One of the judges of the National Transportation Safety Board (the NTSB) ruled yesterday that the FAA has no authority to regulate drones, striking down a six-year-old ban on commercial drones and saving a Swiss drone operator $10,000 that the FAA was trying to fine him. Read more…
The convenience of always having a camera with you also comes with some serious liabilities, especially if someone’s well-being depends on anonymity. This is probably why more and more judges are banning cameraphones from their courtrooms. Read more…
In one of the first major tests of intellectual property law involving social media services, a judge has ruled that news agencies cannot freely publish photographs posted to Twitter without the photographer’s permission. Read more…
After the death of Osama bin Laden and the subsequent dumping of his body into the sea, a number of groups have called for the release of photographs captured during and after the raid — particularly the images showing his corpse. A year ago we reported that the Associated Press had taken legal action to obtain the images. Yesterday federal judge James Boasberg put an end to all the requests by ruling that there were legitimate national security interests at stake and that the photos would not be released. He writes,
A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.
Three years ago, an Illinois man named Michael Allison was arrested for videotaping police in public in accordance with the state’s extremely strict wiretapping laws. He faced up to 75 years in prison for his crime, but a few months ago an Illinois judge ruled that the laws were unconstitutional and threw out the case. However, the State of Illinois is now appealing to the Supreme Court to have the dismissal overturned.
Xerox is showing off a new tool called Aesthetic Image Search over on Open Xerox (the Xerox equivalent of Google Labs). It’s an algorithm being developed at one of the company’s labs that aims to make judging a photograph’s aesthetics something a computer can do.
Many methods for image classification are based on recognition of parts — if you find some wheels and a road, then the picture is more likely to contain a car than a giraffe. But what about quality? What is it about a picture of a building or a flower or a person that makes the image stand out from the hundreds which are taken with a digital camera every day? Here we tackle the difficult task of trying to learn automatically what makes an image special, and makes photo enthusiasts mark it as high quality.
You can play around with a simple demo of the technology here. Don’t tell the Long Beach Police Department about it though — they might use it against photographers.
Turns out turning photographs into stencils isn’t transformative enough to be defended as “fair use”. In a case that has many similarities to the Shepard Fairey vs. AP legal battle, a judge ruled earlier this week against graffiti artist Thierry Guetta after Guetta (AKA Mr. Brainwash) had used a “stencil-ized” photo of Run DMC by Glen E. Friedman to promote an exhibition, concluding that Guetta’s piece didn’t differ enough from the original image to be considered fair use.
What are your thoughts on this issue? How much does a photograph need to be transformed before it is considered a new piece of art?
A man in Atlanta was just awarded $40,000 in damages after having his cell phone confiscated and photos deleted while filming police activity from a public location. The man was filming for Copwatch, an organization that aims to crack down on law enforcement wrongdoing by filming their activities, and was told by the police that he had no right to record them. An interesting quote from the CNN segment above is the lesson this case should send to other police departments,
The lesson is that police departments need to know that citizens can film their activity if it is taking place in a public place.
Not a bad result for having some cell phone photos deleted, huh?
New York City graffiti artist Poster Boy, Henry Matyjewicz, is famed for his rearrangement of subway advertisements into bizarre satirical collages. But as of late, the 28-year-old has been mired in legal troubles, ending in an 11 month sentence for missing a hearing.
Matyjewicz was arrested late last year and charged with the felony and misdemeanor counts for his graffiti. He plead guilty, managed to dodge the felony count, and instead received 210 hours of community service and three years of probation. He completed his service, but was soon rearrested for making more graffiti, as well as jumping a turnstile at a subway.
Initially, the district attorney’s office tried to overturn the original plea deal that exempted Matyjewicz from jail time for his repeat offense. However, the judge, Justice Michael Gary, eventually agreed to uphold the deal because he’d neglected to inform Matyjewicz that further offenses would not be so easily excused.
It would seem that Matyjewicz was home free, except for one mistake — he missed his hearing date. An arrest warrant was issued, and though the artist appeared a day late, saying that he’d forgotten to come in, he was taken into custody over last weekend.
On Monday, Justice Gary sentenced Matyjewicz to 11 months for what Gary says was a violation of the plea deal. The New York Post suggests that Gary’s judgment might be vindictive, since he couldn’t penalize Matyjewicz for his repeat offense.
Tom Petters, a former owner of Polaroid was sentenced yesterday to 50 years in prison for heading up a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. One of Petters’ lawyers, Paul Engh, told reporters that his client is likely to appeal the sentence.
In 2008, Petters was charged for money laundering, wire and mail fraud. He allegedly used falsified documents to convince investors that he was putting their money towards consumer electronics produced by Polaroid and his other associated companies. Instead, prosecutors say Petters paid investors with profits made from other investments.
Petters was found guilty in December 2009. US District Judge Richard Kyle handed the sentence yesterday.“This was a massive fraud and the defendant’s involvement in the fraud was front and center,” Kyle said.
The already troubled Polaroid company, which had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2001, was purchased by Petters in January 2005. Under Petters’ watch, the company fell into bankruptcy once again, in 2008.