situation going on over at Deviant Art. (For those unfamiliar, it's a mutual admiration society where mostly-amateur artists post their drawings so that their peers can tell them how !r0x0r! they are.) An artist I'm acquainted with noticed this guy who traces (not very well) professional illustrators' work and claims it as his own, sometimes selling the pieces for a few dollars. So she posts several comments pointing out what he's doing, and Deviant Art's response is to kick her of the
  • Rebekka's post (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:31AM (#19144255) Homepage Journal
    Here's the text of the post, because I wouldn't expect it to stay in Yahoo's cache forever..

    I have a LOT on my mind right now.. to be honest, i've rarely been so royally pissed off as i am today.
    The photos shown above all have one thing in common (besides being rather lovely landscape photos):

    They were all taken , without my permission, by the London based print-selling company Only-Dreemin [only-dreemin.com]. This company prides itself on offering its customers only the best quality canvas prints of the finest photos , by top artists.

    What they fail to mention is that some of the photos they're selling prints of have been illegally obtained, and are being sold without the artists consent or knowledge.

    In my case, a friend of mine came across their store on ebay [ebay.co.uk] and recognized one of my prints. (this was way back in january i think)
    I looked into the matter and discovered 7 more of my photos being sold there. In the case of pictures 1, 2, 6 and 7, the image had been divided up into 3 vertical panels. ( Something i would never DREAM of doing myself. ) Furthermore, the images had been given new and exciting titles, like "Seraque II" and "Attica", "Dawn expander II" and " Joga" (barf)
    I spent a good many days researching, going back thru their customer feedback, and was able to track back the sales of at LEAST 60 prints made from my images.
    These prints sold for a total sum of 2450 british pounds (around 4840 US$ )

    I gathered all the evidence , saved each webpage displaying my work , saved the list of customer feedback, printed all this stuff out and took it to a lawyer here in iceland.
    She was confident that by sending them some well-phrased letters i'd be sure to get some damages out of them. After all, i had tons of incriminating evidence.
    The letters did nothing other than make them take the images down from their site. Further letters got no response from them. My icelandic lawyer could do nothing else, so i was stuck with a bill and the infuriating fact that I, being only a non-wealthy art stutdent/ single mom in iceland, will have to accept that these people stole my work and made lots of money off it, and apparently are going to get away with it.

    This is NOT OK BY ME.
    I could think of little else to do than to at least tell people about this.
    I have reason to believe that they've stolen images from other people, maybe other flickr users.
    The reason i suspect this is quite simple. My photos were being sold under the bogus name of "Rebekka Sigrún" (the nerve of keeping the first name the same is somewhat amazing).
    I saw a number of other photos being sold under that same artist name, and they werent mine. And obviously this Rebekka Sigrún doesnt exist.
    Looking over the pictures i remember being sold under that name, it appears they've changed the artist name to "marco van eych". If anyone knows a landscape photographer by that name, let me know. i very much doubt he exists.

    So i encourage everyone that has been displaying similar landscape photos on flickr to look at their site and see if they see something suspicious.
    It would also be pretty cool if as many people as possible would send them angry letters, (address them to info@only-dreemin.com ) but that's just if you feel like it;)


    ok. i've said my piece. Quite a load off my back.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SlayerofGods (682938)
      My icelandic lawyer could do nothing else, so i was stuck with a bill
      Well there's the problem; you need a sleazy American lawyer. Those guys can get blood from a stone ;)
    • Re:Rebekka's post (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dogtanian (588974) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:52AM (#19144545) Homepage
      Regarding the claims of the seller having been the victim of a dubious third-party/picture libary/whatever, it is not entirely clear that this is true. Note one of the later comments from Rebekka states (my emphasis):-

      Their claims of a third party selling them the images are not new. This is something they told to my lawyer back in february, claiming "someone" presented them with the high-res files and "official looking documents". When asked by my lawyer to show us evidence of this transaction, they simply stopped replying.

      Yesterday they openly admitted to having sold my images, albeit without the knowlege of them belonging to me. Suddenly they have a name for the mysterious seller, "wild aspects and panoramics LTD" which, as someone already mentioned above, does not exist, and does not appear to have ever existed. If they are telling the truth, explain this to me: why did they refuse to put forth evidence that this party exists when my laywer requested it? If anything, it would help their argument, and if this party conned them, why on earth would they want to protect them? Afer all, they claim to have payed them 3000 pounds, there must exist some sortof bill or something?

      Furthermore, if you realize you've inadvertantly sold something that was stolen, you've still committed a crime. In their case, they seem to feel its perfectly OK for them to keep the money they illegally made from my stolen work. Saying their sorry isnt enough. If they were conned, that's their problem, and they are free to go after that mysterious seller and sue THEM. Its not my problem. I still deserve to get paid damages from them for the profit they made from my copyrighted work.

      There is nothing complicated about this matter. They did wrong. Theyve admitted it. Its not fair that they just get away with it by putting forth some very dubious excuse and saying their sorry.
      I'd advise people to read the whole thread on the rustylime.com website (which I haven't done myself yet). There are two dozen sides to every story, and this appears to be one, but it's misleading to imply that the company was definitely a victim here; their explanation seems dubious, and is not yet accepted by Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir herself.
      • by Dogtanian (588974)
        Also, from a later post she says

        there were photos on there being sold under the same false name as was put on my images (Rebekka Sigrún). They were still up there yesterday morning, under the artist name "Marco Van Eych". The fact that these images were also being sold (months ago) under that same false name should lead any clear-headed individual to believe that those images had been stolen as well.

        Only-Dreemin themselves reply in that thread (link here again for your convenience [rustylime.com]); some have expressed scepticism at the supposed death threats. Personally, I'm tempted to believe that- simply because there *is* a somewhat mob mentality here, and in such situations there's always some hyped-up fuckwit willing to make such threats in the face of something they see as wrong. This is neither acceptable nor helpful, regardless of whether only-dreemin.com were in the wrong or n

      • if I had seen this I would have included it in the article. Sigh, at least there are comments to help further the understanding of the situation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well said.

        The defense:(taken from http://www.rustylime.com/show_article.php?id=455 [rustylime.com])

        "Many thanks for asking for our side of the story rather than simply offering more death threats...

        In August 2006, we were contacted by "Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD" a company based here in London, they offered to show us some imagery, that they stated would be high resolution and we would have sole reselling rights. We were visited by a salesperson from the company and we liked what we saw

        Anyway 2 weeks passed, emails we
        • There are two problems here:

          1. When you do something wrong by accident, an appology to the person who incured damage due to this is THE LEAST you should offer.
          2. Money was made from those pictures. Offering the person who created them at least some kind of compensation would be in order.

          The initial response seems to have failed at least on the second one, and an indirect appology isn't a good waz of dealing with problem 1.

          An art printing company should really be aware that photographers are just people, usu
  • This is why... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JudicatorX (455442)
    You should host your own stuff, instead of using using 'free' web-services, if it's important.
    • She uses a paid Flickr account, not the free service.
      • Apparently, then, it would matter little if it was a paid service or not.... I think my point still holds, just knock out the word 'free'.
  • Just because you post (submit) something on a web site owned and operated by someone else, that doesn't give you the "right" to force them to publish it or keep serving it up. You're not entitled to that.

    If I submit a "letter to the editor" to my local newspaper, I don't have the "right" to force the newspaper to publish my letter. Whether they publish it or not is up to them, not me, because they own the publication. They are not violating my free speech rights if they refuse to publish my letter, becau
    • But rather of rational actions. As I said above, they can impose whatever censorship or editing they wish. Nonetheless, their actions smell of rash decision making and that is what this is about. Not a legal question, but a question about the morality of censoring one of Flickr's top submitters.
      • by dave1791 (315728)
        "but a question about the morality of censoring one of Flickr's top submitters"

        I have a hard time associating "morality" with "censoring one of Flickr's top submitters". That would seem to imply that its okay to "censor" non-top submitters. I doubt thats what you intended.
    • by dave1791 (315728)
      If I had mod points right now, I'd give them to you. People seem unable or unwilling to grasp that most forums are in fact private places where the host has no obligation to allow you to post whatever you want - as opposed to public places. USENET is probably closer to the latter. Unless you live in a country that legally restricts speech however, there is nothing stopping you from hosting yourself and saying what you want.
  • Ironically? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:39AM (#19144363)
    No, seriously. How is it ironic that a cache retained information was deleted? Is there some new definition of the word "ironic" that means "worked as intended"?
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:41AM (#19144383) Homepage Journal
    The downside to Flickr, Blogger and other providers of services to the masses are the Terms of Service which generally give them the right to re-appropriate your content for their own uses.

    So if you were, say traveling around the world and want to document it, best to use a combination like MovableType and Gallery so you retain complete control. If you are concerned about copyright I can't imagine why ANYONE would use a service provider like Google, Yahoo, etc.

    Or at least use it enough to "see more here"... and refer them to your real site.
    • by Hays (409837)
      I don't think Flickr takes any of your photo rights. Show me the part of the ToS where they claim to "appropriate" your content. Flickr has even integrated different copyright licenses such as creative commons.

      They have lots of questions in their FAQ about creative commons and default copyright license, but they don't address "Does Flickr take my copyrights just because I upload my pictures?" probably because they think that's insane.

      I read through their terms of use and I certainly don't see anything abo
  • It will be interesting to see how the /. groupthink tackles this. Photographer (and hence, at least partially-nerd) from the imagined-to-be-always-hip Iceland strives to make some money doing something creative and leveraging the internet to become visible and reach customers. Someone rips off her creative work. Slashdot: "Man, she sure got screwed. But let's argue about whether and how to use the word "censorship" when Flickr removes a contentions and legally risky post from their system."

    Or, she's a fi
    • by Cereal Box (4286)
      Well, the usual response is "this is totally different because they resold the (art, program, etc.) without crediting the (artist, programmer, etc.)." Ripping off movies and music is OK because, you know, they're not being resold...

      Also notice how the word "theft" goes uncontested in stories like these, but as soon as it's about the MPAA or RIAA, there are always at least a dozen posts that are quick to point out that it's merely "copyright infringement".
      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Well, the usual response is "this is totally different because they resold the (art, program, etc.) without crediting the (artist, programmer, etc.)." Ripping off movies and music is OK because, you know, they're not being resold...

        But even when the conversation turns to outright piracy for sale, people here are wierdly hesitant to call a spade a spade. For example, if someone rips off a copy of MS Windows and sells it for $2 on the street, people here do a Simpson's 'ha-ha!' and move on. When a photogra
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by heinousjay (683506)
          Don't expect consistency from people. It's not realistic.
        • by Dogtanian (588974)
          While there *is* a certain amount of hypocrisy amongst some Slashdotters regarding copyright, the two examples you give are *not* the same IMHO.

          Microsoft is a large monopolist which has used its market dominance and financial power to bully and coerce other companies, to crush its rivals, stall legal action and government investigations against it and to entrench its power. This using tactics which are all at best ethically dubious, many of which would likely be found criminal or illegal if taken to court
        • Oh stop. What part of "The differences between an Attractive Icelandic Female vs. Evil-Soul Sucking-Megacorp headed by a dweeb" don't you understand?

          What I don't understand is why Ms. Photographer placed large enough files on Flikr to enable the poster company to (allegedly) print the pictures at some reasonable size. Most photographers who post on the web either post no larger than 800 x 600 pixels (which at 72 dpi doesn't give you much room to print it out), place a watermark showing copyright info on

        • by russotto (537200)
          Microsoft and the xxAA members are special cases. They've caused so much grief that people (particularly Slashdotters) are willing to accept actions directed towards them which they wouldn't accept in the general case.

          In other words, "They needed piratin'"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla (258480)
      It's only a matter of scale, folks [...]"That's cool. I shouldn't have to pay for bits."

      Yes, a matter of scale. And while a little digitalis can save lives, a lot ends them rather quickly. A little alcohol makes for a good time, a lot makes for worshipping the porcelain god, and a bit more leads to death. A little ambergris makes for the finest perfumes, a lot smells like, well, whale barf.

      You just can't fairly compare try-before-you-buy illegally downloaded music from Sony with ripping off a small-
    • Someone rips off her creative work. Slashdot: "That's cool. I shouldn't have to pay for bits."

      And, if I might inquire, which bits are those? The bits that make up a physical printing of a product? Did we enter the matrix at some point?
  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:44AM (#19144437) Homepage Journal

    When the victim is an RIAA or MPAA member company?

    Or is that mere copyright infringement?

    There's this interesting cognitive dissonance when it comes to copyright infringement. When the little guy (or gal) gets ripped off, it's called stealing; but when a large company gets ripped off, it's called sharing.

    Maybe, just maybe, we need a better model for understanding the interests of consumers and artists alike. It seems that in the digital age, the copyright model doesn't do a very good job of protecting the interests of either the artist or the consumer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by malkavian (9512)
      No, it's still called copyright infringement.
      However, most of the P2P infringement that the *IAA go after is not for profit, and often raises visibility of the artist in question, producing more sales in future.
      In this case the motive was purely profit (as shown by the thousands of dollars worth of sales the artist had been able to track herself, which would be a significant portion of her own income). These are demonstrably 'lost sales' to her, as money was indeed exchanged, so the demand was there. They
      • by bilbravo (763359)
        "However, most of the P2P infringement that the *IAA go after is not for profit, and often raises visibility of the artist in question, producing more sales in future. In this case the motive was purely profit (as shown by the thousands of dollars worth of sales the artist had been able to track herself, which would be a significant portion of her own income). These are demonstrably 'lost sales' to her, as money was indeed exchanged, so the demand was there. They were also mis-attributed to another author t
        • by malkavian (9512)
          Copyright infringement is not stealing, by definition. It doesn't deprive the original author of their work (merely makes a copy of it). Stealing, by definition, removes the item from possession of the original possessor.
          See the definition of Stealing [lectlaw.com] to clear up any confusion.
          As to the cost of exposure, would you feel comfortable losing a thousand dollars, if you had a couple of hundred thousand in the bank, knowing that in a few years, you'd be having ten thousand come back? Would you still be happy
    • When the victim is an RIAA or MPAA member company?

      Or is that mere copyright infringement?

      There's this interesting cognitive dissonance when it comes to copyright infringement. When the little guy (or gal) gets ripped off, it's called stealing; but when a large company gets ripped off, it's called sharing.

      Perhaps people believe, much like in the case of lying to save someone's life, that while copyright infringement is indeed unethical and wrong, the moral imperative of pissing in the RIAA's cheerios takes priority.

      ;)

    • by russotto (537200)

      When the little guy (or gal) gets ripped off, it's called stealing; but when a large company gets ripped off, it's called sharing.
      You must have a different Attorney General. In the country I live in, when the large company gets ripped off, it's called stealing. When the little guy gets ripped off, it's called business.
  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @08:50AM (#19144525) Journal
    Today I have been in contact with OnlyDreemin and asked for clarification on this issue. I was saddened to learn they have received death threats over this matter, proving once again just how passionate people are, no matter how misguided, when it comes to this type of theft.

    Calm down people it's just some pictures. If a post on my site was generating death threats, I'd delete the damn thing too.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      The problem is that it is not just some pictures (whatever that means). It is, once agian, someone ripping of someone else. Somone big ripping of the work os someone small, and making a fortune. Maybe you haven't been ripped of before, but it makes you feel angry, very angry. When you hear about someone else being ripped of, those feelings re-emerge, and you want the wrong to be righted.
      • by OverlordQ (264228)
        And again, where's the proof that they did this maliciously, and weren't victims of a third party as well? Oh wait, the artist said so, so it must be true? Bullshit.
  • This really is a non story now. I was aware of it a few days ago (when it was fresh, not limited by /.'s usual slow processes) when various 'fine art' types on CIX were discussing it. Since then, Flickr have apologised, reinstated the post and the other party has put forward their own perfectly reasonable side of the story. It's all over. Move on.
  • by hkgroove (791170)
    Was it todd?
  • You have a services-based internet? Mines based on tubes.

    On an off-topic note: still ironically available? So they're still available for ironic purposes? The comma is your friend, editors. I've even seen "there" instead of "their" in an earlier story, and the trend seems to be deepening.

    If the editors are going to keep submissions in limbo for hours before they post them, they could at least do us the common courtesy of proof-reading them for mistakes of grammar, spelling, punctuation and such. If it's

  • ...I guess she should find another business model like selling t-shirts or something since information wants to be free. Screw her if she thinks I'm going to pay for photographs that I could go take myself. </sarcasm>
  • The photographer accused a company of "theft" without any kind of evidence. Yahoo not only did the right thing to take down those comments, they may well be legally obligated to do so, since the photographer's comments may well be libelous.

    I hope the guy who stole her photos will get found and published. But I also think the company she accused should consider suing her for libel--it sounds like they might have a good case.

    And a piece of advice to photographers: if you don't want this to happen to you, pu
  • I know a gal who's got one of her images selling on a very popular shirt in Austrailia and (I think) China or Taiwan as well. She's not getting a dime for it of course, the T-Shirt company just ripped off the print. She's a poor starving artist so she can't afford to sue a foreign company, which has probably made a rather large amount of money, after all, the shirt was very popular two years ago (she saw it on a tourist here in the states I believe).

    Heck there is even a 'famous' T-Shirt company/artist in LA
  • Philip Greenspun has been dealing with this since there were only a few dozen web sites total. His solution is a Hall of Shame [greenspun.com] which he has vowed to keep up forever. Of course it helps that he hosts his images himself, and that he never caves to take down and cease-and-desist letters regarding his Hall of Shame. He explains the genesis of his approach here [greenspun.com] (search for "Personal Approach to Copywright"). As Philip puts it "it has to be muchmore efficient for society than a bunch of corporations hiring lawye

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