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.
On August 4, 2006, AOL published a text file containing 20 million searches done by 650,000 users over a 3-month period for research purposes. Although the company anonymized the data by showing the users as numerical IDs, people soon realized that many people searched for personally identifiable information (e.g. their names), allowing real names to be put to unique IDs, thus revealing the search history of that individual. After the media caught wind of this, the whole thing was known as the AOL search data scandal.
In 2009 Andy Baio of Waxy.org — founder of Upcoming.org and former CTO of Kickstarter — created Kind of Bloop, an 8-bit tribute album to the best-selling jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. While Baio meticulously licensed all the music he used to create the album, he released a pixelated version of the original album cover (top, second from left) without licensing it, believing it was different and low-res enough to be considered fair use. He was then sued by the photographer, Jay Maisel, who “felt violated to find his image of Miles Davis, one of his most well-known and highly-regarded images, had been pixellated […]”.
Sigma generated a lot of buzz recently after announcing its SD1 DSLR with a $9,700 MSRP, and that’s probably exactly what they were trying to do. As articles all over the Internet questioned why a 14.7MP Sigma DSLR would cost the same price as Pentax’s 40MP medium-format DSLR, Sigma was quick to point out that the camera would actually be selling for a slightly more reasonable street price of $6,900.
There have been a number of stories lately reporting that a large number of Flickr users are leaving the site for new photo-sharing services that are cropping up, including Instagram and 500px. Earlier his week, a designer at Flickr named Timoni West wrote a post on her blog that publicly criticized Flickr’s usability. More specifically, she calls the “Your contacts” page (the one that shows your contacts’ photos) the “most important page on Flickr”, pointing out the problems with the page and offering redesign ideas that would address them.
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.
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.
Boston news station WBZ-TV stirred up some controversy recently after airing a piece titled “Downtown Crossing ‘Street Photographers’ Crossing The Line?“. Apparently a viewer sent in some video showing a group of six or seven older men who regularly visit a particular crosswalk to photograph pedestrians on the street, saying that they see the men “aggressively hunting down and photographing women and children nearly every day”. The station then decided to air a piece and publish a story from this perspective, questioning the intentions of the photographers and quoting other pedestrians on the sidewalk disturbed by their behavior.
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
During the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a number of images that became widely discussed were of 15-year-old Fabienne Cherisma, who was shot and killed by police after looting two plastic chairs and three framed pictures. One of these photographs (shown above), captured by photographer Paul Hansen, was recently chosen as the best International News Image at the Swedish Picture of the Year Awards. There was soon a good deal of discussion in the Swedish media over the ethics of such an image.