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Media The Courts

Photoshop Disaster Draws DMCA Notice For Boing Boing 391

Pickens writes: "Cory Doctorow writes that Ralph Lauren issued a DMCA takedown notice after Boing Boing republished the Photoshop disaster contained in a Ralph Lauren advertisement in which a model's proportions appear to have been altered to give her an impossibly skinny body with the model's head larger than her pelvis. Doctorow says that one of the things that makes their ISP Priority Colo so awesome is that they don't automatically act on DMCA takedowns and proceeded to dare Lauren to sue. 'This is classic fair use: a reproduction "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting," etc,' writes Doctorow. 'Copyright law doesn't give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings.' Doctorow adds that every time Lauren threatens to sue he will 'reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it,' 'publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery,' and 'offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.'"
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Photoshop Disaster Draws DMCA Notice For Boing Boing

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  • kudos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hydrolyzer ( 1637811 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:04PM (#29683653)
    to their ISP, all the comments on that article mean something, but its the people with at least a fair amount of money behind them (such as mid-size ISP's, in fact) that can make a real difference. Not only in hilarious copyright battles such as this, but pretty much everything. Good on them for actually making a difference
  • wth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MorderVonAllem ( 931645 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:06PM (#29683681)
    I seriously can't understand how someone could even photoshop that and go 'Well, looks like my work is done here' or the marketing guy who ok'd the final product...sheesh
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:30PM (#29683973) Homepage

    That's a horrible Photoshop paste job. Does that head even go with that body?

    There's a wry New Yorker article [newyorker.com] about Pascal Dangin, the leading photo retoucher for the New York fashion industry. The print version of that article has before and after pictures. He's much better than whomever did that botched Ralph Lauren ad.

    Dangin is much more subtle. Although he's been criticized for slimming down Madonna's arm muscles.

  • Re:wth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @02:35PM (#29684031) Homepage Journal

    Well there was, in the BB thread, an opinion put forward that the ad (as it was presented to Photoshop Disasters and then to Boing Boing) is a hoax and the result of a photoshop perspective transformation. In that thread, the poster shows the result of the reversal of this and the model looks far more 'human'.

    If you notice, the black bars down the side of the image in the story link become thicker at the bottom of the image.

  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:02PM (#29684329) Homepage
    It is the Streisand Effect because Ralph Lauren doesn't want anyone drawing attention to the fact that they photoshop the living crap out of their models to make them into non-human images.(The real reason for the takedown notice. You really don't think it was because they thought their actual copyrights were being violated did you? Why would they care if someone just ran their ad as is and gave them for free what they would normally need to pay someone to display?) Seeing as now even I, someone who has zero interest in fashion or Ralph Lauren, knows about this, I would say the Streisand Effect is working against them beautifully. Yes, Ralph Lauren does want publicity for their products, but does not want publicity on how they alter their images to make models look even more impossibly proportioned.
  • Re:I'm grateful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:07PM (#29684369) Journal

    I have an idea, how about making sure that the ORIGINAL unedited version is available upon request, with a link in the advertisement to the source of the original.

    Kind of like, Open Source for Photography?

  • by ianezz ( 31449 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:09PM (#29684375) Homepage
    Remember, there's no such thing as "bad" advertising.
    1. Prepare an ad campaign with a so "badly" retouched photo that everyone having eyes can't avoid noticing it.
    2. Wait for some famous blogger to pick up the bait, telling his readers how bad the ad is
    3. Issue him a takedown notice, hoping that Mr. famous blogger goes doubly vocal on the issue as expected
    4. Wait some months: nobody remembers exactly the issue, but in many minds, the trademark of the advertiser is permanently associated with something shocking.

    The sad thing is that the famous blogger above has both every right to criticize the ad, and also he may gain further popularity in doing this. The only way for him to avoid being a pawn in the game is to ignore the whole argument, and that gains him nothing. It's an almost self-sustaining system, be prepared for more in the future.

  • Re:I'm grateful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:38PM (#29684757)

    I work in design and have done more Photoshop work than I care to recall. It certainly is an extremely useful tool and can't be banned outright, however, they could impose very clear limits on retouching photos of people.

    I personally see two problems. The first is covering up imperfections, freckles, beauty marks, lumps, etc. The second is thinning out individual body parts and in some extreme cases taking the entire person and making them more narrow.

    There's a big drawback here, however. This wont address the use of heavy makeup, creative lighting or photography. And movies have always used all sorts of techniques to make actors look amazing. Celebrities are sometimes virtually unrecognizable in person because of how heavily they're done up for movies. And agencies will likely push models to lose even more weight. Photoshop ultimately is one small part of the larger problem of creating very unrealistic expectations of how people should look.

    I've had friends who couldn't be with a girl if she didn't have the perfect complexion and body type depicted in the media. I've also known many girls who lament how terrible they supposedly look compared to celebrities. But how the hell do you change these attitudes in a culture so addicted to celebrity culture? And it's not a problem unique to the US either. It's bad enough in Europe, and probably even worse than the US in Asia.

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @03:41PM (#29684801) Homepage Journal

    This is one of the few areas where my instinct says that a guilty mind should not be necessary at all to punish someone.

    Your instinct isn't wrong. Courts have long upheld judgements that ignorance of the law is not a shield from it. Lawyers know this better than anyone but they make routine (ab)use of the fact that non-lawyers frequently aren't aware of their own rights and responsibilities.

    Additionally, you *can* go after someone who makes a false DMCA takedown claim. The problem is, the DMCA does not allow you to dispute the takedown notice until after the "infringing" material has been removed. To me, that's the most bullshit part of the fully-bullshit DMCA.

  • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @04:11PM (#29685175) Homepage

    Some 'Canadian' ISPs, such as PEER1, are actually based out of the US.

    Throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the caving in to a law from a foreign country...

  • Re:I'm grateful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcsqueak ( 1043736 ) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:03PM (#29685927)

    I worked in a Print Shop for several years. Don't give me any of that dark room crap please.

    Good for you. My late father owned his own commercial photo studio and print lab for about 23 years, in which I spent a great deal of time. I have also shot photography professionally, so I know good and well about "darkroom crap" as well as clever tricks that can be pulled off during the photo shoot itself, without any after-manipulation.

    Here is how I see it: yes, it's gross and dishonest when advertisers try and use these tricks to pull a fast one on consumers. However, I think the problem is that we need to redefine what a photograph is.

    Only in print journalist (and not even there sometimes) is a photograph a literal slice of a moment in time. Most every other photograph needs to not be look upon as literal truth, but as an idealized version of reality.

    Think of all those photos of friends and family smiling, posing for a photograph. Is that how life is all the time? No, it's a posed photo, an idealized version of that point in time. I personally see photography much the same way, and try not to take it personally when a hamburger in an ad looks different than the one on my plate. It's fucked up, but that's how it is, in my view.

  • Re:I'm grateful (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:43PM (#29686393)

    There is a British parliament member that wishes to impose health warnings on digitally altered images.

    "Warning: this photo is digitally enhanced at scale 4. People normally don't look like this."

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll