Find Your Stolen Images On The Web

All photographers, artists, designers and other creatives have the concern that images that they post on the web, and particularly on social media sites, will be stolen and re-used by other people. You can watermark your images, embed tracking information in them but there is another alternative – reverse image search.

Reverse image search allows you to quickly find other places an image occurs on the web. You can then take action as appropriate.

Plugins exist for most major browsers that will do the reverse image search for you. Here are some:

For Firefox

For Chrome

For Safari

If you do a search on “reverse image search” you will find more.

All these work by allowing you to do a right-click on an image and then do a reverse search.

Once you find them you can do various things, from contacting the person who has used the image and asking them to remove it (often successful) to reporting the matter to the site owner or taking legal action. Facebook has a process for handling takedowns, as do most other social media sites.

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Netgear R6300 WiFi Router Is A Great Speedup For A Home or Studio Network

Over the weekend I upgraded our home WiFi network to the recently released Netgear R6300 WiFi Router.

This router supports all protocols up to the new 802.11ac standard. Plus it features simultaneous band technology and gives greater speed when using the older n and g standards. It supports GigaBit Ethernet for the four wired ports.

This is a great device. Installation and setup is VERY easy and the speed is fantastic. Even though we are currently only running n devices, rather than the new ac, we got significantly faster networking and much better response with multiple devices using WiFi simultaneously.

This is a device I can happily recommend.

http://www.netgear.com/home/products/wirelessrouters/ultimate-performance/R6300.aspx#one

 

Copyright and the Artist in a Digital Age

Let’s be honest, copyright is a complete mess. There are differences in law from country to country and, in a day when putting an image on Facebook or your blog makes it vulnerable to attack under any copyright jurisdiction in the world, the risks are considerable.

The largest problem for artists is that techniques and approaches that they have grown up with do not apply in the digital. So I can legally take a magazine, cut out a photo and glue it onto a canvas to make a physical collage, but if I copy the same image off the magazine’s website and paste it into Photoshop I have breached copyright if I publish the result. It makes no sense, but unfortunately that is not a defence under the law.

Until the law catches up with the realities of the modern world we all need to be careful.

So what do I do when I need source images that I do not have in my own image library? Well, I do one of three things:

  • Buy them from a stock library, like iStockPhoto for a few dollars
  • Go out and shoot them myself
  • Google for open source or public domain images

My own image library is, of course, large. But it doesn’t cover everything. I have supplemented that with a number of collections of images on CD and DVD that I have bought the right to use. But what about when I can’t find what I want there either?

My preferred solution is iStockPhoto and the other micro stock libraries. I know I have the right to use and I have supported another artist in their activities. Everyone wins. This is the approach I use in designing book covers and also occasionally in artwork, though in my own artwork I prefer the integrity of using all my own imagery if at all possible.

Googling for open source, free or public domain images can be tricky. When you Google, what Google is doing is looking for pages where all those words occur. That means the words public and domain may occur on a page but not mean that the images are explicitly released into the public domain. To stand a better chance you need to enclose the phrases in quotes, as in “public domain’ or “open source” so that Google will only return pages where these expressions occur as is. Still what you then need to do is to then check the page the image occurs on to see if there is an explicit statement that the images are public domain.

Many government agencies make images available for use, such as US Government agencies like NASA. But you should always check the terms and conditions of use on the websites. They will be there somewhere.

In education it is common to take a more relaxed view over copyright when allowing students to experiment and develop experience and techniques. Note that while there are general exemptions under copyright law for educational uses, it is a grey area when it comes to then putting such images up on the Internet, which is effectively publishing. So students should be careful about publishing assignment work to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. While it may be acceptable to a teacher for a particular purpose, like a skill building exercise, that does not make it legal.

Photographers protect their work in many ways. There are encoding techniques that embed within an image traceable information that is capable for surviving extensive cropping and modification in Photoshop. This is a very effective way of identifying images on the net that have incorporated your work. Many professional photographers do this and it makes sense when your living is your images.

There is also the danger of urban myths. The main one relevant here is the idea that you can use a certain percentage of an image. This is just plain wrong. There is no percentage use figure in copyright law regarding images.

A complication is that copyright laws are constantly changing. Not only is there the general copyright law, which differs from country to country although there is general agreement on some aspects, as agreed by international conventions. Individual countries are also active with special legislation that covers certain areas of copyright. The US in particular is one country that has special digital laws and one where new laws are being proposed frequently in response to lobbying be areas of industry with particular interests.

All the above makes it a nightmare for digital artists. My advice is to be very conservative.

As is obvious, I am not a lawyer and this article does not constitute or substitute for legal advise. Seek the advice of a lawyer over your particular circumstances.

 

Google’s Art Project

Google has launched its Art Project, an ambitious project to bring the art works of the world’s galleries and museums onto the web in deep zoomable, detailed form.

Currently Art Project has work from the following institutions on show:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
  • Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London – UK
  • Palace of Versailles – France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
  • Tate Britain, London – UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

Each of those has chosen to show some galleries and some works. So this is a work in progress.

As a tool for art students, photographers (who can learn a lot from painting) and more this is a wonderful tool that will become more useful over time. While nothing is the same as standing in one of these great institutions and examining the work in person, this is a really amazing alternative.

The level of detail in some of these artworks is truly amazing.

http://www.googleartproject.com/

 

Phoozl is a Photo-based Game Site

Phoozl.com is a website for photographers who like games. At launch it had about 30 games. One word of warning, it is a Flash-based site, so don’t try viewing it from an iPad.

The site looks great, the games are fun and work well. Basically it comes down to this: if you like the types of games on the site, you will love Phoozl. If not, you won’t like Phoozl. It really is that simple.

Harald Johnson and team have done a great job giving the site a fun, happy feeling and the games are certainly well designed and effective, though of course the wait for a Flash game to download can be tiresome on a slow Internet connection.

The site also puts some emphasis on learning through having fun. This I am least sure about, mainly because I worry that the learning you can do through such a means is too shallow and less effective that better methods of learning, but that might just be me.

Will I become a Phoozleer, as they call users? In short, no. As an old-time wargamer, my taste in games needs to satisfy the odd uncontrollable urge to invade Poland (from East or West), to take to the Celts with a Roman legion or explore the complexities of combined arms warfare. But then that is not to everyone else’s taste either.

That said, I can happily recommend Phoozl.com for your photographic gaming pleasure. The site has good, clean fun, interesting games and an effective user interface. You might learn something in the bargain.

Also Phoozl has now started the first photo challenge called Mission Blue, which looks like a fun challenge.

Android Looking More Like a Good Platform to Develop For (or Has Apple Crossed to the Darkside)

An article from today on Fast Company presents some really interesting information about smart phone takeup rates and market penetration, so I recommend you go to the article and look it over. It has me thinking about many things to do with the iPhone and iPad.

What it shows is that while smart phones are still a small 19% of the total phone market, Android-based smart phones are doing very well in the market. Specifically, since third quarter 2009 the % of smartphones that use the Android platform has been rising smartly at exactly the same time that the % of smart phones from RIM (Blackberry) and Apple have dropped. Of course that does not mean that their overall numbers have dropped, or even stopped growing, but rather that as a % of all smart phones they have dropped slightly.

What this means for developers of applications is that they should not simply focus on Blackberry and iPhone development, but need to get behind Android too.

It would be speculation to discuss why the rapid rise of Android, and that is exactly what we will do. While I love my iPhone 3Gs, what I really love is the ability to easily use my phone to hold my music collection, apps that let me do productive work on the phone and the nice way it plays with my Apple computers and their software. There are things I do not like about my iPhone, such as only being able to put Apps on it that Apple has censored and approved, unless I am willing to jail break it. This seems too much like Stalinist Russia for my tastes.

Up until now Android phones have not been something I have paid much attention to, rather I’ve been concentrating on the iPhone and iPad and getting my head around app development for those and website compatibility with the iPad browser. That changes as of today.

While like everyone else in Australia I am awaiting my iPad arrival, I am considering my future relationship with Apple. I’ve been an Apple user since the Apple II, indeed I made some money writing games for it, and I love the present generation of Apple laptops and desktops. Mac OS is a joy to use. But I am worried about the direction Apple is taking with the iPad. Whilst I can understand major restrictions on apps on a phone, since in the end it is primarily a phone and so I really don’t want any apps to screw things up when I need to make a call, the iPad is more like a laptop, only better. Apple seem to be shaping up to treat the iPad the same way as the iPhone, and I do not believe this is appropriate. I don’t believe it is appropriate because I can see the iPad in future iterations taking over from the laptop. My wife, for example, could do all she needs to do on a computer on an iPad-like device. No problems.

Why, for God’s sake, should:

  • I only be able to add applications to it from the Apple store?
  • Apple get to be the sole arbiter of what applications I can run?
  • I not be able to use my iPhone to provide Internet access to my iPad when away from a Wi-Fi hotspot?
  • I not be able to view Flash websites if I choose to? SUre if it is so bad given me a way to turn Flash off but leave the decision up to me if I am willing to suffer shorter battery life, etc.
  • I have to break the license agreement and jailbreak the iPad to do some or all of the above?

If the iPad were given away and Apple made its money solely off the services I would have no issue with the above constraints. But when I am paying an amount of money that would buy me a full fledged and open laptop, then it is different matter.

I am very concerned about the censorship issue inherent in Apple’s sole control over apps. While many Americans seem to have an issue with nipples (which is their right), this is not a mental illness that affects the whole world or even all Americans. If apps contains content you don’t like, don’t load it and use it. Surely it is that simple. And if Apple want to look after the young kid market put in an app rating system and let parents (or schools) set a level lock on content. The problem with censorship is that one person’s send them to hell pornography is another person’s healthy content. Sure, there is consensus among anyone with a brain that child pornography is bad news, but even there as the fairly recent controversy here in Australia over the photographer Bill Henson shows, there is not universal agreement about where the line is to be drawn. Censorship is a dangerous and steep slope, as Australia is finding over the government’s net censorship approach. And so Apple would do well to step away from this dangerous area and treat its customers as grown ups who are capable of making their own decisions.

It was an American, I believe, who said I may hate what you have to say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it. As long as Apple is the only way to legally put apps on an iPhone or iPad, surely they are violating the 1st Amendment right to free speech? One of the few things I envy the Americans for is their constitution that is also a great aspirational document.

Apologies for the long, wandering post. Perhaps my current reading of Stephen King’s Under the Dome has made me cautious of what too much power in a few hands can do.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 ROI Study Shows Productivity as New “Killer Feature”

Tests Confirm CS4 Users Can Save Thousands of Dollars Through Productivity Gains in Everyday Tasks

Adobe today announced benchmarking results from an independent research study conducted by Pfeiffer Consulting and commissioned by Adobe. According to the report, features in Adobe Creative Suite 4 software can dramatically increase productivity, efficiency and return on investment. Research shows that every unnecessary click has the ability to slow down users’ productivity.  Routine operations across Adobe Creative Suite 4 can be accomplished more quickly now than with previous versions, dramatically improving the user experience and saving hours every month. Users can now dedicate more time to the creative side of the project with this latest version of the Creative Suite product line. More than 100 benchmark tests focusing on design (http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/design/), print, digital imaging (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/family/), Web (http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/web/) and interactive design, and video production (http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/production/)  were conducted. Tests covered workflow-related productivity measures as well as market-specific design and publishing activities. Continue reading “Adobe Creative Suite 4 ROI Study Shows Productivity as New “Killer Feature””

Web Strategy 101 for Creatives (Part 4) – Website Security

DIMi recently was hacked. It was an interesting experience, and, as always, we learned a lot from the experience.

Hacking of sites is on the rise and there is reportedly a substantial increase in recent times, which is likely to continue. As NASA, various governments and large corporations have discovered, there is no such thing as a completely secure website. If it is visible, it is vulnerable. Continue reading “Web Strategy 101 for Creatives (Part 4) – Website Security”

Photobucket Introduces Instant Photo Uploader for T-Mobile Phones

T-Mobile Customers Can Now Send Mobile Photos to Multiple Destinations Including Photobucket, Home PC and Email

Photobucket (http://photobucket.com), the Web’s premier standalone photo and video-sharing site, today announced the availability of an innovative mobile photo service exclusively for T-Mobile that enables users to send photos directly from mobile handsets to several destinations: a Photobucket album, a PC hard drive, or an email address. Continue reading “Photobucket Introduces Instant Photo Uploader for T-Mobile Phones”