Not totally photo related, not just a journal. A bit of both.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New York Times advocates stealing Flickr images to decorate apartments

A New York Times writer named Sonia Zjawinski advocates stealing images from Flickr to decorate your apartment:

Through these bouts of procrastination, I’ve often found stunning photographs, so much so I’ve gotten in the habit of printing faves out and framing them. If a user offers the original resolution for download, don’t let that go to waste. Download, print, frame!

And if you’re wondering about copyright issues (after all, these aren’t my photos), the photos are being used by me for my own, private, noncommercial use. I’m not selling these things and not charging admission to my apartment, so I think I’m in the clear.

As most of you know, I post my images on Flickr, and her attitude is the reason why I don't allow access to my images in any but the default size, and limit the copying with the transparent 'spaceball.gif'. Doing that affects how my images are viewed on flickr, but what choice do I have when Sonia Zjawinski and her ilk steal..

She disgusts me to my core.

If I had a subscription to the dead tree NYT, I would cancel it because of her post.

NYT article here, and found via A Photo Editor...


Mike Wood Photography


Phronk said...

Disgusts you to your core? Really?

Maybe she shouldn't do this. Maybe it's slightly wrong. But it's not that bad. Especially if she's only taking photos from people who post them publicly, full size, and with a download button.

If you've ever downloaded a song from Napster or the like, that's many times worse. Stealing a physical object (where the victim actually loses something), many times worse than that.

Again, I'm not disagreeing that it's wrong, but to me this warrants more the mild annoyance of someone cutting in line than moral outrage.

John said...


You're obviously not an artist trying to use websites like flickr and the such to create exposure for your work.

I've invested more than $10,000 in photography equipment alone and won't even go into the hours and $ spent traveling in search of a great photo.

I don't a photograph not 10x more of a 'physical object' than a song. can you touch a song? can you print it up and hang it on a wall (as the author advocates doing)?

This is flat out stealing and advocating for others to do the same in 'the paper of record'. I and many others count on getting paid for my photos in order to eat and pay rent. Just because I post them on the web to gain exposure doesn't mean they are free for the taking. I seriously hope you understand this.

paul burd said...

I tend to agree with Phronk. In this case, the use of the images doesn't seem that different than recording your favorite TV show for later viewing. Technically, you've reproduced something that is copyrighted, but come on... does recording a TV show really hurt the copyright holder?

I often take screen shots of photographs I like. I've built a library of photos that inspire me. I don't consider it theft, as I'm not doing anything with the images except look at them when I want inspiration.

Anonymous said...

1. Stealing is not copyright infringement. (I'm glad nobody brought up Blue Beard's legacy... piracy... which has no place in this conversation.)

2. flickr's spaceball.gif does not help as much as you think.

As an aside: What difference do you see between the download I make to my browser cache and the download I make to my favourite images folder?

The difference I see is intention. I could bookmark the page or image just as well but that would require me to be online to view the photograph.

3. What do you feel is permitted under the fair dealing exception? (Copyright Act s. 29)

4. Best practice I've come across is, by the way, very nearly what you're doing. Get rid of the large-ish images to which the inset photographs link from your blog and you'll be all set. Your wonderful photographs will be viewable and useful to others only on a screen--which is exactly how your blog is viewed.