Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Image (Un)Removal

Just a little suggestion to you people who still cling to the idea that something you put on your web site can remain solely on your web site. Rest assured that the same day it’s on your site, it’s probably on a thousand and one other sites, too, and e-mailing site owners to remove it is about as effective as flushing a cockroach down the toilet to kill it.

Case in point, The Superficial recently posted an entry about Jared Leto. The entry was subsequently updated with the image removed “at request of the owner.”

Here comes the little suggestion. By the time you realize your picture is on someone else’s site, just give up. The aforementioned Jared Leto entry was clearly already hit by countless readers (including myself) who likely have newsreaders that cache the entry. This is normal behavior. Consequently, The Superficial updated their entry to comply with the request, but my newsreader still shows the cached copy, along with the updated text noting the removal. Here, have a look at what I mean—and we’ll see whether “the owner” asks me to remove the snapshot. But wait, am I obliged to comply? I didn’t post a copy of the photo. I posted a screen shot of something that appeared in my newsreader from a remote source. It’s not my fault the producer of that content didn’t secure permission first.

You see where I’m going with this? In my view, if you’re going to put something on the web, be prepared for the fact that anyone can copy it and put it somewhere else. And frankly, I believe that as long as they aren’t profiting from doing so, and ideally crediting where they got it, they are within their rights to do so.

In other words, if you don’t want other people to get their mitts on it, don’t put it online.

» Posted by ALBj at 10:39 PM (ET)
Category: Musings


Although I fully agree with your point, one has to consider the ramifications when the photo was obtained illegally and posted without consent.

» Posted by Queue
March 15, 2006 12:17 AM

Yes, but was it obtained illegally? While the source site does require registrations to view content, anyone can register. Now it’s certainly possible that, by registering, a person agrees to not place the content on other sites—and that is very likely the case this time and why The Superficial agreed to remove the picture and why I will, too, if asked (not that I believe anyone of importance is going to find it on my wildly popular blog! :-p)

What I’m getting at, though, is that some people have the delusion that it’s possible to display something on the web that can’t be copied or saved to the viewer’s hard drive. Hate to burst the bubble, but by just having viewed it, I’ve downloaded it to my cache which is ripe for me to pluck it out. Other sites do things to make it hard to copy/save images by overlaying a transparent pixel image over a photo so that the dud graphic catches a right-click save instead of the actual photo. It’s very easy to circumvent. But even in scenarios where the picture is in, say, a Flash document, I can still resort to a screen capture. I’m back to my original point—if I can see it on my screen, I can save it.

» Posted by Lee Bennett
March 15, 2006 12:31 AM

Sorry, due to comment spam abuse, new comments on this entry are closed until I find time to upgrade Movable Type and enable registration and moderation.