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Total Noob January 20th, 2020 10:01 PM

removing watermarks
 
I downloaded a copyrighted photo with a large distinctive watermark indicating the photo studio that took the pic. But when I used the directory (Win Explorer) to find it again, I noticed the thumbnail did not show the mark; it showed the the original pic.

Is there a good way to remove the mark by stripping off the layer with the mark, as apparently done by the directory? The healing tool (a Youtube tip) was OK but not optimal.

Thanks.

renegade600 January 21st, 2020 12:12 AM

pay for it and the watermark will be removed.

Buzz January 22nd, 2020 11:56 AM

You're asking how to essentially steal the intellectual property of someone. I realize it may not be a malicious thought at all. But the watermark is there to ensure the image is paid for if it is to be sued. By circumventing copyright protection measure, you are trying to steal the image.

However... how the mark disappears in Explorer.. when images are saved in some formats they contain individual "preview" images or thumbnails within themselves. It is these thumbnails Explorer or the Mac Finder use to provide a mini-preview. Depending upon how the watermark was applied and its nature, it may not show in the thumbnail previews contained within the image file due to the generally drastic size reduction for the thumbnail previews.

There is no method to "magically" strip a watermark off of an image other than paying for the image without the watermark.

Total Noob February 1st, 2020 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzz (Post 1306821)
You're asking how to essentially steal the intellectual property of someone. I realize it may not be a malicious thought at all. But the watermark is there to ensure the image is paid for if it is to be sued. By circumventing copyright protection measure, you are trying to steal the image...

There is no method to "magically" strip a watermark off of an image other than paying for the image without the watermark.

Fair enough. I'm not sure you are 100% correct about the law as I am under the impression there are differences from place to place and with respect to the objective of the photographer and the rights holder who may be different people, but I hear you.*

*Technically, much of Facebook and Instagram consists of copyright infringing. In the US, the photographer has the rights to the image under most circumstances. So anyone posting a pic with his or her own image that is not a selfie is infringing, even if the pic was taken with his or her own phone. So what the law is and whether it is going to be enforced is a separate issue.

Quote:

However... how the mark disappears in Explorer.. when images are saved in some formats they contain individual "preview" images or thumbnails within themselves.
Thanks for the info. Is the same true for an overlaid date within a pic?

renegade600 February 2nd, 2020 01:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Total Noob (Post 1306862)
Fair enough. I'm not sure you are 100% correct about the law as I am under the impression there are differences from place to place and with respect to the objective of the photographer and the rights holder who may be different people, but I hear you.*

*Technically, much of Facebook and Instagram consists of copyright infringing. In the US, the photographer has the rights to the image under most circumstances. So anyone posting a pic with his or her own image that is not a selfie is infringing, even if the pic was taken with his or her own phone. So what the law is and whether it is going to be enforced is a separate issue.



Thanks for the info. Is the same true for an overlaid date within a pic?

If you want to steal someones work and try to justify it that is on you. you don't see the watermark on thumbnails and other smaller pictures because you cannot enlarge them without a major drop in quality making them worthless to steal.

Yes the rules are different from site to site but if there is a watermark on the picture it means they don't want others using it without paying for it or acknowledging the artist.. overlay dates is part of the picture and part of the copyright if it was posted that way.

whether or not someone files a legal claim with the copyright office, it is still legally theirs. asking for help to modify a stolen picture in a legit forum such as cth, is just plain stupid.

Buzz February 6th, 2020 03:16 AM

Rules are not different "from site to site". US Law is US Law.

While it's true some countries may not honor the Berne Convention (Like China, North Korea, etc.), most do. Regardless of what a web site's terms may state, removing a watermark is a direct infringement on someone's copyright. You could be liable for damage if that owner chose to pursue the matter.

I am aware that much of Instagram, Facebook, et al is littered with infringements.... but that doesn't make it "right" or "okay". Everything on the internet is NOT "free for the taking".

I make my living via intellectual property (digital images and content). I depend on that income. Using one of my images without permission is no different than you walking into my office and taking money off my desk... you are robbing me of materials I need to eat and live. However you try and justify it.. it's still theft.

renegade600 February 6th, 2020 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzz (Post 1306897)
Rules are not different "from site to site". US Law is US Law.

While it's true some countries may not honor the Berne Convention (Like China, North Korea, etc.), most do. Regardless of what a web site's terms may state, removing a watermark is a direct infringement on someone's copyright. You could be liable for damage if that owner chose to pursue the matter..

guess we were talking about different set of rules :-) I was thinking about the different licenses sites give on what you can and cannot do with their images when I made my comment.

Buzz February 6th, 2020 03:38 PM

Copyright, unfortunately is one of those things that most people think is meaningless or stupid because they don't rely on it for income. But those of us that do rely on it think differently.

I absolutely realize that there's rarely any direct malice by anyone taking images without permission.. they honestly think it's no big deal. But it IS a big deal.

Imagine if people thought of motorcycles the same way they think of copyrighted digital images...
You just spent weeks building a new motorcycle ..
Collected the parts, had things painted, spent time putting everything together.
You're very proud of how it came out and really enjoyed the build...

But... everyone other than you feels free to take it whenever they see it ....
Then freely use it whenever and however they want...
They don't bother asking for your permission at any time...
And they may or may not damage the motorcycle...
And they don't offer or pay you anything for their usage....

So, the only place your motorcycle is safe from others is locked away so the public never sees it.
Now, imagine you're required to use your motorcycle to earn a living and support yourself....
So the public has to see your motorcycle, there's no way to avoid it....

yeah.. then everyone might start to understand.

renegade600 February 6th, 2020 07:12 PM

some sites also owns the photos they have and offer them for a price for example Getty. they may have different rules as to how to use them. some may allow you to use them in ads, personal websites only or other. some may sell with watermark or will make them available without watermark with purchase. It pays to read the terms of use.

Total Noob February 10th, 2020 11:37 PM

OK. But there's more to the law and to the ethics and values underneath copyright than you guys are apparently aware of.

Copyright protection on photos are under Federal law, as I understand it, automatic with the publishing of the photo, assuming certain announcements an disclosures are properly made with the release.

But the holder has to file for the copyright and pay a fee before he can go to court on it, and even if he does, his recovery is limited by law to provable loss if the infringement occurs 3 months or more after the original publication. In some sense, if you post 10000 pics to Insta without paying any copyright fees, and then file a claim on just the one of them that someone screenshot, then you are in some sense stealing protection for the entire batch from the government.

Aside from the fact that if you have posted any images of yourself that are not selfies, then you have stolen them yourself, which could create a "dirty hands" scenario when you come to court crying about how the one picture from that disputed and mostly illegal batch you actually took yourself was stolen. Also, lots of pictures that are taken have copyrighted backdrops or backgrounds, for example, the wallpaper in your house, the pictures on your walls, the program on your tv, and so forth. Some sculptors have filed cases for people taking pics of their statues even though they are sited in public places, arguing it is the same as taking a picture of painting in a gallery. If a plaintiff is including within his image a third party's copyrighted work, IMHO that is as lecherous as an internet surfer simply screengrabbing the plaintiff's image, and I would suggest the copyright holder has "dirty hands" when he brings his case, and really isn't too entitled to a recovery.

A "dirty hands" scenario is kinda bizarre because it means that two wrongs makes it right, ie, allows the guilty conduct, but there it is.

There are other problems too. In order to win any money for an ostensible theft, the plaintiff rights holder -- the photographer usually -- has to demonstrate reasonably foreseeable financial damage to get any money from you as defendant. The stranger the plaintiff asked to take his picture with plaintiff's phone isn't going to be able to show that, assuming the stranger is found and he files for a copyright and is made a co-plaintiff. The other thing the rights holder can ask for is disgorgement of the infringer's profit. That is going to be difficult too if the photo is only used on a non-paying blog or some such.

So this is the metaphysical no harm no foul situation. It may be illegal and immoral but if there are no penalties because no one can show an injury, how illegal and immoral is it?

It is going to be more difficult in a situation in which a photographer is paid for his time, not for his images. A non-employee photog at a party will be given an hourly rate and told to forward everything to the party host, and he will do so, not necessarily retaining his original files and not necessarily knowing how the pics are going to be used, ie, posted to the host's website where anyone can see and/or download them. Technically, this could be a work for hire -- if the photog is an employee -- and that means the rights belong to the host. But more likely he is an independent contractor, like a wedding photog, who continues to hold the rights until transferred in writing, who is technically licensing the work to the person or entity paying him. This is hard to tell and the parties themselves may not know because the evaluation is very fact sensitive and can go either way depending on precise details of the conversation leading to the engagement. I'm going to say that if the people involved don't know what rights they have or what legitimizes their activities, then it will be hard for them to claim they were ripped off, and that will very much undermine a copyright claim.

There are other problems with headshot photographers. These are independent contractors paid for their time. The deal with the actor or athlete or businesswoman that poses prolly involves a non-exclusive license that the photographed people may put on their websites that specifically invite third parties -- prospective buyers of their services -- to download for their own benefit. If you are specifically inviting people to take your material without charge, I suspect you might be putting it into the public domain.

There are also a series of "Fair Use" exceptions to copyright, among them criticism and newsworthiness. When a network shows a posted youtube as part of a news story, that is generally OK even if it is in some sense stolen because they didn't put a paid cameraman there, especially as the network makes money off the news, and sometimes something is only news because the video turns up.

Now when I said "site to site" I was thinking of physical locations. Some states have laws about how you can use images with other people in them as a matter of privacy. Some states have their own copyright laws too that are not necessarily consistent with Federal law. But generally speaking, it is hard to recover any money if the infringer isn't making money on it, and it is hard to say that is stealing.

My understanding is that songs are subject to what is called mandatory licensing. Anyone can appropriate a song (as opposed to a performance of that song) by paying a trivial fee. If someone understands what distinguishes these situations, please advise. If not, I would argue that if it is not stealing in one case to pay a trivial fee for use, then it is not in the other, and there is certainly no basis to allow the rights holder to prohibit the use of an image outright.

This is not to demean IP holders or copyright. But IMHO, the topic is way too nuanced for anyone to categorically say it is theft, ie, you are taking bread off my child's plate.

Personally, I don't think anyone wanted the pics I was interested in. The business that hired the photog is long gone. Unless the photog has the right writing currently in his possession -- which will be hard to prove -- and some way of establishing that the pics continue to have some value to him -- which will be hard to prove -- then it is problematic to suggest I was really interested in doing something wrong.

Buzz February 11th, 2020 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Total Noob (Post 1306935)
Copyright protection on photos are under Federal law, as I understand it, automatic with the publishing of the photo, assuming certain announcements an disclosures are properly made with the release.

But the holder has to file for the copyright and pay a fee before he can go to court on it,

I read this much and then just skimmed the rest.

You are flat-out wrong from the start. So, I didn't bother reading everything else closely. Your basic understanding is flawed.

Copyright on creative work (photos, illustrations, sculptures, writing, music, etc) is established the moment the work is created. It has NOTHING to do with any "publishing". Absolutely nothing. Unpublished work is just as copyrighted as published work.

More over, no registration or fee is required to have a copyright. Again, copyright is established the MOMENT the creative work is generated. For legal reasons, it can be helpful to have the date of creation somehow noted, but no registration is necessary.

Yes, one can choose to register works with the Library of Congress (LOC) in the US. This does not make a copyright "more" valid. All registration does is create an official record of the date of the work. If a dispute arises and you have registration dated first with LOC, then there are some legal benefits, as in, they assist with disputes.

"Fair Use" does exists. However, removing a watermark shows clear intention to circumvent protective measure put in place by the copyright holder. Whether or not that causes damages to the copyright holder is an independent matter that would take arbitration or at least disclosure to grasp fully. Most "fair use" does not involve intentionally circumventing protective measures. But each case is it's own matter.

------------------

I've created intellectual property for more than 35 years. I am well aware of copyright laws since my livelihood depends upon them.

Again, I realize that there's generally no malice in the misunderstanding of copyrights. However, it's clear you don't fully grasp them and may be seeking to justify an infringement via a bunch of made up scenarios. I mean yes, murder is illegal.. but if it's self-defense you amy not be punished. The same round-about scenarios can be created for practically anything.

Each case or infringement is independent and one can not generalize about what is or is not damage or acceptable.

Throwing in music or video is another matter. There's an allotment for time-shifting with video, etc. Audio visual works have their own set of legalities.

Make no mistake though.. it is theft in many cases. Whether or not you'll be caught and then legal action taken is an entirely different matter.

--------------------

Ultimately, you just want someone to tell you what you want to do is okay... because that post is littered with unjustifiable rationale. Your ENTIRE post is all about how you feel you are justified in infringement. And it's really all wrong. There are so many incorrect issues that I could spend weeks trying to explain how you are simply wrong over and over and over again. Everytime I pick a sentence and read it.. it's incorrect in some manner....and all slanted to your rationale for theft.

Sorry, if you want an non-watermarked version of a photo, contact the copyright holder and ask them for one. It shouldn't be too hard, since there's a watermark!

Total Noob February 11th, 2020 05:50 PM

No, not wrong. You are splitting hairs in a manner that distorts the reality.

Technically, it is true that copyright exists immediately after creation and fixation. But infringement is not actionable unless there has been copying, and without some kind of initial publication, then the author cannot demonstrate his work was copied from him and is not original to the defendant, so he loses in court every time. A series of other rights also kick in at publication that do not exist before that.

I suppose he can argue his non-published work was physically stolen and then copied, but short of that, I don't see any path to victory, but then again, the defendant has problems above and beyond infringement.

If an asset cannot be protected by law, it hardly exists at all in the real world.

Since you chose not to read the rest of it, I urge you to do so. It might be illuminating to see the difference between technical and philosophical on the one hand and how things actually function on the other.

Buzz February 11th, 2020 08:07 PM

If you came across the image, it's been published.

And creative **is** protected by law.. even if you choose to ignore that law.

Your arguments are ludicrous.

Total Noob February 12th, 2020 05:30 PM

>>>Your arguments are ludicrous.

This area is a 4 credit law school course called Property. The intent of the course is to allow courts and all others to separate fact from fiction.

I stand by my assessment.

Total Noob February 12th, 2020 06:04 PM

I did want to mention that a lot of what happens in the copyright area categorically defies the theoretical way it works.

Remember Andy Warhol's Tomato Soup Cans?* The paintings were simply labeled cans exactly as they appear on supermarket shelves. No more, no less. Campbell's objected and probably had a valid legal case because the paintings do not seem to fit into any clear exception other than an outside chance it is Fair Use because the backstory of the art is the artists comment that art itself has been commercialized, and supermarket shelves are what we get in the deal as the replacement for art.

Ultimately, Campbell's let it go. It saw the bad press from efforts to vindicate its rights and the boost to Warhol's career would make the situation worse. So much for technical copyright.

Another thing, as mentioned, is that lots of things in photos and videos specifically are subject to someone else's copyright.** When you go to court and face a jury, the argument "It is mine, I stole it fair and square" doesn't play well. Jurors tend to be real, not technocrats parsing meticulous language of poorly written and sometimes not-really-intended-for-this-situation Acts of Congress.

Finally, in the area of word copyrights, it is notable that Google simply scanned and published tens of thousands of out of print books found in university libraries with the intent of putting them up for sale. The difficulty was that it couldn't get clearances on vast numbers of them; the authors died and it was impossible (or at least extremely costly) to ascertain who the rightful heirs were, if any. So a court somewhere allowed an ostensibly illegal workaround, namely that Google could publish and sell those books if it established a fund that allowed heirs to make claims for payment at a later date. I'm not sure how disputes about the fees were to be settled.

But my point is that the legal barrier of having permission for use first seems to be an artifact from an earlier time, at least in some situations. The current thought is that copyright should not get in the way of the flow of ideas and information.

So before anyone gets high and mighty about the possibility that someone is taking the bread off his plate, he will want to know that copyright is not what it used to be, and that what it used to be wasn't that protective anyway.

*https://i.imgur.com/9uotbYz.jpg (Note in passing, the photo is prolly an infringement on Campbell and Warhol's work. Do you think Warhol's estate is entitled to get paid for someone ripping off his ripoff?)

** The photo at https://www.flickr.com/photos/125066...-9UypTD-9TY21z has multiple copyrights (in the form of published logos) shown. Anyone think the photographer should be sued for posting the pic on line?


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