Archive for March, 2012

Mar 20 2012

Wrapping up loose ends…

Published by under amy's head,jewelry

The internet drama seems to be over — it looks like the culprit, Capturing Essence (whom I will now refer to as CE) has removed all the offending photographs, including ones she’s altered in photoshop and then placed her own watermark over.

From what I saw from a long message thread on her facebook page (I’m afraid it’s gone now though) I am feeling a bit more gently to her as just not understanding the nature of intellectual property. I think she truly thought she was perfectly in the right in doing what she did. Sadly, I think she is one of the many people on the internet who are misinformed on what is “OK” and legal in terms of photo use. A lot of folks think that photos out on the inter-webs are free for the taking, and can be used however they like. Often they can be used however one would like, once the common courtesy of asking, obtaining permission and referencing the owner has been done.

The comment in question was this one, by “Irish Forge” (who stated in an earlier comment on CE’s wall that Capturing Essence is a division of “Irish Forge”) (typos have been corrected):

Irish Forge: “…A generic weave on a generic or one colored background does not meet the requirements of unique and original expression to fall under copyright protection. Anyone can take a picture of the same weave on the same colored background and it will look the same. That is why copyrights must be original in express and process to produce.”

So basically, because the stolen images that CE used were of a basic weave (not a complex, original chainmaille design, but something basic that everyone under the sun has done for decades) and shot on a basic background — this means the photos are not “original and unique” enough to warrant ownership by the photographer.

This is absolutely NUTS. And legally WRONG.

Let’s put aside the law for now and just look at this from another point of view.

When I started taking my photographs, HO BOY were they crappola. I have a very nice Canon 30D and I still couldn’t manage to get good shots. I hopped on the internet, read about ISO, aperture, made a light box, sprung $500 for an awesome macro lens, bought daylight bulbs to use with my lightbox, researched what I need to do in photoshop with my RAW images to correct the white balance, adjust hue, saturation, contrast, brightness… I could go on and one because this journey of jewelry photography for me still goes on to this day! And I would venture to say that the majority of jewelry artists that shoot their own work would agree with me!

And when I shoot my jewelry, I like to get some shots that have a nice bokeh effect — the front of the photo nice and crisp with the background fading gently into fuzzy unfocus – very artsy fartsy. I take more shots that have as much of the piece as crystal clear as possible. I take some from above, I take some rom the side, sometimes I stick my head + camera right up close to get just the right look. I take a LOT of photos, toss most of them, and keep the best. I spend hours a day in SHOOTING the photographs, and then more hours PROCESSING them in photoshop on my computer.

So yes, while it may look to the untrained eye that my basic chainmaille bracelet is sitting there on a basic background could look the same as any other of that same weave on the same background — The fact is, it never will. The background will be a different shade, in different light, with the camera using a different aperture, different ISO, shooting from a different position, using a different focus point, shutter speed, a small child hollering in the background, “WHERE’S MY LEGO ROBOT??” that causes me to shift imperceptibly, blah blah blah blah blah… Every photograph is a one in a million shot! Uniquely different and utterly original.

And that is just the photo itself! If my photo is stolen from me, they are not only stealing the file of digital data that makes up that image, they are stealing all the time I have spent in LEARNING how to take that photo, the time I spent in trying different light bulbs, making light boxes, the money I spent on my macro lens and light box, the years of experience I have in tweaking the photo in photoshop to make it look just right.

It is MY PHOTOGRAPH, and for anyone to say that it is not original and unique enough to warrant copyrighting …. well, to me, that speaks of a absolute lack of understanding of photography and art.

It’s not original and unique? OK, smart ass, let’s see you go take one EXACTLY like it — it is impossible. I can’t even take one exactly the same.

So now, let’s look at it from the very simplest moral ground.

Taking something that you did not create or produce and claiming it is yours — that is stealing. Plain and simple. Did you make that bracelet in the photograph? No you did not. I did. Therefore it is indicative of MY WORK — NOT YOURS. You are representing something as your own that is NOT YOURS. Just going from a preschool level of right and wrong…. that is just wrong. It is STEALING, and it is LYING. End of story.

And that is why copyright exists — to protect someone’s property from theft.

What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Quoted from U.S. Copyright Office

There are exceptions, and fair use rules and probably a lot more I don’t understand.. but I know enough to know that the way Capturing Essence was using the photos did not fall under any of that.

I’m glad this is over… the chainmaille community is pretty tight knit — and boy were we all over this one! I hop ethat a little more knowledge on the protections copyright gives us can educate others on what is and is not legal concerning photographs, and all forms of art out there.

-Amy
(who really is going to try to blog about normal stuff one of these days..)

PS – This xkcd comic is really befitting of the last few days around here…

xkcd - Duty Calls

2 responses so far

Mar 19 2012

Stolen photos update

Published by under jewelry

She has removed (or FB removed) many of the stolen photos she had on her page — including mine, yay! — but still some remain — what’s more, she has the gall to try to watermark them as her own, sometimes removing the background.

Here is a photo she has in her album:

This photo originally belongs to Long Canyon Jewelry which you can see here:

It’s hard to see for sure that this was stolen, but a little more playing in photoshop shows the truth of her efforts however.

I’ve enlarged it, (so it looks terrible here, sorry) and then placed the stolen image on top. Even though she has removed the stone background and replaced it with a black one, you can plainly see the theft:

This is only one example, sadly, there are still several more stolen photos in her possession. Hopefully she will come to her senses soon and realize she can’t pass things that aren’t hers off as her own. Rebeca from Blue Buddha has a running list of all the stolen photos and their status on her blog here.

-Amy

5 responses so far

Mar 18 2012

Stolen Photos, Oh MY!

Published by under amy's head

There is a woman in Facebook under the business name Capturing Essence, who has taken various chainmaille artists’ photographs and is passing them off as her own.

Here is a screenshot of the photograph of mine that she stole:

And here, I’ve overlaid my own photograph, the one that I took back in 2009, and have posted all over the net in my various accounts (flickr, etsy, rainestudios.net, probably here on my blog somewhere) at 50% opacity, so it’s kind of see through — easier to see the fact that it’s the exact same photo with a different crop:

And finally, I’ve made a little animated gif (click it to see the animation) that shows exactly what a thief she is:

I’m blocked from her page and can’t post anymore.. but I’ve reported the stolen photo to Facebook, we’ll see what happens. Sadly, many other chainmaille artists have also been targeted.

6 responses so far

Mar 06 2012

Warm Fuzzies

Published by under amy's head,jewelry,photos

I feel like I’ve been running on empty the last 2 weeks. Two weeks ago, the kids had a Monday off of school, so we took the opportunity to go visit my parents and sister in Utah for the long weekend. Over the weekend, about a dozen supply orders trickled in and I got about 8 Etsy “convos” (message) asking questions about jump rings, asking for custom quotes, etc. I didn’t bring my laptop, and I try not to “work” on the weekend, so I left them go until we got back.

Tuesday morning I spent half the morning answering convos and trying to fill orders – Wednesday is a short school day for the kids (early release – blech!) which means it’s a short day for me, and I finally felt like I was catching up by yesterday.

I’ve had a few jewelry orders too, and one lovely lady saw my heart + key necklace and asked if I also did a star.

heart + key necklace

I fiddled around with some copper wire and my pliers, trying to make a star with just the wire — turns out, it’s HARD. You get one piece a teeny bit longer the the others, and BAM your star looks all wonky. I even took a board and nailed some nails into it for a little jig to use to wrap the wire around… I got some OK results, but overall, I wasn’t pleased with the outcome. Even if I had, I would have then had to solder the star closed, which presented more hassle than I felt it was worth.

So I contacted the woman and told her while I couldn’t do an open wire star, I could do a solid star — cut out of sheet with my saw. I sent a few pics in copper and she said she would like to see more.

Now — four months ago, the idea of sawing out a star would never have crossed my mind — I HATED piercing (the jeweler’s fancy way of saying sawing). My saw cuts wobbled all over the place, I invariably cut inside the lines… Rather than pierce out a shape, I would reach for a pair of metal cutting shears and use them, even though the filing and hammering it inevitably needed afterward that sort of manhandling made that much more work.

But I’ve been practicing my piercing skills in my silver class, and have been making little shapes to rivet down to silver discs to expand my Signal line of pendants, so I felt pretty confident. I cut two stars out of 20g sterling silver sheet without much trouble, drilled a hole, filed, sanded and tossed them in my tumbler to shine them up — and went about my business filling orders and answer email.

Monday morning, I fished my little stars out of the tumbler and finished the necklaces, adding a little key charm to each one, shot some photographs and sent them to my customer.

She told me that these necklaces were to be given as a gift to her daughters, on the anniversary of their father’s death, and that she has looked for something similar in the past but never been happy with with she found. Their last name has both “star” and “key” in it — the perfect necklace indeed!

My heart just melts that I was able to make these lovely, simple necklaces for such an occasion – it makes me so happy… I can slog through any amount of customer requests and email and filling of orders for moments like these.

star and key necklaces

I’m still running on emptyish.. Lots of orders to fill (always a good thing!) and not enough time to get it all done and the laundry to boot. But I am really loving what I’m doing :)

Amy

One response so far