Re: Admin: policy for reporting high resolution ground-based imagery of Earth satellites

From: Skywise (
Date: Sat May 14 2011 - 03:30:26 UTC

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    Markus Mehring wrote:
    > On Fri, 13 May 2011 14:52:20 -0700, you (Skywise
    > <>) wrote:
    >> Finally, an issue I see regarding imagery as data is, where the data
    >> is stored. Right now those who have posted to the list about imagery
    >> are only providing links to their own websites, whereas those who report
    >> position observations do so as text and it becomes archived in this list
    >> as raw data.
    > This is exactly the reason why there is no copyright issue for Seesat-L
    > as far as photography goes. No images are ever posted to this list.
    > People only post links to their own sites or to third-party hosters, and
    > whatever terms of use apply with the respective hoster they choose is
    > their problem alone. You can post links and pointers to images all you
    > want, further storage of those images elsewhere is of no concern to
    > Seesat-L at all. There is no need to worry about archiving all those
    > images. That's entirely up to the original creator and poster, as it is
    > their responsibility to keep them online if they want to have people
    > looking at them.
    Sure, that removes SeeSat from the the equation, but it does not
    eliminate the issue.
    Even if the images are hosted elsewhere and only links provided here,
    there is still the issue of using those images. If the owner does
    not release the images for use, then it is technically illegal for
    someone to take that image, do something with it, and then post it
    elsewhere. Posting it (publishing) would be the violation.
    So, what we'd have then is a bunch of images that all we can do with
    is look at them. Maybe that's all the group wants? If so, then Ted's
    request for discussion was unnecessary. But his request implies, to
    me at least, that these images are desired and that further use of
    them would be made. Why would there even be discussion of wanting
    the raw images if people weren't going to do more work on them and
    post the results somewhere?
    An argument for submitting the images for archiving is so the data is
    available for future use. What good is all the position data posted
    by a particular user if somewhere down the road they decide to delete
    it all? Do they have that option at the moment? Can someone email Ted
    and say, "delete all my posts"? (somewhat of a moot point since as
    I've already said, as far as I know 'data' cannot be copyrighted)
    This all may be an academic argument as I think there is a general
    understanding of the purpose and use of this group. I doubt anyone
    is going to come along and snag the picture, print posters of it,
    and sell it for profit. That *would* be a violation of copyright.
    I doubt anyone would have a problem with their image being enhanced
    and posted for the context of discussing and debating the imagery.
    Perhaps 'public domain' would not be the best option. Yet, there
    may be a need for some form of 'specific use' release, because as I
    said before, it is technically illegal for anyone to take that image,
    perform additional enhancements, and then post it, unless permission
    is given.
    But that may be yet another option. Each person posts their usage
    guidelines of their imagery on their website. Or further, it would
    be incumbent upon others to ask for and receive permission to use
    the image, even if it's just to try enhancing that last bit of detail
    and sharing it with others.
    Then again, this all may fall under the "fair use" clause. The problem
    though is there are no rules regarding fair use. The ultimate decider
    of whether something is fair use is judge & jury. Until then it is an
    undecided question. Even the concept of "derivative works" has a fuzzy
    border. So with that in mind, I think a release of some form is a CYA
    solution. Why take the chance? All it takes is one person to get in
    a huff and decided to sue. Then at that point the game is over for
    I never gave much of this stuff any thought until I decided to turn
    my photography from a hobby to a business. Copyright is an amazingly
    messy business, and I'll freely admit it has me confused at times.
    But if these questions can be asked (by me or anyone) then I think
    they are valid questions.
    First, I think the group needs to decide what we want and what we
    want to do with it. Then we can start figuring out what we need to
    do it properly. The group is faced with a new and beneficial resource
    that due to its nature comes with some legal attachments. Depending
    on what exactly the group wants and what they plan to do with it
    determines the importance of these legal matters and how to address
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