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 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Steven Raith

    Moron

    That is all.

    (amateur snapper)

  2. Nifty

    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.

    1. El Presidente
      Facepalm

      Shame on Nifty

      For exhibiting complete ignorance.

    2. Irongut

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. J__M__M

          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.

  3. CmdrX3

    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.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. El Presidente
        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.

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        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.

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    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.

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      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...

      1. John Tserkezis

        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...)

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        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.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Probably only suitable for a thumbnail anyway

        LOL. Nobody buys a license for their Photoshop

        1. M Gale

          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.

      2. Grenou

        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.

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    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.

    1. Hollerith 1

      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.'

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. ZeiXi

          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.

          1. CRConrad

            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?

        2. halftone

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

    2. Cthonus

      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?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        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.

    3. John Tserkezis

      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.

      1. localgeek

        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.

      2. Graham Marsden

        @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

    4. Don Jefe

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

    5. Don Jefe

      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.

    6. Stevie 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.

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

    8. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      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.

      1. shovelDriver

        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 . . .

  7. kwyj

    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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?

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    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?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: So what actually was

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

      1. ratfox Silver badge
        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.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          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.

  9. adnim Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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

      1. adnim Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: As far as I am concerned

        Thank you for allowing me to think what I like, I am fully aware of the law in this respect, as I mentioned my partner is a photographer. She will ask permission before taking a photograph of any person... Out of respect for their privacy.

        There is a difference between opinion and a statement of fact, I presume those that down voted my post disagree with my opinion... And feel it is perfectly acceptable for someone to take a photograph of them wherever they are and whatever they are doing to be displayed where ever and when ever the photographer wishes.

        Just because it is law don't make it right.

        1. keith_w

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          I would like to point out that these pictures are taken, effectively, with the permission of the subject. They stop at the bottom of the stairs leading from the stage on which the graduation ceremony took place, stand in front of a screen and have their picture taken by the official photographer. One would think that they would be able to say "No thanks, don't want my picture taken, it's against my Flying Spagetti Monster faith." but they don't so they are, by allowing their picture be taken acquiescing to the eventual sales pitch. I would also like to point out that parents/grandparents and lots of others also tend to have lots of opportunities to take pictures with the graduate as the subject, silly hat and all.

          1. CRConrad

            "...effectively, with the permission of the subject."

            Do they get an opportunity to negotiate the split with the photographer -- "60% to me for my likeness; 40% to you for snapping the shot" -- or is it presented as a take-it-or-leave-it deal[*]? Is this particular photo framed (heh) as "_the_ graduation picture", or are all the various snapshots by grannies and siblings generally regarded as equally "fancy"? My guesses are no negotiation, take it or leave it, to the former; and oh yes, this is the one that counts to the latter.

            Of course you want "the" picture, just like all your buddies. But the only way for you to get "a graduation picture" like all your classmates is to get it from this particular photographer. By exploiting that shot set-up -- basically, being granted a monopoly on the pretty background by the college -- the photographer arrogates your right to your own likeness into his right to his work.

            If copyright infringement is theft, then this is blackmail.

            [*]: Or probably not even that -- the very idea that a deal could or should be negotiated here probably never occurs to the overwhelming majority of participants.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          So Adnim, if I set up a small background set and some lamps, and get your missus to come round and take a few snaps of me with a guitar - you know, just so I can get some different angles without having to move a tripod and repeatedly set the timer (hey, I'm lazy), nothing more really from a competent snappers perspective - and she then finds out six months later that it was for an album cover that's just gone platinum, or an illustration for a best selling book, or a still to be used in a film, etc - and that has made oodles of cash.

          I assume in your world, it's fine for me to tell your better half to go take a running jump when she asks for her tens of thousands of pounds in royaltes she would otherwise earn because she'd have the copyright and would have been able to negotiate a fee for the images?

          Because that's what you're saying. After all, she did nothing special, she just took the photos....

          Also, your assumption that you shouldn't have your picture taken without permission - one assumes you're going to the courts about all the CCTV where you live/work?

          Honestly, I've never heard such a poorly thought out argument. I suppose you expect all studio photographers who do work for magazines, profile shots etc, to work for free when there is only one person in shot?

          Mind-boggling.

        3. ratfox Silver badge

          @adnim

          "Thank you for allowing me to think what I like"

          Well, there are things where personal interpretation has no place. You stated an opinion which is, simply said, wrong. You might as well have said "as far as I am concerned, 2+2=5".

          Note also that asking permission to take a picture of you is respecting your privacy (and is indeed required, even in public places, in some countries); but the picture still belongs to the photographer.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          Just because it is law don't make it right.

          Now that I can agree with. <deity> knows I've spent a lot of time complaining about and voting down laws I don't agree with. It hasn't always been successful but at least I have voice my desires with my votes.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          > I am fully aware of the law in this respect,

          Not having a go at you, but I sincerely doubt that you are "fully aware of the law", as you state. Purely because it's just bloody confusing and complicated and there are a lot of nuances to each case.

          As another poster mentioned above, as well as copy rights (benefiting the creator or the work, i.e., the photographer) there are a number of other rights involved (benefiting persons other than the photographer) when taking a picture of almost anything or anyone. In the case of people, both privacy and publicity rights are almost certain to have some bearing, as well as often copyright (when a copyrighted work, e.g., a brand logo, appears in the photo. This is why in some films they remove car badges or strategically place a product as to not show the label--this is the opposite of product placement).

          There is a decent, if necessarily generic, summary of the legal aspects concerned at the WIPO site here: www.wipo.int/sme/en/documents/pdf/ip_photography.pdf. It's a PDF.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As far as I am concerned

        But can I charge for the rights to use my face in the photo?

        That's not contesting the right to charge for the photo. I think it's a cruel and horrid thing to photoshop out a watermark from a professionals (or students) work to use/sell. With perhaps the exception of own use etc (say your desktop background on a pc/phone), as I'd not want to be overly harsh.

        There is an agreement between the photographer and the subject. Either the business (college here) or the individual, but an agreement with the photographer none the less. To go back on that, is breaking a "contract" in most jurisdictions.

        However, the same protection I think a professional has, seems to be worth giving to an individual. Allow individuals to protect their "work" and allow them to also take photos, and not be prevented through monopolies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          > But can I charge for the rights to use my face in the photo?

          Yes you can.

          Next time you walk through a torture chamber... sorry, airport terminal, take a look at all those posters with Mr. X showing a big smile while drinking beverage Y, or Ms Z looking impossibly pretty next to product [ (apologies, run out of letters. Bad planning, I know). They've all been paid for appearing in those pics, which I strongly suspect does not come as a surprise to you--if it does, you're my übernerd hero.

          Although the law varies (a lot) by country, this is one of the reasons why photographers working at the ski resorts in France will ask before taking your picture (no, it's not to save negative: they've all gone digital years ago). The other equally important reason is of course your right to privacy--nobody really wants a picture of themselves taken next to their lover in a ski resort when you were supposedly away on a business trip to Azerbaijan.

      3. Santa from Exeter

        Re: As far as I am concerned

        The key phrase there is 'in public'. Presumably, the Graduation Ceremony wasn't held on the local street, therefore the photographer should have at least obtained a Model Release form.

        1. halftone

          Re: As far as I am concerned

          Sigh. No. On private property, the landowner gets to say who can take photographs. That is the college authority, in this case. You know, like shops, malls etc have CCTV that films customers without needing a model release. Same law.

      4. CRConrad

        But as far as these pictures are concerned...

        ...they are apparently *not* taken in public, if I understood correctly. This case was about "graduation photos", presumably taken at the venue of the graduation ceremony, where some professional photographer has been given exclusive license by the educational institution to (temporarily) set up shop on the premises.

        Sure, you could counter that "nobody is forcing you to buy the pics", but wanting pictures of the occasion is rather reasonable and not unexpected. Only, now if you do want pictures, your alma mater has sold the rights to them to some photographer. Under these circumstances, it's not obviously equitable that the copyright to your likeness should belong wholly to the photographer.

        In effect, aided and abetted by the college, the photographer gets to hold your own likeness hostage from yourself.

    2. John 73

      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?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        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...

    3. Tsu Dho Nimh

      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)

    4. John Tserkezis

      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."

      That's nice, but that's not how the law works.

      Historically, the person or entity who commissioned the photographic work became the owner.

      That changed in the '40s? (forgive my ignorance I can't remember my photo history), where by default, unless otherwise specified, the photographer became the owner.

      Fast forward to several years ago, when Facebook worked out how to screw everyone by default. Legally, the owner remains the owner, but Facebook now has the right to use and get paid for the owner's photo, and not paying the owner any commission. They can do this, because all the idiot owners signed off on it when they became members. Clearly they don't like reading fine print, or big black bold print either for that matter.

      The lawyers at Facebook obviously spent a lot of time fine tuning their statements, clearly outlining, capitalising and bolding the fact the owner remains the owner - while "not stealing" everyone's photos from under their feet (because it's legal now).

      Chen and Tien are going to learn bloody quickly, if you're going to steal from someone, at least make sure the law is on your side.

      1. Ian 55

        Re: As far as I am concerned

        .. or you can buy the law.

    5. localgeek

      Re: As far as I am concerned

      Even if the image is of you, you do not own the copyright to the photo. The copyright always rests with the photographer. In the US, the photographer has great leeway in how that photo gets used. They could sell it as a print, include it in a photo coffee book and do a variety of other things with "your" photo. As long as it was taken in a place where you have no expectation of privacy and doesn't violate any laws, there's not anything you can say about it. The only thing they cannot do without your written consent is use it for commercial purposes (i.e., in an ad).

    6. cordwainer 1

      Re: As far as I am concerned - Copyright is not the primary issue here...

      The graduates in question obviously POSED for the photographer - they didn't just happen to wander in front of a backdrop with a bear on it, then get hypnotized into freezing and smiling while someone with a camera snapped a formal photograph.

      When a graduate chooses to pose for a formal photo such as this, the graduate is informed, PRIOR to the photo being taken, that the photos will be available for PURCHASE, if desired.

      Everyone seems to be assuming copyright is the primary issue here. It's not.

      The issue is breach of contract and theft of services.

      The student agreed to the conditions under which the photo was taken, meaning acceptance of the photographer's terms for acquiring a copy.

      Therefore the student breached the contract by attempting to acquire the results of the agreed-upon service without paying, i.e, through theft.

      Students are not required to buy the photos, but they agree explicitly they will pay for any copies acquired. Students are NOT, by the way, usually required to pose. However, even if they are, the student is not required to purchase the results, which they may or may not like. School photos work the same way - no up-front cost, payment only for desired numbers of copies. The only difference is photographers now provide "digital contact sheets".

      Again: this is out-and-out theft and breaking of a legal and binding promise. The subject of these photos is not in any way the copyright holder, and has no right to any copies whatsoever without payment.

  10. Tom Chiverton 1

    Post removed, Google cache : http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:e42hUS4OyLAJ:www.jessechen.net/blog/freeing-your-online-graduation-pictures/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=ubuntu

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting points above but...

    With this instance you have to look at this from the photographers point of view. They were likely paid an attendance fee and then charge for the photos to make any kind of living. To the poster above saying that having spent all the money on education then the photos should be free, well yes, BUT the uni has to request that service and pay for the masters to be released for free.

    I photograph weddings and my package includes full high res images for the couple without any watermark. This costs a lot as I am basically accepting that I won't see any extra money in prints so the amount I charge per day has to be my yearly income.

    To the person who said that if they are in the image then they own the copyright, well no. If you painted an image of a seaside does everyone in that image own the copyright of it? If someone takes the time to create an image then the copyright is theirs, they are the creator, you are simply the subject. The Uni has agreed on your behalf for the photographer to be there and to take the photos of you and as they are running the ceremony it is their right to appoint this person.

    If you don't like paying for the photos, take your own. My other half will be graduating this year and I doubt we will be able to afford the official photos so we will be taking our own before returning the gown. I however won't be removing the copyright from the photos.

    I would also like to add as a photographer I don't actually put huge watermarks across all of my photos. I watermark the bottom right hand corner. I accept that this would be trivial to photoshop out but I do this on good faith that if this preview or sample image is provided for sharing on Facebook for nothing that people will allow a small advert along with it.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Interesting points above but...

      "My other half will be graduating this year and I doubt we will be able to afford the official photos so we will be taking our own before returning the gown."

      Which will be an outrageous act of piracy if you ask the official photographer (who is probably a nephew of a dean, to have got the job in the first place) and don't they usually ban punters from taking photos?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting points above but...

        We won't be taking them during the ceremony, we will instead go to a nicer location with a natural background which not only suits my style but will reflect the place she spent 4 years of her life studying.

        Of course her parents may buy the official photos as it is what parents do.

    2. Michael Thibault
      Boffin

      Re: Interesting points above but...

      >My other half will be graduating this year and I doubt we will be able to afford the official photos so we will be taking our own before returning the gown.

      Brilliant! Absolutely fucking brilliant! And inspiring, too. Why, I'll bet you could even ask a friend who owns a camera to do the photography for you. The possibilities are suddenly limitless!

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Interesting points above but...

        "Brilliant! Absolutely fucking brilliant! And inspiring, too. Why, I'll bet you could even ask a friend who owns a camera to do the photography for you. The possibilities are suddenly limitless!"

        Well, yeah, my daughter graduated and one of her friends did a small shoot that turned out really well.

        We also had the 'official' photo's as some people like those ones.

        Both my daugther and her friend had been doing photography at Uni.

    3. Nifty

      Re: Interesting points above but...

      "as a photographer I don't actually put huge watermarks across all of my photos. I watermark the bottom right hand corner. I accept that this would be trivial to photoshop out but I do this on good faith that if this preview or sample image is provided for sharing on Facebook"

      Nice to see a photographer totally validate my post#2. The author of post#3 just doesn't get it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting points above but...

      > If someone takes the time to create an image then the copyright is theirs, they are the creator, you are simply the subject.

      That "simply the subject" bit worries somewhat. I do not know if you have learned photography or other visual arts in an academic environment. If you haven't, or this hasn't been covered, then I strongly suggest you take a workshop on the legal aspects of photography or at the very least get a briefing from more experienced professionals. It's a fucking minefield out there and something that you feel is perfectly innocent could put you in a world of legal hurt.

  12. Sporkinum

    He was not an employee.

    At the time he put that on his blog, he was not a Facebook employee. Page was posted May 24th 2012. He started with them in July. Since he mentioned in the blog that he was starting Facebook then, I am guessing he had nothing untoward on the blog at the time he was hired. Obviously he is an idiot for posting using he real name, just like Facebook wants you to do.

  13. Sampler

    I don't get it?

    Save twenty bucks* on a picture by using a grands worth of software?

    *ok, maybe stick a nought on that - maybe, I never got as far as graduating as I attained the position I was studying for whilst in my first year, so not sure of the actual cost, still, I doubt it's near the price Adobe ask for their application, though, I suppose whilst you're actively investing time and effort circumventing one copyright...

    1. John Tserkezis

      Re: I don't get it?

      "Save twenty bucks* on a picture by using a grands worth of software?"

      What makes you think he didn't pirate that either? If he's too tight for $20, he's clearly too tight for $1K.

  14. D bex

    Explains why the photographer at a recent graduation I attended, was not too pleased to see the Art graduates taking pictures of any student that asked and telling them they would be posted on the art departments server for anyone to get a copy of !

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      That's pretty Uber!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I honestly can't understand why that is not the standard procedure at all universities anyway.

      A good practical experience for the students and no reason why the photos can't be made and defined as a "work for hire" with copyright vested in the university, but with some nice wide ranging licence for copying by the subjects of the images.

      If not that, then surely every university has at least one resident pro photographer employee. You know, the guy who does all the promo shots for departmental magazine/shindigs/ceremonies etc.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    quick question

    can they have the pics taken by someone else, i.e. friend or family, or is such dirty trick equivalent to terrorists taking cams to the movies, i.e. streng verboten?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of time.

    Watermarks are such a waste of time, provide no security and make images look like cack. They are one of the sure signs that the images are not worth looking at in the first place. I don't bother marking mine, it made no difference, they still got taken by scumbags and butchered.

    As someone once said, "A photograph needs a watermark like a toilet seat need 6 inch spikes!".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of time.

      Visible Watermarks are such a waste of time, provide no security and make images look like cack. They are one of the sure signs that the images are not worth looking at in the first place.

      TIFIFY ;)

      Hidden watermarks, on the other hand, are pretty much impossible to find ;)

      As someone once said, "A photograph needs a watermark like a toilet seat need 6 inch spikes!".

      ROTFLMAO!! Agreed! :)

  17. petur
    FAIL

    Two Points

    1. I hate the mentality of Photographers. They'll take the pictures, charge the time (generously), and then charge an arm and a leg for each print. May they burn in Hell. I can understand people hate paying *twice* through the nose for each pic.

    2. Adobe is still stuck in the WordPerfect era: charge loads of money, see only Pro's buy it and common people pirate it. Post WP era is: charge a low, affordable price, and watch millions of users buy it, and actually earn more money in the end.

    That's all.

    1. NightFox

      Re: Two Points

      I don't have any issues with photographers making money - what I do have an issue with is when they're given exclusive rights to an event, even over non-commercial personal photgraphers - for example, my daughter used to compete in gym competitions and I'd often photograph her performing. But some of the competitions then banned photography "due to child protection laws" but were quite happy to have a professional photographer capturing the event who would happily sell me a picture of my daughter (or anyone else's daughter for that matter) for about £10.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two Points

        Re photographers charging 'generously' - go price up a good lens that will take decent pictures in shoddy light, and a body capable of making use of that lens.

        I'll give you a hint - you can buy a pretty nice used car for the price of the mid range stuff, and a profressional snapper can blow a Fiesta ST's worth on a couple of lenses.

        I have one lens that would just about manage to be a decent all rounder when attached to a body capable of exploiting it fully (it's not too hot on high ISOs), and that alone, new, would have cost me well over £1500 - even second hand, it was close to £600. Then bear in mind you need backup bodies, lighting (a good flash can cost in excess of £200, studio lights and timing kit? Triple that for a start; then backups of that so that a duff timing control module doesn't cause a major shoot to end ten minutes in). A good photographer will be able to take good photos all day. A crap photographer will be able to take mediocre, poorly exposed, noisy, blurry photos for two hours before their camera locks up because it's too damned old, and they didn't have a backup body.

        Obviously doesn't cover all snappers (some wedding/event photographers are a fucking joke) but most who make a living out of it have - if they are actually making a living out of it - invested five figures into their gear, and normally a quarter of that a year to keep their kit maintained, serviced, reliable, and up to date. I have a hobbyist mate who does the odd wedding (at reasonable rates, I might add, as it's not her day job) and even she goes through £1500/year in kit just keeping up to make sure she doesn't embarress herself at an event.

        And that's not even starting on the cost of software to post produce it, assuming you don't want to spend hours learning GIMP (which is good, but Photoshop is better documented/guided/supported, especially if you want to bulk process batches of images using CUDA or similar GPGPU tools, which I'm reliably informed can make a huge difference to time spent working and productivity - I use GIMP as my work isn't time constrained and I can take my time learning stuff. That, and I'm too lazy to pirate PS when there is a free alternative) And no, you can't really do pro work in Picasa. Not flexible enough. It makes for a good archiving system though IME.

        As for the the whole rights issue - who can shoot where, and do what with the images - that's something that even snappers get pissed about. You get contracted by an event to take the photos, but you can't put them in a portfolio, you are told not to take shots of the face (because the artist has no septum, etc) - you can gear up, take the shots, and still get stiffed at the event and go home empty handed and out of pocket.

        It's not quite as black and white as you'd think...

        1. petur

          Re: Two Points

          AC, you're completely missing (the)(my) point(s). And by the way, I have a good DSLR + lens, so I know what the kit costs.

          The problem is that the ones I know are making a nice bunch of money for this upfront investment + moderate skills (because, let's face it, not many of them are top photographers). Again and again I've seen them charge generously for the hours, and then charge way too much for each print, and refusing to even name a price for a digital copy.

          Plus, they sit on top of that pile of pictures, allow you to pick from a selection they make - you never get the option to see all the pics, even if you would judge some of them nicer or want to have even if the framing wasn't perfect.

          Hell, I even have a relative studying photography and they seem to drill it in at school: family event? She'll take hundreds of pics and pass along 5 (don't tell me the others were all bad). end result? The family shares my pics and not hers, and I try to put her to shame in the quality department :) Any reasonable discussion with her is already impossible - brain washed photographer.

          Looking forward to your further downvotes, AC....

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. petur

              Re: Two Points

              If my car mechanic would charge his working hours as he does, and then go on charge for every km I drive in the repaired car, I probably would.

              BTW, you lost your money, but you can keep it until you pay in EURO :P

              (from the icon you used, I gather you need glasses, why not use them when you read my post, eh?)

              1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Two Points

            "Looking forward to your further downvotes, AC...."

            And per yourself to those who understand morals, cost per hour of labour and equipment, and copyright law, good sir.

            Frankly, I wish I hadn't been AC as I would have gained a few upvotes and been closer to silver membership.

            Ah well, eh?

            Quick edit to say, I don't necessarily disagree with your points, so much as having a difference of opinion with the nuance of it; to a certain extent it's like how musicians only became 'rich' in the last seventy years or so, but with photography there is so much more it than just making an 'acceptable' picture; a good picture taken by someone who appreciates context is worth a thousand words, and an excellent picture, taken by someone who truly appreciates the art of how images can portray the very soul of a subject, can be priceless - in rare cases.

            That's just us People though, being People. Everything is subjective.

            Anyway, for all my rhetoric, I'm pretty sure I'd buy you a pint just to argue the toss with you ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two Points

        > But some of the competitions then banned photography "due to child protection laws"

        Tell them to sue you, see how far they get.

  18. This Side Up

    Right clickimg disabled - LOL

    This assumes that you are using a computer and browser that

    a) has a right hand mouse button, not just one button

    b) has the menu on the right button, not the middle button

    c) doesn't have any alternative keyboard shortcuts

    d) has javascript enabled

    e) has a built-in function to disable right clicking

    f) doesn't have a "full save" option that saves all components.

  19. ecofeco Silver badge
    FAIL

    He calls himself an engineer?

    Some engineer. He didn't even kowa how to be anonymous.

  20. JayXi

    The Irony of it!

    It is ironic that the first thing some of these graduates do immediately upon graduation is to steal. After all that hard work would it not be worth every cent to pay for the real deal instead of stealing and feeling smug about it?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... but will Facebook have to pay?

    It's a good thing our friendly Digital Rights Manipulator didn't forget to sign his post with Copyright © 2010 by Jesse Chen. You can see how, in making such an effort to create such content, Jesse would want to make sure someone would be breaking the law if they stole his post.

    And talking of copyright-worthy content, did anyone read Jesse's self-promoting bilge:

    "Jesse is a software engineer at Facebook, who just graduated from UC Berkeley. Passionate about using mobile technology and entrepreneurship" to the point of ignoring the law, "he started his own blog as a home for his tutorials, projects, and random thoughts"

    Of course I had to mildly edit that to avoid anyone saying I or El Reg broke the copyright act. However, given the part of that which is apparently true (ie. that he works at fb), and the propensity of listed companies to '0wn all the creative work their employees produce', we can be pretty sure 'all his work beling to them'

    Maybe Gradphotos can use his post to force him to admit that he deliberately broke the Copyright Act and he or Facebook to pay recompense...

    Another question is, will Zuck make a stand and tell us what he thinks about publicly encouraging the kids to disrespect copyright laws with such helpful posts, or give us any other helpful insights about 'how they do what they do at Facebook'?

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Sharrow

    Their post says that Berkley students get Photoshop for free, but everyone doing this will be a grad. So they all bought a licence when they graduated?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought experiments

    If the watermarked image was sent to him, was it his to keep and do with as he pleased? Did he consent to be the model for their photography enterprise? Could he have opted out of the photo shoot and still walk for graduation? Does he get royalties on sales of the photo?

  25. BatCat

    I'm just happy...

    ... to see my pics used. So I'm not bothered about enforcing my copyright ownership. Then again, I'm not a professional photographer.

    The only thing that bugs me about photography at certain venues is where the don't allow you to take your own photos, thereby forcing you to pay for the "professional" ones. Quite often, my photos are just as good. If there is an outstanding professional photo then I'll probably buy that as well.

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Brian Allan 1

    Yet another approach

    There are already so many image processing packages that can do this I see no reason why he should be punished for publishing yet another tutorial!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet another approach

      I don't think it's the tutorial itself that gets in some people's tits, but the accompanying rhetoric.

      If he'd just explained how to do it and added it was "for educational purposes" he would likely have more or less got away with it. That's what articles in 2600 and similar publications used to do anyway.

  28. shovelDriver

    Who Owns Photos?

    Graduation pics are "not yours" because someone else framed them and pushed a button.

    Okay, then. Manuscripts, articles, bylined stories, books, films are "not yours" because someone else typeset them, edited them, reviewed them, published them, read them.

    Disregard the fact that there would be no photo if you weren't in them, if you had not posed for them. Disregard the fact that you contracted for, are paying for, the photog's work. Or, conversely, if you do not pay for them the photog still has to get your permission to use your likeness in a published picture, or otherwise must destroy them, demonstrating that the photographer has no vested property right I your photo, not at all. Disregard the lifetime copyright law and personal property rights which say that your body, your words, thoughts, expressions, smiles and grimaces are yours.

    Oh, that's right. We're all property of government which makes rules about what we can and can not own. Slaves have no rights.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Who Owns Photos?

      "Graduation pics are "not yours" because someone else framed them and pushed a button."

      Well, paid the University to be the official photographer at the event, invested a not-so-small fortune in the various skills, materials and equipment needed to frame them and pushed a button.

      What, you didn't think that all the photographer was giving up was an otherwise empty Saturday and the charge in a couple of SLR batteries, did you?

      No, the pictures are not yours until you buy them. That's the deal. You can walk away and no-one will call you a thief or worse, a dimwit thief.

      However, I agree that the best way out of this would be to show only small, low-res copies to the punters.

      But then, if they don't see a reasonable sample of what they can expect for their money when they click on "show me my graduation picture", why would they buy the high res version? A person stupid enough to blog about image-stealing is surely not bright enough to figure out that the finished photograph will be a thing of beauty far surpassing the postage stamp on the website, no matter what it says on the lambskin he was holding when it was taken.

      Because people are dumb. Even them wot just got out of skule. Evidence: This article.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019