Copyright violation - illegal and unethical - WarmGlass.com

Copyright violation - illegal and unethical

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judith
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Copyright violation - illegal and unethical

Postby judith » Tue May 06, 2003 8:32 am

After much thought, I believe that this information needs to be aired in this forum.

I post it as a reminder for those tempted, and as an educationnal posting for those who might somehow not know, that it is legally and ethically wrong to use pictures of work designed and created by others, without their knowledge or permission, for any reason. And it is escpecially wrong (and illegal) to use those photos to promote yourself in a way that implies that the work is yours, leading the reader to infer that it is indeed yours.

We (Vitrum Studio) recently discovered that a woman in Hagerstown, MD, has decided to teach glass fusing classes. She put out a flyer announcing her classes, using pictures of work taken from our web site and from other web sites (Peggy Carr and others) inferring that the work was hers. The front of the flyer proudly boasts 4 photos taken from Peggy Carr's site, and the back features photos of our work (mine, and that of my partner Kevin O'Toole). We have never spoken to this woman, but she felt free to use our pictures to promote her classes in fusing (the photos she chose of Kevin's work were kiln cast glass and pate de verre - I guess she doesn't yet understand the difference there, either).

Adding insult to injury, and further implying that the work was hers, she credited Dick Kolpack with making all the handmade stands our work was displayed in. Dick made none of them - nor did he give his permission to use his name. Our stands were designed and handmade by Kevin and another artist.

Aside from any legal action we (and Peggy Carr) may take, we want to use this violation as an entry into a positive discussion on this board to promote knowledge and understanding of ethics in art.

We have already instigated discussion with the professional teachers in the area, trying to design a way to include a lesson in ethics in our beginning courses. We would appreciate any comments and suggestions you all might have.

thanks,
judith

Jo Holt
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Postby Jo Holt » Tue May 06, 2003 10:58 am

Judith,

I agree that this needs to be posted. This must be one of the fastest ways to get the point out to the fusing community. So sorry this was done to you!

I cannot believe she wouldn't know it wasn't right but you're kind to give her and others the benefit of doubt.

As I understand it, you can have your web photos locked from being printed; you could check that out with the webmaster you use. Unfortunately that wouldn't resolve the lack of ethics issue.

I compliment you for taking steps to educate teachers in your area and others thru this board. If it isn't on their agenda already, maybe Lani and Bullseye could slide this issue into their teacher conference.

Good luck with a resolution of your problem.

Jo

Dani
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Postby Dani » Tue May 06, 2003 11:34 am

This one hits close to home for me as I'm in the midst of pursuing a lawsuit. I've spent an enormous amount of time thinking about the pros and cons of legal action. Most of us try to avoid this sort of thing, speculating that the many costs will far outweigh any benefit we receive. I still haven't come to a final conclusion, but I'm closer to the feeling that a "principled" lawsuit can do an enormous amount of good for everyone. This might be just such a case, Judith. I wonder what the legal ramifications would be of passing the hat and getting donations to help with any legal action you may take. Certainly, a resolution in your favor would send a strong message and benefit us all over the long run.

Just moodling here,

Dani

Geri Comstock
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Postby Geri Comstock » Tue May 06, 2003 12:52 pm

Judith -

I'm sorry to hear that something so blatent has happened to you and hope you can resolve it quickly.

I would hope that your business ethics class also addresses the subject of people copying other people's work. This is a big problem for many of us who do shows. Someone sees our designs and decides we must be successful with them and starts making and selling the exact same thing. Very frustrating.

Geri

Lani McGregor
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Postby Lani McGregor » Tue May 06, 2003 12:52 pm

Jo wrote:I compliment you for taking steps to educate teachers in your area and others thru this board. If it isn't on their agenda already, maybe Lani and Bullseye could slide this issue into their teacher conference.

Jo


Jo, this is a big issue in our small community. And yes, it will be covered at BECon in the session on Professional Practices.

Copying anything has become horrifically simple in the modern age. The practice of not asking permission and not quoting one's sources is much too common and becoming worse. Unfortunately only the lawyers are going to benefit from the end result.

L

Patricia O'Neill
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Postby Patricia O'Neill » Tue May 06, 2003 3:56 pm

As per the pictures downloaded from a web site, I have a few comments.
If you decide to have a web site, you go public and you will have to face this type of action one day or another.

It happened to me a couple months ago. Someone took a picture from my site and used it on his own. It was not done well because he put a link from his site to my file, and it showed up in my statistics. Otherwise, I would never have known about it.
The "please, do not use my pictures without my permission..." which is clearly posted will not stop anyone.
I agree this is illegal, unethical, upsetting, etc... but publishing your pictures on the web is like opening the door of your house while you are sleeping.

It exists softwares that will add a watermark to your pictures. It becomes part of the file and can't be removed (unless you are a pretty good hacker). This is what I did. At least, if my files have to go, they'll go with my name on it.

I also do not believe that education will stop people. Because I doubt very much that the person who took your pictures had no clue that she was doing something wrong.

As per using your name and other people name without permission, this is illegal.
I have seen many web pages of glass people who give the long list of all the worshops they attended with instructor name and, if it gives a free advertising to the instructor, it should not be written without his/her permission. Paying for a worshop gives a student the authorisation to use what he/she learned, not to use the name of the instructor in thinking it will make you look better.

And sorry for what happened to you.

Patricia

Dani
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Postby Dani » Tue May 06, 2003 4:14 pm

I question whether using someone's name without their permission is illegal. In researching defamation of character, I discovered it is very difficult to sue someone for saying, "I think he's a crook". That phrasing just makes it my opinion, and the burden of proof of damage is on the object of commentary. Likewise, using someone's name and giving clear credit to them for intellectual property probably is perfectly legal. For example, if I own a J. McKerlie painting I want to sell on eBay and tout it as "a famed E. McKerlie", and E. McKerlie decided he doesn't want his painting touted or sold on eBay.... well, I think he's plain outta luck. I think you're probably trying to push the limits of the law not allowing the use of your name in public without permission. It depends entirely upon how your name is being used. Any attorneys out there care to comment?

Patricia O'Neill
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Postby Patricia O'Neill » Tue May 06, 2003 4:33 pm

I am not attorney, but I believe there are different way to use someone's name. Some are legitimate, some are not.

Let's say Jane Doe is a famous glass artist. I own a platter made by Jane Doe. I want to display it in my collection or to sell it. In this case, this is stating a fact that to say that the platter has been made and is signed by Jane Doe.

Now, I visit a shop that sells glass. The owner tries to sell me a blob of dichroic saying "I have made this unique pendant using a technique that I learned from Jane Doe". Since when Jane Doe is teaching how to make dichroic blobs? This is a wrong use of her name. It would be legitimate for Jane Doe to be upset. Now, does Jane Doe has a case, I do not know.
By the way, the story with the shop really happened. And Jane Doe do exist, I know her.

Deb Libby
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Postby Deb Libby » Tue May 06, 2003 4:35 pm

](*,) As you know from our prior conversations, this has been a serious issue in my book for well over a year now. Sorry that you personally have now felt another part of this whole issue. As many of you know, I do alot of art/craft shows every year and I am appalled at the lack of ethics within the current arts/crafts arena of late .... from instances of copyright infringement to blatent photographing and/or sketching of work within an artist's booth and on to becoming upset with the exhibiting artist/crafter for not willingly sharing full details on how a technique was achieved. Oops....sorry.....I'm tired of banging my head against the wall on this issue! I really wish that all instructors would include at least a small portion of the class for explanation and discussion of ethics and legalities. Glad you brought this up, Judith.

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Tue May 06, 2003 11:55 pm

Judith

I would advise contacting Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. A lawyer will contact her and demand that she stop using your images. Chances are that a simple phone call will stop her from using your images.

Going after her beyond getting her to stop, is another issue entirely. Hopefully you won't have to bother wasting your time and money on such trash.

I have a friend who has a mail order business with a website. One of his competitors actually stole their website and put it up as his own. The fortunate news was that they did a lousy job of it and many links didn't work. Sometimes you get bit by scum.

Good luck getting your problem resolved. Reality is that the stealer of your images always has the upper hand in these situations. Fortunately the laws of Karma work in your favor.

Let us know how it works out.
Bert

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watershed
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Postby watershed » Wed May 07, 2003 12:25 am

As to work, and photos of work, I think you are right morally, if not legally.

As to names on a resume, a story: On NPR I heard an interview about the PA miners' story being made into a TV movie. It turns out that Public facts (miners in cave/rescued) (I took this class) are fair game, whether the participants give permission or not. Part of the first amendemnt. Your Private life, on the other hand, is yours to keep (maybe a good idea).

My conclusion from the story is thus. If I can find it somewhere without breaking into your house, then it's Public. And therfore no longer under your/my control.

So IF I take a class from Blunderbuss the Flatulent, And I PAID for it, AND it was publically anonounced, then I can put it on my resume. That does NOT mean that I was a good stucent, or He a good teacher, merely that I did in fact take the class.

I personally think that I'd have to be scrapeing pretty hard to list workshops attended on my resume. Anyone with $$$ can do that. STUDIED WITH Blunderbuss, would be different(in my mind). It implies a longer and closer relationship. And would come back to haunt me pretty darn quick if it were a Fibb.

Again Pics and work are DIFFERENT from the example above IMHO.


Greg

judith
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Postby judith » Wed May 07, 2003 8:02 am

Deb Libby wrote:](*,) As you know from our prior conversations, this has been a serious issue in my book for well over a year now. Sorry that you personally have now felt another part of this whole issue. As many of you know, I do alot of art/craft shows every year and I am appalled at the lack of ethics within the current arts/crafts arena of late .... from instances of copyright infringement to blatent photographing and/or sketching of work within an artist's booth and on to becoming upset with the exhibiting artist/crafter for not willingly sharing full details on how a technique was achieved. Oops....sorry.....I'm tired of banging my head against the wall on this issue! I really wish that all instructors would include at least a small portion of the class for explanation and discussion of ethics and legalities. Glad you brought this up, Judith.


Hi, Deb,
Yes, you and I talked about this over a year ago when you were in an art/ craft show in our area and experienced what you described above - and some of those violators/visitors had taken classes at Vitrum.

Following your suggestions, I suggested the topic to Brad for WGW - and we DID do a presentation on the topic of "Inspiration, Theft or Creative License" in Portland. But we need a wider audience, and I totally agree with your suggestion of adding it to our courses - if not as a long discussion, at least as a handout with a brief explanation of the "rights and wrongs".

I welcome input and feedback from all - teachers and artists. What would you like to see covered in such a handout?

thanks,

judith

Deb Libby
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Postby Deb Libby » Wed May 07, 2003 9:48 am

Hey Brad ... how about that same topic as one of the "opening" segments for the entire group attending this fall's WGW? You'd certainly be spreading the info. to a larger audience once again.

Judith, a handout would be good (in addition to a quick/to the point discussion) because it would work to re-inforce what was heard in the class. In my former life/career, part of my job was to teach a segment on "Ethics" to law enforcement officers in our state (from the free cup of coffee, right down to "looking the other way" with another officer's behavior ... we covered it all). We always gave different situations, outlined ethical issues involved, and then discussed how it should be handled. Let me tell you .... we had some very heated "discussions" in the classroom! It's amazing how some people can rationalize their "unethical behaviors" .... you're not going to ever reach those folks. It is the person who "just never looked at it that way" that you can enlighten. With each issue (copyright, copying work, courtesy within booths), you can outline the do's/don'ts and perhaps offer an example of sticky situations for further discussion.

Just as we see here on this board, everyone views a situation differently .... but at least it gets people thinking.

Nikki ONeill
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Postby Nikki ONeill » Wed May 07, 2003 11:56 am

Judith:
Last night I was shown the advertising flier you are talking about, and was simply appaled that someone would advertise themselves this way. Maybe Dan Fenton could sic his Art Police on them. :evil: I'm sorry you have take time to deal with such issues. The subject of copyright does bring up further questions that I feel need clarification. For example, I've been taking workshops and studying kilnforming for over a year now and keep notebooks of notes on each subject, teacher, and class. Is it unethical to have included images of people's work from the web: galleries, auction sites, artist's websites, images from the competitions and gallery at Bullseye?. As a student these materials are quite an education and for personal use only. In the scientific community, we can freely copy published articles from journals for our own use. The copyright law of the US governing photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted material states that copies are not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." This warning is is printed on every library copy request form and is reinforced by the requirement of a signature. l assume this rule applies to images of art but would be interested in hearing thoughts on the subject.
Nikki

Tony Smith
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Postby Tony Smith » Wed May 07, 2003 12:09 pm

Nikki,

I believe there is a fair-use clause within the copyright laws. Your use of these materials probably falls into that category.

Tony
The tightrope between being strange and being creative is too narrow to walk without occasionally landing on both sides..." Scott Berkun

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Wed May 07, 2003 12:36 pm

This is a bit of a digression, but was curious. I also emailed Judith about this question so I am not throwing this out without having first asked her about it.

The piece I had in the WG@BEII exhibit, "Tangerine", was published in Glass Craftsman in conjunction with an article about the exhibit and the conference. I was never asked permission to publish that image and it was a complete suprise to me that it was. I was wondering if perhaps I had signed a waiver of sorts or given permission at the time the piece was entered without realizing or remembering I had done so. I am in no way upset that it was published. Appropriate attribution was given and I was thrilled that it was published. In this case, the end result of the image of "Tangerine" being used was beneficial to me regardless of my giving permission or not.

My question is actually wether or not my permission was needed at all, or would it have been a courtesy to let me know that it was being used?

Once the slide is entered for submission, is the image no longer my property, or under my control? In the same vein, my name was published in American Style in conjunction with a blurb promoting the Smithsonian Craft show...I wasn't notified, or asked if that could be done. Again, a complete suprise...a happy one albeit. Images (of course) were used and I expect permission wasn't sought (an assumption on my part) in those cases either for publication in Ornament, American Style... So when is permission required? Have we, or when have we given up our right to control when and how our images are used?

What Judith is discussing, what happened to her with her images is clearly unethical (feels like an understatement). I feel that to intimate that something is your work when it isn't is as wrong as actually stating (lying) that it is. But what are the boundaries? When is using images without the artists permission acceptable and when isn't it?

Just to add another thing to wonder about, as if we don't have enough to think about, there were a few people who asked if they could take photo's of my work at the booth at the craft show I exhibited at over a week ago. At first I was hesitant, but figured that most of the work on display had an image in cyberspace, and regardless of the persons intent for photographing, I couldn't see the harm to me in allowing it. I considered that they may want pictures so that they could directly copy the work, that they were collectors of images so they didn't have to buy, that they were bereft if inspiration and were using my work to give them a boost for their own work...I have no idea what the real intent was, but being that the images are available to anyone at anytime anyway, I figured I didn't need to worry about their intent to photograph.

The only way for me to protect my work from being copied is to never show it or broadcast images of it. I do both, so couldn't see the harm in allowing it to be photographed. In hindsight, I should have asked these few people why they wanted to take photo's :?: ...I had brochures and postcards that were professionally done for people to take...Regardless, what do others feel about having their work or booths photographed by others?

charlie
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Postby charlie » Wed May 07, 2003 12:54 pm

Cynthia Oliver wrote:This is a bit of a digression, but was curious. I also emailed Judith about this question so I am not throwing this out without having first asked her about it.

The piece I had in the WG@BEII exhibit, "Tangerine", was published in Glass Craftsman in conjunction with an article about the exhibit and the conference. I was never asked permission to publish that image and it was a complete suprise to me that it was. I was wondering if perhaps I had signed a waiver of sorts or given permission at the time the piece was entered without realizing or remembering I had done so. I am in no way upset that it was published. Appropriate attribution was given and I was thrilled that it was published. In this case, the end result of the image of "Tangerine" being used was beneficial to me regardless of my giving permission or not.


it depends. having shot photos for articles in magazines, if the magazine has paid for the film and processing, and the contract i sign with them states such, the magazine owns all the rights to all the pictures i take. if, however, i pay for the film, the contract i sign states that i own the rights to the unpublished pictures. the published pictures are what they are paying me for: the rights to publish my images. all unpublished images get returned to me and i can do what i want with them.

so, what does your contract state? it's common for contracts (a submission form IS a contract) to state that all submitted images to contests, juried shows, etc, all images sent, unless otherwise specified, belong to who you submit them to. you have to explicitly not allow this, and provide for a way for them to be returned to you.

Brad Walker
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Postby Brad Walker » Wed May 07, 2003 1:04 pm

Cynthia Oliver wrote:The piece I had in the WG@BEII exhibit, "Tangerine", was published in Glass Craftsman in conjunction with an article about the exhibit and the conference. I was never asked permission to publish that image and it was a complete suprise to me that it was. I was wondering if perhaps I had signed a waiver of sorts or given permission at the time the piece was entered without realizing or remembering I had done so. I am in no way upset that it was published. Appropriate attribution was given and I was thrilled that it was published. In this case, the end result of the image of "Tangerine" being used was beneficial to me regardless of my giving permission or not.

My question is actually wether or not my permission was needed at all, or would it have been a courtesy to let me know that it was being used?


Generally, you should have been asked for permission to publish. The entry form for the WG@BE competition did not include any kind of permission or waiver.

In the case of GLASS CRAFTSMAN, this is a bit muddier. Their written policy is that all submissions to the magazine become their property. When I submit articles to them for possible publication, I state in writing that the copyright remains with me and that my submission does not become their property. I don't know what was done in your case, but my general impression is that the magazine is fairly lax in this area.

Once the slide is entered for submission, is the image no longer my property, or under my control? In the same vein, my name was published in American Style in conjunction with a blurb promoting the Smithsonian Craft show...I wasn't notified, or asked if that could be done. Again, a complete suprise...a happy one albeit. Images (of course) were used and I expect permission wasn't sought (an assumption on my part) in those cases either for publication in Ornament, American Style... So when is permission required? Have we, or when have we given up our right to control when and how our images are used?


Again, permission probably should have been required. An exception would be if you had agreed to some sort of waiver when you submitted the slide. (There may have been something in the small print to the form you used.)

What Judith is discussing, what happened to her with her images is clearly unethical (feels like an understatement). I feel that to intimate that something is your work when it isn't is as wrong as actually stating (lying) that it is. But what are the boundaries? When is using images without the artists permission acceptable and when isn't it?


Copyright law is pretty clear on this. The doctrine of "fair use" says that "reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." There are several mitigating factors to this, but probably the most relevant is whether or not the reproduction is for a commercial purpose. (See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html for lots more.)

Translation: keeping a copy of the image for your own purposes is legal. Distributing it to others especially when it's done for-profit requires permission from the owner of the copyright.

It seems clear that what happened in Judy's case was a violation of copyright, especially since the images were used for a commercial purpose.

Jerry Cave
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Postby Jerry Cave » Wed May 07, 2003 1:20 pm

I do not allow other artists to photograph anything in my booth. It's a personal thing. Nothing we do is secret. Nor did we invent the techniques etc that are used. Designs are ours. I am delighted to share information with anybody that asks. Photos are available off the net, brochures etc. so yes they are available. I really feel infringed upon when an artist or assistant wants to take a photo. If that artist can't remember, too bad. I really believe they have other purposes in mind if they need a photo. We all look at each others work for ideas, we do that everyday. How many of us would ask to take a photo? Most would not.

Dani
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Postby Dani » Wed May 07, 2003 2:13 pm

>>Your Private life, on the other hand, is yours to keep (maybe a good idea).

This sentence struck a cord with me because of the research I've been doing in the past few months which includes invasion of privacy. You are mistaken if you believe your personal life is private in this country. Almost every fact about you is up for grabs. Getting your social security number and unlisted telephone number is as simple as looking up the info on your local voters registration. Didn't think about that angle, did you? Neither did I! I'll never again put my SSN or phone number on my voter registration. It's not required by law. And now, with the new Patrieot Act, anyone can go to your library to find out what books you've recently been reading without having to prove much of any good reason. Is it okay for people to know that? Sorry for going off on a tangent, but we are all in a very precarious situation in this society because the rules about what we rightfully own from intellectual property to real property, are changing so rapidly. All I can say, is you better get be informed and get involved if you want to hang on to anything! And don't blink too much.... some right can disappear that quickly! :roll: It's outrageously unbelievable what's happening under our very noses.


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