The State of the Union Live Web Feed- Are you listening Seventh Circuit?

25 01 2011

The New York Times is broadcasting the State of the Union on the front page of its website as I write this. It is a lovely thing to watch, and it is a clear example of how newspapers have changed- in what they can do and how they can deliver the news.

If the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) was in charge of the State of the Union, the New York Times would not be web-casting the State of the Union, in it’s entirety. Instead they would be limited to two minutes worth of highlight footage, with no live blogging allowed. Sound absurd? That is exactly what WIAA claims it can do with its high school championship games. A federal judge agreed with them and the case is now under appeal. WIAA is a state actor, and if you say that WIAA can restrict coverage of its events, where is the line drawn?


The photo editors of social networking

19 07 2010

There is an interesting story in today’s New York Times about a growing profession of screeners whose job it is to look at social networking images and flag them for inappropriate content- pornography, violence and other disturbing images. Some of the work is outsourced, but some is done in-house, depending on the company needing the review.

Like journalists, many of these individuals suffer psychological consequences from constantly seeing disturbing images. Oddly the article doesn’t mention anything about how they handle referring illegal activity to law enforcement. But it is fascinating to realize that in a world where content is provided by the masses, there is still a level of gate-keeping.

Digital Economy Bill passes in UK- without orphan works provision

7 04 2010

Busy day. The controversial Digital Economy Bill has apparently passed in the UK. The good news is that the controversial orphan works provisions in the bill were removed, due primarily to the efforts of photographers. YEAH photogs.

Read about it here.

My previous post on the controversy, and photographers efforts is here.

Photo groups file suit against Google

7 04 2010

Well, several photo groups, along with some photographers, have filed suit against Google regarding their google books project.

I won’t repeat what has been said in the various articles. You can read about it:

In the New York Times;

On the ASMP website;

Read the complaint itself.

One thing I will say is that the recent Supreme Court ruling of Reed Elsevier v. Muchnik has paved the way for this case.

Here is why.

Many of the photographers covered  in the Google Books photographers class action suit have likely not registered their copyrights. This means that they could not bring suit themselves and still get statutory damages. But in the Muchnik case, the Supreme Court ruled that the court can still have jurisdiction over a copyright case in a class action, even if the members of the class covered by the settlement have not all registered their copyrights. Of course the google suit asks for statutory damages for each infringement, and a court is not likely to award statutory damages for infringements where the copyright is not registered. But getting a judgment and getting a settlement are two entirely different things. The way is now clear for a settlement.

Photographers should be aware of the danger of class actions suits. Google may get hit in the pocket book, but there is always a risk that photographers who aren’t in the original suit will not see much of the money. Here’s hoping that the photo groups don’t let that happen.

Obamafy ANY photo (photo booth plug-in not needed)

19 01 2009


Many people have taken advantage of the Obamafy plugin for Photo Booth software (works on a mac).

For some reason, I couldn’t get the plug-in to work, so I sought a way to do it in Photoshop, without a plugin. I couldn’t find anything on how to do this, so I figured it out and wanted to share it.

It wasn’t that complex. Here’s a step-by-step guide. It works best with a photo that is lit from one side, so that you have a shadow area. To do this, you need a good understanding of photoshop. You will be using filters (halftone and cut-out), and photoshop tools (paint bucket, lasso, marquee) and color range.

aliciamug aliciamug-cut-out2aliciamugwithhalftone1aliciamugobamafied1

First steps:

  1. Download from the internet the obama art that you want to imitate. Consider that there are 5 colors in your pallet: red, pale blue, pale blue stripes, black (or very dark blue) and white (or cream colored).
  2. Take your pre-existing photo and add filter>artistic>cutout. Select 5 or 6 levels, to match the number of colors in your pallet.

The Halftone:

  1. The first part you want to get out of the way is the half-tone portion (the stripes). Look for the line that indicates the beginning of the shadow area. This should be between the light area of the face and the darker area. In my case it is the tan area going right down the middle of my nose.
  2. Use the lasso tool to get a rough selection of the face area. This is so that you only get the highlights in the face for this color.
  3. With the face selected, go to select> color range and select the tan color. Now just the highlights in the face should be selected.
  4. Using the paint bucket, select the light blue in the obama photo that you want to imitate. Dump the color in your selected area. Do Not deselect.
  5. To create the stripes: filter>sketch>halftone pattern (select Pattern Type: line) and adjust the size of the stripes to your choice.

The Background:

  1. Now, using the rectangular marquee tool, select half of the image. Use the paint bucket tool to dump your background color. If your hair blends into the background, like mine does, you may have to use the lasso tool to avoid selecting the hair.
  2. Select the other side of the photo and do the same thing to the background. Make sure the hair is separated.

The Hair

  1. For me this was the trickiest part. My hair isn’t black, and making it black makes me look silly. So I just made the hair on the right red, and the hair on the left blue.

The Rest

  1. Now fill in the other colors using the paint bucket from your cut-out photo with corresponding colors:
  • lightest color and highlights= white or cream
  • middle to light color= light blue
  • shadow of face and darker shadows= red
  • darkest areas= dark blue or black

Clean up the spots that you missed using the clone tool. As a final touch, you can expand the canvas size of the image by a few points (image>canvas size) until you have a poster-like border (make sure your background color is cream or white).

P.S. More information is coming out about the photo that the original Shepard Fairey poster was possibly derived from. I have read that Fairey copied it off of the internet which has legal implications for such a iconic image. And certainly, an ironic act for someone who has been burned by intellectual property theft himself. At a minimum, it is good for a scholarly discussion. But I think it is irresponsible to comment without more facts.

Cell phone laws, by state and country

3 07 2008

In celebration of my new international cell phone and since photographers are always on the road, and always on the phone, I thought it would be useful to share this nugget which is a chart of all countries that ban driving while on the cell and also has a state-by-state list of cell phone laws.

By the way, I am a guilty as the next guy but we all know it is true. When you see someone driving like crazy, they are often on their cell phone.