Mar 23 2011

Don’t Steal My Photo & Then Ask for My Help

Published by under teaching,Tools,travel

Yesterday I received a call from a person that builds websites. (I’ve seen an example of his work and don’t want to call him a designer out of respect to my normal talented clients.) He “found my photo on Google” of a wonderful Sherlock Holmes tile mural that decorates the Baker Street station in the London Underground – used it without permission and got caught.

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Knowing that this was a copyrighted photo was not a case for Sherlock Holmes

This photo is part of a collection that is represented by Getty Images, that normally means that they license the photo out for various media uses and I get a portion of the license fee. In this case it also involves a Getty team that patrols the web looking for copyright infringement and makes people pay for their theft.

My caller’s unauthorized use was discovered and a bill with a hefty penalty fee was presented. He contacted me directly wondering if I would take pity on him because he normally licenses images legally “all the time” and didn’t have the money. Fortunately the negotiation was completely in the hands of the Getty legal team, but I also didn’t have much sympathy for him. He admitted to knowing the system and took a chance.

Part of me wants to go Baretta on him and tell him “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. “ But more interesting to a general audience and other bloggers could be to talk about ways to identify a photo with copyright protection that requires a license, or permission to use.

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Look for the two clues in this search result

Assuming that my caller really did find the image doing a Google search, here are the results he would have seen. Holmes would have spotted two clues in the results. First you can see that it was pulled from the Getty Images website and you can read their logo in the upper left corner. This sort of branding protection is known as a watermark and is easier to see in the expanded version before you land on the Getty page displaying the photo.

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An enlarged Getty Images watermark

The other clue you can look for in Photoshop and other programs that display the metadata information. Here you can see my contact information and a notice that the photo has been copyrighted, and at the top you can also see the little © symbol in front of the photo number. I submit all of my photos to the U.S. Copyright office to be registered which substantially increases my protection if it’s used without permission, the penalties can be much greater than the fee Getty was asking from my caller.

I apply my contact and copyright information to all my photos with both information loaded into my camera and later more details are added with an action I created and apply in Photoshop. The description and keyword information is added when the photo goes to a stock outlet.

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Metadata is added by my camera and a Photoshop action

But there is a problem with posting photos on some websites, including Facebook where this metadata is stripped out and the file name is changed when the image is uploaded. That doesn’t mean that photos I upload to Facebook are available for anyone to use. The image still retains my full copyright protection, but as a user you can’t know whether the photo can be legally licensed or not.

I’m a big supporter of content creators being paid, so I’m not a fan or free or cheap photo sites, but there are photo hobbyists that are willing to share their photos on Flickr and other places for use in blogs. The proper etiquette is to always ask for permission before using the photo.

The strategy of stealing photos off the web and asking for forgiveness later could put a dent in your checkbook or land you in court. Properly license the photo or ask for permission. As Sherlock Holmes would say “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”

P.S., Before you write – I know that the Holmes quote is not accurate.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

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@HarmelPhoto

@MarkHarmel

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Jan 02 2010

why all this talk about diabetes & what’s a knol?

Published by under diabetes,healthcare,process

Update: Is your resolution is to treat your diabetes better this year? I have great a place to start. My wife wrote an excellent primer on how to treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. More on her background and the Google Knols can be found below. Happy New Year!

This is normally the time of year (originally published on June, 6, 2009) that I attend the American Diabetes Association Convention. It is a great opportunity to network, check out the convention displays and visit agencies in the host city.

You may have noticed that a number of my posts (like the recent one on Charlie Kimball) have references to diabetes. Its not that I have diabetes – my connection comes from being married to Anne Peters, a leading diabetes doctor. We met on assignment. I was asked to take a clinical research photo for UCLA Medical Center. The photo illustrated how the patient data was entered into a laptop and uploaded to the drug company from all the different research sites every night. It was used in a big fund-raising brochure that helped raise money to fund the new UCLA hospital.

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The first clinical research photo and Anne's book cover

That first photo eventually led to a Las Vegas based Elvis wedding and working together on her “Conquering Diabetes” book. I shot the cover and a number patient portraits that were paired with their stories throughout the book as well as overseeing the development of the promotional website.

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Patient portrait of Olympic sprinter Gary Hall, Jr.

This experience opened the door with Abbott Diabetes Care where I initially was asked about taking photos for the website that would announce the launch of their Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitor. A lunch meeting at the 2006 ADA Convention began with the usual discussions about what to shoot and budget and then spun-off into the territory of developing concepts. After an interesting brainstorming session back in their Alameda headquarters the project took a surprise turn. Instead of taking photos for the Navigator project I was asked to put together a team to convert an existing brochure to a website!

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The home page of the Navigator website

There was the expectation that the Navigator would soon be approved by the FDA and a launch site was urgent. I had a resident expert in my wife (who was conducting clinical trials with the device) and I assembled the experienced team of copywriter, Roger Poirier and art director, Lon Davis. I suddenly became a creative director interacting with my wonderful client Steve Bubrick and extrapolating from my years of communication experience to steer the web project, a direct mail piece and bike rider cars for Team Type 1 (I finally was able to take some photos for those).

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Ballerina Zippora Karz demonstrating drawing insulin into a syringe

In 2008 Anne was asked to be one of the charter contributor to the Google Knol project. The original seeding of the Knols came from experts in their field to differentiate them from Wikipedia. They have since become more broad based and similar to Squidoo Lenses. Both her Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Knols were given the Top Pick Knol Award.

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Video blogs produced for Medscape on diabetes topics

The most recent project with Anne has been producing video blogs for Medscape that have become popular in the professional community. These were supposed to be easy to produce reports and we were given Flip cams to shoot the spots. After I managed to get one of the early Canon 5D MKII cameras that also shoots HD quality video, we switched over to create the 35mm film look that the camera gives. A recent episode on “Treating Diabetes During the Economic Crunch” (free registration required) has content that crosses over to the general public as well.

I recently completed a test using this camera to work out the kinks to use it in a daytime TV promotion, but I’ll save that for a future post.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

2 responses so far

Dec 19 2009

the story behind the living joshua tree holiday card

Almost exactly one year ago a Winter storm came rolling through Southern California. This normally just means rain here in the Los Angeles basin, but we do get snow in the high mountains – and on special occasions the snow level drops down low enough to deposit snow in the high desert area of Joshua Tree National Park. Visiting the snow covered desert is one of the real treats of living out here and my excursion out there last year became this year’s Holiday card.

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The snow covered Joshua Tree that became a card

The printing of my cards is done in-house on my own printer using a card stock that I get at Red River Paper. In the middle of printing my Epson 2400 suddenly stopped printing without warning!  Instead of having a “Check Engine” light like we have on our cars now, this printer simply shuts down when it’s time for service. A late night trip to the electronic store to update the printer got me back in business to finish the rest of the cards.

As I was complaining about the printer to my friend Chuck Chugumlung and showed him a video version of the scene on my iPhone. He said, “You should just do an interactive version of the card”. It never occurred to me, but Chuck is an interactive designer that does this sort of animation all the time. I sent him the movie and he came back with this wonderful interactive version of a Holiday card. If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the link. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You can even play it more than once.

The original clip is a full HD video version of the snow falling. I had received one of the first Canon 5D MkII cameras, but really hadn’t done much with the video capability beyond learning how to push the record button. So after trudging out through the snow to the tree I set up for a still photo, took my shots and after seeing clumps of snow falling around me, I decided that I would try to catch the action of the melting snow. At the time, I was proud and showed it to my TV friends. The reaction? “That’s nice, where are you going to show it?” With the traditional TV frame being a horizontal rectangle, he had a point. But since then I’ve seen some interesting work with what some call “living one-sheets”. This is where a movie ad comes to life. Here’s one for Marley & Me from last Christmas. These are often shown in shopping malls that have HD TV sets turned vertically.

Here is the original video version – only four seconds.

Snow drop – Joshua Tree National Park from Mark Harmel on Vimeo.

On that same day I also shot another horizontal variation I liked. I sent both versions off to the Photo District News and this one was chose to be one of their first’ “Photo of the Day“.

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This version became the PDN Photo of the Day

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

 the story behind the living joshua tree holiday card

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Dec 01 2009

how twitter led me to Lemonade

Update: The “Lemonade” movie premiered in Boston last night (Nov. 30th) and reports are coming in. The first is from the Boston Business Journal. The second from the Adrants blog. Edward Boches weighs in on “The sweetness of lemons”. Philip Johnson writes in Adweek about the ad industry rallying around one of their own.

New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” interviews Erik

The Christian Science Monitor has a feature on how Erik Proulx job loss led him to make Lemonade.

The latest update (12/29/2009) is a segment on the CBS Evening News.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

I confess. I’m a Twitterer. I can blame it on this blog.

Once I started blogging I wondered if I was cultivating a tree that would one day simply fall in the woods without being heard. So I looked for ways to share my pictures and the behind the scenes stories. That prompted me to explore the world social marketing. Which led me to the Please Feed the Animals and the movie “Lemonade”.

The beginning is a bit mysterious. I started by following some writers for Ad Age which somehow led to following the Twitter stream of Erik Proulx. He’s a laid-off  advertising copywriter that created a support blog for the recently unemployed advertising professionals called Please Feed the Animals.

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Detail of make-up brushes (still from the video)

Erik’s Twitter stream mentioned that he was looking for good stories about life after being laid-off. He was collecting recollections about the initial trauma and the opportunities that were created by their new time and freedom. How ad people turned lemons into lemonade would become his documentary film.

When I discovered that Erik was filming in Los Angeles, I tweeted back, asking if I could help. My original thought was that I would shoot some stills that could be used to promote the film. But I had acquired a Canon 5D MKII camera – a hybrid still/high definition video camera and have been playing with the video capability. So shooting some video was also a possibility.

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Kurtis Glade became a documentary filmmaker (still from the video)

Erik had progressed from shooting with his own little video camera to enlisting a top director and production team. But there were some scenes that needed to be shot before the production crew arrived in Los Angeles. I was enlisted to shoot a story was about a surfing camp that teaches kids and teens with Cystic Fibrosis how to surf as a form of therapy. Next there was a manicure session in a salon with a writer “that lost his job and changed his gender.”

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David Cohen lost his job and changed his gender

I was on my own shooting the surf camp and did a 50/50mix of stills and video. When director, Marc Colucci arrived, he wanted more video than stills for the manicure session with David Cohen.

The video shooting continued the next day where I ended up shooting second video camera during the more formal studio interview shoot. My role was to look for details and go for second angle close-ups of hands and faces that could be used to add variety and editing options. These video snips were mixed in with the interviews captured with a Red camera.

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Jeanne Schad became a coach (still from the video)

The resulting Lemonade film has generated a great deal of internet buzz. Promoted through Twitter and Facebook, the trailer now has over a 100,000 viewers and the final edit is close to completion.

You can follow the Twitter streams of the people mentioned by using their Twitter ID.

Erik Proulx  @eproulx,  David Cohen @identityTBD, Kurtis Glade @kurtisglade, Jeanne Schad @jeanneschad

There is much more to share about the Cystic Fibrosis surf camp that I’ll save for another post.

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com
@MarkHarmel

7 responses so far

Oct 09 2009

breathe. surf. repeat. the cystic fibrosis surf camp experience

The amazingly rich story of Kurtis Glade and his family landing in my lap with a few quick Twitter and email messages from Erik Proulx, ”Any chance you can be in Santa Monica at Sunrise tomorrow? Kurtis Glade (our subject) is going to be there with the film DP to get some great light. Weather calls for Fog, so that could be stunning as well.” (See previous post on how Twitter led me to Lemonade.)

The moody morning light was the perfect palette to paint the story of Kurtis Glade. After a long run as a leading advertising copywriter and creative director, Kurtis was laid-off from his big-agency job. The changing ad-world and slowing economy left him searching for other outlets for his creativity.

The short preparation allowed me to exercise my skills at finding a story instead of illustrating one that that others have shaped already. The “June Gloom” fog set the scene of quiet contemplation that was the perfect opening.

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Kurtis Glade faces the hope and the challenges of a new dawn

In the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Monica there is also hope for his youngest daughter Malin and others with cystic fibrosis. Medical researchers have established that surfing is a natural therapy. The saline in the air and water acts as a lubricant to help to break down the congestion in the lungs of people with CF.

Kurtis decided to use his story-telling skills and extra time to make a movie about the Surf Experience Days sponsored by the Mauli Ola Foundation. He explains, “I can’t invent drug to cure cystic fibrosis, but I can make a movie.”

He’s made a PSA for the foundation that gives you a pretty good flavor for the film he plans to produce. He is currently looking for help in obtaining funding for the ongoing project.

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The joy of Malin Glade learning how to surf

Many of you may recognized Kurtis from the opening shot in the trailer of the Lemonade movie. The quick email message from Erik Proulx was my background brief on the project outside of a few messages about the possibility of shooting both stills and video for his movie.

I knew that Kurtis had multiple cameras working on the surfing angle of the day’s event and that allowed me to concentrate on the story of Kurtis and his family. I felt that I could also go for the high art shots. Whatever I captured wold be woven into the tapestry of the larger movie and intercut with Kurtis’ interview.

When this was shot, I still thought of myself as a still guy that happened to own this new camera that has this odd button that activated a video capture. But I had studied cinematography with renowned DP, Allen Daviau and at UCLA and learned that the most important skills were always composition, use of light and knowing how to tell a story. I played with the camera’s unique shallow depth of field look that you can see in the opening scene of the video below.

A wider selection of the stills from the day tells the fuller story about both the joy and the challenges that Kurtis and his family face. We see older daughter Ellie (who is CF free) enjoy surfing for the simple pleasure of riding the waves. While her mother, Britta one moment serves as cheerleader and then as comforter and pill dispenser to the chilled Malin .

Mauli Ola surf camp for people with cystic fibrosis slideshow from Mark Harmel on Vimeo.

I’m honored that my work will be featured in the Please Feed the Animals documentary Lemonade as well as supporting the Mauli Ola Foundation. I hope it plays a part in  inspiring ad people to either find a life back in advertising, or succeed in new ventures – like documentary filmaking. And may many people with CF learn to surf and breathe a good and long life.

Many thanks to editor Connor McDonald at Beast/SF, (with color adjustments by John Jenkins-Stark), for their work on the video segment.

Erik Proulx @eproulx, , Kurtis Glade @kurtisglade, Connor McDonald @connortmcdonald

Mark Harmel

harmelphoto.com

@MarkHarmel

3 responses so far

Oct 04 2008

financial worklife

Just before our current financial crisis entered possible meltdown territory I had the opportunity to spend a day in my financial advisor’s office taking what I call my modified candid photos of their office worklife that will be used in a company brochure and website.

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I love doing this style of shooting. Part of the process is being a fly on the wall and capturing spontaneous interactions that happen in the hallway.

The other part involves going into specific offices and work areas, doing some improvements to the existing lighting and then direct the people to act naturally instead of posing. I find that the best method for this is to start with my staging and lighting and then help the person become reengaged with their job. Interacting with a co-worker on a real issue is often the best approach.

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The client likes this because real work is accomplished in the process and my normally camera shy subjects return to using their real gestures and become engaged.

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I’ve also learned the art of doing nothing. When a person is already looking natural and engaged I can concentrate on improving on the existing light and searching for interesting angles through gaps in monitors or in reflections.

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Whether shooting on the street or in an office I always love how the environment can add to the story. In this case I get to use my fine art photo of the old Pacific Stock Exchange building as a way to tell the financial story of my client’s firm.

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The original Pacific Stock Exchange photo. The San Francisco build is now being used as a Equinox fitness club.

Here are some page samples from one of the finished brochures:

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Mark Harmel
harmelphoto.com
@MarkHarmel

2 responses so far