Home Forums Main YANAP Discussion Forum Jasmine Star "borrowing" copy

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  • #13368
    IHF
    Member
    #13388

    Re: http://stopstealingphotos.tumblr.com/post/62349882928/jasmine-star

    I have mixed feelings about this.  The blog kindly highlighted the common words, including two words together in an otherwise different sentence.  Years ago on the Bob Newheart show there was a skit, his character was accused of plagiarism because he wrote a book about plumbing and some other guy who also wrote a book about plumbing wanted to cash in.  Newheart’s character’s book had very flowery prose and the other book used very basic language.  Eventually the text converged with a phrase something like “put the screwdriver in the slot and turn it left”.  Newheart’s character said something like “Well, there are only so many ways to say that!”  The case was thrown out.  OK, TV is fantasy land …

    More recently I was reading an article dealing with a photo contest.  The situation was that two contestants had submitted similar photos taken of the same place/thing, in similar light.  One photo had been previously published and the taker of that photo was claiming the second photo was plagiarism since his photo was published and the other photographer was obviously copying it.  The waters become muddier when a third photo surfaces which is extremely similar to the other two.  This third photo had been taken a couple of years before the photo that was published.  That photographer said it was likely there were other very similar photos taken before his.

    So, here we are, in the last thousand words, or so, I used “Re:”  which was part of all the legal documents and letters on Mom’s desk.  I referenced a TV show, though I don’t have a clue what the episode was called or the year it was aired.  And, recounted the gist of an article I read in a magazine.  I’m not going to spend a couple of hours trying to find references so I can quote them for you.

    I think it was 1982 when the IBM PC was introduced and the “killer app” was Lotus Development Corp’s spreadsheet program, Lotus 1-2-3, released in 1983.  Through the rest of the ’80s and some of the ’90s, Lotus endeared themselves to no one by taking all the other spreadsheet developers to court claiming the other products infringed on Lotus’ “look and feel”.  Except, they couldn’t take Sorcim to court because SuperCalc had been shipped with my Osborne 1 computer in 1980, before Lotus was even formed, in 1982.  Lotus was eventually purchased by IBM in 1995.  Of course, accountants had been using paper spreadsheets before computers were in common use!  The whole “look and feel” action was a huge disservice to the computer industry.

    While I’m not condoning copying someone else’s photo and claiming it is yours, or swiping several paragraphs, verbatim, I don’t see anything wrong with taking a similar photo, or even the same photo, if you use your own camera to shoot the same scene, and I wonder where to draw the line with text.    Certainly “To achieve” and “the sun must be behind the”, are not long enough stings for me to consider their use as being plagiarism.  Even something like “Depending on how much light you’re working with, it’s easy to let too much light into your sensor and overexpose the image.”  doesn’t pass the sniff test.  Talking with friends back in the ’70s, I’m sure something like “Depending on how much light you’ve got, it’s easy to let in too much light and over expose the film.” was said.  Did that preclude all future photographers from using a similar phrase?  I doubt it.  It was just passing on information which had undoubtedly been phrased in a similar fashion by thousands of people during the first fifty years of photography.  I have lots of photography books that are older than either Star or O’Donnell, and I’m pretty sure they discuss back lighting and the golden hour, small/thin items burning out with strong back light, and so on.  Nothing in either blog was a surprise and I don’t really expect them to provide a bibliography reference for every few words they write.

     

    #13390
    IHF
    Member

    Yeah, but we are up to 4 blog posts now, and she continues to take them down.

    one on back lit

    shooting in manual

    procrastination

    and 10 things to love about autumn

    and this is a person that makes her living selling to photographers. Sells herself as a blogger and a teacher. I’m thinking she should be able to tell her audience/clients why and how she shoots without “researching” why and how as her apology/admittance on her closed restart group suggests.

    not to mention this, from 2010

    http://photogzilla.blogspot.com/2010/11/interview-jasmine-star-ywd-magazine.html

    #13393

    Well, from Photogzilla:

    The images used by the organizers mislead people into believing that Jasmine Star either took the photos or would be able to teach how to take similar ones; neither is true. The organizers of the workshop were fully aware of these facts. The organizers even hid their use of Ms. Molina’s images from her. People were led to believe they would be learning about editorial photography, similar to the technical style demonstrated in the unauthorized images.

    Seems to me we just caught Lord ___________, a couple of weeks ago, and some guy in the US using a good photographer’s photo to promote boudoir sessions.  I’m definitely unfavourably impressed by that behaviour!

    The assertion in the video is that Ms. Star is not qualified to teach the material in the workshop.  The second assertion is her workshops are not worth the fee charged.  I don’t know anything about Jasmine Star, or her workshops.  I do consider using someone else’s photography to promote your photography business to be fraud, even if you purchased complete rights to the photos.  In Ms. Star’s case it seems the real photographer found out via broadcast email!

    While I can’t get too excited about someone regurgitating parts of a blog someone else regurgitated, the accusation by Photogzilla represents a definite, blatant infringement of copyright and fraudulent business practice.  I think that is far more damning.

     

    The Fast Food for Though piece at the bottom is great!

    #13399

    I think this is interesting:

    Ms. Star’s blog says:

    A nice trick I use is to compose the shot with my subject blocking the sun, adjusting my settings, then quickly sidestep or shift my camera to recompose the photo.

    Mr. O’Donnell’s blog says:

    A huge concern with photographing into the sun is the damage and strain it can cause to your eyes — you definitely shouldn’t spend an extended amount of time composing your shot with the sun in your viewfinder without some kind of protection.

    A good way to get those stunning backlit portraits is to compose your shot with your subject blocking the sun — once you’ve got your settings down, sidestep quickly and take a few shots.

    I definitely prefer Mr. O’Donnell’s paragraphs because he tells you why he is recommending the action.  I don’t particularly care for the advice, but his reason for giving it is valid.  The stopstealingphotos.tumbler.com blog says the original article came out in 2011.  My Rebel is older than that, and it has Live View.  Besides shooting with the camera on the ground, or held over your head, shooting into the sun is a great application for Live View (don’t know what Nikon calls it, but I bet they have a similar function that lets you flip the mirror and view the scene on the rear screen).  Live View shows you what your photo is going to look like and you don’t have your lens funnelling the energy from our big ball of fire into your shooting eye.  I don’t use Live View very often because it runs your battery down much faster than using an optical viewfinder, but there are times when it is the best way.   Other parts of the blogs are talking about multiple test shots in auto mode and noting the settings, then reworking the shot using manual mode and a large aperture, this is another place Live View could be used to dial in the desired settings and see the result immediately, before the shutter release is depressed.

     

    She doesn’t seem to mention it, he suggests using an ND filter to get the shutter speed below 1/8000th!  Nice, but my Rebel only goes to 1/4000th!  Makes you wonder who they are writing for!

     

    They are both talking about f/22 for landscape shots to maximize DOF.   In Mr. Donnell’s piece there is a sample photo which looks like it is taken with a longer focal length and has another camera in the foreground only a few feet from the camera taking the photo.  There is no useful explanation of what is going on, or that if you removed the camera being photographed an aperture of f/5.6 would suffice.  Ms. Star’s discussion does not have the photo and depending on the focal length, her description of trees in the foreground and a log cabin on a cliff in the distance could be done with f/4!

    Before, I said I didn’t see anything that was a surprise.  I have to take that back!  In her blog, she says:

    When shooting a single person, I prefer shooting wide open … but when I first started, someone suggested a simple rule of thumb:  if you’re shooting more than one person, make sure your aperture is at least the same numbers there are people in the photo.

    Well, that’s some rule of thumb!  Most of my lenses only stop down to f/22, one only stops down to f/16!  My macro lens stops down to f/32.  What do you do when shooting a wedding with 50, or 100, or 150 people?  I have never heard that rule before, and think it is not too helpful.

     

    Most books and blogs have been covering the same stuff for a long time.  I think the authors must be paid by the word.  They fill everything out with lots of nice prose, but seldom provide complete details and a good understanding of what and why.  There is definitely evidence that Ms. Star copied ideas and some text from Mr. O’Donnell’s blog.  It’s also clear she has added some text of her own.  As most of what I have read has been covered by many previous authors, I’m still not sure there is anything to get excited about in the “She copied someone else’s blogs” allegation.

     

     

     

    #13407
    iliketag
    Member

    I can say I’ve never been on the Jasmine Star hype train. I’ve never thought of her work as “world class” either. I think it’s incredibly common for ideas (and the delivery of said ideas) to be very very close to each other. I don’t feel this is “plagarism” per se, but I do feel like she should write out a blog on word or something, pinpoint her ideas and then add personal anecdotes/sample shots/etc. Only after getting the meat of the article sorted out first.
    While O’Donnell is very straight forward, the thing about “teachers” like Jasmine Star (Alex Beadon also comes to mind) is their ability to appeal to an audience through their delivered personality. Military wives, college girls with a fresh starter dslr, etc. are more interested in “real” people rather than cut and dry teaching styles provided by books and some other pros.

    Personally, I take all their advice with a grain of salt. I’ll absorb the information from anywhere but I do think she’s way overhyped.

    #13466
    ebi
    Member

    agreed with iliketag. her work is boooorrrrrrinnngggggggg…

    #13498
    IHF
    Member

    Agreed, very generic. I’d much rather see shots from a real wedding photographer that is able to make that personal experience and personal connection between people come through.
    When I first started shooting more seriously and started actively trying to learn all I could, my photographer friend would share links with me, and I her. Kind of a “this is what I like, and this is who I admire”. She introduced me to some very wonderful photography/photographers. One day she sent me to jasmine star, and said “this is the ultimate goal” (or something like that. She’s an event/portrait photog).
    At first sight I was thinking “She’s not a wedding photographer, this is like a giant infomercial for upcoming photographers, not clients. This is weird!”. My first exposure to photography evangelism. “No wonder so many are jumping on this weird ass band wagon. This is some serious marketing! It’s compelling as heck!” Amway at it’s finest. It still makes me laugh to think that this genre of photography has turned into a Tupperware, or some sort of pyramid scheme of sorts. I find it crazy weird, and very interesting to watch, but it makes me cringe, and think of all those photographers rolling in their graves over some of the crap that goes on. There’s some serious money in it though. Kudos to all of them for finding their market.
    Right after seeing her site and checking it all out, her Facebook, blog, etc. I did a google search “Jasmine Star fraud” and what do you know? My instincts were right on the money, and I wasn’t the only one that felt the way I did.
    Honestly, I’m not a negative person, I just question things that don’t quite sit right.

    #13825
    joehomeowner
    Member

    From a legal standpoint, this is not plagiarism. There are some words and phrases in common, but they are common words and phrases – simple descriptions of what is being explained. If they had both, perhaps, used a word not commonly used in everyday English, there would be a better case. At this point, if anything, Jasmine has a case against that blog for defamation. The only thing damaging her case is that she keeps removing the blogs, which makes her look suspicious (though she might be because she is being harassed by fans of the blog).

    #13829
    IHF
    Member

    How do you figure Joe?  I read the blog post and nothing said was untrue, and readers are allowed to come to their own conclusions after screen shots and links were shared.  My conclusion after reading is, she has no integrity and her work ethics are questionable to say the least.  For me, and some of the original writers it’s clearly plagiarism.  Even Jasmine agreed.  Would a judge agree?  I don’t know.  Others have different points of view after reading, but defamation?  No, just factual statements and content were shared with the public.

    #13833
    joehomeowner
    Member

    It doesn’t matter if you agree or readers agree. A judge would not agree, and this would be a civil matter which would most likely simply go before a judge. A judge would not find enough evidence in common phrases and statements to say that it was plagiarism. Lifting a sentence here or there and writing pretty much everything else isn’t legally plagiarism. Writing a blog about people “stealing” and then accusing someone of doing said stealing in it when in the end it’s not legally provable does put you in a position to be counter-sued for defamation and/or libel. They smeared her name by accusing her of something that they really cannot prove in a court of law

    If she agreed that it was plagiarism, then she’s foolish – though she was most likely doing it simply to get people to stop harassing her.

    #13835
    IHF
    Member

    Well this whole discussion is moot anyway.  It won’t ever go before a judge.  It’d be unnecessary as all get out.  She’ll just carry on as she has been, and so will the blog.  I’d like to think it would affect her business of selling to naive photographers, but in reality it won’t.  Not only will this get buried rather quickly, but she’s very good at what she does, and her followers/customers absolutely love her persona.  She’s a gold mine, and sponsors don’t care about “petty” stuff like this.  In the big scheme of things it’s about money and the ability to generate it.  She’ll be fine

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