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Copyright Reminder

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is a reminder that when you signed up to use Epicski.com you had to agree to our policies. This included not posting or violating any copyrighted material. Posting images that you do not own or have not gotten permission to use,(unless specificly listed as "copyright free" or "Feel free to distribute" by the owner should be considered as copyrighted.

If you link to someone elses sight, then our visitors will see their sight and images as the owner intended and not "stolen" views from epicski.

This is VERY Important and taken very seriously by us.
post #2 of 16
Are you saying that it's acceptable to post a link to the other site, but not to post an image from the other site?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

By posting a link to someone elses site it is up to that sight to have things in place to protect their images, get money for advertising, list credits for copyright ownership etc. All we are doing is saying "go check this out"

By posting the actual image on our site we are taking away any credits, revenue, copyright info that the owner might want to have.

In all my research and setting up of web sights this is considered "acceptable". Until someone provides me with documentation otherwise this is what I've been working with. (AC may have other info and policys in place as well)

If you do get permission from the owner to post an image, then you should give credit when you post the image.

For example,

Here's something I've been working on this summer.

Images used with permission from dchan@epicski.com

Copyright 10-3-02 dchan@epicski.com

Or something like that.

[ October 30, 2003, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #4 of 16
Wow, dchan. That's a beautiful piece of woodwork.

[ October 30, 2003, 06:41 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #5 of 16
Where are the bindings?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by nolo:
Wow, dchan. That's a beautiful piece of woodwork.

moved the picture here.


[ October 30, 2003, 10:27 PM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #7 of 16
By Nolo:
Wow, dchan. That's a beautiful piece of woodwork.
Not to get off a serious topic but I must agree with the statement above. No wonder we haven't heard much from you this summer.
post #8 of 16
Originally posted by dchan:
...Posting images that you do not own or have not gotten permission to use,(unless specificly listed as "copyright free" or "Feel free to distribute" by the owner should be considered as copyrighted...
For the record, the image in question was on the turns-all-year.com website with the following copyright granted to all:


You are free:

- to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work

Under the following conditions:

- Attribution. You must give the original author credit.

- Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

- No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

I did display his image on Epic, but I followed the letter and spirit of the above copyright in that I gave full attribution (multiple ways), the use on Epic was clearly non-commercial, and obviously no derivative works were involved. I am also claiming the additional factor of "fair educational use" (which he also recognizes). Basically, I read his copyright as a "feel free to distribute if you do certain things" (which I did).

So, unless I'm missing something, I see no reason for the copyright holder to be upset.

Tom / PM
post #9 of 16
Well, the mystery of the seeming copyright violation has been solved after an exchange of very pleasant emails with Charles Eldridge, the owner of www.turns-all-year.com .

We discussed several issues, but one of the most critical was that he is in the process of changing the wording of the copyright he grants people. Unfortunately, I saw and relied on an older version that he thought he had already replaced on his server.

Here are a couple of excerpts from our emails (my comments have ">>", his have ">"):

> Third, I had reworked the Creative Commons license covering
> my photos a few months ago to more accurately reflect what I
> would like to automatically allow for the use of my photos,
> but it looks like I neglected to upload the changes to my
> server (my site has over 9000 files on it now, and it has
> become somewhat of a organizational nightmare trying to keep
> my local version synchronized with the one on the web server).

>> I simply thought that when your former
>> copyright notice said that one could freely "display"
>> your images (assuming the 3 conditions were met), that
>> meant you could display them on a website (ie, hot
>> link to them) for non-commercial purposes.
> As I have come to discover, this is a weakness of the Creative
> Commons licensing scheme - it is not really dealt with, and
> I'm not sure if they even considered the issue. It is
> something that I am trying to correct in my latest
> rewrite of my copyright policy.

The specific problem that he is referring to is using the "IMG" (or similar HTML functions) to automatically display images on Epic's webpages, aka, "hot-linking". The reason website owners like him don't want their images automatically displayed is that all of the random page views add up, thereby using significant ammts of server and communication bandwidth. This directly impacts the owner's web hosting costs. Unfortunately, this meaning of "display" wasn't spelled out in the version of the copyright that I saw, and I thought I was free and clear to do so.

In addition, until now, I have always concentrated on the classical, pre-internet attribution aspects of copyrights. From this point of view, there would seem to be almost no difference between using a "clickable" URL for a picture, and using "IMG" to automatically display it. Both approaches give attribution to the image owner's website, and compared to just giving the URL of the photo, I thought that having the picture automatically displayed was more convenient for readers and helped the flow of the message. Well, attribution isn't the problem.

Charles also brought another potential problem to my attention. Even though I certainly was not going to profit from giving out a bit of free photographic advice, he considers EpicSki to potentially be a commercial concern (an enterprise doesn't have to turn a profit to be commercial). This means that whereas I thought my use of his image was clearly non-commercial, and would also fall under the educational "fair use" exemption, the situation isn't anywhere near as clear as one may think.

The bottom line is that if there is any doubt whatsoever, either don't use a particular image or get the owner's permission.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tom / PM
post #10 of 16
I'm the one who has caused such a headache for Tom. As he said, we have had a very constructive e-mail exchange about this issue, and I as a result I have clarified in my mind some of the copyright questions with which I have been struggling. I am working on incorporating the clarifications into my web site's copyright statement.

Tom must be commended for originally taking the time to find out what my site's policy stated for the use of images (most people don't seem to bother to do so). By not actually having posted on my site what I thought I had posted, I certainly confused things, and I am convinced that Tom believed he was complying with the guidelines he had read on my site.

For the photos on my site, my intent is to automatically allow people to use the photos for private and non-commercial purposes (they are going to do that anyway - it's the internet), but not automatically allow them to use the images in public or commercial ways. That's what I am working on updating on my site.

The issue of "hot-linking" is a troublesome one for the copyright owner of photographs on the web. If I display a photo on my web site, it is very easy for anyone else to cause that photo to display in their web page or in a bulletin board, but doing so without permission is truly a form of stealing.

A hazard of hot-linking is that the administrator of the site where the photo file resides is then in complete control of what is displayed on the site doing the hot-linking. When I find that someone has hot-linked to one of my photos, I have taken to replacing the original photo with a very wide "Don't Steal Bandwidth" file, which both sends the message I wish to deliver and blows out the formatting of the page with the hot-linked photo. I have read that to send a very dramatic message, some administrators replace the hot-linked photo with a nasty porn photo (which is not the right thing to do because they are typically using the photo without the permission of that photo's copyright owner)!

The administrators of EpicSki are also to be commended for not ignoring this issue of hot-linking, and making it clear to the site's users that hot-linking is not an acceptable practice.

post #11 of 16
So hold on a second. If I post a picture on this site, that I took, and am hosting elsewhere, I must put my e-mail address below it saying its ok to view it on this site? :

Sounds like a pain in the butt. I doubt I will be posting many pictures that I took on this site anymore if this is the case.
post #12 of 16
Originally posted by AltaSkier:
So hold on a second. If I post a picture on this site, that I took, and am hosting elsewhere, I must put my e-mail address below it saying its ok to view it on this site? :

Sounds like a pain in the butt. I doubt I will be posting many pictures that I took on this site anymore if this is the case.
If I am correct, I think that what is being said is: If you contribute a shot to another site and they post it, and it is hosted on their site, then you must post this information.

Correct me if I am wrong, but this doesn't mean that I have to do this for things on my own site that I choose to share here as well does it?

My interpretation is that if "ropetowRobin" (ficticious name) sends me something for my site and I post it, then "ropetowRobin" (ficticious name) must provide this information to later post it here. Am I correct?
post #13 of 16
Turnsallyear, thank you for your very gracious comments and handling of this matter. I suspect that this problem of "hot-linking" is completely foreign to the majority of web users, so I think its going to take a concerted educational campaign to bring this to people's attention. Fortunately, I think that Epic is a great place to start because I believe that the vast majority of participants here are much more civil and respectful of others than is typical in other parts of the web.

Skierteach - As must be blatantly obvious by now ( ), I'm a techno-weenie not a lawyer, but I'll take a shot at your hypothetical situation. I suspect that your fictitious character, Robin, retains copyright to the image (or other material), but the owner of the website where it resides probably also has copyright to something like the collection of all material on their site. Thus, while it seems pretty absurd and unnecessary to give attribution to yourself, it is quite reasonable for the photographer to give correct attribution to the website that is hosting their image.

However, don't make the mistake that I did - attribution is not the only issue any more. "Hot-linking" is a separate issue. In this hypothetical example, if the website hosting the photographer's work does not want hot-linking, even the owner of the image better not hot link to it. Upon doing some Googling, it looks this is a serious concern, and several of the major image hosting sites actually prevent anyone (including the owner) from hot linking to images they host. Of course, this problem is completely obviated if the image owner simply gives the URL of his image and doesn't attempt to hot link to it.

Hopefully, Charles, Oboe, or Ott (a pro photographer) will step up and give us a more authoritative opinion on this example than my guesswork in the previous paragraph.


Tom / PM
post #14 of 16
Very interesting, and civil discussion on a hot item. But I do have to say that I disagree with the overall statement below at least in the blanket form:

Originally posted by turnsallyear: (snipped)
The issue of "hot-linking" is a troublesome one for the copyright owner of photographs on the web. If I display a photo on my web site, it is very easy for anyone else to cause that photo to display in their web page or in a bulletin board, but doing so without permission is truly a form of stealing.
"stealing"? That's a bit extreme. Like calling downloading a song which I bought years ago on another medium "piracy". Too much of the discussion about internet IP tends to use words which are better suited for gas station holdups and tall ships firing cannons, rather than differences in opinion and interpretation.

If it was licensed as described under a Creative Commons license, then linking to the image from your site was not "stealing". EpicSki absolutely is a non-commercial site, regardless of how you might categorize it, and a poster used the image for his personal use. Which happened to be to share it with other members of this non-profit, non-commercial skiing community.

Now I'm not disputing that may have caused an increase in bandwidth against your site, which could cost you money. And you have every right to explicitly request that people not display images from your website. If you do so, and people still display your images (rather than link to your pages containing them), then I agree, that's "stealing" - of bandwidth, but not of the image, if the image user was non-commmercial.

The newer clarification that you posted, further restricting the Creative Commons license, makes clear your intent. Don't hot-link (or "deep-link" as it's sometimes been called in court cases.) That means even if I like your image for my personal "My Hobbies and sports page", for a section about skiing, I can't use it.

Fair enough, nobody should do that, now that you've explicitly requested it. OK, but that's not what the CC license says. So it's understandable that good intentioned people were confused. You may want to check if it is a violation of Creative Commons' own copyright to add restrictions to one of their licenses. I know it's a violation of the GNU Public License to do that to software licensed under GPL, and GPL was the inspiration for CC. You may want to eliminate the CC license entirely if none of the CC licenses actually matches your policy.

This isn't any kind of a criticism or slam, in case that's not clear from these online words out of context. It's just that I find the whole issue of what's loosely called "Intellectual Property" on the internet fascinating - it's a whole frontier that is not at all yet clearly defined. I'm of the persuasion that says both "if it's clearly restricted, honor the restrictions" but also "otherwise if somebody put it on the net it's fair game (and fair use) to use it". Don't want it used, don't post it. Obviously there are tradeoffs and grey areas.

Was your concern more about the bandwidth? Or about the display of it on a page that wasn't yours altering its integrity? Or some other issue?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
As far as actually posting your email address, no, you do not need to do that.

I think the wording can be as simple "used with permission of owner" No more information is needed. If you get permission from someone else and have proof of permission, then that should be ok too. But if you get taken to court, you will want a printed version of that permission.

I just did that for clarity of my example. Obviously an email address does not provide proof of ownership. Spam proves that [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #16 of 16
As can be seen from the discussion here, this is a complicated issue (or set of issues), and it is great that the administrators of EpicSki have created an atmosphere where such a constructive discussion can take place. I also don't claim to be an expert - I have simply tried to learn what is necessary for me to be able to come up with a copyright policy for my photos that I feel comfortable with. This has been a very difficult thing to do. When I first came across the Creative Commons licenses, I thought, "this is exactly what I have been looking for," so I incorporated a specific CC license into my site's copyright policy. I was, however, troubled by a few of the provisions, and the language of the license is very "lawyer" and not always easy to understand.

I verified with CC (e-mail exchange) the rights they were granting me for the use of their licensing material (even they took a while to ponder some of my questions). The only restriction on the use of their material is "attribution" (their pages are covered by the "by" license). This means that anyone is free to, commercially and non-commercially, use, distribute, and modify their material, as long as the original source (CC) is identified. So, a while back I worked on modifying the license to reflect what I wanted - but I neglected to get the modified files onto my server. As I mentioned before, Tom was doing what he correctly believed he was allowed to do based on what he read, and I have apologized to him for any problems I might have caused for him.

An upside to this whole episode is that it has helped me see more clearly the remaining problems I have with the CC license (and my previous modificatons). I think the CC licensing scheme is a great idea and service, but there are two main problems from my point of view.

One is that the CC licenses don't deal with the hotlinking bandwidth issue that comes along with "distribution". If I decide to allow people to distribute my photos on the internet, I should be able to specify that they pay for the distribution costs, not me. If they hotlink to a photo on my site, then I am largely paying for their distribution of my photo (photos are typically much larger, byte-wise, than accompanying text). Here are links for three pages which discuss hotlinking (aka "direct linking") from the perspective of web site owners:

The second is that I see a need for a distinction between private and public uses of my photos. I want people to be free to use my photos for private, personal, non-commercial purposes (saving to their hard drive to look at later, wallpaper for their computer monitor, printing out the photo to tape above their computer, etc). They are going to do this even if I say they can't, there is nothing I can do about it anyway, and it is not likely to affect my ability to make money from my photos or web site, should I want to do that in the future. But if a person wants to use my photo in a public way, even if it is non-commercial, I want to be the judge of whether it is an acceptable use - and I have that right, since I created the work.

EpicSki absolutely is a non-commercial site, regardless of how you might categorize it, and a poster used the image for his personal use. Which happened to be to share it with other members of this non-profit, non-commercial skiing community.
I'm not sure I agree with the statement is that Tom "used the image for his personal use". The way I see it, Tom used the image "publicly" - he inserted it into a web page accessible to hundreds of millions of people, most of whom he doesn't know (please keep in mind that I know that Tom was following the rules he saw - this is not a re-criticism of Tom!). This is an example of why I think that the original CC licenses have some shortcomings.

Regarding the "commercial" question: EpicSki has affiliate arrangements with several online retailers, so that, "when you purchase from one of these affiliates (after accessing their site from EpicSki), EpicSki earns a referral fee which helps to cover its hosting and development fees." Unless EpicSki is a registered non-profit organization (I have not seen that stated), then it would appear to be a business (and may even be operating under a business license - perhaps an administrator can set us straight on this question). The site provides services to its users and produces income for its owners. The great internet boom-then-bust illustrated that a venture does not have to make a profit to be commercial.

From what I have learned, "deep linking" is a rather different issue than "hotlinking". Here is a definition I found here (note that this is a deep link!):
Definition: linking to a web page other than a site's home page.
Virtually every link you see and may click in a Google search results page is a deep link, in that it takes you to a specific page "deep" within a web site, and not to the web site's home page. Some sites (especially those for large businesses) seem to want visitors to only enter by the "front door" (home page). From what I have read, recent rulings have said that there is nothing illegal about deep linking. Deep linking simply leads the surfer directly to the page containing the desired information, and does not result in parts of the page being viewed out of the intended context. Hot linking to photos, on the other hand, results in those photos being displayed completely out of their intended context.

It would be great if some established photographers with internet experience would add their comments on these issues!

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