On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Beautiful Earth, One Slide At A Time
A beautiful place, but don't ask where
(one of 70 slides in a Power-Point presentation file [Rare-et-magnifique---.pps]
One of the problems in making our stories more interesting is that we all generally lack stunning, pleasing, and personal photographs that satisfy the readers, even if not every reader is interested in the story itself. There should be something for everyone in every story.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a clichéd expression that lives on because it is one of the truisms that holds personal relevance in all manner of situations which we might elucidate if we but had the evidence. As previously described in other chronicles by the Footloose Forester, he believes that the photo in the story is the baby in the bathwater and is far more important than the bathwater itself. Chances are that people will remember the baby (the photo), even if they have a harder time remembering much about the bathwater (the story itself).
The photo above was chosen not only because it presents a beautiful tableau, photographed with remarkable clarity and artful thoughtfulness, but because it is Exhibit #1 that has become a front burner issue in recent years. We Internet users love to share photos and memes on social networking sites; and to post family photos on-line with friends and other family members. The social networking sites are happy to host such instant graphics; and encourage us to do so, within certain bounds of decorum. The one above was shared by way of France, forwarded onward to New Jersey, and eventually deposited in the e-mail inbox of the Footloose Forester in Virginia by a friend who has already shared hundreds of other photos with him. It was the first slide in a Power-Point presentation of 70 slides of beautiful places around the world but the only one that had a tag, in French.
One of several issues about photo sharing, however; arises. Many people will immediately want to know where the original picture was taken. That information is not available because this particular slide show of 70 different scenic places does not provide information about those places, although other slide shows sometimes provides general information about a few of them. Another minor issue is the fact that the slide shown above has a tag written in French. No big deal, but it would add clarity to know that Endroits peu communs can be translated as “unusual places.” That may spark the inclination to wonder about where (and when) the photo was taken, but may stifle it when it is discovered that the information is not part of the slide show.
A more important issue about why this particular slide was chosen to make a point is all about our personal right to share it with others. Photographer unknown, locale of photo unknown, sender in France unknown, catalogue number of slide unknown, and status of copyright of photograph unknown. So, is the Footloose Forester entitled to share it with others, as it has been freely shared with him?
As long as it is known to be in public domain, none of us should be concerned. But when a photo, a graphic, a meme or other computer-enabled embed that has current copyright protection is part of the practice of sharing, we have to be cautious. Some book publishers do not allow copyrighted images of any sort to be included in the manuscripts of would-be authors if they do not have permission to use them. The biggest problem of all for would-be authors is in knowing for certain that the images, photos, memes, drawings, or graphics of others that they may wish to include in their stories are free of copyright protection. The Footloose Forester is itching to extract and share slide #35, and put it into another chronicle. HINT: it is a picture of a huge Sequoia tree.
Accordingly, the Footloose Forester is confident that the intellectual property rights of the unknown owner associated with the photo above are not being violated by being shared at this and other social media sites, largely because there is no commercial purpose or financial gain associated with this site, or the other social sites, themselves. Such sites have long permitted and encouraged the sharing of computer-generated images. On the other hand, if the photo above were proffered for inclusion in a book, the Footloose Forester, as author, would likely be denied its use because its copyright status is in question.