Archive for commerce

Law & Sausage

Posted in erotic, FLICKR, memoir, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, religion, Sexy, tennessee, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2012 by cliffmichaels



Thousands Hundreds Dozens Two of my ardent fans have written in concern, fearing my absence from Visions for the past two weeks  may mean I am unwell. I can happily report those concerns are unfounded. While not perhaps fit as a fiddle, I remain as zestful as a Zampogna.

A major media outlet, Mother Jones, has named the Tennessee legislature the worst in the nation. That’s quite an accomplishment, given we were competing with Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Carolina. I feel so proud…!

I traveled to Nashville this week to attend a two day continuing legal education seminar. There is nothing quite as soul deadening as being stuck in a cavernous conference room for eight hours a day with hundreds of other lawyers and listening to droning lectures on such fascinating subjects as bankruptcy, insurance and estate law. Thank God they have legal liquor in Davidson county. I’ve been attending this same seminar for about thirty-five years and have watched the presenters age from semi-youth to late middle age before my eyes.


Listening a recitation of the new laws the legislature has churned out over the past year was disheartening. There was a decidedly conservative bent in much of the legislation. Individual rights have been weakened and corporate and business interests strengthened. Since they won legislative majorities in both houses, Republicans have been busy imposing their radical agenda on the state.

We (liberals) are of course pleased Obama and Senate Democrats won. On the state level, however, Republicans maintained their death grip on too many state legislatures and state houses. The result will be more idiot laws (like mandatory vaginal ultrasound for women seeking an abortion). The flood of really sour sausage will continue unabated for at least another four years.


For photo credit, click on image – all photos subject to this creative 0ommons license

All photos tagged girl and Tennessee

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Hook & Ladder

Posted in FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2012 by cliffmichaels



123,100 photos

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Posted in FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2012 by cliffmichaels


Under the heading you can’t make this shit up,  Republican senator Jeff  Sessions, from Alabama of course, claims it’s immoral to support an increase in the food stamp program. Really…?

Of course he’s absolutely right. I mean, c’mon, you start feeding those shiftless, unemplyed folk and they’ll just breed like flies. Can’t they just grow their own food? They’ve got the time. Or they could shuffle down to Alabama and work in the fields (we could even provide reduced fare buses to get them there). Better yet. we could mandate agricultural work…

Or we could just eliminate food stamps altogether. Not only would it save tons of money, it would send a powerful message we won’t condone idleness. It would also up the employment rate; nothing is a better spur to find a job than a bit of serious hunger.

Of course the food stamp program isn’t going to wither away – not because Congress is so compassionate, but because the agricultural lobby strongly supports the program. Food stamps, whatever else they may be, are a form of farmers’ aid. You don’t kick farmers and their midwest Senators and congressmen, and women, around…



America’s Favorite Farmers Markets  – Farming Life Food Food Food! – Capitol Hill 

This farm girl would sure keep me down on the farm…

 Photo by ChenKuzi , subject to this creative commons license

Set by ChenKuzi

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TV or not TV

Posted in FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by cliffmichaels


Photo by Susan Adams , subject to this creative commons license

I can remember when we got our first television. It was, I think, in 1952 or 1953. It wasn’t very big and, of course, the flickering picture was in black and white. The old indian head test pattern still haunts my memory.

Dad, an engineer, spent almost as much time fiddling with the set as we did watching it. I remember his tube tester and being amazed at those  complicated glass encased wonders. Like many of my baby boom cohort, I grew up watching Howdy-Doody, Winky Dink, and then fell in love  with Annette Funicello (oh! those magnificent breasts!)

We got our first color set in 1958 (or maybe not till 1960). Wow! the World of Disney captured my heart and eyeballs. Bonanza was one of my favorites, too.

Of course, until not that long ago local TV was limited to three or four channels: NBC. CBS, ABC, and PBS. Before the ubiquity of the remote control, you seldom changed channels except between shows. You just sat on the couch and watched whatever was on.

Its a different world now. Sixteen million channels. My 42″ HD set is considered small (back in the day, a 28″ TV was considered really big). I have four remotes on my coffee table (TV, cable, DVD, Blu-ray).

And now I’ve crossed into another realm. The new HD set I purchased a month and a  half ago came with wireless internet access. It wasn’t the reason I bought the set; I figured it would be, at best, a seldom used novelty.

I was wrong.

We discovered Netflix. While the content offered is spotty, particularly when it comes to recent films (only one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), for eight bucks a month it is well worth having. Being good left wingers, we are addicted to PBS programs. particularly those from Britain, and even more particularly mystery programs.  Netflix offers dozens of shows that feed our addiction.

I’m going to buy a  $50 Roku so my wife can watch internet TV in her bedroom on her small, non HD television.

For the first time I’m seriously considering cutting back our cable service. Between the TV, internet connection and phone, we pay about $250 per month.  That doesn’t count my $99 per month iPhone bill and the ten bucks I pay each month for mobile access to Rhapsody.

I never used to watch very much video on my computer. It’s so old it won’t run HD content and occasionally just freezes up. Now, my iPad 2 is capturing a significant share of my time. I’ve become a fan of TED and various other apps offering video or music.

To end with the inevitable cliche, it is a whole new, and unsettled, world when it comes to video. I can’t wait to see what will happen next (video transmitted directly to your retina?)

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It’s (maybe) the LAW!!

Posted in art, erotic, FLICKR, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2011 by cliffmichaels
Photo by Niamor83 , subject to a creative commons license

Legal odds  and ends:

The ongoing war between cops and photographers continues. What amazes me is that the  police continuing their assault even though the law is just about always on the side of photographers.

The city fathers of Ft. Lauderdale think they can ban photography in public ares of the city by fiat. A judged disagreed. The Port Authority in New York has banned photos of its trains. A lawsuit is coming.

In the world of copyright, a court  has ruled a graffiti artist’s stencil of a photograph is a violation of the photographer’s  copyright. Duh.

In a closer case, a federal court ruled  against a well known painter for his use of several of the plaintiff’s photographer’s shots in his paintings.

It’s not a good idea to  use – without permission – an iconic photo in your Tony winning Broadway musical.

There is no more difficult job in photography than shooting weddings. A photographer has little or no control of the shoot, is on a tight schedule and is under pressure to preserve her clients’ special day in appealing photographs. Here’s what can happen to a hapless shooter who isn’t up to the job. It probably isn’t the best idea to post a photo of the bride in her underwear on your website.

Unless agreed otherwise, a photographer normally retains the copyright in photographs he takes for someone else. This is elementary. But its also elementary that companies try to shaft photographers.

Sometimes it is a very bad idea to try to cash in on your copyright, even if the law’s on your side.

Nobody likes the paparazzi, but you can’t just beat them up for taking your photo; but the poor guys get assaulted all the time.

While you may photograph what you see that’s public, that doesn’t mean you can publish your photo or use it commercially if your subject is a copyrighted public sculpture.

A right wing blogger expresses contempt for a Flickr photographer’s  take down notice.

A museum prohibits photography of its works of art. Can you photograph – and  post to Flickr -your photo of that adorable Renoir? Better not!

 This photo should be illegalPhoto of Annie Stoner, subject to a creative commons license

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Annie’s sizzling set of herself in the nude

It Just Gets Under my Skin

Posted in art, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2011 by cliffmichaels

By Bob Prosser, subject to a creative commons license

So you finally got hired to do a cool ad shoot. You find some edgy looking models, including a good looking dude with a really original looking tattoo along his right arm. You make sure to get full model releases from everyone. Your work is first rate; the agency is happy. They really love the shot of the guy’s tattoo right next to the product. You cash the check. The spread runs in some national magazines and shots also appear in a couple of newspapers. Everyone especially loves the hunky guy with the wicked tattoo. Your Blackberry is buzzing all the time…

Then you get sued… By the artist who created that wicked tattoo… The guy wants a million dollars for copyright infringement!



Maybe. Check out this intriguing piece in  New York Times.

The story raises too many issues to address  here. Assuming you aren’t photographing only the tattoo — close up — I don’t think you are at real risk. Fair use would seem to be a viable defense. The obvious tension between the tattoo artist’s copyright and the model’s right to make commercial use of her  likeness would seem to me to strengthen a fair use defense when the model has given a release.

Here’s a good discussion of the fair use defense  available to the studio in the Hangover II Mike Tyson case covered in the Times‘ article.

But imagine… As a practical matter I might now have to advise a photographer not to use a model with a visible tattoo without getting a tattoo release. Of course, you need that release from the original owner of the design’s copyright, and not just the the guy who inked the model’s arm. How would you ever know????

This Freakonomics post brings some common sense to the issue. Sadly, the law often shows very little respect for common sense.

At least one copyright lawsuit by a tattooist (against the NBA in 2005) got far enough to reap the artist a settlement. Note the hostile tone of the piece toward the artist. Apparently if someone features your art in a major advertising campaign you’re just greedy to want compensation… After reviewing other articles on the subject… Tattoos seem to get little respect as art. Many commenters to pieces about the Hangover II case seem to think tattoos aren’t deserving of copyright protection. Why?

Oh, in case you wondered, tattooing is protected by the First Amendment. In Massachusetts, for example,  a state law banning tattoo parlors was  overturned on free speech grounds in 2001.

Flickr Girls with Sexy Tattoos! 

Original by ALAN ANTIPORDA, remixed by me, subject to a creativecommons license.

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Breaking the Rules

Posted in FLICKR with tags , , , on January 30, 2010 by cliffmichaels

From the Flickr Community Guidelines:

Don’t upload anything that isn’t yours. This includes other people’s photos, video and/or stuff you’ve collected from around the Internet. Accounts that consist primarily of such collections may be terminated at any time.

There are 16,655 photos on Flickr tagged “Britney Spears”. You will find 1,925 tagged “Adam Lambert”, 9,184 tagged “Bettie Page”, and 51,016 tagged “Michael Jackson”. Granted, a fairly high percentage of these photos aren’t really of the celebrity (more flagrant Flickr “tag abuse”!)  Still, most of the images are promotional shots or other photos clearly not taken by the Flickr poster.

One wonders if there are some poor Flickr employees whose daily task it is to search Flickr for clear copyright violations and then to ban the Flickr scoff laws flaunting the rules. Somehow I doubt it. I would guess Flickr only acts upon a complaint; the site is just too huge to be effectively policed.

When a law cannot be enforced it is easily ignored. This is certainly true on Flickr. There must be at least 100,000 images on Flickr which are obviously not created by the poster. There is no telling how many, how many hundreds of thousands, of Flickr photos violate the copyright rules.

Don’t use Flickr for commercial purposes. Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself  through your photostream, we will terminate your account.

I can’t say how many violate this rule. I’m also not clear what it means. Many photos on Flickr are flagged “license photo”. I’m assuming this usually involves the photographer being paid for the licensed use. That would seem to be “commercial activity”. By way of example, this photo by Xindaan could cost you over a thousand dollars for a one time license. You will also find Flickr professional photographers linking on their profile page to their commercial websites; isn’t that a “commercial use”? I link to my blog on Flickr, and on my blog I link to my commercial photography site. Is that a commercial use of Flickr?

There are also, of course, various “commercial” enterprises now posting on Flickr. The entire purpose for these “Flickr members” is obviously commercial. I suspect, however, Flickr approves of this activity because it receives compensation. Recently a video game company created a totally fictitious Flickr page for one of a new game’s characters as part of its promotion. It wasn’t clear whether this use was approved by Flickr.

Here’s a good post from ClickZ discussing the same questions. Here’s a post promoting the use of Flickr in the sale of real estate (the poster recommends setting up a page for each listing so prospective buyers may see what the outside and inside of the house looks like).  Here’s one more website promoting how to use Flickr as a commercial tool.

So with Flickr the rules are the rules — except when they aren’t.