back to article How to strip pesky copyright watermarks from photos ... says a FACEBOOK photo bod

A Facebook software engineer who published a detailed guide to stealing photographs online – by explaining how to remove watermarks and ignore any copyright restrictions – has been shamed into removing the blog post. It's unclear if Jesse Chen still has a future at Facebook. The company, when quizzed by The Register, declined …

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Moron

That is all.

(amateur snapper)

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He's shown that there is the need for a CHEAP pay upfront low-res 'social' version of the pics.

And the need for a service that links to these pics so that wealthier relatives can buy hi res copies.

Shame on the current grasping photography business model.

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Facepalm

Shame on Nifty

For exhibiting complete ignorance.

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No what he has shown is that there is a need for employees of companies like Facebook, Google, the BBC, newspapers, magazines, etc to take classes on copyright, how to use copyright correctly and why they shouldn't be screwing over small businesses by stealing their copyright material just because they can.

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Anonymous Coward

Which is why I deleted ALL my images

from each and every internet location that held them.

This was after a Japanese Publication lifted a picture of mine and published it with their own copyright. I was able to show them that certain pixels had been editied by myself before posting on the internet.

I really didn't want to do this but in the end, I was forced into doing it. It is not as if I make a living from taking pictures, I don't but the principle remains the same, I took the Image so I have the Copyright.

I took 818 pictures on an all day shoot today. Some of them are probably worthy of publication but sadly they will never ever see the light of day on the internet. The sequence I got of the Osprey taking a Salmon is fantastic.

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Re: Which is why I deleted ALL my images

"The sequence I got of the Osprey taking a Salmon is fantastic...."

Pictures or it never happened.

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Photographers really have the poor end of the stick

Everyone thinks their work is just up for grabs by anyone and everyone. Even those who should know better and are the often among the first and loudest to complain about copyright "theft" of their work, i.e music artists often don't think twice about using someone else's images without permission or recompense. Now we have the ultimate land grab of orphan works images.... try that with music and see where it gets you, they even try to make a claim and routinely issue takedowns on CC music.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Anonymous Coward

Re: Flip It

I think that the whole copyright/patent system needs to be re-evaluated. For instance, back in the 90's, a woman posted a recipe to a cooking usenet group. Then she used that recipe in a book that she wrote. The owner of the usenet group went after that woman since all recipes posted to that usenet group were copyrighted and owned by the owner. This current level of crap is seen today by the use of stupid patents such as swipe-to-unlock and a general shape of a rectangle. Also, movies and other artistic works which have been in public domain were scooped up after the sonny bono copyright extension act extended copyrights to 120 years. Yes, creaters of copyrighted/patented works should be protected. Yet current patent trolls are destroying any incentive for new inventors to create new products. And many old movies and other copyrighted works which were in public doman were removed forever from the public when there were put back into a copyrighted status. Just a few thoughts.

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Facepalm

Re: Flip It

"back in the 90's, a woman posted a recipe to a cooking usenet group. Then she used that recipe in a book that she wrote. The owner of the usenet group went after that woman since all recipes posted to that usenet group were copyrighted and owned by the owner."

Unless and until you can prove that statement I call bullshit.

Some people really will come up with desperate rubbish to support the removal of *other people's* copyright.

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FAIL

Re: Flip It

From the US Copyright Office website:

Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.

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Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

I really doubt that anyone who went to the trouble of photoshopping a lores, watermarked print was likely to have paid out for the full print anyway.

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Pirate

Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

Don't be so sure...

People jump through hoops to avoid paying a dollar for a game on Android...

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Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

"People jump through hoops to avoid paying a dollar for a game on Android..."

Not only android, I remember from the BBS days, people would create keygens for software that was still fully functional except for a subtle occasional nag, or a "buy me" button somewhere on the main window.

Heck, I've seen hacked versions of "postcardware" software. (send me a postcard to be registered...)

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Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

"People jump through hoops to avoid paying a dollar for a game on Android..."

I see this as not dissimilar to those arguments we see from time to time that X game was pirated 1,000,000 times ergo 1,000,000 lost sales. It may be that some of those pirate copies were potential sales but certainly not all of them or anywhere close. And in the case of someone shopping a lo-res watermarked picture of themselves isn't even getting a comparable product so I think the argument is even less valid.

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Trollface

Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

Too right. I'd be broke too after paying for Photoshop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

LOL. Nobody buys a license for their Photoshop

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Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

I can remove copyright marks, but don't.

I pay for my software, but never anything Adobe, which is wayyyy over-priced and over-hyped.

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Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

LOL. Nobody buys a license for their Photoshop

Not these days, anyway. Welcome to the "Creative Cloud", where everything is rented and you own the square root of fuck all.

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Thumb Up

Wait a minute

So you graduated college - after paying for your education and probably owe maybe $200k - and the college wants you to pay for your graduation picture? I'm not surprised someone's posted this and let's face it, it's not rocket science. So why all the fake outrage? Do you really think that nobody knew how to do this before he posted the instructions?

I don't care if it pisses you DRMtards off but I'd +1 Jesse for posting this - I don't think it does a bit of harm and I don't think it changes the issues of copyright at all. It's not "theft" because anyone who's going to do this is probably either too cheap or too poor/in debt to buy the photographs anyway.

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Re: Wait a minute -- what??

It's not theft if you wouldn't ever have paid money for it? Does that even make sense?

I know the argument is that you don't lose anything if your photo is taken because they never would have paid you anyway, but this doesn't work for non-digital things, e.g. a bottle of booze swiped from a supermarket or a watch from a shop: 'oh, let him have it -- he'd never have paid for it anyway.'

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Re: Wait a minute

I'm assuming Version 1.0 is some kind of common troll.

I rather think the photographer who's livelihood depends on selling his images is less of a DRMtard than you think. Or clearly, don't think. Or perhaps you feel he ought to make up for lost revenue by flogging torrented BluRays and CDs from the back of his van?

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Re: Wait a minute

"So you graduated college - after paying for your education and probably owe maybe $200k - and the college wants you to pay for your graduation picture?"

It's a question of today's economics. It's not the college that's asking to pay for photos, it's a third party that got the contract to take the photos - even if they are operating in conjuction with the college.

At least they're not "forcing" you to buy them.

We had a fundraiser bicycle ride here some time back, and they had photographers snap everyone who passed the finish line. Ride rules dictacted that you must have your registered ride number bib somewhere clearly visible on the FRONT (their emphasis) of the bike. So what you say? Turns out the contracted photo people used the rider bib numbers to cross reference the owner from the registration lists, and posted all photos, along with an invoice. If you didn't want to pay for the photo, YOU had to post it back.

Some paid, some posted it back, most kept the photos hostage and ignored the payment nagging.

What changed drastically the following year, is only a very small percentage of riders complied with the forward facing bib numbers, effectively killing their sole source of income.

If you behave like an arsehole, people will respond in like.

I'm not saying this college and their photographers are like this, but when you're bombarded with "screw you we're getting our cut whether you like it or not", it's easy to understand reactions like this. Wondered why most people nowadays demand negatives of their wedding photos? What changed? 20 years later, if you don't hate your spouse yet, you might want more, but aren't willing to pay, or worse still, the photographer has gone out of business and doesn't have the negatives or photos anymore.

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Re: Wait a minute

The college doesn't give a shit if you get your graduation pictures at all. They have absolutely zero to do with the process. But the photographer cares. That's his job and he would prefer to get paid for doing it. Here in the States they get the bulk of their money from their cut of the photo orders. If they're private photographers then they're fronting the investment for the shoot and the proofs out of pocket. If they're working for a company they do so as private contractors and they're paid a pittance for the shoot and the company covers the proofs. But the actual money to pay their bills with comes from photo orders.

Besides, jackass, the photos aren't for the students anyway. They're for the family to buy so they can be reminded of why they drove shitty cars and had a smaller house until they could get the kid through college.

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Re: Wait a minute

The college doesn't give a shit if you get your graduation pictures at all. They have absolutely zero to do with the process. But the photographer cares. That's his job and he would prefer to get paid for doing it. Here in the States they get the bulk of their money from their cut of the photo orders. If they're private photographers then they're fronting the investment for the shoot and the proofs out of pocket. If they're working for a company they do so as private contractors and they're paid a pittance for the shoot and the company covers the proofs. But the actual money to pay their bills with comes from photo orders.

Besides, jackass, the photos aren't for the students anyway. They're for the family to buy so they can be reminded of why they drove shitty cars and had a smaller house until they could get the kid through college. So this isn't stealing from the college at all, it's stealing from a person just like you, with presumably more upright moral standards.

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Silver badge

Re:and the college wants you to pay for your graduation picture

I think the college could care less whether you buy it. Don't. That's your choice.

But if you choose to steal someone else's work (they call it plagiarism sometimes in academia) don't be surprised if you get a short, sharp lesson in civics.

Besides, this tw*t works for Facebook, and you'd think that alone would have made him careful even if, as is so clearly evident by his actions, four years of expensive schooling failed to install a moral compass in his tiny brain.

Stick to tech Mr Chen. You aren't smart enough for a life of crime.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Wait a minute

I don't know about other countries, but here in the US I'm 99% sure that if a company sends you unsolicited merchandise, you are under NO obligation to return the item or send it back. Otherwise you'd be forced to bear the burden of paying to return something you never requested in the first place.

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Re: Wait a minute

Hell NO Cthonus!

I'm not trolling this - who set up the photographer to take the pictures? Think about this ... chances are the graduates had no choice in having their pictures taken, the photographer paid the college for the "right" to be the photographer there and excluded all other photographers - that's an economic gamble, a business choice on the assumption that enough graduates will buy the product and you can bet that they would not be taking the pictures if they didn't think that they could make good money out of this.

And those unused photographs that don't sell? They will be indexed by name and chances are that some of those graduates will end up in court and the photographer - who "owns" the picture will then sell the picture to the news agencies and media. The graduate has no say in the matter at all.

If you are going to publish pictures on the Internet like this then you have to expect that this will happen unless you are completely naive - same as if you tie your bike to a lamp-post with a piece of wet string and then come back and wonder where your bike has gone.

By the way, those pictures of your house on Google Street view, who you you think owns those? Because under current law, it's not you.

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@John Tserkezis - Re: Wait a minute

> the contracted photo people used the rider bib numbers to cross reference the owner from the registration lists, and posted all photos, along with an invoice. If you didn't want to pay for the photo, YOU had to post it back.

No, you didn't.

See the

CAB's advice on the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act

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Re: Wait a minute -- what??

"Copyright infringement is not theft"

The person taking what doesn't belong to him is stealing. For the copyright holder, his work is of value and hence a price is placed on it for revenues expected in payment for his equipment and time. His work is obviously of value to the person who infringes on his copyright and if no money was paid in appropriation of the work, the amount in question is then stolen from the copyright holder. The use of words should always strive to clarify issues, not to obfuscate.

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Re: Wait a minute -- what??

'Copyright infringement is not theft'

I see this moronic statement a lot, invariably from thieves who create nothing and want to feel it's a victimless crime. It's a zenith of entitlement: not only entitled to take without paying, but entitled to feel no guilt or responsibility toward the victim, with no awareness of consequences.

You big stupid child. Do you not realise that you harm independent creators the most, and you play right into the hands of corporate aggregators and publishers, whose product is you, Soylent Green.

Do you not realise that the selfish culture you espouse is spreading off the web into wider society, as untenably low wages, workfare, unpaid internships, elective slavery?

No small gallery or shop can survive where 9 out of 10 customers are looters and shoplifters. We don't have the DRM, the legal teams, the ability to buy government and shape law. And no, I didn't make that number up. My own sample audit showed 92% of repros of my work are infringements. This is consistent with ASMP statements in the US, and Picscout's findings. Please grow up. and quick.

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Re: Wait a minute

"I don't think it does a bit of harm and I don't think it changes the issues of copyright at all. It's not "theft" because anyone who's going to do this is probably either too cheap or too poor/in debt to buy the photographs anyway."

No, it's not theft. It's counterfeiting and it's wrong for exactly the same f*cking reason you're not allowed to just print off your own banknotes or mint your own coins. You are devaluing the product. THAT is why there IS a victim here: the copyright owner. Every time a photographer, or artist, or some other creator, produces something protected by copyright, that work has value. (If it didn't, why would you even want to copy it to begin with?)

You copy that work and suddenly, the original creator is faced with having to compete with hundreds of freeloaders offering that copyrighted work for free.

You are devaluing the work. Claiming that a counterfeiter wouldn't have paid anyway is irrelevance: they're still devaluing that work by making more copies of it available for free, thus undermining the creator's right to the fruits of their own labour.

Without decent copyright protection, not even the FOSS community would survive, because you can't have copyleft without copyright.

The correct term for this crime—and it is a crime—is counterfeiting. Not "piracy". Not "theft". Counterfeiting. There is no escaping from that definition. It's very well defined in law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait a minute

Just a question, since I'm not American (and we didn't even have graduation ceremonies, just a letter in the post to say your degree had been awarded), but are those ceremonies open to the public? If so, is it not possible for family, friends, neighbours, lovers, drinking mates from the pub, or fellow students to take pictures?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wait a minute -- what??

> I see this moronic statement a lot, invariably from thieves who create nothing and want to feel it's a victimless crime [blah blah]

Now calm down mate. Under English law copyright infringement is not theft because it does not fall within the basic definition of theft as per the Theft Act 1968 section 1, paragraph 1, which says:

« (1) A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly. »

The courts of England and Wales have determined that when copying digital media no "permanent deprivation" occurs, and therefore it cannot be punishable under the aforementioned act. Which is why prosecutions, when they occur at all, are under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This of course does not stop public relations departments from interested parties (and subsequently journos) from publishing press releases calling these things theft, terrorism, pederasty, and what have you, but that's just a PR exercise, most effectively targeting unsophisticated and emotional people who then go all frothy mouthed repeating the bollocks they hear through the media.

Yes, we all need to make a living, but misrepresenting things to the public does not strike me as the best way to win the public's (your customers') hearts and minds.

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Re: Wait a minute

So if you make some small but visible changes to the "work", which makes it however slightly different, is it then no longer counterfeiting? Logic can be an irritating ting . . .

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No, copyright infringement is NOT theft.

A photo is made up not only of the photographers work, but also (and arguably much more so) of whatever he is photographing.

In this case, the graduates themselves -- so, by claiming sole copyright to pictures of them, it is just as much *the photographer* who is "stealing" their likeness.

Good thing for him that it isn't theft, eh?

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Isn't The Reg supposed to publish current news?

Check the date people.Yes it was a silly post, but why all the faux outrage *now* over a post from 2012?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Isn't The Reg supposed to publish current news?

I think the news is that he has recently taken the original post down, presumably following pressure from his employer. That part isn't made clear from the article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Isn't The Reg supposed to publish current news?

Check the date people.Yes it was a silly post, but why all the faux outrage *now* over a post from 2012?

That's what I'm wondering, too. I mean, geez, the article has been out there for two years and folks are only just now raising hell about it? GMAFB, eh mate?

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So what actually was

so morally reprehensible in that blog? Showing how to save a picture from a website or how to Photoshop it? Is either a secret only known to select few Illuminati?

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Re: So what actually was

Would the self-righteously indignant professional photographers please answer the above questions instead of thumping the downvote button.

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Holmes

Re: So what actually was

I believe it was the statements implying that copying pictures from the web without permission was a proper thing to do. Perhaps also, the claim that these pictures "belong" to the students, instead of the guy who took them.

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Re: So what actually was

"Perhaps also, the claim that these pictures "belong" to the students, instead of the guy who took them."

I did not say anything remotely like that.

"...statements implying that copying pictures from the web without permission was a proper thing to do."

I was not offering any opinion on the propriety of saving the pictures, only on giving technical advice on how to do that... However, since you've asked:

Yes, I do believe that anything you show on the *free* part of your website can be saved by the viewers. There is nothing immoral about that as long as they don't exploit the pictures commercially or don't pass themselves out as the authors/rights holders.

I believe that deliberately making free pictures difficult to save is a discourtesy to your site's visitors and will in the end cost you.

As for the stuff that you want to be paid for - keep it behind the paywall and show only thumbs or low res images of it.

So, back to the blogger and his advice on how to save a watermarked low res picture from a free part of a website - not immoral, not unethical. Commercial value of the watermarked picture = 0.00

The advice on masking/hiding the watermark on the image - nothing to do with morality. It could have just as easily used removing the face of one's ex-mother-in-law from a family snap as an example.

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As far as I am concerned

If the image is of me and I am alone in that image I am the copyright owner. If the image is of me and other people... Why wasn't my permission for the photograph to be taken asked?

My partner is a photographer and I do respect copyright. I know she has visited certain places many times, waiting for hours for the light and cloud cover to be just right to take that awesome landscape photograph. That kind of dedication deserves reward.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As far as I am concerned

You can think what you like, but you are 100% wrong about that.

If you are in public you can be photographed.

The maker of the image owns the copyright.

Both of these are well-established case law in both the UK and the US

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Re: As far as I am concerned

"If the image is of me and I am alone in that image I am the copyright owner."

Then you don't understand copyright. The photographer has copyright because it's their creative work that is embodied in the photo - the composition, selection and general artistry in getting a good photo.

You're quite correct, however, in the second assertion, that permission should be requested from the model. 'Model rights' are a real thing as well, and you similarly can't just grab an image of someone and use it for your own purposes, even if the photographer has placed the image in the public domain. Think how all those famous people would react if that was the case (being used in adverts etc.).

There are some blatant abuses of the various forms of IP, but just declaring that 'information should be free' doesn't actually address any of the very real issues that its defenders are concerned about. Or would all you software writers be happy for your code to be stolen with impunity?

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Re: As far as I am concerned

As far as you are concerned doesn't count. It's what copyright law and privavy laws say that matters.

http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm is a good page to start.

"If the image is of me and I am alone in that image I am the copyright owner."

No, the person who took the photo is the copyright owner.

"If the image is of me and other people... Why wasn't my permission for the photograph to be taken asked?"

Because the only time a model release is required is when the photo will be used for commercial purposes - in advertising a product or service, or selling the image as "you".

Using a legally shot photo of you for news, educational or editorial purposes would require no permission from you. If you are in a public place, or a photographer can shoot you from a legally accessible public space, you have no say in the matter. And I can use a picture of you skiing, for example, to illustrate an article about skiing, ski gear, ski injuries, etc. I can't sell the photo to Head to use in their ads, but the resort you were at can use the poics in their ads (read the fine print on the ticket).

Using a photo of you for a potentially sensitive area (accompanying an article on obesity, suicide, etc.) technically needs no release, but most publishers only use photos with releases or with no visible subject's face. (if I'm shooting medical pics, for example, I make sure patient's face is out of the shot or blocked ... it makes sale of pics much easier)

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Re: As far as I am concerned

The photographer has copyright because it's their creative work that is embodied in the photo - the composition, selection and general artistry in getting a good photo

Technically and legally speaking, I believe you're correct. And yes, I also do believe there are legitimate instances of (some amount of) creativity in photography - like photos requiring significant work to artificially create the subject, selecting a highly unusual perspective or setting up particularly elaborate capturing equipment. But "creativity" and "copyright" in photos that essentially document plain reality as it happens, in its original look...?!? Yeah sure, now pull the other one...

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