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ImageLogr Scrapes "Billions" of Images Illegally 271

PurpleCarrot writes "In what must be one of the largest attempts to scrape images from the Web, the site 'claims to be scraping the entire "free web" and seems to have hit Flickr especially hard, copying full-sized images of yours and mine to their own servers, where they are hosting them without any attribution or links back to the original image in violation of all available licenses on Flickr.' The site even contains the option to directly download images that ImageLogr has scraped. What makes this endeavor so amazing is that it isn't a case of 'other people gave us millions of infringing images, help us remove the wrong ones,' but one of 'we took all the images on the Web; if we got one of yours, oops!' The former gets some protection from the DMCA, whereas the latter is blatant infringement. ImageLogr's actions have caused a flurry of activity, and the site's owners have subsequently taken it offline, displaying the following message: ' is currently offline as we are improving the website. Due to copyright issues we are now changing some stuff around to make people happy. Please check back soon.'"
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ImageLogr Scrapes "Billions" of Images Illegally

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  • Google image search? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:08PM (#32298004) Homepage Journal

    Isn't this essentially what Google's image search does? The difference is that if you want the full-sized version, Google sends you to the original web site.

  • ah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Can we just make a rule that any image you post on the internet doesn't belong to you anymore? Anyone with any sense already figured that out a decade ago anyway.
    • Re:ah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:26PM (#32298304) Journal

      Can we just make a rule that any image you post on the internet doesn't belong to you anymore? Anyone with any sense already figured that out a decade ago anyway.

      Perhaps we can do that with text, too, since there really is no difference in text and photos in this context. Of course, that means that all worthwhile content will disappear, such as news websites, individual blogs, Google Earth, Maps, etc.

      The complaint isn't about getting paid, it is about attribution. I release most of my personal photography under CC with attribution. I have also written many nasty letters to competitors who lift our images from our website to use on competing websites. (we shoot everything, even stuff I can get manufacturer's photos of, to insure we have a unique look). The reason I do this is not only because I don't like working for free for other companies, but it dilutes our efforts to maintain a unique look. That and I don't need someone competing with me unless they are willing to spend the same amount of resources into photography that we have. ie: I don't want to subsidize my own competition.

      So, no, I think I should be able to keep the copyright on stuff I create.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mellon ( 7048 )

        I know, maybe we should just DRM everything!1!!1 That'll solve the problem.

        No offense, man, but the universe doesn't owe you copyright. And unfortunately, the tradition of copyright depends on copying being hard. Now that it's easy, there's really no way to prevent people from doing this. You can send them nasty letters, but the water's coming in faster than you can bail. Like every other content producer, eventually you're going to have to learn to make money from the people who are willing to pa

        • And unfortunately, the tradition of copyright depends on copying being hard. Now that it's easy, there's really no way to prevent people from doing this.

          Umm... I have to call BS on your "tradition of copyright." Copyright wasn't created until movable type on presses made mass "copying" possible and relatively easy to do. The "tradition of copyright" came into being when copying became easy. So, various governments stepped in and made such things illegal (for a limited time, anyway) to enable creators and publishers a little time to make a profit.

          I'll admit that the combination of digital formats for data and the internet has made it easier to distribut

      • Re:ah... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pz ( 113803 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:10PM (#32299058) Journal

        The problem is that most people who use a camera take snapshots, not photographs. Given the explosion in digital photography over the last decade, I'd wager that a vanishingly small number of times a shutter is pressed out of the billions total does it get pressed by someone who is trying to create art, whether commercial or otherwise.

        Most people don't care about their photos, their snapshots. There's no effort to create them. There was no thought put into the composition, no setup to speak of .. it's just a snapshot. And, as such, most of the people do not understand why it is a big deal that anyone should care about photos. The public does not realize that it costs potentially a lot of money and time to create professional images. Witness some of the comments on this Slashdot thread.

        I applaud the parent poster for caring enough to make that effort, and for taking the time to defend their work against dilution. It's a mark of professionalism and high quality that likely pervades the rest of his operation.

        • Re:ah... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @07:10PM (#32300540)

          The public does not realize that it costs potentially a lot of money and time to create professional images. Witness some of the comments on this Slashdot thread.

          Witness this comment: I know precisely how much work can go into creating professional images - I've been to more than a few professional photo shoots because I have family members in the business - and the overhead of support crew and the time spent to get just a handful of perfect shots can be enormous (if the photog works that way). But copyright is not about how much effort goes into creating a work, if it did then the phone book would be copyrightable.

          There will always be a market for commercial photography because it is by far a commission-based business. A world without copyright would be make stock-photography, which admittedly some people consider their bread-and-butter, less profitable but would have the effect of boosting the business for commissioned work since less stock photos would be available. Furthermore there will always be artistic photography because real art needs to express itself in the way irrelevant to money in the way artists like van Gogh did.

          So, while I'm all for proper attribution, that doesn't mean that copyright in anything like its current form is necessary to the modern world. Even if it does personally benefit guys like the GP by protecting his business.

        • The only issue I have with your perspective is that to judge what is "art", "commercial art" and "just some snapshot" is rather subjective. Technically, they are all equally protected under the law, which I think is a good thing. I CHOOSE to release most of my personal, non-commercial photos under a very permissive license (I have put up over one hundred on Wikipedia, for example), but it is my choice to make.

          My understanding that if you take a snapshot and publish it in the U.S., then it is copyright pro

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thank you. I'm a photographer that has some pics up on flickr and picasa, but I don't put my full best quality version of any image on either site ever. The moment I do, I know it's 100% completely and totally out of my hands, no matter what "technology" a site claims to have in place to prevent it.

      Frankly, I LIKE that the web works that way. That's not a bug, it's a feature. It's the BEST feature of the internet. Anyone using the internet would be well served to learn how to use it to their advantage and h

    • So if you post a photo of yourself, your wife, your kids, or some other loved one, are you ok with some ad company using that photo in an ad campaign of theirs (no matter what the product) without asking for your permission or giving you any monetary compensation? I know I'm not. Just because I post something on the Internet doesn't mean I've given up my copyright ownership of the item.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blair1q ( 305137 )

      Looking at something and copying it are two very different things.

      (Albeit, it's literally impossible to look at something on the web without making a local copy, at least in RAM, which may be saved to a temporary file on disk and retained for years, or until the authorities toss out your hard drive because the retention period for evidence in your case has lapsed...)

      Copying something and serving it to the public are two very different things.

    • Re:ah... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:08PM (#32299028)

      Can we just make a rule that any image you post on the internet doesn't belong to you anymore? Anyone with any sense already figured that out a decade ago anyway.

      Only if you want to see all of the professional and most of the amateur content on the internet yanked overnight. While the current "intellectual property" laws are absurd, reasonable, limited term copyrights do actually benefit both the creators and the common good.

      Try this thought experiment: In the absence of copyright and also the absence of net neutrality -- we're 50% there already -- then everyone's creative work ends up being copied by a few large media corporations and made available only through their sites. Forget direct access; the handful of megacorporate ISPs won't provide it for sites that don't pay their fees. Forget about any payment or even credit to the creators. Independent creators are essentially frozen out, and the general public just gets the same kind of bland, focus group tested crap that ends up on television.

      Thanks, but I'll pass. Comcast and Verizon are bad enough as they are. I don't want to find out what they'd be like with a monopoly on all networked content.

  • Offline? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jDeepbeep ( 913892 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:09PM (#32298024)

    currently offline as we are improving the website

    Nay ye scoundrels. Ye hath been slashdotted!

  • Kill (Score:2, Informative)

    The web is full of landmines. They're going to download and repost something that someone who has good lawyers is going to demand they remove, and then they'll die... quietly.

  • []
    it's a Gmail address that is obscured a bit so it doesn't get harvested by bots or something.

    • I tried to reroute their encryptions by directly typing [] into the address bar, but it just gave me a 404 error. Maybe they already baleeted all the images.

    • by krelian ( 525362 )

      It's kind of strange. Wouldn't you need a lot of money to be able to afford the resources that retrieving and storing all these images require? If you are willing to invest in that kind of operation wouldn't you at least consider the legal implications that kind of service needs to deal with?

      • If I were to do something like, I wouldn't store anything. I would leave the image stored on Flickr and then just rewrite the url through some type of proxy server that makes it appear as if it is coming from my server.
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      "Coming soon!"

      Is this an admission that they're not legal now? ^_^

  • Take it Offline (Score:2, Informative)

    by imag0 ( 605684 )

    If you want something completely under your control, you do not put it online. How hard is this?

    • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:00PM (#32298906) Journal

      I've never put Katherine Heigl online.

      Your scheme is a fraud.

    • Okay, now the opposite:

      If you don't want a work you created completely out of your control you copyright it, then you pursue infringement processes against those who willfully violate your rights. How hard is this? It isn't, except the owners of this site allegedly took a huge chunk of the images accessible via the web and did not respect the rights of their creators at all.

      Many people are not asking for "complete control". Lots are just asking for attribution. Others want more than that and that's their ri

  • Nice euphemism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RKThoadan ( 89437 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:23PM (#32298266)

    I like how they say they are trying to "make people happy" as if it's just some minor bureaucrat the need to appease when it's more like "we flagrantly broke the law and are trying to get out of Dodge!"

  • but wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @04:31PM (#32298382)

    Doesn't information want to be free? If you're going to download movies and music without paying, why can't they scrape your images and serve them up to "whoever"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tignet ( 1303483 )

      The problem with your logic is that they aren't just scraping images from people that pirate movies, they're scraping images from everyone. Your question would be better posed as: Since everyone in the world downloads music and movies without paying, why can't they scrape your images and serve them up to "whomever?"

      Revised, I think the question pretty much answers itself. Otherwise, in order for your question to have a logical foundation, everyone needs to be allowed to pirate music and movies, or they need

      • It was shorthand. The meaning I meant to convey was: "If you personally pirate movies/music/software then it would be hypocritical of you to complain about these guys stealing your pics."

        The assumption being that some of the people crying foul about the pic stealing do, in fact, pirate music/movies/software, and are thereby acting hypocritically when they lament the pic stealing.

        • Re:but wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:44PM (#32299506) Journal

          Yes, but this leaves out two important factors:

          1) People who don't infringe media copyrights but post pictures to Facebook et al. Not a vanishing minority, btw.
          2) People who infringe media copyrights, post pictures, and don't see it as hypocritical for any number of fractionally-assed reasons (or shallow rationales, if you wish).

          The former category, you are obviously not addressing. So either you lack sympathy for them for some other unspecified reason, or don't care about them because their existence doesn't support the logic of your assertion. In the latter case, they're precisely what you're talking about, but they don't think they do. And denial is a powerful force.

          Hell, a truly rational observer would conclude that hypocrisy might not be bad; that, in fact, it's an absolute requirement for social interaction. If you can act politely to someone you'd just as soon strangle, that's a mild (and socially necessary) form of hypocrisy.

  • I'll bet I know who's sending DMCA takedown notices...

    What's her name, Tila Tequila? Cindy Margolis? All those chicks that claim they are the most downloaded on the internet, and *thats* their only claim to fame!

    So, what's next, a business that scrapes every video and mp3 on the internet? Hey, this isn't a truck you can just dump stuff on, it's a series of tubes!

  • About Us (Score:2, Informative) is an image & picture search engine. We try to index pretty much every picture & image currently available on the free internet. With our powerful search engine finding these images should be fairly easy. We also offer a few image manipulation tools to stand out from the competition.

    From the main page. This is pretty funny.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blair1q ( 305137 )

      I'm confused, but I haven't dug through their schema at all, so, if they're an index, don't they have some sort of cross-referencing information to tell you where the picture came from or what it's a picture of? If all they have is the picture and maybe its filename, what sort of searching can you do?

  • I'll soon have a few hundred TB of images [].

    How can I get them to mirror my data, so I can offload the traffic to them?

  • by NaCh0 ( 6124 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:11PM (#32299062)

    The amazing part is how someone gets enough storage space to store every image on the web.

    That sounds expensive to me.

  • No! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:18PM (#32299180) Journal
    The DMCA is evil! Everything should be free! Copyright infringement isn't theft, it doesn't deprive anybody of anything!

    (What? It's my stuff?)

    I'll DMCA their arses! That's my stuff! I sell those, you're taking away my living!
  • by careysb ( 566113 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:35PM (#32299404)
    Google brings ImageLogr servers to its knees by scraping images from them. (Details at 11:00)
  • Damn (Score:2, Insightful)

    Well I am not the best photog out there, but I do get paid for my photos every now and again....

    And a lot of my work is on Flickr.

    Well we'll see.

  • by ( 142825 ) on Friday May 21, 2010 @05:40PM (#32299452) Homepage

    They know what they are doing is illegal. Why else would they use domains by proxy to hide their identity?

    The only reason they blocked, ooopp...I mean " is currently offline as we are improving the website."

    I am curious if their robots actually identified themselves or respected the robots.txt file.

  • My servers aren't scraping pictures, though.

    I'm scraping all the *letters* off the entire web.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 22, 2010 @06:46AM (#32304240)

    This should explain everything

  • They Were Lying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toad-san ( 64810 ) on Saturday May 22, 2010 @09:29AM (#32304992)

    The site is gone, and this explains why:

    They were bullsh*tting everyone, almost daydreaming. Nothing was there, nothing was probably going to be there, they apparently didn't have anything like the resources for that sort of archiving.

    They got caught in their bullsh*t, and chickened out. Bidda boom.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN