World Subjectright Foundation
Subjects for those interviewed by the popular press
Automated ubiquitous surveillance has reached into
nearly all facets of our daily lives.
Examples illustrating the need for Subjectrights include
Sheraton Hotel's recording video of workers as they changed
clothes in the company locker room,
and surveillance cameras and automated imaging systems,
made in ever smaller packages, with increasing automation,
making it easier and easier to capture image content
without the need of a skilled photographer or system operator.
The failures of leglislation, and of privacy doctrine, suggest that
a new approach is needed.
Subjects in the media
There has also been an evolution in the simplicity of image capture,
from a time when it required great skill to capture pictures, to the
present day when image capture is being more and more automated:
- At one time, a picture made by a painter required many long hours
of hard work, combined with a great deal of skill and experience.
Such a portrait can be said to have been truly made by the painter,
and the subject may not even actually exist (e.g. the subject could
come completely from the painter's memory, imagination, or a dream).
- With the advent of photography, it became easier to capture the
soul of the subject. Although it still required some degree of
skill, and preparation to set up the apparatus, take the picture,
and process the result (chemistry and development),
the portrait of the subject could not exist without the physical
presence of the subject. Therefore the subject, at least partially,
must be credited with the generation of the portrait.
- With mass production of photographic apparatus, picture taking
became a simpler art often involving just pressing a button
(e.g. Kodak's slogan "you push the button, we do the rest"),
so that the amount of effort required by the photographer was
- So-called "point and click" digital cameras are getting more and
more sophisticated to the extent that even a complete idiot can
take an award winning portrait, capturing the right moment by
chance, sometimes with or without a small degree of skill.
What often makes many of
these portraits powerful is the commonplace candour of the subject.
Often a haphazard or naieve composition only adds to the allure
of the finished image by way of what the subject brings to the
- With the advent of EyeTap technology, e.g. devices that
causing the eye itself to, in effect, function
as if it were a camera, taking a picture no longer requires conscious
thought and effort. The thought-reading camera developed at the
University of Toronto in 1998 now means that all we have to do is
"look and think". Thus we often construct wonderful portraits of
people by complete accident (e.g. forgetting to turn off the record
- Finally, automated surveillance cameras have no human operator,
and rely entirely on machine intelligence.
Thus the heart and soul of portraits made by these systems
rests entirely with the subject.
Therefore we question the validity of copyright ownership in image data
other than by the subjects depicted in the images.
Moreover, subjects of particular interest (inventors, scholars, etc.)
are often photographed repeatedly for various newspapers and other media,
simply because of copyright issues. One day a subject may pose for a New
York Times article, and the next day the same subject will need to pose for
a Globe article simply because the Globe cannot secure rights to NY Times
content. This causes excessive wear and tear on the subject who needs to
pose for many different photographers on various occasions.
Although the photographers (or newspapers) often claim they want to impose
their unique style of photography, this is often just rhetoric to mask the
real reason, e.g. the desire for a unique copyright of photography.
Subjectright solves this problem by granting rights in the picture to the
subject, so that the subject can grant others rights that save the subject
time (e.g. save the subject the need to continue to take valuable time
away from research in order to be photographed again and again).
The subject simply
requires the photographer to agree to a rights sharing
principle, which will allow the subject to use the picture in later works.
World Subjectrights Foundation is comprised of individuals who believe in
Scientists, inventors, and others who frequently are asked to pose for
pictures, should seriously consider joining World Subjectright Foundation
and licensing their physical likenesses under Subjectright (S).
Humanistic Property protected by Subjectright (S) may be licensed to
private corporations, or to governments of countries who comply with
treaties for refraining from theft of Subjectright Humanistic Property.
Subjectrights Agreement form for media appearances.
See the first examples of media appearances conducted under
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