Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Photos Must be the Product of Human Authorship to be Copyrightable

Here’s an update to the whole monkey copyright story that’s been swirling around the blogosphere as of late: TechDirt points out that works that aren’t the product of human authorship cannot support a copyright claim. Section 503.03 of Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices published by the US Copyright Office reads:

503.03 Works not capable of supporting a copyright claim.

Claims to copyright in the following works cannot be registered in the Copyright Office:

503.03(a) Works-not originated by a human author.

In order to be entitled to copyright registration, a work must be the product of human authorship. Works produced by mechanical processes or random selection without any contribution by a human author are not registrable. Thus, a linoleum floor covering featuring a multicolored pebble design which was produced by a mechanical process in unrepeatable, random patterns, is not registrable. Similarly, a work owing its form to the forces of nature and lacking human authorship is not registrable; thus, for example, a piece of driftwood even if polished and mounted is not registrable.

Is a photograph taken by a monkey the product of human authorship? On one hand, the monkey pressed the shutter, but you also can’t argue that a human author didn’t contribute, since they had to have provided the camera in the first place (unless the monkey stole it or something…). TechDirt believes the photos are in the public domain.

(via TechDirt via Boing Boing)


Image credit: Driftwood Eagle by Port of Tacoma

Tech Blog Receives Takedown Request Over Photos Monkey Took

Just as the monkey photography story was dying down, a new twist emerges: on Monday tech blog TechDirt received an email from Caters News, the agency representing wildlife photographer David Slater, whose camera was hijacked by a monkey and used to shoot a number of self-portraits.
Read more…

Nikon’s Reasons for Lens Stabilization Over Sensor-Shift Stabilization

Nikon has a support page for people who wonder why the company hasn’t added sensor-shift image stabilization to its DSLRs. The first point is that stabilizing the image before it enters the camera allows the user to see exactly what the sensor “sees” through the viewfinder, and allows the autofocus and metering sensors to take advantage of this stabilized image as well. Secondly, they state that they can optimize the system for each lens to achieve finely tuned stabilization that gains extra stops of light over sensor-based systems.

Why is ‘in-lens’ VR superior to ‘in-camera’ VR? (via Nikon Rumors)

CNBC: Point-and-Shoot Cameras Are an Endangered Species

CNBC ran this short segment a couple days ago in which they invited CNET’s Dan Ackerman to explain the changing landscape in the digital camera industry. He thinks point-and-shoot cameras may soon become extinct due to the rise of camera-equipped phones, but also that DSLRs are the cameras here to stay. A recent study found that phones have replaced digital cameras completely for 44% of consumers, and that number seems bound to rise as the cameras on phones continue to improve.

My guess is that in five years, we’ll see digital camera users divided into three camps: mobile phone, interchangeable lens compact, and DSLR. What’s your prediction?

Does Bringing a Camera onto an Airplane Damage Its Sensor?

Kodak uploaded a video to YouTube recently thats been causing quite a bit of controversy. It’s a talk by Rob Hummel at Cine Gear Expo 2011 in which he states that bringing your digital camera onto an airplane will damage its sensor and cause dead pixels (it’s about 8min into the video). The reasoning is that at altitudes of 20,000ft and higher, you would need 125ft of concrete to shield yourself from the gamma rays, which induce voltages in the sensors and fry the photo sites. He also claims that manufacturers only transport cameras by sea, and that they all keep quiet about this because they fear a class action lawsuit.

The comments on the YouTube video and the dpreview forums are filled with people who believe that this is simply an attempt by Kodak to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) over digital cameras in an effort to lure more people to using film. So, which is it? Fact or FUD?

(via dpreview and Photo Rumors)

‘Dance Steps on Broadway’ Lawsuit Ends with Photographer Paying Settlement

The legal battle between photographer Mike Hipple and sculptor Jack Mackie over a photo of Mackie’s public art piece “Dance Steps on Broadway” has ended with Hipple paying a settlement out of court. Mackie writes,

Anyone can make photographs of any public art and do most anything they want with the photograph. Private photos are most likely not infringements. People can frame them and give them to their uncles and aunts as gifts, they can post them on their facebook pages, or they can make Valentines with them and give them away. What they can not do, and this was the basis for the lawsuit, is offer to commercially sell them, which Mr. Hipple did, at least twice.

[...] The legal issues surrounding this case have always been clear and obvious. Instead of acceding to the clarity of the law, Mr. Hipple attempted numerous defenses. Mr. Hipple pleaded that because my art work is popular I should no longer be allowed to hold copyright. Tell that to Walt Disney. Mr. Hipple pleaded that one can not copyright public art. Tell that to the US Registrar of Copyrights. Mr. Hipple claimed that my art work is “instructional” and that his photograph “depicts dancing.” Taking him up on this argument we produced an image of his photograph containing my Dance Steps juxtaposed to an image of his carefully posed shoe model on a blank sidewalk [shown above]. Does his image without the Steps “depict dancing?” You decide.

Our initial post on this case in early 2010 sparked quite a bit of debate in the comments, with plenty of people arguing both sides.

AP Takes Legal Action for the Release of bin Laden Death Photos

President Obama announced last week that photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body would not be released to the public due to concerns that it would incite violence and hatred, but a number of news agencies and advocacy groups are attempting to have them released using a Freedom of Information Act request. The Associated Press is one of the agencies that filed a FOIA request (they’re also requesting that video of the raid be released), and the US government has 20 days to respond.
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Obama Reenactment of bin Laden Speech for Press Photos Stirs Controversy

You might not know this, but virtually all of the still photographs you’ve seen in the press showing President Obama announcing the death of Osama bin Laden are staged photographs. Reuters photographer Jason Reed wrote an interesting behind-the-scenes blog post on Monday, explaining:

As President Obama continued his nine-minute address in front of just one main network camera, the photographers were held outside the room by staff and asked to remain completely silent. Once Obama was off the air, we were escorted in front of that teleprompter and the President then re-enacted the walk-out and first 30 seconds of the statement for us.

Apparently this has been standard practice during Presidential speeches at the White House for quite some time, and is meant to prevent the noise of camera shutters from interrupting the televised address. Despite the fact that news organizations try to disclose the nature of the photos in the captions, the fact that these photos are staged doesn’t sit well with some folks.
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A Primer on the Mirrorless Camera Craze

If you’ve been out of the loop when it comes to emergence of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC, AKA EVIL), David Pogue over at the New York Times has an interesting article introducing them:

That’s why, for years, there were two kinds of cameras: pocket models, with tiny sensors that produce blurry or grainy photos in low light and S.L.R. cameras, those big-sensor, big-body, heavy black beasts used by professionals.

In the last couple of years, though, things have changed. There’s a new class of camera whose size (both body and sensor) falls in between those two time-honored extremes. They represent a rethinking of every single design element, a jettisoning of every nonessential component, in pursuit of a tiny, big-sensor camera. Because that, after all, is what the world really wants.

Do you think these cameras are “what the world really wants”?

The Holy Grail: Small Cameras, Big Sensors [NYTimes]


Image credit: Sony NEX-5 w/ Minolta 55mm f/1.7 by pabuk

Lynsey Addario’s Thoughts on Being a Female War Photographer

New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario was recently released along with three male journalists after being taken captive in Libya. After details of her abuse was reported in the news, there were immediately reactions from those who believe that female journalists shouldn’t be assigned to war zones because of the risks. Addario responded yesterday, saying:

If a woman wants to be a war photographer, she should. It’s important. Women offer a different perspective. We have access to women on a different level than men have, just as male photographers have a different relationship with the men they’re covering.

[...] when I was in Libya, I was groped by a dozen men. But why is that more horrible than what happened to Tyler or Steve or Anthony — being smashed on the back of the head with a rifle butt? Why isn’t anyone saying men shouldn’t cover war? Women and men should do what they believe they need to do.

I don’t think it’s more dangerous for a woman to do conflict photography. Both men and women face the same dangers.

You can read the rest of her post over on the NYT Lens Blog.


Image credit: 038 by Nasser Nouri