Topic: Can a synth foto be extracted?

Report Abuse Report Abuse
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
"Hey, I like that foto! Would love to have it for my wallpaper. If only I could right-click and save to my hard drive."

Perhaps somebody has scripted solution?

dariusmonsef (Over 1 year ago)
There is the flip side to this though... where people don't want their photos being righ-click saveable.  Right now we aren't working on a save / export photos feature, but if there is enough interest in such a thing I'm sure we'll figure something out.
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
I'd really REALLY rather not have this feature.  Especially not if the photographs are available at full upload resolution, for just the reason you mentioned, dariusmonsef.

If this is offered as a feature, I'd appreciate if its functionality could be toggled, or if it was tied to the copyright that's applied to the synth.

Schn828 (Over 1 year ago)
I agree with tbenedict. Make it a toggle.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Sure, as option is fine. Make default "NO SAVE IMAGE AS." I realize sum ppl r sensitive to this. Then again, many don't care - look at Flickr. Tnx for considerin my suggestion.

P.S. I have a brainstorm of ideas. Will post sum to appropriate forum...
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Hahahaha!  Ok, good point, swami_worldtraveler.  I do post photos to Flickr.  But I also get to be picky about what resolution I upload at.  So far I've been using shots right off the camera for Photosynth.  THAT has me a little panicked.

But please do keep the ideas coming.

Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
1) Few days ago, we were talking about the ability to keep a synth private (vs only public), and it was an announcement about that.

2) Photosynth is a sofrware to show synths, not pictures; it would be better not to mix everything; If you need a picture about one topic, you can find it in the usual galeries (picasa, flickr aso). There are too many people walking like ghosts in the synths, and in Europe you are often asked by walking people why do you take a picture of them, as you are just trying to compose a synth (and they are disturbing you, being in the pic).
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Clearly this is a sensitive subject, and as such, one that needs addressing.


So, what resolution r u comfortable w/ users dowloading, if any? What is the usage concern (i.e. exact types of usage)? And why? Not sayin there rn't legit answers. Just probin. Synths n content have a license already. Is it not sufficient? If not, perhaps it needs to b improved?

I just "grabbed" a synth pic at 1600x1200. That's almost 2MP. Is that "hi-res"? Can I now use it as I please? I simple set my monitor to its highest res, did SH+PrntScrn, copy/pasted into Photoshop, cropped, and saved. A little work, but pretty simple and quick. So, any image that appears on my screen, I can capture, and at a "useful" size at that. I'm not tryin to b flippant here, just pointin out the reality of content on the net.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)

I appreciate ur right to a view n opinion, so plz take my comments as earnest discussion on an important subject.

Y, Photosynth shows synths, but it also shows pics. Kinda interconnected. In fact, grid view does not display synth, but the content pics. As detailed above, that's where I "grabbed" a pic.

As for pix of ppl in public... they're in public. Sure, it's respectful to considertheir concerns when voiced, even pre-empt if u like. But there is no expectation of privacy when out in public. This holds for most places I've traveled in the world, n I've been to many countries. Certainly, there must b xceptions, but not in "free" countried (let's hope).
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
So, none of this is intended to b argumentative. I think u can appreciate that I'm simple xplorin the issue. Tnx for listenin, n I look fwd to ur continued thoughtful contributions to the discussion.


swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)

Just for the "fun" of it, I decided to c if I could "grab" an even higher res image. Zoomed in to image: grabbed 4 quarters, then stitched, yieldin a nice 4MP image. W/ a little more work I could produce a full-res image.

Plz, understand, I'm not proposin, or intendin to rip off anybody's work product n profit from it. I'm just xposin the nature of the situation.
Schn828 (Over 1 year ago)
I completely forgot about the print screen thing...
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
I appreciate the dialog you've started, swami_worldtraveler.  So no, no hard feelings here.  Actually, you explored along different lines than I did, so I'm glad you shared the results of your research.  (I completely forgot about the print screen thing, too!)

I upload pictures to Flickr with a short dimension of 750 pixels.  This makes the long dimension on a normal aspect ratio shot for my camera about 1000 pixels.  I do a lot of panoramas, though, so some of them may wind up 750x1300 or 750x1600 or whatever.  But 750 is as big as I'll go on the short dimension of the shot.

The usage concern is that I do sell prints of my work.  Typically I won't sell a print smaller than 11x14, though.  For a print that size you really need more resolution than 750x1000.  So I'm not doing myself out of business by posting shots that size.  But if someone had access to my full sized images, they could make prints of a size where I'm selling them.  (more)
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
That's personal use.  For commercial use, I do have an all rights reserved copyright on all my Flickr images and all my synths.  If someone who respects that copyright comes across one of my 750x1000 images and wants to use it, they'll contact me.  If they don't respect the copyright, they're going to use it at that size.  Which more or less limits where they can use it.  Magazines typically require more resolution than that, but web doesn't.  It's a choice I made when I started posting to Flickr.  But if full size images can be extracted from synths, then that protection goes out the door. (more)
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Oh shoot, I still had room in that last post...

That being said, I do sometimes post images at full size.  Typically this is when I'm doing camera testing, lens characterization, or demonstrating a particular technique.  It helps to have the full size shot available so the effect can be seen.  But in doing so I also give up any illusion that my photography is protected at that point.  But that's a choice I make on an image by image basis.  

But getting back to your question about grabbing a 2MP image and using it as you please.  Tough question!  Within certain limits, you probably could.  Printing it for YOUR wall, yes.  Using it as a background, yes.  But that's where copyright issues start to crop up.  Can you use it in a public slide show?  Not without permission.  Can you use it in a publication, even for a non-profit?  Not without permission.  Can you post it on a web site?  Not without permission.

But technically there is nothing stopping you.  (more)
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
And that gets back to the reality of content anywhere, not just on the net.  Legal protection only goes so far.  We wouldn't have copyright infringement issues if that wasn't the case.  I understand there's a technical ability for someone to use my images on Flickr without permission, so I mitigate that risk to some extent by posting smaller pictures.  If that risk is present on Panoramio (which you've demonstrated it is) then I need to come up with some way to mitigate that risk, or quit posting synths.

That's why issues like this aren't really simple, and NEED the kind of dialog you're holding here.  It's the only way to get a handle on all sides of it.


P.S.  Sorry for being so wordy...  I go on sometimes.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
tbenedict, tnx for ur well presented and detailed response. Not too wordy at all.

As a 3D animator/graphic artist (in past profession), I am intimately aware of these issues. Still have my Graphic Artists Guild Handbook on Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. Fortunately, I have never had any copyright usage issues. Have u (at least to ur knowledge)?

Well, as u have acknowledged, protection of one's work product is difficult in the digital media / World Wide Web world. Precautions must b taken. But in the end, u expose urself to sum level of risk, OR u simply don't post anything at all.
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
That last paragraph you wrote is it exactly.  It's sort of like the question, "How do I keep my computer safe from viruses?"  The answer to which is, "Never take it out of the box it came in."  There's always some level of risk involved.

I haven't actually had any problems with copyright.  Not to my knowledge, anyway.  The times when someone has used one of my photos, they've asked and we've made an arrangement that works for both of us.

Schn828 (Over 1 year ago)
Very well articulated TBenedict.
Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
Hi again. Excuse me for being a little 'fast and furious' writing yesterday, but I mixed many different things together.
- I'm very angry against all these .PPS I get everyday, which are made of pictures picked on the web and which don't even the name of the photografers or the link to the websites. Thanks to Benedict for explaining a lot about copyright.
That'a about what we call 'droits d'auteur' or 'propriété intellectuelle'
- I wanted to tell that you can contact the synther if you want to use a picture (Benedict wrote it too) I allready asked Photosynth for an ability to email a synther without writing in comments or on this forum or on the 'get satisfaction forum' but I got no sanswer ...
- Sorry Swami, you are wrong: in free countries (at least in mine in France) THERE IS expectation of privacy when out in public: do you know that Google-street-view has to blur every people-faces and car-numbers? That's 'droits de la personne / respect de la vie privée'
Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
Coming now: I'm writing with 'I' but I believe there are general questions
- I'm feeling 'guilty' when using one picture in a synth where people appear and they didn't sign a paper allowing me (in photographic competition you must get the signature). I have been working hard on the topic of my old city, abot 2000 pics this month, because you need many many pics for one synth; it's possible somewhere you cas see the wrong man with the wrong woman! and I don't want you to download this picture.
- I'm feeling 'guilty' because I'm trying to make synths from the inside of galeries or museums; allowed to take pictures with 'no flashlight / no tripod'; but I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish these pictures on the web, and I don't want you to download these pictures.
- and I'm guilty reading (not translated of course :-( but very clear and interesting to read
Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
- and the last problem is that I don't know what can be done by Microsoft (not only by Swamy ;-)) with the pictures I publish here and I can't remove (deleting a synth doesn't delete the pictures); I couldn't read anything about that. There has been an annoucement about deleting pictures but ...
Thank you for reading my philosophy; I stop it now.

Anout extracting a synth, I allready asked for extracting or printing a point-cloud / halo (that's not a picture, but the result of the computing) on a white background so it would'nt cost so much ink; please support this idea ;-))
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
OK, a little more on the subject. I'll have to break it up tho due to the 980 character limit...
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
OK, this discussion has gone from "CAN fotos b xtracted from a synth", to "SHOULD one b able to xtract fotos from a synth," n more generally, to the broader topic of usage and privacy. This encompasses practical, ethical and legal matters. This is a significant, and necessary discussion. tbenedict and Pierrot21 have expressed concern and raised a number of legitimate points for consideration. dariusmonsef and Schn828 have also weighed in. Everybody's participation is much appreciated.

So, I decided to do a little bit of research. The short conclusion is that this is a very involved issue w/ no "absolute" answer. It very much depends on whom you ask, and what country they live in. There r a vast number of professional organizations, civil rights organization, legal firms, blogs, and other sources on the Web dealing w/ this matter.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
I will now touch upon the practical, ethical, and legal aspects...
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
It has already been demonstrated that a fairly hi-res image can b xtracted from a synth. This answers the "CAN" question, but more importantly is the "SHOULD" question, which is one of ethics.

The basic question of ethics is not "CAN somethin b done, but SHOULD it b done." Here, this applies to xtractin an image, as well as photographin one. In the end, this is an opinion, or personally held belief. This is for each individual to decide.

As much as one would like for this to b clear cut, it is not. Laws vary from country to country, and w/i a given country. Enforcement of these laws varies. Pierrot21 informs that in France there is a high xpectation of privacy even in public places. In the U.S. this is not so much the case, although there r limits. In the U.S. there r no statutory laws (i.e by legislation), but only common, or tort law (i.e. by case precedence, which is subject to interpretation n change by judges).
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
In one xtreme, *ANYTHING* GOES, which leads to clear invasions of privacy, as well as theft of intellectual property. In the other xtreme, where *NOTHING* GOES, things almost come to a halt, n nobody can take or use any foto. In the end, we live in the middle ground - n the debate goes on...
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)

From a professional photographer's viewpoint:

FREE online book by Andrew Hudson:
"PhotoSecrets - The Law For Photographers"

Chapters of interest:

"Can I Take This Photo?
What Can I Photograph?"

The Rules When
Photographing People
The Right To Be Left Alone"

From the "Freedom of the Press" organization:

"A primer on invasion of privacy" (published 2007)

From the Australian Press Council News:

"Excessive Privacy Laws Undermine Democracy"
(Note: This one touches on privacy law in France.)
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
P.S. One more LINK I meant to include:

"INTERNET LAW - Is Google Map Street View an Invasion of Privacy?"
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
A little more on Google Street View and privacy...

From Google Street View > Privacy issues

"In Europe, the creation of Google Street View may not be legal in all jurisdictions. Some European countries have laws prohibiting the filming without consent of an individual on public property for the purpose of public display." (

As far as I can tell, in the U.S., Google sensors "objectional" content out of sensitivity, not by law. In fact, Google won a recent lawsuit (see following link).

From Guardian Newspaper UK Online
'Google wins Street View privacy case"

So, this is an ongoing issue around the world. We will c what develops (sorry, for the pun, but had to lighten things up a bit:)
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Pierrot21 wrote, "it's possible somewhere you cas [sic] see the wrong man with the wrong woman! and I don't want you to download this picture."

As for ppl caught doing "compromising" things in public, shouldn't the individual have to take responsibility for their behavior, and not the photographer to "protect" such behavior? Where does the responsibility lie? Again, it comes down to the "expectation of privacy" n how this is legally treated in a given country.
Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
Please, NO! The photografer has no right upon other people: it's not because I want to make a synth, they should hide themselves; my liberty stops where (when) it's breaking the liberty of someone else. Sorry, I fully disagree about these cameras they put everywhere in streets. Would you believe that in France, when the police takes a picture of a car driving too fast, they don't send the picture to the driver's home, to protect his privacy and to avoid his wife or husband to control who could be seating in the car ;-)
By the way, where are you living?
Sorry fot the 'cas' (sic) for 'can'; and many other mistakes, my english is not so good; but ... Please again: I guess ppl means people, c for see, n for and    aso ; sometimes it doesn't help ;-)))
but I like all this discussion              c u!
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Ur English is plenty good. Much better than my French!:) Sorry for my SMS-style texting. Looks like u r a smart person n understand, tho (e.g. yes, ppl = people). BTW, hablo español, n I have to read their SMS (e.g. q = que). W/ that out of the way...
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
We will have to agree to disagree on photographer responsibility vs. public citizen responsibility. Clearly, this matter is viewed differently in France vs. my country of the U.S. I'm not sayin there rn't limits, just sayin we define them differently (personally, n by law). Though I must say that while in Paris in 2007 I took many "casual" "innocent" shots of Notre Dame, plus other places, w/ LOTS of ppl. Nobody asked me anything, not even police, plus I did not c others interactin w/ concerns. So, even in countries where the view and law r in favor of the public, actual enforcement is another matter altogether. N again, I stress that ppl should b responsible for their public behavior, regardless of cameras or not. I understand that u feel differently, n accept that as ur right.

So, what do YOU do about synths? Do u ask EVERYBODY in EVERY shot for permission? It seems quite impractical. I think u have a bit of a dilemma.

Till nxt time...
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
A slightly different direction here, but where does copyright on point cloud extraction stand? If Photosynth ever has this option officially added above Mr Millennium’s code, could you have 3-D designers queuing up, but not necessarily bothering about images?? So, who holds copyright to the 3-D data?
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Yet another layer of the complex 'intellectual property' issue.
Schn828 (Over 1 year ago)
I think that the photographer should or already holds copyright of the point clouds. For some of us a good point cloud is the goal of our synths.
Pierrot21 (Over 1 year ago)
Hi Swami! It was a theorical discussion about feeling responsible and taking care about privacy. No I don't ask or just make a nice smile, but for example for my lucky howl where I really wanted (any) people to be there I friendly explained what I wanted to show.
To be honest, Y like to take pictures of people who don't notice I do; it's easy in turistic places as people think you're photographiing the church! specialy with a very big zoom. It was easy too, with a canon-bridge which had a screen you could turn in any direction ;-)) But they are countries (in Asia for example) where people really like you taking pictures (and showing them on the digital screen). Have a look on my website.
Remember that your first question was about extracting / copying pictures and that's something else, apart from the responsibility of the photographer.
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Glad to c u r hangin in there. I tend to overwhelm sumtimes.

Sidenote: WOW, u have done LOTS of synths! I c u favor architecture, statues, and point clouds. U clearly understand how to shoot for a synth. Good stuff.

Y, as i noted: "this discussion has gone from 'CAN fotos b xtracted from a synth', to 'SHOULD one b able to xtract fotos from a synth,' n more generally, to the broader topic of usage and privacy." I, u, n Tom seem to have pretty much expressed out range of opinions. I have enjoyed the exchange, n hope others that read benefit from it. Jump in anytime u want ppl...
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)

Hopefully not to offend, but I find it interestin that u seem to take a somewhat strong stance for public privacy (oxymoron?), but concede to takin pix in public w/o askin permission, even admittin that u like to take candid pix of ppl (i.e. when they r unaware). I guess I'm just a little confused. Perhaps I have misunderstood ur tone, since this is a text-based discussion, so I can't read ur facial expressions, body language and other important queues.

Y, in sum counties, they LIKE to have their pic taken. Here'a an interestin encounter I had in Mumbai, India. 2 young guys came up to me w/ a camera. We did not speak a common language. I motioned: "U want me to take a pic of u n ur friend?" They indicated, "NO! We want a pic w/ u!" The Indians I met were fascinated w/ me as a foreigner (at times like I was a minor celebrity; quite amusin). I loved India!:)