The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 11

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More Uncredited MoHPC Pictures
Message #1 Posted by Spice_Man on 11 Mar 2003, 7:53 a.m.


Here's how we fix that little problem, hehehe
Message #2 Posted by Jeremy on 11 Mar 2003, 12:37 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Spice_Man

We talk to Dave and have him temporarily replace the image in the HTML code with a different image of the same name. This replacement image would just be an image of a sign which says: "I tried to steal this pic without permission, and got caught. I will soon be sued for this crime."

What do you all think?


Whoops, that wouldn't work
Message #3 Posted by Jeremy on 11 Mar 2003, 12:41 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Jeremy

... since whoever lifted the picture saved it to their computer and cropped it down a bit, thus changing the image a bit, and making my 'link trick' useless...

Still, I bet it would stand up in court.


Re: Here's how we fix that little problem, hehehe
Message #4 Posted by Jürgen (CH) on 11 Mar 2003, 3:04 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Jeremy

There are several techniques to prevent image theft, but none of them is save. You cannot prevent someone to capture the screen!

Other possibilities:
Use a text watermark to put copyright information over the image. Visitors can view the image through the watermark, but they wouldn't want to use it on their own sites.
It's too bad about the nice HP calc pictures.

Digital Watermarks embed identifying information in the image file. It can be an identification number, author information, or any other data that makes the image unique. People don't see the information on the Web page, but you can identify it using graphic program plug-ins or decoding programs. This doesn't keep people from using your images, but it does make the images uniquely identifiable should they be stolen.
Does not change much because we all know the MoHPC pictures so well and can identify them without digital watermarks.

So I guess there is no satisfying solution to this problem.


Of course none of this does any good
Message #5 Posted by Mike on 11 Mar 2003, 3:40 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Jürgen (CH)

unless you are willing to spend thousands of $ prsecuting someone; which no one will.

However, you might consider...

Notifying the seller that you "were" considering bidding on their item but not until they give credit for the photo. Even if you are not, you can send the notice. Perhaps eventually, they will get the message.

Let's set things straight
Message #6 Posted by John Smith on 12 Mar 2003, 5:05 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Mike

I think this problem of uncredited and/or misleading usage of David (or anyone else's) pics needs some rational thinking, i.e:

  • First of all, not everyone including one of David's pictures on his/her auction is necessarily trying to mislead the potential bidders or intentionally infringing David's copyright.

    Many people simply don't know a thing about the HP calculators they're selling, because they got them from some relative, as part of a state, or something like that, they don't need them, and they simply want to get rid of them. Frequently, they don't have a digital camera suitable for objects of that size, nor any other easy means of getting an image, and they simply search the web for some pictures. Frequently, they find some on the newsgroups, where people post them all the time, and they might easily turn out to be some David's pictures.

    I know this scenario does happen in real life, because as a collector, I've found such persons more than once. I particularly remember a gentleman selling an HP-16C. He had a zero feedback, and the pic was taken straight from David's site. At first I was suspicious, but a few rounds of questions/answers convinced me that he was absolutely honest and simply didn't have any means of taking an adequate picture of his item. I won the auction and guess what, his HP-16C was as new or newer than the one featured in David's pic, so the image wasn't misleading after all !!

    So, in short, acting agressively against such people by default isn't justified. They might be acting in good faith, and they might not know at all that the image belongs to David. So I would suggest informing them politely, it's just a question of good manners, and we're all rational, educated people, aren't we ?

  • Secondly, no matter how many people you inform about David's pictures, there's bound to always be others doing the same, all the time, constantly. Don't you think it's a tremendous amount of everybody's valuable time wasted to be always acting like that ? What's worse, the situation won't improve ever, it's an "infinite task". No matter how many people you contact today, they will be more tomorrow, and the day after, etc. You won't be making any progress at all.

    What's needed is not complaining after the fact, but preventing the fact from ever happening. And it's pretty clear how to do it: simply include some non-obstrusive text inserted into the picture, that reads something like "(c) David Hicks, MoHP - NOT FOR SALE".

    Put the text in a soft, transparent grey, over some part of the calculator where it doesn't cover any important features (between the display and the first row of keys, for instance, or between two key rows) and that's it !! It won't spoil the picture to any important degree, but no eBay seller will consider using such labeled image in his/her auction !! And they won't ever attempt to remove the text, because being in the middle of the image, and being transparent, it would be too much work, and would leave a noticeable "scar" which would detract a lot from the item's cosmetic looks.

That's it. I've proceeded like that with the pictures I took of my own collection, and they both look great and are unusable for selling purposes.

I would suggest David would do likewise. That way, he would avoid losing vast amounts of time with this problem, every concerned visitor would equally be relieved from doing likewise, and no further alert posts to the Forum would ever be necessary.

My 41 cents.

That is one way
Message #7 Posted by Mike on 12 Mar 2003, 8:54 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by John Smith

No one is suggesting getting "agressive." It is simply a notice that one could send to the seller. I have sent comments from time to time to sellers and they almost always accept the suggestions as constructive tips. What's the big deal?

But you seem to forget one thing. This is Daves "Museum." His photos are an online museum. Imagine that you had a real museum. Would you paint "(c)copyright" on the face of your calculators? Hardly.

While this does, perhaps, prevent theft of photos, it also somewhat spoils the pristine nature of the photos he is showing. And before you think Dave does not know of this, most of his photos have his notice on them. They are just off to the side for, likely, the reason I stated.

Also, your logic that "the seller might not know that they are Dave's" is somewhat bogus. The seller knows for sure that they are not "his."

Let's all help Mike out. He's on the right track..
Message #8 Posted by Jeremy on 11 Mar 2003, 7:33 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Spice_Man

We should go to eBay and use the 'Ask seller a question' option to send a message to the seller.

I'm going over there as soon as I get done typing this. It is all too easy to throw up our hands in disgust and say we can't do anything about it, but if enough people emailed the guy and let him know that it is unlawful to steal images without asking permission or giving credit, and that the owner of the original images knows he's doing this, it might have an impact.

I encourage all who read this to visit that auction (if it is still open) and express your feelings on the matter to the seller. Personally, I'm going to say something like: "Do you have a picture of the ACTUAL calculator you're selling, or just that picture that you're illegally using from MoHPC?"

On the other hand, we haven't heard from the owner of the picture yet either. For all we know, he may have given his blessing...


Overall, is this a bad thing?
Message #9 Posted by Patrick on 12 Mar 2003, 1:59 a.m.,
in response to message #8 by Jeremy

I'll probably make a lot of enemies here with this post...

While I'm not the owner/curator of this site or its content, I am wondering what would be the incentive to retard the propogation of the images here? Yes, I agree it is extremely poor manners to not thank and acknowledge the people who provide you a service, but is it really all that bad that people "steal" the images here?

David, this is really a question to you, since you are the owner of said images.

If this really is a problem, I'm wondering if I or others provide some good quality images of our calculators and put them in the public domain, would you host them here, identified as free for all to use?

I guess my gut feel is the benefit of having words and images of these old HP calculators being propogated as far and wide as possible outweigh any negative implications of "stolen" imagery. If this means more people start speaking the gospel of HP and RPN, who amongst us would complain? Evangelists of all types through history have had to make sacrifices to their cause. This doesn't seem too big a one to me.

Just my humble opinion.

Re: Overall, is this a bad thing?
Message #10 Posted by Christof on 12 Mar 2003, 2:59 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Patrick

Unless I've been misreading Dave for a while, he's fine with credited reproductions/use of photos.

I agree, it's a nice thing to ask seller a question- I'd tone the phrasing down a bit, though.

The real problem is
Message #11 Posted by Mike on 12 Mar 2003, 8:58 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Patrick

The real problem is that any auction that has a photo that is not of the item being sold, is a deceptive and misleading auction. That is the real problem.

Everyone knows that most sellers on eBay are not collectors and are not very knowledgeable about what they are selling. So, when they take their average condition calculator and show one of Dave's pristine images, they are suggesting that what you are buying is what they are showing.

It may not be intentional but it is real. By giving credit, they are accomplishing two things. 1) giving credit to the owner of the photo and 2) stating that the actual item may not look like the photo. At least this puts people on notice.

A good point.
Message #12 Posted by Jeremy on 12 Mar 2003, 1:14 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Patrick

I think we're all civil people here, so something like this is not going to get us all excited. That is just another viewpoint I didn't consider.

I suppose that if we got enough people all over the internet hooked on HP calcs, they might gear up again and this market might take off again. That would be nice.

However... If the seller had mentioned that the picture was borrowed (with permission) from Dave Hicks of MoHPc, this site would get a lot more traffic, and people would not only be buying the calcs. but they woudl be educated here about the glories of them. So even though what the guy did is not 100% bad, it would be 100% better if he had some class.

BTW, I went to go 'Ask Seller a Question' and the auction had already ended with 'Buy it Now' Someone from this forum maybe is enjoying that calc quietly in the background, hopefully with just a tad of shame... :)

IP Crash Course
Message #13 Posted by John K. (US) on 13 Mar 2003, 3:26 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Jeremy

[B]ut is it really all that bad that people "steal" the images here?

<disclaimer class="obligatory">
Of course, I'm not a lawyer, do not have a law degree, and am not licensed in any jurisdiction to act as a lawyer or to give legal advice. Before relying on any of the following information, I urge you to consult a (real) lawyer.

Yes and no. I don't know much about international copyright law, but in the US, it is necessary to make a nominal effort to protect one's "intellectual property" (IP). As I understand it, a simple copyright notice is usually sufficient to meet the minimum requirement, but there are cases where even this much isn't necessary. However, as with most things regarding civil suits, the more effort one makes ahead of the fact, the more likely a court is to decide in one's favor, should it come to that.

If no (or, in the court's opinion, insufficient) effort is made to protect one's IP, it can result in the loss of any rights of ownership. This has happened in the past -- the most notable case being "aspirin" -- and almost happened to Xerox (over the brand-name of their xerographic machines) and J.R.R. Tolkein (over The Lord of the Rings).

So, yes, if Dave wishes to retain ownership, it's probably a good idea for him to at least try to protect his pictures from unauthorized use.

Re: A good point.
Message #14 Posted by Paul Brogger on 13 Mar 2003, 10:22 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Jeremy

A fundamental tenet of engineering is (I believe -- keep in mind this is coming from an engineer wanna-be!) that there's a trade-off involved in EVERYthing.

Dave himself has expressed concern that the very existence of this fine site has probably fostered (perhaps) inordinate interest in calculator collecting, increased demand, and driven up prices. (Dave: I hope I didn't misinterpret or overstate on your behalf . . . )

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure evangelism, as such, is at all necessary or desirable. (We're not selling Apple computers or eternal life.) I think interested folks will find their way here (by word-of-mouth if by no other means), and the last thing I want is the Forum overrun with rants from uncommitted, uninvolved, non-contributors. (Do I sound like a preacher cautioning the New Membership Committee, or what?)

There's something to be said for less advertising rather than more.

With regard to the success of RPN in the long run: if HP manages to maintain production of a decent RPN model that competes on price as well as features, the market will decide. So I would ask the members of the brother- and sisterhood to simply recall and reaffirm their shared and unshakable belief in the omnipotent superiority of RPN, and to walk in faith, with calm assurance in the rightness of the outcome.

And the people said? "<Enter> and Amen!"

Thanks - and comments / responses
Message #15 Posted by Dave Hicks on 12 Mar 2003, 3:54 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Spice_Man

I didn't see that in time to do anything since it ended with "Buy it now".

In response to some of the comments below my normal course of action is to ask the seller to include an appropriate statement/credit along with the URL to the site. That's much less than I could legally request but it's all that I currently do.

Once in a while that fails and I have the auction removed - usually much to the surprise of the auctioneer. (Feigned ignorance is not always bliss - go figure ;-))

In one strange case, a seller of a 12C kept "responding" to my request by switching to different pictures. But each one she came up with was another one of mine. Finally, she deleted the picture entirely rather than state where it came from. Another seller threatened to sue me and to report me to the FTC for restraint of trade.

There is a small watermark on my pictures. I prefer to not have an "aggressive" watermark. Some of the auctioneers have trimmed or cut and pasted over my watermarks already. (Sometimes creating a new shape of HP calculator in the process.) I assume they would be even more likely to do that if the watermark were more obvious. Last time I checked, the invisible watermarks tended to go away when the picture was edited or resized as many are on ebay.

What about...
Message #16 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 12 Mar 2003, 5:02 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by Dave Hicks

Hi, Dave;

I know this is the sort of "hard-to-discuss" matter, mostly because there are legal subjects involved, personal interests and overall consequences, and I am not aware of what can legaly be done against this stealing gestures.

My suggestion would be a set of downloadable pictures where the MoHPC interferes in part of the image, like easy-to-see watermarks in the middle of th object, and another set, liek the ones we have now, that would come in the CD's/DVD packs.

Those who intend to link their posts, auctions and classified adds to the MoHPC pictures would also carry the MoHPC name and credit. And those who buy the CD's/DVD's would get the pictures with the small MoHPC logo as already seen on each picture.

I know this will lead you to generate two sets of data, but only one of them will be in your provider. And you'll have to modify all existing pictures, and I don't know if it worth the job. At least your pictures will be somehow "protected".

Just a suggestion.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil

Re: What about...
Message #17 Posted by Dave Hicks on 12 Mar 2003, 9:57 p.m.,
in response to message #16 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Hi Luiz,

I really prefer to keep the online pictures "clean". I don't feel that someone should have to buy CDs to see the pictures clearly. I don't want to make the museum site resemble nag-ware or cripple-ware.

If it gets really bad I may reconsider.

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