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Thread started 18 Oct 2008 (Saturday) 12:55
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ethics aside, what about copyright morals?

 
Pearlallica
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Oct 18, 2008 12:55 |  #1

Where do you stand, morally, in regards to copyrighted material?

I make a conscious point not to download copyrighted material off the internet illegally. Sure, my track record is blemished with carelessness and I've downloaded my share of stock photos, music, software and movies for the sake of avoiding costly purchases. (all of which I've deleted or physically destroyed) Turning photographer has given me a stronger respect for others intellectual property (yes, including the industry's giants) since I've had a few experiences of people grabbing my non-watermarked work and using it without consent. Digital theft is so common that people don't even realize their actions are illegal. The very people that would cry "thief!!!", outraged if somebody stole a potted plant from their property would also think downloading theatrical releases are convenient and the coolest way to enjoy the most current hollywood entertainment. It's mindless hypocracy, not to mention typical human behaviour. But it blows me away at how numb people are to this kind of thing. Often times it's just plain ignorance combined thanks in part to its great acceptance in an uneducated culture.

What I've said it's certainly not new to anybody reading this. But my actual question to you all is this...

Being a photographer, a fellow producer of a digital media, and hopefully someone that is protective of the work they create, have your habits or attitudes towards other people's or company's copyrighted material been affected at all in a moral sense?


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FlyingPhotog
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Oct 18, 2008 13:04 |  #2

I probably have had a hightened sense of Copyright Awareness than most of the "digital age" boomers since I've worked in broadcasting for many years.

It was driven home most bluntly one day when I was working for a videocasette duplication company outside Philly. Armed guards brought us an unlabled master 1" videotape that turned out to be the only (at the time) original film to tape transfer of the first Batman movie (Keaton / Nicholson.)

Along with this tape came a five page memo that detailed the penalties involved if anyone were to break the NDA we were under* or were to make unauthorized copies or attempted to remove any copies from the plant.

Needless to say, the thought of spending the majority of my adult years behind bars as Bubba's "wife" was enough to keep me from getting sticky fingers...

(*The NDA was in place because we weren't officially contracted to duplicate this movie yet. The master was sent to us to test some alternative methods of high-speed duplication. It may have been overkill, but in the pre-DVD days of VHS duplication, this movie would have been a gold mine for illegal dubs...)


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Pearlallica
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Oct 18, 2008 13:19 |  #3

An ok example, especially in a time where such legalities were less common and more respected. I think the example is more in line with ethics rather than moral. The legal nature of tape duplication and its penalties seem more the basis for your choice not to commit the crime. My question is more to do with "do unto others as you would want others to do to you". I'm of course still speaking morally... not biblical.


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Pearlallica
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Oct 18, 2008 16:44 |  #4

btw, you have a great gallery, Jay. I especially like "twist and shout", "lighthouse interior", "Horseshoe Bend Sunset", and "One Owner .. Low Mileage..."

very inspiring


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FlyingPhotog
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Oct 18, 2008 16:44 |  #5

Pearlallica wrote in post #6518931 (external link)
btw, you have a great gallery, Jay. I especially like "twist and shout", "lighthouse interior", "Horseshoe Bend Sunset", and "One Owner .. Low Mileage..."

very inspiring

Thanks very much... :)


Jay
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RDKirk
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Oct 19, 2008 15:10 as a reply to  @ FlyingPhotog's post |  #6

An ok example, especially in a time where such legalities were less common and more respected. I think the example is more in line with ethics rather than moral. The legal nature of tape duplication and its penalties seem more the basis for your choice not to commit the crime. My question is more to do with "do unto others as you would want others to do to you". I'm of course still speaking morally... not biblical.

Ethics are personal-based, morals are community-based. Refraining from an act because the community has made it "illegal" is a moral consideration; refraining from an act because you personally believe it will result in a bad end as you personally define a "bad end" is ethical.

The moral (community) respect for copyright has probably never been very great--extensive copying in the past has just been inconvenient and more expensive than simply buying it legally. These days, it's becoming more and more difficult for the community to enforce moral respect of copyright, so we have to teach the kind of ethics that results in a respect of copyright.

I was speaking to a programmer who object to copyright based on the argument, "the words already exist in nature--how can someone claim ownership to merely an arrangement of words that already exist?"

Now, this young man was programming for a major corporation--I'd bet that if he were supporting himself purely by selling his own code, he'd have a different point of view. But at that time and place, he was too young to see it.

However, he did own an automobile he liked very much, and I pointed out to him that all the elements of that automobile existed in nature--all he had was a particular arrangement of them, and he hadn't even created the arrangement himself. So did that mean I could appropriate his automobile for my own purposes? Or did it mean the auto company should not charge for their "arrangement" of elements that already existed in nature?


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Pearlallica
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Oct 19, 2008 22:50 |  #7

yeah, it's a silly argument. How can he claim his hand is his own since the atoms it is composed of existed at the beginning of time and they are now simply in a unique arrangement that make up his hand. In terms of possession, the ownership of his hand would not be of his own if his view was accurate.


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midnight_rider
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Oct 29, 2008 09:29 as a reply to  @ Pearlallica's post |  #8

I have gained a lot of respect for images online in the past year ( I have been shooting since Jan. 2008 ). I think the main event that helped me was when I saw one of my photos as a screen saver at someones house. I knew them but it kind of pissed me off to be honest. After that I realized that all these wonderful photographs online came from somewhere and I deleted that which I appropriated. I do have a greater respect for the things I see online now and a lot less respect for sites like flickr.

Just a little input on some prior comments. Yes everything in my car was here since the dawn or has formed naturally. I feel like that is not enough reason to say that I should have as much claim to it as GM does. I am not paying for the resources. I am paying for GM's time and ability to form them into something I can use. As far as photographs are concerned, I have never been the original owner of anything I have taken a photo of ( given your point) but countless photographers could have taken the photographs from the same angle with the same setup and it would have came out different. That is even more true since we can really customize our work in Photoshop ( so I am told, I really need to learn to use it). So what I am saying is yes the paper, ink, and whatever is in the photograph was always here or has formed in a natural process. However it is my interpertation of the world and no one elses. Therefor taking it without permission is stealing.


I never, Not once claimed to read your post...

  
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ethics aside, what about copyright morals?
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