Canon Italy responds to photo theft allegation with blind ignorance

Jan 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Canon Italy responds to photo theft allegation with blind ignorance

Jan 12, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Earlier we posted about an image that Canon Italia had shared to their Facebook page and Instagram. An image not only shot on a camera that wasn’t a Canon (it was a Fuji X-T1), but a composite based on a stolen photograph created by Elia Locardi. At least, that’s the way that anybody with a pair of eyes sees it.

Canon Italia, though, seems to think that it’s a similar but entirely different image that wasn’t even shot at the same time of year.  And that it was shot with a Canon 1D Mark IV. Well, that’s what their response on Facebook says, anyway.

Canon state that the image is essentially Creative Commons, as it came from the website Unsplash. Or, rather, Unsplash’s slightly modified version of Creative Commons which stops other websites from taking “their” images and doing the same thing Unsplash do. And they’re standing by that, to the point of completely denying that this was based of Elia Locardi’s photograph, and claiming it was a single shot from a Canon 1D Mark IV DSLR by “photographer” Greg Paul Miller.

Which is funny, because even if it was shot on a Canon DSLR, the person using it would’ve had to have had their camera in the same position as Elia’s Fuji X-T1. They’d also have had to fire the trigger at the exact same time, too, looking at the relative position of all the clouds in the sky, position of leaves, etc. But, EXIF data never lies, right?

Now, perhaps this is what some of the elements of Greg Paul Miller’s composite were shot with. Perhaps it was a 1DIV file that initially created the canvas within Photoshop onto which Elia’s photograph was placed. It’s not exactly difficult to fake EXIF data. And the similarities are far more obvious than the differences.

It seems that observation is only obvious to the rest of the world outside of Canon Italia, though.

The original image created by Elia was used for the Fstoppers Photographing the World tutorial. As such, anybody who had the tutorial would also have access to the raw file. But FStoppers say that they’ve not yet received any response from Miller to explain his theft of the image and attempting to pass it off as his own.

Original photo: Elia Locardi, Used with permission

In fairness, one cannot fault Canon Italy for initially posting the image. To them, it appeared to be a legally shot and licensed image that they could use freely. That bit is not really the problem.

The problem is their blatant unwillingness to actually look at the two images and acknowledge what’s staring them in the face.

How anybody can’t see this, I don’t know. But hopefully Canon Italia will give this another look and realise their mistake.

But the big lesson for the rest of us is not to give Canon a hard time. It’s that we need to be 100% sure of the licenses under which we use other peoples’ work. Just because somebody posts an image to Unsplash doesn’t mean that it’s actually free to use. Hell, that rule covers about 90% of the supposed Creative Commons music on SoundCloud.

[via FStoppers]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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13 responses to “Canon Italy responds to photo theft allegation with blind ignorance”

  1. Stewart Norton Avatar
    Stewart Norton

    Everybody knows that clouds stay in pretty much the same place all year round….must have been taken on the Canon ?

    1. nn Avatar
      nn

      Also plane’s contrail (aka “chemtrail”) is same, probably becasue plane hid behind the cloud and waited from the time of first photograph till another shot. Just makes perfect sense.

  2. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    Canon also has blind ignorance and total arrogance when they cannot even come out with a valid new camera! even the firmware updates suck! this is a pure example of a frikin company thats TOO BIG and arrogant!

    1. Justina Newman Avatar
      Justina Newman

      read the article ??‍♀️
      someone else stole the photo of the sky and created the composition. then that person posted the photo to a royalty free site, where Canon found it and used it.
      this is all the theifs fault and Canon is not liable here.

      1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
        Doug Sundseth

        It’s possible that a court would determine that the final work was “transformative” enough to be “fair use” and that no infringement exists. Fair use determinations are notoriously difficult to predict. I make no comment either on probabilities or what would be equitable.

        But if there is determined to be infringement, Canon Italy, as the publisher of the image, is responsible for any damages resulting from that publication, even if they believed that the image was royalty free*. The person who posted the image would also be liable for a separate action by the photographer, but that would not be at the option of the copyright holder. It’s also possible that Canon could sue the person who posted the image, but that would not be a copyright case, but rather a case for some sort of fraud or misrepresentation (AFAICT; I’m not a lawyer).

        * Assuming that they don’t have some sort of contractual indemnification, which seems unlikely on a royalty free sight.

  3. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    they don’t have to see the similarities or compare the two images in the first place. They found it in some website and abode to the rules of the website i guess. Probably people must check after the artist offering this image?

  4. James Pacheco Avatar
    James Pacheco

    My hunch is that the photo taken with the Canon had the sky from X-T1 photoshopped in. There are fair differences in the foreground, but the sky is identical.

    Considering that the sky is pretty much the most striking portion of the image, it’s *basically* plagiarism.

    1. Justina Newman Avatar
      Justina Newman

      but not on canon, the plagiarism was do e by the person who made the composition and posted it to the sharing site Canon legally downloaded it from ??‍♀️

    2. James Pacheco Avatar
      James Pacheco

      Not blaming Canon. I get that part. Didn’t mean to imply otherwise, so apologies if I was confusing.

  5. tome Avatar
    tome

    I have not seen the original files, but I believe there _are_ minute differences in the sky. Could it be that the two images were taken (very) close in time? It does look like a place that could easily attract more than one photographer… I, for one, would be very careful about making a conclusion without seeing the full-res files.

    1. tome Avatar
      tome

      The sky image, that is…

    2. Colin Jenkins Avatar
      Colin Jenkins

      Greg Paul Miller said he was on the bridge on 21/9/2016 (from his now deleted instagram account). Elia’s raw file was taken in 2014. I watched the tutorial it was featured in before GPM was on the bridge :) He lied, he deleted all this social media accounts, Canon are being incredibly naive.

  6. nn Avatar
    nn

    Greg Paul Miller is gone from online world…