Children of a Greater God?

Mileshugsscarlett Weird misappropriation. A well-intentioned man with a big heart, but who is also a pretty radical Christian opposed to single-sex marriage, “borrowed” one of Amy’s images from Flickr (Miles hugging his cousin Scarlett) and posted it to his own site, with some vague message about how we can’t enter the kingdom of god without having the innocence and love of a child. Unlike most image borrowers, the guy actually wrote Amy to let her know he was using the image, and he gave her credit on his blog.

So one hand it’s cool that he gave credit. On the other hand, his approach of borrowing first and asking later isn’t cool in Amy’s book, and we’re both angered by the fact that Miles’ image is now associated with a site that stands in staunch defiance of basic human rights.

Obviously, I’ve got a more open attitude toward sharing and re-mixing of content on the open net, but I also get chills thinking about Miles’ image being associated with hateful views. Amy’s going to be asking him to take it down. Will be interesting to see how he responds.

Music: Herbie Hancock :: Maiden Voyage

26 Replies to “Children of a Greater God?”

  1. If it’s from filckr, is it not licensed under Creative Commons? CC allows anyone to take anything as long as credit is given. I believe flickr also offers more strict licenses that would deter “borrowing” such as this.

  2. Nate: Flickr allows a member to give their images a CC license, but it isn’t on by default and it certainly isn’t mandatory. If you look at the image page it clearly says “(C) All Rights Reserved”.

  3. Photo is gone (link goes nowhere.) You must have read more of his posts than I just did, but I didn’t get any hate in the last 4 posts. Even in the post you cited he ended it with: “The babies are not only those who we cannot help but love; they are the ones showing us that we ought to love all the time.” Pretty darn postive message. Miles’ photo could have landed in far worse places on the net.

  4. Interesting that he’s taken it down already. Well, that’s for the best. I didn’t mean to imply that the site overall is a “hate” site, and yes, he had lots of positive messages there. I only meant that he had some posts that were strongly opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage. In my book, that makes him a hater.

  5. So what Frank has done here is to remove the original posting and image from one of his blogs, and then simply reposted them on another of his blogs. This time, he’s posted them on one that doesn’t allow comments. Or rather, it does, but to comment requires you to log in. But there is no way to register on the site to obtain a login.

    So it seems that Hilario A) Has a very confused moral compass (professing hate under the guise of love), B) Does not ask before borrowing, C) Does not respect the wishes of the artist who shot the image now that it’s clear she wants the image removed, and D) Does not welcome feedback on his beliefs or methods.

    Something about all of this doesn’t seem very Christian to me.

  6. Scot, don’t you feel better (don’t I!) when you’re telling people something like this? ‘A well-intentioned man with a big heart …’

  7. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of my co-religionists behave. When you think it goes from God’s lips directly to your ears, you can pretty much justify anything.

    Frank, no matter how pure you might think your motivations, “You shall not steal” is pretty plain and clear. Now go and do the right thing…

  8. Scot, this is a tough case. When you post something publicly on Flickr you’re inviting people to blog it. Even if you copyright the image (and Amy has) people have a strong case for posting a thumbnail with a link back to the Flickr page — as Frank has done. After all, they’re just reporting on something that exists publicly. Google does this all the time. Using linked thumbnails should fall well within fair use (and if it’s not, I blame those DRM-happy, copyright-expanding, public interest-hating Disney lawyers).

    You can’t say that you’re in favor of free remixing and sharing on the net, and then renege on that when someone who disagrees with you remixes your stuff. Sure, it’s upsetting, and you have a right to be upset. That’s the whole point of remixing, after all… it enables the expression of new ideas that the creator didn’t think of, and maybe doesn’t even agree with. Welcome to the dialog.

    The guy may be a religious right winger but in this case it seems clear: He is not stealing, any more than you “stole” images for your excellent collages.

  9. Dylan, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here (i.e. make rejoinders that don’t nec. represent my own view)

    When you post something publicly on Flickr you’re inviting people to blog it.

    Does “to blog something” mean “to reproduce in full?” Fair use gives us the ability to excerpt works, not to re-publish them. He didn’t use part of an image – he used the full image.

    After all, they’re just reporting on something that exists publicly.

    This approach certainly doesn’t hold in the rest of the publishing world. If Time publishes a photo with a story, and Newsweek covers Time’s reporting, Newsweek can’t re-publish Time’s image without permission.

    and if it’s not, I blame those DRM-happy, copyright-expanding, public interest-hating Disney lawyers

    Agreed :)

    He is not stealing, any more than you “stole” images for your excellent collages.

    I disagree. Collages are remixes of *excerpts*, which is very different from reproduction of complete works. And remember the case here is complicated by the fact that we asked Hilario to remove the image, he complied, and then re-posted it to another one of his blogs in blatant defiance of the author’s wishes.

  10. Scot, if Hilario posted the whole photo on his site, he’s definitely violating the letter *and* the spirit of the copyright Amy put on it.

    When I looked at the site yesterday, all I saw was a thumbnail. I thought it linked back to Amy’s Flickr account but now I see that he’s hosting a larger version of his own. That is, in fact, stealing.

    This is the one I’m talking about:

    If he were to change that link so it pointed to Amy’s Flickr account, my guess is that he’d probably be in the clear. As it is, I think you may have a case against him.

    Oh, and IANAL!

  11. Scot, if Hilario posted the whole photo on his site, he’s definitely violating the letter *and* the spirit of the copyright Amy put on it.

    Here we get into an area specific to images. Is a resized version of an image the same, copyright-wise, as an excerpt? It seems like that’s what you’re saying. I’d say that it’s still the full work, just resized. There’s no analog to this problem with text or music/audio.

  12. Here’s some news from 2003 on a court decision about posting linked thumbnails:

    Court backs thumbnail image linking

    Also, fyi, Flickr puts a “blog this” button on every publicly viewable image — for me, anyhow, since I’ve told it the coordinates of my blogs. When I click on this button I get a little wizard that lets me blog the image by sending a linked thumbnail (with description) to my blog, as a post on my own site. So yes, Flickr does facilitate posting thumbnails on my site.

    However, the thumbnail image is pulled from Flickr’s site — so I suppose if I blogged Amy’s photo this way, and she objected, she could pull the image and I would be left with a box saying “This photo is currently unavailable.” So that’s a very fair way to do it — Flickr helps bloggers post thumbnails, but gives photographers recourse if they’re upset about even that much usage.

    Posting a larger version on your own site is still pretty crappy, though, IMO.

  13. Very interesting. Though it initially appears that the court granted the privilege to search engines (which are a special case, since they excerpt from everyone equally and are all about research), the article later implies that the ruling benefits bloggers too. And they do make the distinction between thumbnails and full-size images in terms of copyright.

  14. As a practical matter, I find that it is just easier not to post pictures of my kid openly on the net, but to keep them behind password protected walls, just so as to avoid cases like this (or worse).

  15. Tim, I hear you, but feel that cases like this are isolated and ultimately harmless, and that we gain so much from being able to post and share publicly that the benefits strongly outweigh any downsides. I’m not going to let rare/isolated eccentrics rain on the whole parade.

  16. There’s no analog to this problem with text or music/audio.

    Seems to me it’s pretty much identical to downsampled audio. Is posting a very low-bitrate version of a song the same as posting a lossless version?

  17. Humm… Actually squub, that’s a good point. I was thinking in terms of length/size, but you’re right – downsampling is quite analaogous since it leaves the whole intact, just in a reduced way.

  18. Lots of people do “Flickring” the way Hilario does… it’s not unique to him. For instance check out this blog by Eric Schonfeld, from the magazine Business 2.0:

    He uses Flickr images as illustrations for his posts, and even posts a “Flickr image of the day.” Note, though, that he leaves Flickr’s credits caption in place, which seems decent.

  19. Dylan, true enough. And hell, look at the Image from Nowhere on this site – I make no attempt to give credit for those. I’ve been up front that I have mixed feelings about what Hilario is doing. What really rubbed me wrong the most was the fact that when asked, Hilario removed the image from the blog in question and re-posted it on another blog. People who borrow need to at least be sensitive to removal requests. When they’re not, it goes beyond gentle borrowing to something much more in-your-face.

  20. Interesting. One the one hand Scot, you allowed a photo of my daughter (Scarlett) to be posted on the internet without telling Jamie or I. We had no control of where you posted her photo, or what the political/social implications attached to the photo would be, or in whose hands it may end up. Since she is fully half of the photo, and you are upset that Miles face was associated with Hilarios message, shouldn’t I be just as upset with you for putting Scarletts in the same situation? Only I should be more upset since at least you knew where you were posting Miles photo, and I had no idea Scarletts image was even heading into public access. On the other hand, Its obvious you had no specific intent to have this photo used by others other than viewing your posting of it. Once Hilario reused the image (and that of my daughter)against your desires, screw him. We could debate this for ten years and nothing would get solved in my opinion. Hey Hilario, post pictures of your own gay hating family, not my family. So Fuck You!! (If its not clear, I join in the photographers request for you to not use the image in question any further – although she may not appreciate my
    tone, or reasons for that matter). You know, I have a job where I could do alot of shitty things to people and cause them alot of hard ships and technically not violate any laws. But I dont….and you know why? Because that would make me an asshole. That’s why. I dont like being an asshole. Do you? Who gives a shit wether or not you are technically violating any law? No one would prosecute this sort of thing anyway. Just do what is right so that you are not such a total asshole. If I came across a photo of you, would you want me to post it on to a website titled, “worlds most extreme shitbags”? Jeez… you have made me so mad. I dont blog and I dont usually debate….do you have kids? Oh hell…..who am I kidding…I dont give a shit about you or your kids…just like you dont give a shit about how my brother, the photographer, or I, feel about this situation, or how we feel about our children. Yes, so truly Christian of you! So noble. So admirable. So willing to make people happy. Dont like gays? Then dont butt fuck another man. That is my suggestion. In all honesty, I dont even mind your message about same sex marriage. like most things, I am usually in a gray area on that. But when it comes to my daughter and nephew there is not a grey area. Dont put it on your website.
    Scot, for clarity, I am not mad at you at ALL. No more posts from me on this….

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