Patent on selling photos on the web??? Please explain this to me

135

Comments

  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Posts: 1,269Administrators Major grins
    edited May 23, 2006
    My take on this patent
    You can read all about it on my blog.

    Don
  • SeefutlungSeefutlung Unsharp at any Speed Posts: 2,781Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2006
    His patent seems to be some sort of tagging and tag recognition. So if ...say 20 performers are at an event ... say ... The Rose Parade ... then those performers get tagged by his system. Those tagged participants can now do a quick search on the internet and the patented hardware/software/firmware can scan all the images and pull up just those images which correspond to the ID of the tag.identify.

    This doesn't infringe upon photography or freedom of speech but there are two patents ... I'll check out the second.

    The patent holder may be trying to scare photogs into buying his system or when particpants sign up to be tagged they may also be signing an exclusive release to this guy.
    My snaps can be found here:
    Unsharp at any Speed
  • SeefutlungSeefutlung Unsharp at any Speed Posts: 2,781Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2006
    mercphoto wrote:
    Believing everything I read on Internet forums, of course, <sarcasm off> he has apparantly done worse. Apparantly he has written at least one event organizer telling them of his patent. The obvious implication is, of course, "be careful which photographer you hire because he might be in violation of my patent". If this is true, and I do not know if it is, then Mr. Wolf has definitely stepped over a very big line.

    I'm sure Mr. Wolf is getting a very ugly reception at Imaging USA this week.

    You gotta remember that Freedom of Speech trumps any patent. And just because some participants are wearing his "tag" doesn't mean you can not photograph them in a public arena.
    My snaps can be found here:
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  • LeDudeLeDude Funky Buzzard #1 Posts: 501Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2006
    His FAQ is wrong.
    Can I start a business like PhotoCrazy®?
    The concept of offering event photos for inspection, selection and distribution via the Internet is protected by U.S. Patent No. 6,985,875.

    Err-concepts aren't patentable. Not that this has any bearing on the issue at hand, but hey... such a statement indicates he may not really understand patent law. I don't want weigh in too much here, but I'm not particularly concerned about doing what I had been doing before hearing of this patent/business. I certainly don't have one of those fancy rigs he's got--say, that looks like a patentable device!
    We are the music-makers; and we are the dreamers of dreams.
    ... come along.
  • SeefutlungSeefutlung Unsharp at any Speed Posts: 2,781Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 23, 2006
    docwalker wrote:
    I got hit with a speeding ticket from DC metro police. A vehicle with similar tags to mine was photographed speeding. From what I can tell from my research, a camera was placed near a road. The camera uses speed and timing devices to determine speed of the vehicle and trigger the photo. Photo interpretation software reads the license tag. That information is posted on a website for collection of fines. A letter is mailed to the owner of record directing them to go to that site and pay the fine. Luckily I was able to prove that the software was incorrect and the QA person did not do their job.

    Just a FYI... in Fullerton, CA (as in many cities) the City has contracted out to Boeing traffic cameras at busy intersection. A man was sent a photo of his car along with a demand to pay a fine. He sent back a photo of money. The police sent back a picture of an arrest warrant.
    My snaps can be found here:
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  • nowanowa patent agent Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited July 12, 2006
    business method patents for photographers
    Is there any interest in an article on business method patents for photographers? What magazine/web site should it go in? I'm a patent agent specializing in this area.

    I've enjoyed browsing this thread. There seems to be a lot of strong feelings about patents and I thought perhaps an article or two on the subject might help professionals such as yourselves see where the real threats and opportunities might be.

    For example, a patent isn't really much of a threat if you can clearly show that the invention was public before the patent was filed. You can send your evidence in to the patent office and request a "reexamination". The patent office will then reopen the case, and if your evidence is persuasive, the inventor will loose some or all of their patent coverage.

    On the other hand, if you figure out a new way to make more money from photographs and you want to start a business based on it, you might want to consider patenting it. Investors are a lot more comfortable funding start up companies that have patent protection than those that don't.

    Are these the sorts of topics that might be of interest?
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,548Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 14, 2006
    nowa wrote:
    Is there any interest in an article on business method patents for photographers? What magazine/web site should it go in? I'm a patent agent specializing in this area.
    Are these the sorts of topics that might be of interest?
    Yes.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • jchinjchin J.Chin Photography Posts: 713Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 6, 2007
    So what happened with the meeting? I feel like you left us all hanging. I just read through this entire thread and wanted to know what happened.
    Johnny J. Chin ~ J. Chin Photography
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  • nowanowa patent agent Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited January 6, 2007
    jchin wrote:
    So what happened with the meeting? I feel like you left us all hanging. I just read through this entire thread and wanted to know what happened.

    I'm confused.

    What meeting?
  • jchinjchin J.Chin Photography Posts: 713Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 6, 2007
    nowa wrote:
    I'm confused.

    What meeting?

    There was a mention of 2 people living in the same town as the guy who has this patent, and that they were going to meet up.

    Andy even commented on keeping the debate civil.

    Go back to the posts around Feb.2006.
    Johnny J. Chin ~ J. Chin Photography
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  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 6, 2007
    I guess
    jchin wrote:
    There was a mention of 2 people living in the same town as the guy who has this patent, and that they were going to meet up.

    Andy even commented on keeping the debate civil.

    Go back to the posts around Feb.2006.

    You're talking about me mwink.gif

    1) There are more than two+ dgrinners in Thousand Oaks.
    2) We've met
    3) No comments, since it was a private meeting
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
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  • swampshutterswampshutter Beginner grinner Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited January 24, 2007
    Upon further review of the claims
    Reviewing the claims sections 1-15 and 16-40

    Does this patent only apply to sporting events with competitors?

    I see the use of participants in claims 1,2,3,11 and competitors
    16, 17, 24, 29 in 29 w/ 29 also using participant competitor


    Looking at two sections 1-15 and 15-29 was the intent to include participants general and competitors as well.

    Thoughts?

    It sure got quiet....
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,033Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 24, 2007
    SwampShutter
    Reviewing the claims sections 1-15 and 16-40

    Does this patent only apply to sporting events with competitors?

    I see the use of participants in claims 1,2,3,11 and competitors
    16, 17, 24, 29 in 29 w/ 29 also using participant competitor


    Looking at two sections 1-15 and 15-29 was the intent to include participants general and competitors as well.

    Thoughts?

    It sure got quiet....

    Welcome to DGrin! iloveyou.gif

    I'm not a patent expert, so I don't have much to say except "welcome":-)... But you're right, it sure got quiet after all the initial explosion...ne_nau.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
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  • swampshutterswampshutter Beginner grinner Posts: 2Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited January 24, 2007
    Thanks...

    I shoot pets, people, sporting participants, equestrian, and competative team sports.

    I don't shoot races, marathons, century rides, or large fundraising walks/rides.

    I feel I am a semi-professional photographer who is trying to become a full time professional.

    I want to be better as a person, photographer, peer professional and business person.

    It has gotten to the point I can't sleep.

    Its affected my drive, my ability and enthusiasm.

    I've thought about quitting.

    But I won't.

    Ever hear of William Wallace?

    There are allot of fine Scotts out there.

    Remember the speech in Braveheart Mel Gibson gave in front of all those Scotts getting ready to leave the battleground.

    Fight and maybe die... or live and you will surely die.



    No smiles or icons are necessary.

    Your silence is defening.

    We don't have to be a lawyer to read what the claims say and look at the elements break them down do we?

    There is nothing cryptic about it.

    If you shoot sporting events, the essence of all the claims filed in this Patent is that there is no way anyone can sell images of anyone who is a participant of any competative sporting event over any network using a server.

    It seems that the patent is so broad that anyone who attempts to sell sporting event photographs over a network or the internet or on the web without a license is in violation of the patent. Does it not?

    When you read all the claims it is clear...

    all identification and association of image to particpant
    any method of taking the photograph and triggering it known and unknown
    identification of means to locate the photograph to the participant
    electronic storage of the photograph on a network
    use of the network using identifier associating participant to image
    cataloging of images using identifiers
    any means of using identifiers to inspect and select the image
    any means with which to distrbute the image once selected
    distribution and sales of any means

    Not every event photographer but every photographer shooting sporting events posting images for any type of review and distribution is affected.

    The only possible glitch I see is if its competative sport only or all... but still.

    Let me say "my curiosity" has me extremely giddy at this moment like the Irishman in Braveheart.

    Again no Icon/Smiles do justice to this post.

    Anyone who sits idle not acting in some proactive fashion to help preserve our freedom as photographers will some day face that decision in some way.

    Either because you lacked the initiative, courage, or fortitude to put forth the effort or you were to stupid to realize what was going on in front of your face.

    We slept while the patent was filed and had six years to act.
    The price may be greater now

    Or do you continue looking over your shoulder everyday... looking at a mailbox

    Or do you reach into your pocket and see it only as another expense

    Yeah let someone else shoulder the burden... take the hit.

    Silence here is fine... Understood. Not much can be done here nor should it be.

    Hi Peter.

    But reading this and not researching this patent in detail for your own business sake, doing your do dilligence, networking with others outside of public domain, talkng to the patent office, getting you own legal advice on the matter. You won't it doesn't apply to me? What is that? It won't happen to me? It will just go away right.

    Please don't be foolish.

    We are a community of photographers who should be able to act in common interest of one another wheher or not issues effect us directly or not because they really do.
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2007
    I think it got quiet because we all realized there's not much substance behind all the smoke. I skimmed the patent documents (not going to spend the time right now to read everything), and Dragon pretty well outlined the conclusion I came to in post #14 in this thread. In a nutshell: it relates to a very specific method of triggering the cameras and embedding additional data and a very specific workflow to present those images (most likely limited to the specific coding in his own website).

    Just because the patent was awarded does not mean it will automatically be upheld if challenged. There's so many apparent loopholes it may very well be overturned if someone does challenge it.

    Ultimately, the way we market our images at a service such as SM I think is well outside this patent.
  • Mike LaneMike Lane I &#65533; Unicode Posts: 7,106Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 25, 2007

    Ever hear of William Wallace?

    There are allot of fine Scotts out there.

    Remember the speech in Braveheart Mel Gibson gave in front of all those Scotts getting ready to leave the battleground.

    Fight and maybe die... or live and you will surely die.
    What would you do without your online photo selling? Eh ... headscratch.gif

    Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live... at least for a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR right to sell images online! Eh ... headscratch.gif

    Sorry, but this patent fracas hardly lives up to fighting for your freedom and your country (and your life for that matter).

    Just a little perspective.
    Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance.

    http://photos.mikelanestudios.com/
  • RogersDARogersDA Unknown...and happy. Posts: 3,502Registered Users Major grins
    edited January 29, 2007
    Patents are enforceable to the extent of what is claimed. The written description will provide support for the claims, and can be used to help define terms in an issued patent. However, if the limitation is not in the claims then there is no protection for it in general.

    For all that may be interested in this there are ways to invalidate patents, or to try to inform the USPTO of pertinent "prior art". Some are more costly than others. For example, filing a protest, Ex parte reexamination, or Inter partes reexamination.

    Also, if the "prior art" exists then you can feel free to submit the information to the applicant and his/her attorney/agent. They under under obligation via 37 CFR 1.56 to disclose to the USPTO any information that my affect the patentability of their application. Failure to disclose information to the USPTO can invalidate any patent that might issue on the application. If they have an issued patent then they, too, can request reexamination of their own patent based on the inforamtion they discover.

    Finally there are at least 3 co-pending applications that claim priority to the issued patent. They are 11/008,697, 11/259,821, and 11/261,747. You can obtain a detailed prosection history of the issued patent and at least two of the pending applications online at USPTO Public PAIR. This is an online file inspection tool.
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,548Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
    Old thread I know but new information from Sports Shooter's forum (http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=25315):


    Printroom settled with Peter Wolf.

    Printroom user now have an option in a gallery to participate in the printroom sports license program.

    Printroom paid Peter Wolf a substancial fee to license for the technology/workflow, and as part of the agreement now Printroom sellers, can select this option if they feel they fall into the area covered in Peter Wolf's license.

    Printroom has three questions:

    * Do you shoot participants in sporting events?
    * Do you associate a unique identifier (such as bib number, name or time) with each image?
    * Do the participants find the images using a unique pre-determined identifier?

    If your answer is yes to all the above printroom suggests you enable the licensing within that gallery.

    Any image sold will have an additional fee of $1.50 added to the end user (customer buying the a print or prints from one image). (excluding photographer orders, and ordering all images in a gallery).

    Just some information I received tonight from my contact at PR.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
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  • RogersDARogersDA Unknown...and happy. Posts: 3,502Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,548Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
    There is something seriously twisted with our Patent and Legal system when someone can patent distance = velocity * time. :(
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • RogersDARogersDA Unknown...and happy. Posts: 3,502Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
    mercphoto wrote:
    ...when someone can patent distance = velocity * time. :(

    Citation? ear.gif

    Granted you are probably being a bit sarcastic, but that type of statement is atypical of those unfamiliar with the patent system, the plethora of laws and rules regarding patent application examination, and the time provided for examination, the number of applications needing to be examined, and the resources available for examination. Sometimes examiners just do not have a specific resource/citation needed to obviate a claim. Does that mean the system is broken? No...it may mean that the necessary resources just were not available at that time. With the overall amount of information available on a global level it certainly is plausable that key references are missed becaused someone didn't decribe something in a prior patent or Googling didn't easily turn up a quick reference. I am not saying that Mr. Wolf patents are invalid. That's not for me to comment on. All I am saying is that there is more to it than simply looking at issued claims and saying that the claims are obvious without more.

    And things certainly do change, especially with Supreme Court descisions such as KSR v Teleflex that help to establish obviousness of claims (or to establish patentability of claims).
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,548Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
    RogersDA wrote:
    Citation? ear.gif
    Part of the patent involves a participant in a distance event (for example, a 5K run) inputting when they started and what their total time was. The patented system knows how far from the starting position the camera was located. It knows approximate participant average speed. The patented system thus knows what time-stamps of photos to show the runner.

    Hence, he's patented distance = velocity * time.
    Does that mean the system is broken? No...it may mean that the necessary resources just were not available at that time.
    This system is broken because the patent office was changed to give an economic incentive to the patent office for the granting of patents faster.

    I work in the semiconductor industry, and we generate a lot of patents. Many of them we *know* are useless and silly. Its an inside joke.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • RogersDARogersDA Unknown...and happy. Posts: 3,502Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 4, 2007
    mercphoto wrote:
    Part of the patent involves a participant in a distance event (for example, a 5K run) inputting when they started and what their total time was. The patented system knows how far from the starting position the camera was located. It knows approximate participant average speed. The patented system thus knows what time-stamps of photos to show the runner.

    Hence, he's patented distance = velocity * time.

    No - they have not. They have patented a method or appartus to perform specific calculations in a specific way. A patent for distance = vel. x time would be only that. As far as I know nobody has a patent of that. The situation you describe is far from accurate.
    This system is broken because the patent office was changed to give an economic incentive to the patent office for the granting of patents faster.
    Really? Thr patent office has never liked holding onto applications. In fact we try to hire a lot of examiners in attempts to reduce the backlog. What economic incentive was given to the patent office?
    I work in the semiconductor industry, and we generate a lot of patents. Many of them we *know* are useless and silly. Its an inside joke.
    I work for the patent office. We issue a lot of patents. It doesn't matter if the inventor thinks that its silly.
  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    RogersDA wrote:

    I am curious to the answer that Smugmug will provide by Oct 29, 2007.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    When I read the patent application threw thoroughly, I got the feeling that patent was tied specifically to sporting events with large number of participants that are involved in some type of competitive race, where there is a start and finish and multiple cameras are used to document the event and participants at various static locations along the route of the race. Since I don't shoot any of those and don't really have a want to then I really don't want to then I figured I really had nothing to worry about.

    I am not worried about it affecting me at all. The part about the use of a network, etc to view, purchase, etc I don't see it realistic for this to be restricted with a patent. Jet engines all intaking air and then pushing it out the other end of a mechancial device, and I imagine all are patented, but exactly how they do it could potentially be patented, but I doubt you could just can't patent the concept of a device that accelerates air, and then any device that accelerates air would violate your patent. If so, then I need to start submitting some patents for everything.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,548Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 5, 2007
    So what you're saying is that even though d=v*t is not patentable, using that formula to aid in searching for photos is a patentable idea. Very odd...
    It doesn't matter if the inventor thinks that its silly.
    Actually, it does.

    A patent was issued and granted some years back because a patent lawyer was able to get a patent for a particular method his young daughter used to swing on a swing. The fact the patent office found this to be a patentable item goes to show how easily manipulated the office is. In fact, its the very reason the lawyer filed for the patent in the first place, to expose how silly things can get. Silly patents get granted. And protecting silly ideas is in nobody's best interest.

    A better example is the Research In Motion patent issues with Blackberry over the last two years. A silly patent granted for an idea that really wasn't all that novel that threatened to stifle creativity.

    Wolf's patent is not only silly, its obvious, its not a novel invention, and people have been doing exactly what he has done for years now. I actually expect Kreutz to be able to show prior art and get the patent invalidated for the simple fact that Wolf is not the only person to come up with this idea.

    Granting patent protection for truly great thoughts is a very good idea. But like anything it can be taken too far.

    You'll excuse me, though, while I go and start drafting up some patent applications...
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • bhambham Major grins Posts: 1,370Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 11, 2007
    RogersDA wrote:

    I wonder what the status of the lawsuit currently is. I haven't seen any new info post on that link.

    I imagine many photographers are watching this case closely.
    "A photo is like a hamburger. You can get one from McDonalds for $1, one from Chili's for $5, or one from Ruth's Chris for $15. You usually get what you pay for, but don't expect a Ruth's Chris burger at a McDonalds price, if you want that, go cook it yourself." - me
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,918Administrators Major grins
    edited November 12, 2007
    bham wrote:
    I wonder what the status of the lawsuit currently is. I haven't seen any new info post on that link.

    I imagine many photographers are watching this case closely.
    My understanding is PrintRoom settled with them a month or two ago. Someone posted this on SportShooter.com. Apparently they sent the following out to their customers:

    ---
    Printroom user now have an option in a gallery to participate in the printroom sports license program.

    Printroom paid Peter Wolf a substancial fee to license for the technology/workflow, and as part of the agreement now Printroom sellers, can select this option if they feel they fall into the area covered in Peter Wolf's license.

    Printroom has three questions:

    * Do you shoot participants in sporting events?
    * Do you associate a unique identifier (such as bib number, name or time) with each image?
    * Do the participants find the images using a unique pre-determined identifier?

    If your answer is yes to all the above printroom suggests you enable the licensing within that gallery.

    Any image sold will have an additional fee of $1.50 added to the end user (customer buying the a print or prints from one image). (excluding photographer orders, and ordering all images in a gallery).
    ---

    Source: http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=25315

    I haven't been in touch with PrintRoom so if that information is incorrect, I'm incorrect.

    We settled a few days ago. Our responsibility is to let our pros know that the uploading of more than 500 photographs of participants in a sporting event might require a license from PhotoCrazy. Their contact info is:

    PhotoCrazy, Inc.
    Attn.: Peter Wolf
    509 Raindance Street,
    Thousand Oaks, California 91360-1219
    Email: peter at photocrazy dot com

    We'll be including that info in marketing and info pages written for pros on our site, in welcome emails to pros, etc.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Baldy
  • xrisxris Assignment Grinner Posts: 546Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 12, 2007
    Hmmm
    I'm thinking maybe I'll patent the way I capture air every time I run into a story like this. Teeth together, lips apart, inhale...

    gerg.gif
    X www.thepicturetaker.ca
  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Posts: 2,756Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 13, 2007
    Well, that's kind of disappointing. I have no dog in this fight as I don't do that kind of event photography, but I hate ridiculous lawsuits. IMHO this one fall in that category because after reading (most) of the patent, IMHO it's far too broad. Some of what's covered makes sense--the devices he came up with for taking the shots, the time-coding, etc. But the simple act of adding bib numbers in the metadata then running a generic database search on them should not be under that protection. I cannot believe he was remotely the first one to come up with that common-sense idea. Obviously just about all photographers except Mr. Wolf think this patent needs some serious review & revision.
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