Art, AI & Infringement: A Copyright Conundrum

from the beep-boop-beep dept

I don't want to waste any space with a long introduction, other than to say it's always incredibly frustrating when artists come up with inventive new ways to produce artwork, only to have those efforts met with stupid intellectual property issues. Experimentation is key to the artistic world and we've begun to see how artists are incorporating technology into what they produce. This should be exciting, but all too often that excitement is plagued by legal issues.

A case in point of this would be Canadian artist Adam Basanta, who has come up with a bonkers and very cool method for both producing machine-generated art and then validating that art for human consumption by comparing it to real-world artwork made by us lowly apes. Let's start with his setup.

Broadly, Basanta’s machine has two stages: creation and validation.

Creation happens with a hardware setup that Basanta likens to a Rube Goldberg machine: two computer scanners tipped on their sides and pointed face to face, endlessly scanning each other, and the results – influenced by shifts in the room’s lighting, randomized settings and an automatically moving mouse – are interpreted by a computer and turned into colourful abstract pictures.

The second stage is validation. Another computer running a custom-built program automatically checks each image against an online database of real art made by human hands. If the machine-made image is similar to one that has been human-made, the computer dubs it a success and keeps it; if there is no match, the image is deleted forever.

If that doesn't get your heart beating a little faster, you simply don't care about art. This setup is, at the very least, incredibly interesting, and Basanta's method for validating whether the art produced by the machines is good enough for human consumption or not kicks the interest level into overdrive. His setup generates something like a thousand images a day, with a tiny fraction of that being deemed worthy of retention. The whole thing was good enough to warrant an art exhibit in Canada and Basanta has featured many of the images on his website as well.

And that's where the trouble started. Artist Amel Chamandy has alleged that Basanta violated her copyright on a piece she created called "A World Without Trees", as well as the trademark rights she has on her own name. Both claims stem from one of the pieces Basanta's machine setup used to validate its own artwork against and the naming convention it used to denote the new pieces it created.

In June, someone – it’s not clear if it was Chamandy herself or someone who works with her – did a Google search for her name and the name of a 2009 wall installation she made called Your World Without Paper.

The first result in the Google search, according to documents filed in court, was Chamandy’s website. But the second and third results pointed to Basanta’s website, because his machine had named one of its own pictures after one of hers. The offending image, some magenta lines on a field of indigo, is called: 85.81%_match: Amel Chamandy “Your World Without Paper”, 2009.

The trademark claim rests solely on the name of the file including Chamandy's full name. It's a silly argument for trademark infringement as the whole point of including the name is to weigh the new art piece against her specific work, which necessarily involves anyone viewing these pieces being informed that they are not the work of the original author. The whole purpose of the validation process is to show what differentiation remains between the new piece and the human-made example. That's not trademark infringement. It's not really even close.

As for the copyright portion of this, it's important that you not be fooled by the percentage the machine setup notes in the validation process. You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer's mind. That's not even close to being the case, as you can see just how different the two images are below.

If that looks like copyright infringement to you, you need your head examined. Indeed, the entire setup here is defined by the fact that this is a totally independent creation -- and the "validation" process only serves to highlight that there is no copying. Indeed, the idea that independent creation is a defense against copyright goes back ages, and this is quite obviously an independent creation. The only reason the other artwork is mentioned at all, because it's the literal coincidence that the computer judged these images similar that leads to the name being mentioned. Judge Learned Hand famously wrote:

... if by some magic a man who had never known it were to compose anew Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn, he would be an "author," and, if he copyrighted it, others might not copy that poem, though they might of course copy Keats's...

This is a case where "some magic" took place, and one artist "composed anew" something that a computer (but no human eye) judged to have a decent level of similarity to another's work.

Were her name and the name of her work never mentioned on Basanta's site, she simply never would have noticed. Nor would anyone else. Ever. And, yet, because Basanta's entire project centers around pointing out the kind of quality his machine setup can produce in artwork by comparing it to real-world creations made by humans, suddenly Basanta is mired in intellectual property claims.

And that's what sucks more than anything. One artist suing another, on incredibly specious grounds, is a betrayal of how art is created in the first place. If anything, Basanta was crediting Chamandy and pointing people toward her wider works by doing things the way he did. And this is the thanks he gets, because copyright.


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 16 Oct 2018 @ 6:39pm

    see what her other image matches then

    Basanta should take the work Chamandy claims is being used improperly and see if the algorithm matches anything else. If so, then the new person should go after Chamandy based on Chamandy's own argument.Or just sic them on each other.

    Regardless, anyone who buys this argument is essentially saying that citing another work is a copyright violation. Hence, you are legally obligated to plagiarize other people's work.

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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 16 Oct 2018 @ 8:20pm

    Copy Paste

    Meh, anything other than a complete copy-paste should start life as a new image with it's own copyright. If a painter makes a painting of the Mona Lisa, it's a new painting with their own interpretation and work added. That is something important to art.
    Back when photography was becoming a medium there was endless debate about whether a photograph could every truly be art because it was a mere reproduction. Then artists starting using air-brushes to paint photorealistic images. "But is it art or a mere reproduction! There is no brushstrokes, the hand of the artist is hidden."
    But people went on to make art with photos, photocopiers, and every conceivable medium because their work was expressive and creative.
    Copyright is not designed to protect innovation, it's there to protect copyright holders. With strong copyright you can't even take a picture of the eifel freakin tower - it's protected.

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    identicon
    Art Linkletter, 16 Oct 2018 @ 9:49pm

    "the kind of quality his machine setup can produce" is CRAP.

    If that doesn't get your heart beating a little faster, you simply don't care about art.

    I agree. Random crap called "art" does angry up the blood. -- OH, right. This is Techdirt. You may be saying this IS "art", in which case, SHEESH, it's YOU who don't care, don't know it when see it. Art cannot be random: brains don't work that way.

    IF SO, then I'm an artist because in fiddling with a broken digital camera, I "arted" some of the images. Those at least had curves. Now, since I'm a real artist by your own notions, you can't dispute me.

    The whole thing was good enough to warrant an art exhibit in Canada

    HA, HA! The 0.1% of things in Canada that are not trees and rocks are regarded as "art".

    Proved by that when I read on, at dispute is 'a piece she created called "A World Without Trees"'!

    Were her name and the name of her work never mentioned on Basanta's site, she simply never would have noticed

    There's his mistake, then. Since Basanta's own computer programs matched those (apparently just by looking at the palette and recognizing purple!), he must now wiggle out of his own testimony. Talk about recursive "art"!

    And this is the thanks he gets, because copyright.

    No, this is the thanks he deserves because stupid.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Oct 2018 @ 11:07pm

      Art cannot be random: brains don't work that way.

      Bullshit. Art can be whatever anyone wants it to be. If I want to (and I do) consider a movie like Manos: The Hands of Fate to be art despite its…shortcomings, who the hell are you to tell me my definition is factually, objectively incorrect?

      IF SO, then I'm an artist because in fiddling with a broken digital camera, I "arted" some of the images.

      I love that I get to tell you this so I can turn your dismissive example against you: Glitch art is a thing. And by the by, “arted” is also dismissive gibberish—you are looking for either “created” or “produced”. (I would also accept “manipulated”.)

      HA, HA! The 0.1% of things in Canada that are not trees and rocks are regarded as "art".

      So what?

      Since Basanta's own computer programs matched those (apparently just by looking at the palette and recognizing purple!), he must now wiggle out of his own testimony.

      I have no idea what you mean here. The usage of the title was never meant to infringe upon either the original work’s copyright or the trademark owned by the original artist. If anything, the title usage was a mere coincidence.

      this is the thanks he deserves because stupid

      You may not like what he does. You may not even agree that what his programs create constitutes art. Those are subjective opinions and I dare not tell you that they are objectively wrong.

      But I do have to wonder: In what world is Basanta “stupid” because someone else threw a conniption fit over the title of their work being used by coincidence in an entirely unrelated (and barely tangentially similar) piece of art that was not created with the intent to infringe upon the copyright of that original work?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 8:26am

        Re:

        I would buy the argument that the computer program deserves copyright. And the setup deserves a patent.

        I would argue against, though, the piece having copyright because it was created entirely through the machine, without having human inputs.

        The only human decision was to save the result. Similar, this, to the monkey selfie.

        And similarly, because it had a non-human origin, it cannot be infringement upon the copyright. And specifically, not willful infringement.

        IANAL, though, so my opinion is worth the paper it is written upon.

        ... were you planning on printing this page out? :)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re:

        If I want to... consider a movie like Manos: The Hands of Fate to be art despite its…shortcomings

        Those shortcomings arguably make it art. The act of watching Manos is art, at least.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:55am

      Re: "the kind of quality his machine setup can produce" is CRAP.

      You regularly defend the crap spewed by the RIAA's clients, blue.

      A wad of tissue paper is far more qualified to be an art critic than you.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2018 @ 9:49pm

    'Who? Never heard of 'em.'

    I'm getting a wicked sense of deja vu to previous lawsuits that have been covered here, where it would seem that, thanks to the shortsighted greed of fools the ultimate response would be not to make attributions at all.

    Rather than being glad that thanks to someone's cool tech they now have people looking at their art that would otherwise never have seen it they unleashed the lawyers on incredibly stupid grounds, all but ensuring that any matches to their artwork in the future will not be tagged with their name but thrown out, assuming the project as a whole isn't scrapped entirely.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2018 @ 10:18pm

    And the ironic part is that the creator of the new piece can not copyright it, because the creator is the computer, not the person.

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    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      This is what I was thinking. If a monkey can't have a copyright, can a computer?

      There is the argument that a photographer sets up the camera aims, composes the shot, and times the shot and may even amend the captured image in post processing. In this case the artist sets up the machine, coordinates the environmental factors that cause different images to be recorded and uses an algorithm to determine if there is a possibility if there would be any public acceptance.

      But is the artist creating art, or is he selectively choosing random images created by his setup? How much of the effort is his, and is he in control? The photographer uses his eyes and points the camera creatively, etc.. In this instance the machines are doing those parts and the artist isn't.

      Or is he?

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  • icon
    mhajicek (profile), 16 Oct 2018 @ 11:03pm

    Prediction

    Soon it will be possible for a computer to methodically generate all possible images, text, and audio up to certain dimensions, dibsing copyright on all possible works.

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  • identicon
    tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:13am

    Clearly derived work

    While finding direct copyright infringement is difficult in this case, it still has a clear dependency from source image to the resulting image. Such dependency gives rise to considering it as a derived work. It isn't a case of direct copying, but instead the created work is derived from existing imagenary.

    The main trick is that asking for permission is required also for derived works. While you wouldn't get 300k damage awards from derived works, in principle the permission procedure that most pirates despise is still required.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:18am

      Re: Clearly derived work

      Isn't the title only thing "derived" from the original work, though?

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      • identicon
        tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:24am

        Re: Re: Clearly derived work

        > Isn't the title only thing "derived" from the original work, though?

        Nope, the overall shape of the image is selected based on the existence of the image in the database. If the original author of the database image didn't do the work, then the end result would disappear. Thus the end result is dependent on whether the author of the image in the database spent his time for creating the work. This kind of effort dependency clearly gives rise to calling it derived work.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          So because he got lucky enough to generate an image that barely matched another one, he intended to infringe?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          "the overall shape of the image is selected "

          Uh-Oh .... did you make your art in the form of a rectangle?
          That's a law suit right there mister! Did you round the corners?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

            You can round the corners, but don't put that shape on a phone button, or you'll get sued too!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          Are you sure about this? I thought the idea was that he created a bunch of art and only kept the stuff that bore some similarity to art that already existed -- much like painters only keep paintings that bear some similarity to the style they are emulating.

          So the work isn't derived; the only thing derived is whether it is worth keeping/presenting to the public. This is an issue that affects artists in all creative genres.

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          • identicon
            tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 1:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

            > I thought the idea was that he created a bunch of art and only kept the stuff that bore some similarity to art that already existed

            Yes, but this is the same pattern than what movie pirates are using. They browse tons of pirated material, collect some database of the works, and then pick only the movies which is similar to the works that they like the most.

            Basically in movie piracy area, what makes the activity extreamly bad is the amount of effort it takes for the authors of the movies to create the work in question. Movies take alot of effort to create, so copying that work is more serious offense than copying single jpg file.

            This same "effort" identification can be used in this case. While the creation of the image takes some effort, his database of all the matched images contain that effort, just like in the movie piracy case. Large collection of the images are containing _tons_ of effort by (different) image authors. Now his process depends on this database and it's significant amount of effort. This concludes our proof that the large image collection database is similar to movie pirates movie collection.

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            • identicon
              Rocky, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              Wait, what?!?!??

              > Yes, but this is the same pattern than what movie pirates are using. They browse tons of pirated material, collect some database of the works, and then pick only the movies which is similar to the works that they like the most.

              Uhm, like the recommend function any sane streaming provider has? Like HBO, Netflix and all the rest?

              > Basically in movie piracy area, what makes the activity extreamly bad is the amount of effort it takes for the authors of the movies to create the work in question. Movies take alot of effort to create, so copying that work is more serious offense than copying single jpg file
              You do know there was no copying going on, right? NONE! ZERO! NADA!

              > This same "effort" identification can be used in this case. While the creation of the image takes some effort, his database of all the matched images contain that effort, just like in the movie piracy case. Large collection of the images are containing _tons_ of effort by (different) image authors. Now his process depends on this database and it's significant amount of effort. This concludes our proof that the large image collection database is similar to movie pirates movie collection.

              Proof? You just rambled through some broken logic that doesn't make any sense at all. You just said the equivalent of 'apples are red, it takes a lot of sunshine to grow apples, therefore any fruit that needs sunshine to grow is red!'.

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              • identicon
                tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                > Uhm, like the recommend function any sane streaming provider has? Like HBO, Netflix and all the rest?

                Well, I assume HBO and netflix has actual license to the content they publish...

                > You do know there was no copying going on, right?

                no copying? Their algorithm that matches the images are using some kind of database. They had to _copy_ the data from google image search to the database before they get their algorithm work fast enough.

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                • identicon
                  Rocky, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                  THERE WAS NO COPYING GOING ON! ZIP! ZERO! NADA! NOLLA! нуль! SIFURI!

                  Let me iterate the article in small, easily understood steps:
                  1) Generate random image
                  2) Compare it to an existing ONLINE database
                  3) Keep images that somewhat matches an existing image.

                  Now tell me, is there any copying going on?

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                  • identicon
                    tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 4:21pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                    > THERE WAS NO COPYING GOING ON! ZIP!

                    > 2) Compare it to an existing ONLINE database

                    The comparision fails if you cannot access the storage space of _both_ images - the image from the online database, and their generated image. This access requires a license from the copyright owners and anything based on the comparision results are derived work of the online database images. Basically the boolean or the percentage number you get from the comparision is a derived work of the images.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:40pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                      So based on your rules, you now owe all your money for the webpages stored in your browser history. Genius!

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                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 18 Oct 2018 @ 12:51am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                      No, you don't need a license from the copyright owners to compare 2 works no matter what reasonable method or mechanism used.

                      If we take your reasoning and turn it on it's head, if the artist of the original work compared the work to any other work the original work would then be infringing.

                      Do you think that sounds reasonable?

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                      • identicon
                        tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 7:33am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                        > No, you don't need a license from the copyright owners to compare 2 works

                        The comparision can be used to prove access to the works in question. The access is one important element in infringement determination.

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                        • identicon
                          Wendy Cockcroft, 19 Oct 2018 @ 2:39am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                          Access after the fact? Stop it.

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                          • identicon
                            tp, 19 Oct 2018 @ 5:15am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                            > Access after the fact? Stop it.

                            They can argue causality problems in their response to copyright lawsuit, but I don't think it's going to work; for the simple reason that the time between the operations is too short. Basically this causality problem doesnt change the actual outside-behaviour of their system -- outside view still considers it infringement.

                            Just swapping few instructions that computer executes is not going to remove the infringement.

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                            • identicon
                              Wendy Cockcroft, 19 Oct 2018 @ 5:43am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                              Nobody should have to face being dragged to court for trying to prove they didn't copy someone else's work and try to claim it as their own.

                              I had no respect for you before but this is even more nuts than usual.

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                              • identicon
                                tp, 19 Oct 2018 @ 6:16am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                                > Nobody should have to face being dragged to court for trying to prove they didn't copy someone else's work and try to claim it as their own.

                                This doesn't seem to be the case here. The actual dates when the products were created has not been contested, and those dates don't seem to support your causality theory.

                                Usually if you add some delay to causality problem without changing the order of the operation wouldnt break the system. In this case, the delay added to the right place will break their user interface behaviour completely.

                                Their system just adds unnecessary delay to the recovering of the images in question, and we trust that when they perfect their system (without changing the outside behaviour except timing issues) the causality problem magically disappears and they can discover their copyright problem instead. Since this is our courtroom, we consider legal problems first and leave tech people to deal with their own time schedules.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:29am

      Re: Clearly derived work

      please read the article again, especially the part about their image generation method... it's obvious from your comment that you skipped that one.

      The images are not derived at all from existing images... what they are doing is to discard generated images that don't have a reasonable percentage match to already existing images. (try uploading a random image into Google Image search.. works the same way)

      That's the same thing as having multiple teams of monkeys striking random things on typewriters and then discarding all pages that do not have a reasonable percentage match to readable text... their monkeys might even randomly write Shakespeare's Sonnets this way.

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      • identicon
        tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:40am

        Re: Re: Clearly derived work

        > The images are not derived at all from existing images.

        While they try to hide their dependency, the dependency still exists.

        It can be found when you consider "efforts" instead of "bits" or "text content" or "jpg/png files"

        Simple effort argument will make it derived work.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          If it's that simple then go ahead and find it.

          I'll wait, without holding my breath.

          Don't you have a mansion to wait for? Or an infant to sue, maybe boil in water?

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            identicon
            tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 1:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

            > If it's that simple then go ahead and find it.

            Here's (hypotethical) steps that prove the problem:
            1) Remove author of the original image from the world
            2) Thus the image would never be developed
            3) Thus the google image search wouldnt have the image
            4) Thus his database never have the image
            5) Thus the algorithm would never match against the image
            6) Thus the algorithm would never pick similar image
            7) Thus the end result wouldn't be available

            Thus there's clear dependency link from the original image to the end result.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              So nothing aside from your fanciful imagination and desire for torture and murder to be a part of copyright enforcement.

              You're still not getting that mansion, chubby.

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                identicon
                tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                > So nothing aside from your fanciful imagination and desire for torture and murder to be a part of copyright enforcement.

                You better get some lawyer to check your information. If it's not clear from that proof that a permission is required, then you just have too narrow view of copyright.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:22am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                  And where's your lawyer to check your information?

                  I think I'll opt not to take legal advice from a guy who thinks copyright law guarantees him a mansion. Got a lawyer to back up that claim too, jacktard?

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                    identicon
                    tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 12:14pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                    > who thinks copyright law guarantees him a mansion.

                    assuming this way is much safer than the other way around.

                    > Got a lawyer to back up that claim too, jacktard?

                    That's actually cool trick. Since I'm using strict version of copyright law, the lawyers are not needed all the time. The activity never goes near copyright infringement area since I'm not always looking for more freedom to stretch the legal boundaries. Strict reading means that some activity is simply not possible because there is too much legal risk in it.

                    Your sloppy reading of the copyright laws will require you to use lawyer every time these issues appear in your work, because you're working in grey area, and any mistake in your part will make your activity illegal.

                    Strict copyright reading is more resilient against mistakes since it tries to avoid those grey areas where there is danger of activity which is near illegal area.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:33pm

                      Strict copyright reading is more resilient against mistakes since it tries to avoid those grey areas where there is danger of activity which is near illegal area.

                      Every creative work created these days resides in a “gray area” of copyright because we generally receive our inspiration from a mix of modern and classic works rather than classic works alone. No work can be 100% legal under a “strict” reading of copyright unless it is 100% inspired only by public domain works—and no one, not even you, can ever guarantee with the certainty of God that such a work can exist nowadays.

                      The only other way to avoid that “gray area” is to have never experienced any form of media in your entire life, making it impossible to be inspired by anyone else’s work. Even then, “unconscious copying” can still occur basically by coincidence—i.e., a work created in the kind of vacuum I just described can still bear a resemblance to pre-existing works simply because no work can be 100% wholly unique and original even if it was created in a vacuum.

                      Then again, I should not be surprised by your lack of understanding. After all, I am talking to someone who sincerely endorsed the idea of physical torture as a proper method of “dealing” with copyright infringement.

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                        tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 4:41pm

                        Re:

                        > No work can be 100% legal under a “strict” reading of copyright

                        This is no reason to skip the process of trying to avoid grey areas. If you skip the actual process that makes it legal, your work will be so badly illegal that you're going to be sued eventually, long before you get real success.

                        > unless it is 100% inspired only by public domain works

                        Or maybe you used your experience to create the material, instead of copy-pasting it from a tutorial.

                        > a work created in the kind of vacuum I just described can still bear a resemblance to pre-existing works

                        There's a defense to this pattern: if you never saw/hear/examined the original work, it works as a defense to copyright infringement. But you need to be careful, since if your mom shows you new web page or product that she bought, you might need to move to different tasks to avoid liability. Examining competitor products is absolutely forbidden.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:43pm

                          This is no reason to skip the process of trying to avoid grey areas.

                          There is a difference in trying to avoid copying someone else’s work and trying to avoid every possible gray area that could land your work in trouble. You fail to grasp the notion that people get inspired by other people’s works and use that inspiration to create new works that may or may not resemble the inspiration itself.

                          Or maybe you used your experience to create the material, instead of copy-pasting it from a tutorial.

                          How would that not be the kind of “unconscious copying” that you took issue with before?

                          if you never saw/hear/examined the original work, it works as a defense to copyright infringement.

                          Under the strictest possible reading of copyright, such a defense does not exist. Whether a work was created with the intent to avoid infringing on someone else’s work matters not; the fact that it does infringe, even just by coincidence, is enough to make the work “illegal”.

                          if your mom shows you new web page or product that she bought, you might need to move to different tasks to avoid liability. Examining competitor products is absolutely forbidden.

                          Hi there, I’m someone who dabbles in pixel art and looks at other people’s works all the time. Pray tell, what should I do in terms of looking at other people’s pixel art to gain inspiration and possibly learn new techniques? How much “examining” is too much before my using that inspiration crosses over into the (in your mind) torture-worthy transgression of copyright infringement?

                          You may think I am joking. I sure as hell am not. Creative works are all built on the backs of works that came before; we inspire others, and we receive inspiration in return. If I were to take inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road and turn said inspiration into a story that shares only certain writing tricks with the film (e.g., the strong characterization of female characters, the approach taken to imply that female characters were mistreated without directly showing their misery and pain), I can say Fury Road inspired me without having to worry about whether my story is a direct copy. Your approach to copyright—your “strict reading” of the law—would prevent my story having so much as that resemblance to Fury Road because even that would be “infringement”.

                          Your approach to copyright would destroy any creative work that dared to be even marginally inspired by any other work without permission. Fan art? Deleted. Fan fiction? Erased. Parodies, MSTings, critical reviews that make use of the material being criticized/critiqued? Well, we're lucky that the courts generally protect all those things; under your reading of the law, they would all be vanished in an instant. You decry the most basic building block of creativity—taking inspiration from the works of others—and yet you show no understanding of how the concept even works. I would bang my head against the wall out of frustration at this ignorance (especially if it is purposeful ignorance), but the resulting concussion would likely scramble my brain to the point where I come off as ignorant as you.

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                          • identicon
                            tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 4:41am

                            Re:

                            > How much “examining” is too much before my using that inspiration crosses over into the (in your mind) torture-worthy transgression of copyright infringement?

                            Well, if you're truly professional, the time required for your brains to "see" competitor's main visual features is less than 0.1 seconds. So a glance longer than 0.1 seconds is already too much.

                            Good news is that if you know about the problem, you can easily avoid those glances by avoiding looking at that direction. But obviously places which have tons of people showing off their technologies, like fairs or parties, might be too difficult to avoid.

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 7:52am

                              Re: Re:

                              if you're truly professional, the time required for your brains to "see" competitor's main visual features is less than 0.1 seconds

                              …holy shit, you want to torture people because they experienced a creative work for more than a fraction of a second. That’s fucked up, man.

                              Also I hope you’ve never watched any movies, read any books, or looked at anyone else’s drawings (among other acts of experiencing creative works) over the course of your lifetime. All that infringement you will have committed by using what you have seen as even base-level inspiration is gonna be hella-worthy of torture under your logic.

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                              • identicon
                                tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 7:59am

                                Re: Re: Re:

                                > Also I hope you’ve never watched any movies, read any books, or looked at anyone else’s drawings over the course of your lifetime.

                                Watching movies might be dangerous if the movie features your competitor product adverticements.

                                If you're writing software, a movie camera tricks are all ok because they're outside the scope of what your work involves.

                                we obviously cannot forbid all products in the world, just the most dangerous ones.

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                                • icon
                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 9:50am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Watching movies might be dangerous if the movie features your competitor product adverticements.

                                  And yet you’ve been talking about copyright infringement, which is not and has never been limited to “products” (which is really the wrong word to use unless you’re referring to things like handbags), and “strict readings” of copyright law.

                                  The whole point I have been making—which you have been avoiding because you apparently want to avoid tackling it head-on because you know doing so would make you look even more out of your depth—is that under the “strict reading” of copyright law that you say you support, any creative work could be infringing upon another work if the infringing work borrows even a tangential concept from the supposedly infringed-upon work. Your “strict reading” would kill the entire process behind creativity. Under that reading, you would never be able to create anything in your life because you would have undoubtedly taken inspiration from all the media you have experienced in your life—movies, TV shows, books, music, illustrations, paintings, performance art…basically, literally anything that could be copyrighted.

                                  You are advocating for a position that would destroy your ability to create—and put you in a position to suffer the physical torture you say other people should suffer for even base level copyright infringement. Hell, if you literally believe in the things you have said about copyright infringement, “strict readings” of copyright law, and even “unconscious copying”, you went against your own beliefs by quoting me in your comment without my permission.

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                                  • identicon
                                    tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 10:00am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    > Your “strict reading” would kill the entire process behind creativity.

                                    Creativity == you'd just do the work required for creation of the product.

                                    > because you would have undoubtedly taken inspiration from all the media you have experienced in your life

                                    Taking inspiration from _all_ is much better than taking inspiration from _one specific product_.

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                                    • icon
                                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 10:58am

                                      Creativity == you'd just do the work required for creation of the product.

                                      And under your “strict reading” interpretation, that would mean no one could ever take inspiration from anything else because they would then have to strip their work of anything that prior works inspired, leaving them with virtually nothing.

                                      Taking inspiration from all is much better than taking inspiration from one specific product.

                                      “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” That one six-word story (falsely attributed to Ernest Hemingway) has inspired lots of people to try their hand at writing stories similarly as brief (and even shorter). Taking inspiration from “one” specific work, especially a conceptual inspiration that literally cannot be copyrighted, is no different than taking inspiration from “all” kinds of works. All that matters is whether the resulting work is an exact (enough) copy.

                                      As I have said: Your “strict reading” guidelines would make it impossible to take inspiration from “one” or “all” because even the smallest provable copyright infringement is still copyright infringement. Your guidelines would freeze all culture in place at the moment when the law adopted those guidelines. No new books, no new movies, no new songs or paintings or video games…all because you want everyone to “do the work” required to strip their works—sorry, “products”, may as well use your lingo here—of even “unconscious copying” to prevent copyright infringement or face actual physical torture for daring to even coincidentally infringe.

                                      Who in the world would ever create anything if they knew they would either have to strip their work down such that it is basically non-existent or be waterboarded because they happened to miss a spot?

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                                      • identicon
                                        tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 12:19pm

                                        Re:

                                        > Your guidelines would freeze all culture in place at the moment when the law adopted those guidelines.

                                        This freezing isn't possible, even if we wanted it. This is caused by fundamental human properties which means that humans are doing work. When people spend their time on their chosen field, the end result just needs to be useful to society instead of something that causes damage. But stopping or freezing the activity isn't possible; we can only control it enough to make the activity useful.

                                        Copyright rules are not trying to stop or freeze the activity. Instead "To promote the progress of science and useful arts", copyright tries to keep the activity in the useful area. Some activity is explicitly marked as causing damage, for example copyright infringement is clearly damage-causing activity, while other activities like creation of original or _different_ copyrighted works is explicitly marked useful, even though that activity is more burdensome than simply copying existing works.

                                        But the real giveaway is that humans are doing the work, whether we like it or not. Thus the whole society can absorb certain amount of effort in their activity, and the only consideration is whether that effort goes to causing damage or destroying products, or if the effort goes to something useful.

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                                        • icon
                                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 12:36pm

                                          Re: Re:

                                          This freezing isn't possible, even if we wanted it.

                                          Your “strict reading” guidelines would do just that if they were turned into law because nobody could turn their inspiration into a new work without having to double-, triple-, and quadruple-check their final work against every possible bit of media to ensure even the smallest possible copyright infringement did not make it in. Most people would give up on making things rather than go through the hours upon days upon weeks of work that would be necessary to ensure even the most incidental infringement is cut out of their work.

                                          When people spend their time on their chosen field, the end result just needs to be useful to society instead of something that causes damage.

                                          You speak of creative works as if they are “products”, as if they are handbags or printers or pieces of clothing. They are not. And your guideline of “usefulness” would, once again, undercut virtually any kind of creative work from existing because no single creative work is objectively “useful” to society as a whole.

                                          Some activity is explicitly marked as causing damage, for example copyright infringement is clearly damage-causing activity, while other activities like creation of original or different copyrighted works is explicitly marked useful, even though that activity is more burdensome than simply copying existing works.

                                          And yet, your “strict reading” guidelines and your talk of “unconscious copying” would stop that creation because even the smallest amount of infringement, even if it is coincidental, still counts as copyright infringement and thus still requires punishment. No one would create anything if they knew the physical torture you so desperately wish to inflict upon people would be visited upon them for even the smallest, coincidental, unintentional copyright infringement.

                                          the whole society can absorb certain amount of effort in their activity

                                          “…for 0.1 seconds—or else.”

                                          the only consideration is whether that effort goes to causing damage or destroying products, or if the effort goes to something useful.

                                          As I have pointed out, your “strict reading” guidelines would have to punish even the tiniest bit of infringement—no matter how small, no matter how coincidental—because you yourself said infringement is “damage-causing activity” which must be punished (likely with physical torture). I ask you again, despite knowing you will never directly answer me: Who in the world would ever create anything if they knew they would either have to strip their work down such that it is basically non-existent or be waterboarded because they happened to miss a spot?

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                                            tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 1:05pm

                                            Re: Re: Re:

                                            > Who in the world would ever create anything if they knew they would either have to strip their work down such that it is basically non-existent

                                            If they don't create anything, the only other alternative is that they're causing riots, distrupting food supply, cause water shortages, create criminal gangs, do copyright infringement, or any other damage-causing activity.

                                            People create stuff, simply because the only other alternative is damage-causing.

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                                            • icon
                                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 1:20pm

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              If they don't create anything, the only other alternative is that they're causing riots, distrupting food supply, cause water shortages, create criminal gangs, do copyright infringement, or any other damage-causing activity.

                                              …this is…I mean…does anyone else want to address this idiocy because I think I’m having an anuerysm now

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                                                tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 2:25pm

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                > does anyone else want to address this idiocy because I think I’m having an anuerysm now

                                                You don't seem to understand the real issue. I've only been following the hints that the community here is giving. If the hints are leading to crazy conclusions, this just seems to be where the community is going towards with their information. Every one of my answers are just "opening" the information that previous message has indicated, and if that opening-process leads to absurd results, the whole community that answers here are responsible of leading the discussion to that direction.

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                                                • icon
                                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 3:08pm

                                                  I am making this my final reply to you in this chain because (A) you’re an idiot and (B) I’ve wasted enough time trying to explain an understandable concept to someone who is both willingly acting stupid and advocating for a view that even the most stringent copyright supporters would never agree with. What you do after this is your own business.

                                                  But before I get to your most recent comment, I’mma go back up one because I really do need to explain some shit to you, regardless of your obviously willful ignorance. (I do not care if you claim “satire” or invoke Poe’s Law now; you have long since passed the point where you can do that and get more than an eyeroll from me.)

                                                  If they don't create anything, the only other alternative is that they're causing riots, distrupting food supply, cause water shortages, create criminal gangs, do copyright infringement, or any other damage-causing activity.

                                                  Let me get this straight. If someone is not creating a work, they are engaging in “damage-causing activity”. Under this logic, literally anything else that is not the act of creating something is “damage-causing activity”—which means all of the following counts under that definition:

                                                  • working a retail job

                                                  • sleeping

                                                  • eating

                                                  • exercising

                                                  • talking on the phone

                                                  • playing with pets

                                                  • going to the doctor

                                                  • cleaning up your room/house

                                                  • standing in the checkout line at a grocery store

                                                  • taking a shit

                                                  Your “either/or” logic, combined with your prior expressed “strict reading” copyright standards, would bend reality into an untenable situation. Under your logic, the only option for anyone to do anything “useful” is to stop doing literally anything and create something…while simultaneously doing everything possible to make sure that something does not infringe, even remotely, upon literally any other work under the threat of physical torture for even the smallest violation. This would be all but impossible, as even a single sentence written upon a page would need to be checked for copyright infringement, and no one will bother to take the time in doing that much work before they can even write another sentence. That means no one would be doing “useful” work, which—in your expressed views, not mine—they would be engaged in “damage-causing activity” that must be punished. To call your logic “insane” would be an insult to mentally ill people.

                                                  I've only been following the hints that the community here is giving.

                                                  No, what you have been doing is expressing extremist beliefs that no one with an ounce of working sense could ever support. You think “unconscious copying” should be punished, despite the fact that all creativity has some level of “unconscious copying” built into it. You think copyright infringers should be physically tortured either for committing an act of infringement or to give up information about an act of infringement, something which no one here—not even our usual troll brigade—has ever once seriously suggested as a deterrent to copyright infringement. You call for a “strict reading” of copyright, but your idea of such would call for the punishment of even the smallest, most coincidental act of infringement. And now you declare that anyone who is not creating something and meeting the impossible standards you have set for their creating something without committing copyright infringement is committing “damage-causing activity”, which you effectively compared to illegal actions even though any act that is not an act of creation would count as a “damage-causing activity”.

                                                  All of those beliefs are yours. You get to own that shit all on your own. You cannot claim that anyone else here comes even remotely close to “hinting” at those views, because that would make you an obvious goddamned liar.

                                                  No one here agrees with your views. Not even the usual trolls have ever been as extreme in their views as you. You stand alone, a single whackjob atop a hill of dogshit stacked so high that I could probably see it if I looked out my window right now. You are a buffoon who was likely doing this shit as an act, but now you cannot pull back from it because you have sunk too much time and effort into looking this goddamned ignorant.

                                                  Nothing you have said in any of your comments is either insightful or funny. Nothing in your expressed views suggest even the remotest understanding of copyright—or human behaviour, for that matter. You are the bar-none dumbest motherfucking commenter it has ever been my displeasure to go up against on this site in my many years of commenting here. May you rot in Hell, go fuck yourself, fare-thee-fucking-well.

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                                                  • identicon
                                                    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2018 @ 11:24pm

                                                    Re:

                                                    what you have been doing is expressing extremist beliefs that no one with an ounce of working sense could ever support

                                                    Not even the usual trolls have ever been as extreme in their views as you

                                                    Give them time, they're already halfway there. I'm certain that none of the usual trolls has an ounce of working sense to begin with.

                                                    All they need to work out is who tops and who bottoms before pulling Tero in for a menage a trois!

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                                              • identicon
                                                Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2018 @ 6:20am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                Don't worry, TP is a hagfish, and trailing slime everywhere he goes.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:44pm

                          Re: Re:

                          Examining competitor products is exactly what the industry does to avoid infringement, dumbass. Because we needed another reason to prove you have no idea what you're talking about.

                          You can expect your mansion shortly after the heat death of the universe.

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                            tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 6:47am

                            Re: Re: Re:

                            > You can expect your mansion shortly after the heat death of the universe.

                            I hope you're still around when your promise needs to be fullfilled.

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 7:53am

                              Unlike you, the rest of us do not believe we are owed a goddamned thing for creating something that can be copyrighted.

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                              • identicon
                                tp, 18 Oct 2018 @ 8:39am

                                Re:

                                > Unlike you, the rest of us do not believe we are owed a goddamned thing for creating something that can be copyrighted.

                                Humans life can be divided to time-slots, and each timeslot has some money amount associated with it. If the timeslot is reserved for business purposes, i.e. someone else reaps the benefits of the timeslot, then a proper compensation is in order.

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            • identicon
              Rocky, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              You know, hypothetical doesn't cut it in the real world.

              Btw, if the original artists image didn't exist the algorithm would then have reported the next best match and according to your "hypothetical" reasoning it would also be infringing. In fact, any kind of generated content that have a good enough real world match would be infringing according to you.

              And what constitutes good enough match in this instance? The algorithm said there was a 85% match but anyone with their vision and intellectual faculties intact would agree that the only similar thing in these images are the color-choice.

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            • icon
              Narcissus (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 4:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              Okay, I see where you're coming from now. You don't see the actual picture as the end result but the combination of picture and reference to the original art work is for you the total of the copyrighted work.

              I don't think this logic will hold up in court as infringement though. Essentially all artists reference previous artists and work. For example I once saw a guy making a convincing argument that Rothko was inspired by Vermeer. If that was the case than if you take away Vermeer, the Rothko could not exist. However I don't think anybody would claim that the Rothko work was copyright infringement.

              So the argument that it's infringement because one cannot exist without the other does not fly.

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              • identicon
                tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 4:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                > Essentially all artists reference previous artists and work.

                Yes, but when they do, they open themselves for lawsuits.

                In finland, we had well published case where some design shop printed image that was carbon-copied from a famous painting. Basically their design process was just the following:
                1) download famous image
                2) print it using standard printer
                3) use semi-transparent paper to transfer outline of the image to separate paper
                4) print the end result to a curtain
                5) sell thousands of them to customers

                They were eventually accused of plagiarism and copyright infringement, even though their design process is pretty complicated. But their process used a design from famous painting which is regognizable shape, and they got caught when customers regognized it as a shape which the company had no permission to use.

                Basically the situation in the article is exactly the same. The original source images require a licenses from original authors of the images, and the end result is illegal if licenses are not available.

                Basically in both cases, the issue is with derived works only, not direct copying. The end product has several innovative steps performed _after_ the copying happened. But that doesn't in any way fix the actual copyright problem.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 5:23am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                  The sequence of events matters, create work and look for similar works as a judgement of quality is very different from look at works and then try and create a similar work.

                  Also note that a genre in music or a style in art is nothing more or less that people creating similar works, and have their roots in previous genres or styles. Extending copyright beyond direct copying is going against how society and culture works, and is a creation of corporations who wish to control all creative works so that they can make a huge profit off of the works of starving artists.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:18am

                  their process used a design from famous painting

                  And herein lies the difference between your situation and the one outlined in this article: The process used by Basanta needs the use of a “famous painting” (or any other work of art) only for a Google Images match to determine whether the image generated by his process will be saved or deleted. That his process stumbled on the work he has been accused of infringing upon is a coincidence. If you can look at both images and tell me what was infringed upon other than the primary color choice (which is not infringement in and of itself) and maybe the name of the original work, you must be a god—because only a god can rewrite reality to suit their needs.

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                  • identicon
                    tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 11:39am

                    Re:

                    > only for a Google Images match to determine whether the image generated by his process will be saved or deleted.

                    Copyright infringement can happen even if the communicated information is just "one bit" like in this case [saved|deleted]. The information transfer here becomes significant once the "one bit" process is executed many times, always extracting small part of the original image.

                    This same stuff happens in P2P process, the files being distributed are not "complete work", but instead it comes from small pieces which are then automatically combined. But this splitting the work to pieces, communicating the pieces and combining the pieces is explicitly declared illegal pattern in P2P lawsuits.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:41pm

                      You are forgetting something exceptionally important here: The creation process of Basanta’s work did not use the “infringed” work in any way other than that one coincidental Google Images search. How can you seriously claim that his work infringed upon the copyright of the work that was matched to his in Google Images when the only conceivable way that it could be infringing is if a random GIS match counts as copyright infringement? And if you sincerely believe that counts as copyright infringement, how could any image search engine possibly stay open when millions of people run millions of copyright-infringing image searches every day?

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                      • identicon
                        tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:16pm

                        Re:

                        > how could any image search engine possibly stay open when millions of people run millions of copyright-infringing image searches every day?

                        Well, google has been sued many times for the creation of their search engine, image search engine, youtube, etc.

                        Basically all large copyrighted work collections are huge copyright problems. This includes wikipedia, youtube, etc.

                        The only reason why they're allowed, is because of the DMCA's exceptions. I.e. they don't even claim to follow copyright at all.

                        This service in the article never claimed DMCA, so the only tools we have is copyrights, and it needs to be evaluated based on copyright rules, not DMCA.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:22pm

                          The only reason why they're allowed, is because of the DMCA's exceptions

                          …fucking what

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:45pm

                            Re:

                            You need to remember - copyright trolls believe that before updated copyright law, nobody created anything!

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                          • icon
                            That One Guy (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 7:00pm

                            Re:

                            They make a lot more sense(which isn't saying much), and are a lot less headache inducing if you take them exactly as seriously as they deserve.

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                            • icon
                              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 6:48am

                              Re: Re:

                              "They make a lot more sense(which isn't saying much), and are a lot less headache inducing if you take them exactly as seriously as they deserve."

                              Copyright trolls, copyright cultists, and the general concept of copyright doesn't deserve any respect but unfortunately the feces-flinging monkey, pulpit-thumping fanatic and religion of the imaginary and fraudulent will still cause you headaches until you take measures to circumvent and avoid them.

                              As Sony proved once upon a time - pirates get no trouble, legitimate users get the rootkit.

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                              • icon
                                That One Guy (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 8:46pm

                                'With all due respect' does not need to mean 'more than zero'

                                I didn't say they deserved respect, I said they should be taken exactly as serious as they deserve, and in their case that amount would be 'not at all.'

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 7:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              Correlation != Causation

              1. Make bogus circular logic argument
              2. Double down on idiocy
              3... Profit (or collect your .02 from the **AA for your 'defense' of corporate copyright).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:39am

      Re: Clearly derived work

      That comparison program should be run against all those images on your site, and then we will see how many are derived works.

      Also, where is the copying, when the comparison for similarities is done after the creation of the work?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 7:40am

      Re: Clearly derived work

      *"While finding direct copyright infringement is difficult in this case, it still has a clear dependency from source image to the resulting image. Such dependency gives rise to considering it as a derived work. It isn't a case of direct copying, but instead the created work is derived from existing imagenary."*

      You obviously didn't read the OP. Look at the presented comparison - one is just a blur of purple and blue. That's the computer-generated image.

      The other is a clear picture of silhouetted trees which happens to be in a purple and blue color.

      By your arguments if i toss a blend of the color used for Mona Lisa at a paper at random I've just created a derivative work of the Mona Lisa and owe Leonardo da Vinci a pile of cash for my plagiarism.

      Now, from a copyright adherent this is actually the low standard I'd expect - "you manufactured something, so give me money!", but I'll give the benefit of doubt and ask you to go read the OP again, noting just how absurd the presented claim actually is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: Clearly derived work

        > if i toss a blend of the color used for Mona Lisa at a paper at random I've just created a derivative work of the Mona Lisa

        They still call it "fake mona lisa" even if the quality of your version is not as good as the original.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          So when are you taking your site down because your images use similar in colors and patterns to pre-existing works.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 10:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

            > So when are you taking your site down because your images use similar in colors and patterns to pre-existing works.

            So you want to attack directly the colour issues? Sadly for computer-generated images, relying on colour scheme only has a problem that rgba -cube has only limited amount of flexibility. Thus individual colour values like red, green or blue have difficulty of getting copyright protection. Large images the issue is completely different.

            Here's what happens when you try to be original with it -- people who watch computer-based images alot, cannot stand colours coming from outside of the colour cube's area. For example when our local adverticement agency decided to use bright light green colour to attract customers, some people get headache just by looking at their ad; for the reason that their colours were chosen outside of the rgba cube range. This kind of colour-sensitivity is common among people who design colours for living.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 10:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

              Nice deflection from the actual point, where you claimed similarity in color,and by implication patter, are an infringement on earlier work. You seem to be claiming that you are unique in being proof against infringement claims on that basis.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                tp, 17 Oct 2018 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                > Nice deflection from the actual point, where you claimed similarity in color,and by implication patter, are an infringement on earlier work.

                Well, similarity alone is not enough for infringement.

                Basically you need the following elements:
                1) author's access to earlier work
                2) some kind of dependency from earlier work to new work
                3) publishing of the new work

                Courts are using "substancial similarity" to detect infringement, because it makes it easy to find out how wide
                the copying operation is. But other tests are possible too,
                for example the dependency analysis of the activity.

                There are people who claim that these dependencies are unavoidable and the dependency analysis would make every work infringing. This isn't the case, since it's possible
                to gain "influence" from multiple different sources. If your work gets inspiration from thousands of different images you've seen over your lifetime, the problem is significantly smaller than if the inspiration comes from mona lisa alone.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:49pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

                  > Basically you need the following elements:
                  > 1) author's access to earlier work
                  > 2) some kind of dependency from earlier work to new work
                  > 3) publishing of the new work

                  This is what happened (just to recap since you obviously didn't read the article)
                  1) Computer generates a random image (ie. no access to "prior art")
                  2) An algorithm compares the generated image to existing images
                  3) The generated image is kept if it has a likeness to an existing image

                  You do know that in general when copyright law talks about "substantial similarity" often hinges on the fact that the offending party derived their work from already existing works?

                  Since the images are randomly generated they can't be classified as derivative works and that is the facts courts look at. If it is determined that the newer work was independently created (as in this case) THERE CAN'T BE ANY INFRINGEMENT!

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Oct 2018 @ 6:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Clearly derived work

          "They still call it "fake mona lisa" even if the quality of your version is not as good as the original."

          I said "toss a blend of the color used for mona lisa at random".

          In other words, same as in the OP what I'd be showing you is a smear of browns and amber without a recognizable figure of a woman or even person, or a background. No one would call it a "fake mona lisa" since the only thing which could come up with them as similar would be a brick-dumb computer algorhitm which tallies the number of pixels matching a certain average hue.

          Look at the OP. It's basically what you get by mixing two colors and pouring it at the page. Now look at the image produced by the artist claiming copyright infringement. There's literally NO similarity. It's like saying you've got the copyright for a fabergé egg and that round nondescript object over there is infringing because it, like your egg, has no corners.

          Seriously...at least look at picture 1 and 2 in the OP before you build an argument as to why copyright is sacred and ubiquitous. Right now, you look like a copyright cultist...or someone trying to parody such without knowledge of Poe's law.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 2:45am

    And this is the thanks he gets, because copyright.

    More like, this all the thanks he gets because publishers have preached that copyright gives absolute ownership of a work and anything where someone can find grounds for claiming 'derivative work'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Valkor, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:31am

      Re:

      Worse than that. Copyright AND Trademark. It looks like the plaintiff doesn't understand the difference between naming something and talking about a named something. I know you can't copyright a book title. Can you copyright a painting title?
      Worse still, there's a trademark claim that seems to be the main thrust of the lawsuit. It's also based on a name, her name, which isn't being diluted or becoming generic.
      TFA quotes the plaintiff's lawyer as claiming that the "infringement" damages her brand. COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK ARE DIFFERENT THINGS! The whole thing smells like a shakedown from a scumbag lawyer looking for an easy settlement check, and a compliant client who drank the Kool-Aid, (R)(TM)(Jonestown historical reference)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 7:44am

        Re: Re:

        *"The whole thing smells like a shakedown from a scumbag lawyer looking for an easy settlement check, and a compliant client who drank the Kool-Aid, (R)(TM)(Jonestown historical reference)"*

        This surprises you? Copyright lawyers are third-rate opportunistic bottomfeeders whose career opportunities include extorting for the mob, shady loan sharking, and ambulance chasing since no credible law firm will allow them past a standard professional ethics check.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 3:01am

    Interesting approach that will put copyright infringment criteria on its head! Or will it? I don't think so.

    How fast can I have a computer generate sequences of musical notes (an area where copying even a very short sequence can be considered infringing). Lets give it a try and generate several petabytes of tunes.

    Publish the entire generated set.

    Then "validate" the generated note sequences against the actual tune you want to re-use.

    Got a hit: bingo, go ahead: claim independent creation.

    I am afraid a judge will pierce through it easily, as an essential part of the creative effort is in selecting what elements to keep and use (copyright on photographs rely a lot on that aspect), so the infringement will happen because of the validation, which cannot be considered "independent" in any way.

    (BTW, in case discussed in the article, there is very little similarity, so from that point of view, no infringement should be found.)

    But wait, didn't you publish that huge generated set of sequences?

    Now wait until somebody publishes a new tune afterwards that matches with one of the sequences. Sue for infringment. Again, I think that won't fly unless you cannot proof actual infringment, unless you can somehow demonstrate the accussed actually used your huge publication to copy the tune from. (Similarly, Google doesn't have copyrights of photographs taken from any street because of streetview...)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 17 Oct 2018 @ 4:32am

    On a bright side

    Well. At least the machine could live (operate) longer than life plus 75 for humans. So it just has to wait it out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Valkor, 17 Oct 2018 @ 6:41am

    Interesting process

    https://vimeo.com/268772915

    I usually don't like this style of art, and I'm usually pretty skeptical of "art installations" but this video of his "art factory" is actually intriguing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 10:22am

    Regardless of lawsuit outcome I have a hard time calling the image art. Oh and I don't think the computer generated image is art either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    gene_cavanaugh (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 10:44am

    AI and copyright in art

    As an attorney, commentary on another's work is not grounds for infringement.
    BUT, anyone can sue anyone. It is a shame this suit was filed, and it should be thrown out on grounds it fails to identify a cause of action, but this isn't the fault of copyright - it is stupidity coupled with a flaw in the way the courts operate. We need to assess the costs of purely facetious actions on the plaintiff to discourage this sort of thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous coward, 17 Oct 2018 @ 11:35am

    This is Art.

    So her artwork is titled "A world without trees," and Adam's work is titled "A world without paper." He is commenting that without paper you have lots of trees, which is direct criticism of hers which lacks trees. I cannot see how in the world she can even file a suit without bad faith.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 11:39am

    >You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer's mind. That's not even close to being the case, as you can see just how different the two images are below.

    Look at the pictures, folks. That's Article 13 in a nutshell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Agammamon, 17 Oct 2018 @ 7:22pm

    You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer's mind.

    Well, only if you also think that an artist is a good enough programmer and mathematician to be able to write (or a good enough googler to find one and conscientious enough to keep it updated) an algorithm that is anywhere near as good as a human in matching two different images.

    '85% match' is worthless here. Its like measuring distance with a rusty, uncalibrated torque wrench. Sure, it will give you a number, even a consistent number - but one where you can't even begin to measure its error bars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nemo (profile), 17 Oct 2018 @ 11:06pm

    Old news now, but whatever...

    Those who follow the "rabid dog" strategy WRT copyright and trademark protection would be well-advised to keep in mind what regular folks think of doing, should they encounter a rabid dog.

    If they did that, they might be a touch more moderate and sane in their approach.

    Oh, shit - hold on. I had forgotten that a characteristic of rabid dogs is that they are not sane... My apologies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Richard Stallman, 18 Oct 2018 @ 12:28am

    Please do not use the term "consume" to refer to appreciation of works
    of art (unless it is culinary art). That term denigrates artistic
    works by presuming they are a mere commodity.

    It also denigrates the people that appreciate the art, by presuming
    that they do so mindlessly, the way we digest food.

    See https://gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html.

    I urge you also to avoid the term "intellectual property", since that
    lumps together more than a handful of unrelated and dissimilar laws.
    They are so disparate that trying to generalize about them all leads
    people to misunderstand each one of them. Please keep these laws
    conceptually separate so as to encourage a clear understanding of
    whichever law is actually relevant.

    This case raises an issue of copyright law, and a totally unrelated issue
    of trademark law. If you try to think about either of these issues
    in terms of "intellectual property", you will get it wrong.

    See https://gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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