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Re: [BKARTS] query watermarks and copyrights

Date:    Fri, 18 Jan 2008 16:38:52 -0800
From:    Nancy Ewart <nej1945@xxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: query watermarks

I'm pretty much of a lurker as I don't make the kinds of books that  
most of you do. In fact, I'm in awe of your skills as what I do is  
alter second hand kids books and can't do the binding, etc. that you do!

But I have a question and please, it's not that I'm trying to be rude  
or anything like that. I'm just really curious. I understand the  
issues around copyright (well somewhat as it seems to be changing all  
the time) and plagiarism (also somewhat as that's being redefined in  
tighter and tighter terms) but what are other kinds of issues? I see  
that a lot of images on the Internet are altered in some way to  
prevent people from using them but using them for what? I can  
understand altering images if you think somebody else will make money  
off of your work but most of us (I'm a completely unknown artist, for  
instance), can't give our work away, much less sell it. Are there a  
lot of people illegally making money off images or wholesale  
appropriation of images for some illegal or nefarious purpose? I know  
that there are some places which copy artworks onto canvas and sell  
them but if I understand it correctly, most of what they make money  
from are reproductions of paintings that are famous and most of those  
artists are dead. The other huge amount of images that I see for sale  
are t-shirts, posters, coffee cups, etc. of cute cats and dogs.

I've downloaded images of old photographs from various sites and used  
them in my altered books so should I assume that what I'm doing is  
illegal? By the way, I've never sold one of my altered books so I  
certainly am not making money from using xeroxes or prints of old  
material. I also do collages from material that I find all over the  
place - xeroxes from old magazines, downloaded images from historical  
websites and similar places. Is what I am doing illegal and offensive  
to somebody?

Anyway, I'm just curious as to what problems people see with the use  
of images and why, if there is a fear about unauthorized usage, why  
put them on the Internet?

I am asking this out of genuine curiosity and not from any desire to  
be rude or inappropriate.  But this issue has puzzled me and I'd love  
to hear your input as it relates to the problem of watermarking  
photographs for display on the web.

sf nancy

Hi Nancy-

I'm like you, a lurker who adores Book Arts, and is on this list mostly to
learn.  Standing on the shoulders of giants and all.

Just to add to the conversation, there are also unscrupulous folks that copy
web images, burn them onto CD, and then sell them on eBay as Stock Images.
A great resource for copyright information, that is written in
everyday-speak, is the "Copyright for Collage Artists" website, created by
artist Sarah Ovenall, here: http://www.funnystrange.com/copyright/.  She's
not a lawyer, and rightly explains that for further information, or to make
sure you're not breaking the law, to consult a copyright attorney.  She's
just an artist who spent hours and hours in the library, copying off
Victorian engraving images from the Illustrated London News to create her
Victoria Regina Tarot Deck from those images.  She had to learn about
copyright to pull this off and sell her deck, so she shares the information
she gained with other artists on this website.  It's an excellent intro to
the topic, and can help guide you on your collage and altered book journeys.
Unfortunately, to answer the questions in your post, it would all boil down
to "It depends on the image and the site", which I'm sure doesn't help much.

J, what do you think about using transparent .gifs to overlay your images?
So if someone right-clicks it to save the image, they'll only download the
blank overlay?  I know there are ways around that, too, as it seems with all
copy-protecting devices, and while Digimarc looks and sounds fantastic, $500
per year is a hefty price to pay to track down who right-clicked an image.
Also, it sounds like your collection of images is in a special niche, and
I'm wondering, too, about the audience who would be interested in that
collection.  Meaning, do you think your collection would appeal, in general,
to 15 year-olds who can program their way into good grades by hacking the
school's network, or an audience who wouldn't be nearly as tech savvy?
Because if the target audience, in general, isn't so tech savvy, I wonder
then if some of the basic tricks might work?  Like the right-click disabling
and transparent .gifs and just a plain ole "Please don't copy these images,
please write to me if you'd like your own copy", that kind of thing?

I appreciate you bringing this topic to this list.  It's interesting to read
all of the answers that folks are giving.  Good luck, and I hope you'll let
us know when your collection is up. :D


          The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2007 is Now Online at
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