All Rights Reserved*

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All Rights Reserved*
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Image by no3rdw
Today the ‘Flickrsphere’ is up in arms over a blog post by New York Times writer Sonia Zjawinski which encourages people to use Flickr photos to decorate their house. The post has caused a massive amount of feedback, mostly bashing Sonia, the New York Times, and anyone who opposes the angry mob of online photographers. The claim is, printing an image file which is publicly visible online without asking the photographer’s permission or purchasing a license is violating copyright law. Even if the image in question is a low-resolution preview of the actual photo. Even if the image is not being sold, modified, or redistributed and no claim of ownership is being made by the user. Even if the intended audience for the printed image is only the user and the other inhabitants of their home.

Most images posted to Flickr are uploaded with an ‘All Rights Reserved’ state (a user has the ability to choose a Creative Commons license if they desire). Some Flickr users rely on sales of their photos as income, so that ‘All Rights Reserved’ option is very important to them. To prevent just anyone from being able to have a perfect copy of the photo, Flickr provides the option to hide larger sized images from the general public. Not to mention the fact that photographers can upload their photos at any reduced resolution they choose. No photographer that has hopes of selling prints makes their full-resolution images public, unless they have no business sense whatsoever…

Still with me? Good, because here is where it gets ugly. Under this ‘All Rights Reserved’ option, you have the right to view the image at the highest resolution available to you, on the photographer’s photostream. You have the right to view it on your Flickr contacts page. Thanks to Flickr’s community-friendly API, you have the right to view the available RSS feeds of a individual user’s photostream or of all your contacts’ photos in a number of photo-viewing applications and readers. (This sounds like a lot of rights for a license that gives you no rights to the image, right?) You have the right to use those RSS feeds to view images on any number of devices; be it desktop, laptop, phone, television, or *gasp* digital photo frame. These devices might be in your hand, on your desk, or hanging on your wall at home. But these devices usually display images only temporarily, which may suggest the user is only ‘viewing’ the image instead of claiming some kind of ownership. So how long can I display a photographer’s photo on my digital photo frame before I need the photographer’s permission? How many people need to walk by my desk at work before I’ve created a public art installation?

And for the grand finale: What difference does it make if the image is digital or printed if both came from the same source file? Printing the image does not magically make it higher quality. Thanks to the Flickr API, it’s possible for any user to get up to a 1024px-square image, which can create a passable 4×6" print, unless the photographer has limited the size of their uploads. But somehow printing the image is looked upon as the deadliest sin. If I set the image as my desktop background, and I see it five days a week for eight hours a day, is that more acceptable than printing out the same image and throwing it in a drawer where it will never be seen?

I don’t advocate stealing artist’s work. I don’t believe all art should be free. I do believe that Flickr is primarily a photo sharing website, as outlined in their meta description displayed on every Google search result ("Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to the world"). Anyone uploading photos to Flickr thinking they can control where and how those photos are being viewed… is wrong. My advice to you is to reduce the size of the images you upload. Limit the original size image to people you trust (Designate them as ‘friends and family’ instead of ‘contacts’ and then change your permissions accordingly.) Or consider a different method of displaying your portfolio.

Because I know the nature of the Internet, I’ll end with this: Please go ahead and print my images and put them up on your wall. Hopefully, someday when you’re in the market to buy artwork (and I’m eventually selling prints), you’ll remember me thanks to the longer time you’ve already enjoyed with one of my photos. Just to be clear, I’m not giving you permission to use them commercially, modify them, or claim you created them, that’s a whole other story. I do believe in copyright laws, I just think the majority of Flickr users voicing their opinion today have a different opinion on what constitutes fair use.

And, in the comments (if anyone even reads this), try not to make too many ‘If I saw your car on the street and it was unlocked and I stole the car it would be cool, right?’ comparisons – they aren’t helping your argument. No, you can’t take my car. But you can take a photo of it.

Caldey Abbey 26th June 2013 (12)
internet income
Image by Gareth Lovering Photography 3,000,594 views.
Caldey Abbey is an abbey and monastery of the Cistercian order, situated on the island of Caldey, south of Tenby on the Welsh coast of Pembrokeshire. Caldey Island has been known as one of the centres of Cistercian activity since Celtic times and thrived during medieval Europe. However, the current abbey was built in 1910 by Anglican Benedictine monks. It is considered to be the most complete example of the Arts and Crafts style in the country, and the largest project of John Coates Carter. At the time of building, the abbey was called "the greatest phenomenon in the Anglican community at the present time". The roofs are of white roughcast with red tiling, and the abbey church has a south tower, with five side-windows, and has a "tapering" tower with primitive crenellations. The abbey passed to the Cistercian order in 1929. Today, the monks of Caldey Abbey are known for their lavender perfume, shortbread and chocolate production, and opened a shop on the Internet in 2001. A Celtic monastery was founded on the island in the sixth century, and a Benedictine foundation existed from 1136 until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536 (Benedictian monks were from the St Dogmaels Abbey located on the River Teifi. Pyro was the abbey’s first abbot; Saint Samson was also one of Caldey Abbey’s pioneer abbots. William Done Bushell offered the island to Dom Aelred Carlyle in 1900. An Anglican Benedictine community, led by Carlyle, arrived six years later in 1906, and built the current abbey in the Italian style with assistance from Lord Halifax and others between 1906 and 1910. Initially a row of cottages were built for the people working on the building; hence the abbey was named as "cottage Monastery." The chapel was added in 1910. Three years later the monks were received by the Roman Catholic Church. They left Caldey later in 1925, due to financial difficulties, and by 1928 moved to Prinknash Abbey. The much stricter Cistercian Order, who now occupy the abbey, came in 1929 from Scourmont Abbey in Belgium. The monastery was rebuilt in 1940 after a fire The monks are now financially self-reliant, supporting themselves with tourism and sale of perfumes. Perfume, shortbread and chocolate production all provide income for the monks, as well as the sale of prime beef. The monastery opened an internet shop in 2001. Their lavender perfume is said to be "simply the best lavender soliflore on earth" by the perfume critic Luca Turin. Chocolate is also sold under the "Abbot’s Kitchen" brand. The monastery used to operate a now-defunct dairy which would sell iced confectionary and cake. Profuse growth of wild lavender flowers in the Caldey Island prompted the monks of the abbey to create scents with new fragrances. They branded the scents and marketed them with the brand name “Caldey Abbey Perfumes.” With booming demand for this brand of scent there was need to import scent oil from outside the island. The scent is now manufactured throughout the year and is partly based on the island’s gorse. The structure is considered to be the most complete example of the Arts and Crafts style in the country. It was also John Coates Carter’s largest project. The roofs are of white roughcast with red tiling, while the large basement arches are of brick. The abbey church has a south tower, with five side-windows, and has a "tapering" tower with primitive crenellations. The windows are simple, with lead glazing. Originally the fittings included silver and ebony altar decorations and other luxurious items, but many were destroyed in the 1940 fire. The refectory of the Abbey was made from fine timber, and although inspired by an ancient pattern, it was modern in design. Two large water tanks underground and a narrow water shaft eliminate the threat of water scarcity in dry seasons

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