Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Media United States

Corbis, DMCA, And John Kerry Photos 804

Phronesis writes "Photo District News is running a story reporting that three historic photos of John Kerry from the early 1970s, including the one used for the Jane Fonda forgery, were pirated from Corbis. The photographers who own the copyright on the photos are asking Corbis to use its fancy watermarking technology to find the culprit. Corbis hopes either to track the responsible people down using watermarks, or to invoke DMCA if the watermarks were removed."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Corbis, DMCA, And John Kerry Photos

Comments Filter:
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:30PM (#8391057) Journal

    Hmm, I was going to make a comment on how ironic it would be to turn the DCMA against the rich people who are in power and would like to torpedo Mr. Kerry (or anyone who is a threat to them for that matter) but the /. subject line summed it up quite nicely: "from the forgery-and-lebel-were-already-criminal dept."

    Still it would be a nice amount of irony wouldn't it? A wonderful example of what happens when you pass draconian laws -- they come back to bite you in the ass no matter how "good" your intentions were.

    On a somewhat offtopic sidenote here's this quotation from the article:

    "So many of the captions attached to this photograph were totally inaccurate," Skoogfors says. "At the actual event, [Kerry] was a pretty low-key player and it was only a year later that he became a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

    So much for our clean 2004 election - as if any of us thought it would actually happen anyway.

    • by subrosas ( 752277 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:37PM (#8391140)
      Well, Kerry probably qualifies as one of the "rich people" who are in power, and he did vote for the DMCA.

      He helped pass a draconian law, and when someone tried to slander him, that law's being used to help nail the people who did the forgery.

      Where's the irony?
      • by leifm ( 641850 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:43PM (#8391228)
        I know you're not really referring to the election, but politics is a lot like /. polls, when all the answers suck vote for the least offensive (CowboyNeal).

        Clinton IMHO was tons better than Bush, but he still signed the DOMA and the Telecommunications Act, which if I recall correctly contained the CDA.

        So DMCA proponent or not Kerry '04!
        • by Vagary ( 21383 ) <jawarren@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @12:32AM (#8394397) Journal
          I realise this is probably not the election to be saying it during, but you guys could always try and create a third party? When you have three or more parties, centrism is no longer an equilibrium, so you'll actually find politicians with progressive policies.

          Personally I don't envy you guys at all, and I'm not sure I'd be able to stomach vote for Nader, but I'd at least give it some thought.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:52PM (#8391355)
        Kerry probably qualifies as one of the "rich people" who are in power

        In fact, if Kerry is elected, he will the the 3rd richest US president ever (behind George Washington and JFK).
        • by nexex ( 256614 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:46PM (#8392021) Homepage
          he also the richest senator

          but what people dont know he is controlled by big ketchup and the tomato lobby

          • by KlomDark ( 6370 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:01PM (#8392189) Homepage Journal
            So people will be chanting "No blood for ketchup" (Or "No Ketchup for Blood" :) ) instead of "No Blood for Oil"?
    • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:39PM (#8391168) Homepage Journal
      how ironic it would be to turn the DCMA against the rich people who are in power and would like to torpedo Mr. Kerry
      Mr. Kerry was in the Senate when DMCA passed unanymously, thus he voted for it. Would it be ironic if a law that a senator voted for, turned out to be useful to him? Not really.

      And as for contrasting "rich people" with Mr. Kerry, that's a very interesting spin you have chosen.

      • by DustMagnet ( 453493 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:27PM (#8391775) Journal
        Mr. Kerry was in the Senate when DMCA passed unanymously, thus he voted for it.

        You are not required to vote in the Senate, but I checked and Kerry did vote yea [senate.gov] .

      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:29PM (#8391795)
        Mr. Kerry was in the Senate when DMCA passed unanymously, thus he voted for it.

        Sorry your premise doesn't lead to that conclusion... A bill can pass unanimously by a score of 97 to 0 in the Senate. It's still unanimous because nobody voted "no", but that doesn't lead to the conclusion that all of the senators in office were present or that everybody that was present agreed, the losing 3-person side may have just chose to abstain.

        What happened in the Senate is that the Senate voted by "Unanimous Consent", which is to say not one senator spoke up to object to the bill being passed and/or request that an on-the-record vote be taken. This is often done for sure-to-be-disliked legislation because nobody has to vote "yes" either.

        Now, the thing is, to call for debate and a recorded vote on an issue that you're opposed to, but you're sure the other side has the votes it takes to pass is a waste of the Senate's time, and sure to make you some enemies who might start to do their best to muck up an unrelated issue that you're in favor of. Therefore, there's a downside to objecting, the only real thing you have to gain is to get your objection onto the record.

        Kerry, being a Senator, is going to be confronted with a lot of questions about the activities of the Senate and when he took action and didn't take action on them throughout the campaign. Candidates who run for a higher office after ahving any legislative position always have these questions... that's why it's more common for a former govenor to run for the office, they have far fewer on-the-record actions they have to justify, and total control of their own agenda rather than having to fight other legislators for control of a schedule.
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:46PM (#8391269)
      So much for our clean 2004 election - as if any of us thought it would actually happen anyway.

      Even if the candidates promise to keep things clean, candidates can't control their supporters. And, we've seen that even though there are tight regulations on what political groups can put out in traditional paid media, it seems like the campaign reform laws have completely overlooked the Internet, and people have discovered that if you put something contraversial on the Internet, it'll get discussed on TV for free. Even the infamous "blocked by CBS" MoveOn.org Super Bowl spot, which complied with all of the campaign law rules, got more free runs on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News during discussions of it than paid ones.

      So, even if both candidates shake hands and promise zero negativity from their own people, there will be people on both sides of the ball who they can't stop that'll go negative in their name anyway. The media's going to have its work cut out trying to verify claims made by such groups this year...
    • I have a question - were the pictures presented meant to be Satire? Lampooning political figures happens all the time, though IANAL, I wonder if making satirical photoshopped images, from a copyrighted source or not, would be protected by free speech?

      Now I'm not defending these images, which were clearly meant to be passed off as real, but what if... oh I dunno - say the original picture was used in a photoshop thread on fark or something - what about then?

      Seems to me that this is a lot trickier of an

    • by Phronesis ( 175966 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:45PM (#8392007)
      how ironic it would be to turn the DCMA against the rich people who are in power

      Of course, you might ask, "who owns Corbis? [ketupa.net]"

  • Pretty Funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by firstadopter.com ( 745257 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:30PM (#8391061) Homepage
    I think we're going to see more of this in the future. Remember the famous shark in san fran harbor pic?
    • Re:Pretty Funny (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wankledot ( 712148 )
      This is nothing new. The technology is to the point now where it's nearly flawless unless you have the orginals and can say "OK, here's the source." But the same kind of photo doctoring has been going on for as long as photos have been taken. It really doesn't take a very high quality photo to publish it in the paper, and have it look believable.

      The fact that people believe it without question is what's makes it continue to this day... and that's never going to change. I doubt that it will happen more in

  • Watermarks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:31PM (#8391070) Homepage Journal
    If the infringers took the photo illegally and digitally removed the watermark, Croan says that in itself is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
    No it isn't. (Though passing along such a derivative work may indeed be a violation of copyright.) Unless the watermark effectively limits access to the picture (and obviously, it doesn't), I don't get how DMCA applies at all. DMCA is a nasty law, but it's not like it reads, "Thou shalt not do anything we don't like."

    That aside, though, this is a neat use of watermarks. Much better than that stupid the-watermark-determines-the-restrictions crap that the music companies were playing around with, a while back.

    • Re:Watermarks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:37PM (#8391142) Journal
      No it isn't. (Though passing along such a derivative work may indeed be a violation of copyright.) Unless the watermark effectively limits access to the picture (and obviously, it doesn't), I don't get how DMCA applies at all. DMCA is a nasty law, but it's not like it reads, "Thou shalt not do anything we don't like."

      Are you sure? Many companies (*cough* MPAA *cough*) use watermarks so they can figure out where leaked material came from. This is hardly new. Back in the golden days before PCs existed sensitive government or corporate documents were watermarked so if leaked you could figure out by whom.

      Didn't MPAA also sue that screener under the DCMA for attempting to remove their watermarks from the screening films he leaked? Would they not be able to do this?

    • by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:39PM (#8391162) Homepage
      it's not like it reads, "Thou shalt not do anything we don't like."

      Are you sure about that? It's in the fine print. Really fine print, as it turns out -- it's in microtext in the dot over the second "i" in "millennium."
    • Re:Watermarks (Score:5, Informative)

      by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:39PM (#8391169) Homepage Journal
      I don't get how DMCA applies at all.

      The other part of the DMCA says stripping copyright information or other identifying marks from a copyrighted work in an attempt to avoid proper attribution is also a violation.

      It's in that part none of us got really upset about because most of us (even those who "pirate" regularly) still think the creator should get credit (just not control).

    • Re:Watermarks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:47PM (#8391286) Homepage
      Actually, it is a crime under the DMCA, section 1202. There was an article [groklaw.net] on this very issue on groklaw.net. All they need to do is say that a watermark is copyright management information.

      Sec. 1202. Integrity of copyright management information

      . . . (b) REMOVAL OR ALTERATION OF COPYRIGHT MANAGEMENT INFORMATION- No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law--

      (1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,
      (2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law, or
      (3) distribute, import for distribution, or publicly perform works, copies of works, or phonorecords, knowing that copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law,

      knowing, or, with respect to civil remedies under section 1203, having reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement of any right under this title.

      In other words "Thou shalt not do anything we don't like."

    • Re:Watermarks (Score:4, Informative)

      by jpmjpm1 ( 232436 ) <slashdot@joelma[ ]n.com ['rti' in gap]> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @07:18PM (#8392340) Homepage
      Actually, the DMCA doesn't apply because you CAN'T remove a watermark, unless you have the original image! If you had the original image, why would you send out the one that has a watermark in it??? You would get caught...that would be stupid.

      Watermarking an image is pretty basic signal processing (go talk to your EE friends about it). You add a small amount "noise" to the signal (in this case, an image). This "noisy" image is then sent to people. To prove where a watermarked image came from, you subtract the original image from the watermarked/noisy image and you get the noise that you added. You compare this to your records and see who you you gave that noise pattern to.

      The problem with removing the watermark is that you don't know what noise was added, and there isn't a way to find out, unless you have access to the original. Another way of putting it is that A+B=C. If you only know C (the watermarked image), you can't find out what A and B are! (unless you know A (original image) or B (noise you added).

  • by ArmenTanzarian ( 210418 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:31PM (#8391075) Homepage Journal
    TotalFarker's give a collective "yeee..." and pull at their shirt collars.
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:32PM (#8391081) Homepage Journal
    Yeah so this is the problem with folks who don't ask questions. A quick examination of the forged image reveals differing light angles. However, other than that, the forgery (based upon an interpretation of the low resolution image from the link) is pretty decent. The cut lines are well concealed, and the brightness has been rather nicely matched. Of course the highlights in her hair have been darkened to match the background of trees and such, but here is(are) my question(s)..... 1) Who would be stupid enough to obtain a copyrighted image in a forgery attempt? 2) Unless this is an attempt by a right wing organization to discredit Kerry, why waste your time? Especially when you are lying?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:39PM (#8391171)
      Iraq for example. As well as job creation (Where are those 3.6 million jobs bush was talkin' about a while ago?) Also, witness Rove/Bush's strategy against other candidates, like McCain, where they mercilessly decimated him in South Carolina with accusations he had a black baby, etc. It's not just the repubs either; both sides are guilty of lies. It's all part of the game. We just like to believe our government is all nice and happy and gets along fine together in a big fluffy friendly world.

      Sorry to rain on your parade...

    • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:56PM (#8391410) Journal
      As far as I understand, the fight to be the president now revolves around same sex marriages.
      It seems to me that no-one has high thoughts about the voters.
      As an outsider, these American elections seems rather silly and I have never understood why the public allows this circus which seems to be all about avoiding important national issues.
      But then again, that might why explain the low number of people voting.
  • by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:34PM (#8391109) Homepage Journal
    "Pardon me. Would the person responsible for forging the photos, removing the watermarks from the source images, and distributing a libellous claim please come to the Principal's office? Thank you."
  • Wait a second... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:35PM (#8391114)
    Corbis hopes either to track the responsible people down using watermarks, or to invoke DMCA if the watermarks were removed.

    If the watermarks were removed, the DMCA won't be able to help much, they'll have a hard time figuring out who did the forgery...
  • by cartzworth ( 709639 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:38PM (#8391152) Journal
    ...infringers - don't they mean thieves? Oh wait, this isn't an RIAA related article.
  • Who? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JohnGrahamCumming ( 684871 ) * <slashdot@[ ].org ['jgc' in gap]> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:38PM (#8391155) Homepage Journal
    /. please explain some of these difficult to understand terms: I mean I know what GIMP, DMCA, MP3, PARC, DSL, DRM, DVD and NSA mean, but who's this John Kerry and this Jane Fonda?

    John.
  • by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:39PM (#8391163) Homepage
    Does anyone know if an open-source (cheap) watermark solution exists?

    I like to take photos and post them on my site, but I would like to also have them watermarked in case someone takes the photo and starts making money of it.

    I looked into the one that comes with Adobe products, but it was way to expensive. Something like $75 for 10 photos.

    Just wondering what options are avalible...
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:59PM (#8391451)
      This level of watermarking needs to be done every time an image is downloaded. The whole point is that they want to embed the IP address the image was sent to along with the timestamp so that there's enough to take a subpeona to the ISP to find out under what ISP account it was downloaded.

      That might not get us down to what person did it, but it very certainly would narrow the number of suspects into a very tight group...
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:40PM (#8391189)
    Kerry's not even officially the nominee yet, just the most likely nominee since he holds a very large lead over the surviving competitors. Therefore, it's a bit far to assume that this came from a right-wing zealot, it just as much could have come from somebody who is overly zealous in supporting another Democrat.

    It's highly unlikely that this came from anybody's official campaign, but somebody who really doesn't want Kerry to win for whatever reason makes sense to them. It'd be nice if there's a digital watermark somewhere in the picture that can unmask whomever was involved...
    • Edwards? (Score:3, Insightful)

      I vote for an Edwards supporter. This thing is silly enough that I'm sure it'll blow over by November.... but since John Edward's fate is going to be decided on tuesday....
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06@email . c om> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:41PM (#8391198)
    has declared that this investigation has been indefinitely been put on hold for reasons of national security. Furthermore, the original photographer has been relocated for his own protection to Guantanamo Bay, along with representatives of Corbis and anybody else who makes trouble, see!
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) * <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:42PM (#8391213)
    I don't think this would be covered under free speech as a fair use application. Instead this could be construed as defamation or slander. When these cases have come up in court before, the defining standard always has been that it must be obvious that the picture is either satire (Hustlers famous example of some evangelical priest) or being used to illustrate a political point (W with horns on his head or some such).

    In this case what was done was not obvious until the original photographer looked at the picture and said "that's not right" and even he had to look at his original to be sure. It's certainly a good enough photoshop that it would easily fool most people who will give this only a scant few seconds before concluding Kerry did associate with Fonda. Since it depicted him side by side with Jane Fonda, with no way for the public to readily know it was a forgery, the only intent has to be slander.
    • You mean libel. Slander is spoken, libel is in print. Libel will be hard to prove. You can easily prove the picture is false, which is one criteria for libel. However, showing that the author actually meant harm, and that harm actually occured will be difficult. Much easier to get the author on copyright infringement.
  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:43PM (#8391231) Homepage Journal
    If the "culprit" is caught, I could understand him being sued for libel. However, all that aside, isn't this a derivative work protected under the Fair Use clause? The perp could say "I was making a politcal parody like those pcitures of Bush next to Saddam or Osama." Didn't we already have a Surpreme Court ruling about this kind of stuff thanks to Larry Flynt?
    • by Skyshadow ( 508 )
      The perp could say "I was making a politcal parody like those pcitures of Bush next to Saddam or Osama."

      Did you see the picture in question? It seems extremely unlikely that a reasonable person could take it as a parody because it is carefully created to appear original and was apparently presented as the genuine article. It was meant to be taken as an original work, not as a satirical offshoot of an original work.

  • by AppyPappy ( 64817 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @05:54PM (#8391385)
    I saw it when it first came out. It was a joke. It was an answer to a request by someone to find a picture of Fonda and Kerry. It was basically a Fark.

    These goomers need to relax and find another vendetta. Otherwise, Fark is going out of business.
  • by Stonent1 ( 594886 ) <`ten.kralctniop.tnenots' `ta' `tnenots'> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:00PM (#8391456) Journal
    Real [snopes.com]

    Fake [snopes.com]
  • by Jaguar777 ( 189036 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:04PM (#8391510) Journal
    From the overview [corbis.com] page at Corbis.

    Founded by Bill Gates in 1989, Corbis is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo.

    Just throwing out that tidbit of info for the tin foil hat crowd. ;)
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:07PM (#8391530) Journal
    Apparently the trail lead to the account of one Beorge Gush - investigations continue.
  • by 1729 ( 581437 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (9271todhsals)> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:13PM (#8391607)
    Sheesh, 2 minutes on google and I found the guy who did it. A user called "registered" unleashed it on a message board www.freerepublic.com:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1075317/p osts [freerepublic.com]

    (Scroll down to post 47.) The original link was at:

    http://members.aol.com/registered/private/freep/ke rryfonda.jpg [aol.com]

    though it's gone now. "Registered" admits elsewhere on the board to creating the photo.

  • by erik_fredricks ( 446470 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:15PM (#8391620)
    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this article directly follows the one announcing Gimp 2.0?

    Just wondering...
  • Bill Gates.. (Score:3, Offtopic)

    by greenskyx ( 609089 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:29PM (#8391801)
    Not that this is too important, but I found it interesting that Bill Gates owns Corbis... (see this month's forbes magazine)
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) * <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @06:38PM (#8391919) Journal
    If they were pirated, does that not imply someone has to make a profit or use for a NON fair use purpose ? IE NOT poking fun at his retangular face in the time honored form of Satire ? So if someone profited, who ? and get a subpeona for records, businesses keep them, and you are only protected if operating under good faith, buying from the back of a van implies you KNEW it was stolen. If they can't point to someone who profited how do they justify/support the piracy angle. Sounds like a valid issue, but another place in which the terminally stupid piece of legislation previous known as the DMCA will be mis-applied to everyone NOT a CONSULTING LAWYER for either party or firms involved....

    At what point does construct of stupidity, layed on a ground of venal greed, to a philosophy of deniability become a solid doctrine to manage society by/with ?

    I should have been born wealthy, or too stupid to appreciate the difference...
  • Here's a dillema - (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JimmytheGeek ( 180805 ) <.jamesaffeld. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @09:01PM (#8393129) Journal
    Suppose you were on the scene at the My Lai massacre, when American troops were murdering civilians. Would it be treason to urge them to stop? No. Would it be treason to use force to try to stop them? Maybe. Would it be wrong? Certainly not. Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson ordered his crew chief to "open up on the Americans" if they fired on Vietnamese civilians he was shielding with his helicopter.

    If you view the Vietnam War as one big massacre, you have a moral obligation to do what you can to stop it. That view is one reasonable people could hold. The U.S. dropped more tonnage of bombs on agricultural N. Vietnam than on Nazi Germany and Japan. The B52 crews Hanoi Jane was hoping would be shot down were following lawful orders and yet perpetrating massacres. It's a problem.

    I have a lot of respect for the troops. I have no respect for the current CIC. If my own brother were shooting civilians, I'd stop him if I had the chance. Would you stand by just because of the uniform?

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

Working...