ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

The Passion of the Scanner —

The glory of online life is how easy it is to have two parties, who from any distance would appear to be the same person or type of person, learn how much they really don’t get along. Such was how my Friday was spent. But hold tight through our little online battle, because you benefit from it.

I often post little jibes or comments across weblogs throughout the world, either saying something trifling or dumb or maybe attempting to make a point. As mentioned in the previous ASCII entry, I don’t like watermarking. I especially don’t like watermarking when the party watermarking doesn’t actually have any ownership rights over the watermarked item, whether it be scans or films or any online properly. I find it both harmful to the original item (which is now vandalized) and rather base of the people doing it, since they’re basically using someone else’s work to further their own (financial, material, social) ends.

Sometimes this merely bothers me, and sometimes it really irritates me. Such it was when a relatively new weblog, VintageComputing.com, run by 24 year old “RedWolf”, started posting some enjoyable scans of various ads and magazines up… but smarred with watermarks. Big honking watermarks. This weblog only started late last year, so I figured I’d have a chance to, you know, nudge things into proper perspective. As it turns out, into proper perspective isn’t where things went.

The entry I posted a comment on was this one. You won’t see my comments there because they were ultimately deleted. You also won’t see the back-channel e-mail that resulted, until now.

So, at the risk of making myself seem over the top on a minor issue (which I personally don’t consider minor), I present to you the online debate of Jason Scott and Redwolf over the issue of watermarking. All postings are real, all rescued from my own save-offs of the conversations. (I really do archive most everything.)

We begin with my simple post on the aforementioned weblog entry:


Jason Scott Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 6:45 am
Please stop watermarking your scans.



RedWolf Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 1:16 pm
Jason, thanks for asking (albeit a bit tersely).
Perhaps someday I will release all my scans in a watermark-free archive for you to download and save forever (then eventually make a site about based on my scanning work), as I know you must be itching to do. Until then, just enjoy them for the moment as temporary entertainment — or better yet, scan them yourself and you can have them in any format you want. I’m all for the preservation of history (in fact, compulsively so), but without some exclusiveness to our ad scans, they would be worthless to us to provide as entertainment. People would instantly copy them and pubish them everywhere else without giving us any credit for doing the research and work in documenting them. I know you probably have good intentions, but I can’t say the same for everyone else out there.



Jason Scott Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 2:47 pm
Your thinking is short-sighted, ineffective, and belies your youth.

To wit:

You provide no exclusiveness to your ad scans; the watermark you use is particularly ineffective against a driven entity, since it’s merely an overlay of a font logo over the graphics. It’s quite undoable.

But beyond the ease with which it can be removed, that still a step that most won’t wish to deal with, so likely it would remain. In fact, this is where your first point is wrong; smarring the images with your logo will not prevent distribution; you lack the legal capacity to mount lawsuits against other sites that would be putting up your jpegs. So they will continue to be distributed, en masse, as time goes on. All you do is make what might be the only scans of these images of a poorer quality.

You are a person with a scanner; this hardly entitles you to placing a “signature” on the items; you are in fact on the edge of copyright infringement by scanning in copyrighted works from magazines. Why go further and place some sort of “ownership” mark on something that isn’t yours?

What dark contigency do you think you’re protecting against by vandalizing the scans? Are you concerned of lost ad-clicks, of lost pop-up revenue? Are you worried that it will be thought that some other entity had the ability to use a scanner, stunting your future career path?

Reconsider your position. It’s flawed and needless, considering your obvious love of the subject at hand.



RedWolf Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 3:30 pm
Our use of scans of advertisements is within our fair use rights under US copyright law. I believe it is also our right to “vandalize” them with our watermarks. The claim has never been made of ownership of the scanned materials or that we alone have the right to control the distribution of the scanned ads. They are merely presented for consumption with a logo bearing the mark of the publisher. You can distribute them all you want, but they will still have our watermark on it. Feel free to remove them if you wish to take the time. Our content is designed to be enjoyed on our sites, no where else. Therefore if the presentation of the scanned materials looks flawed elsewhere, that is fine by me.

If my work with a scanner were useless and of no value, then neither I nor the editor of GSW would waste our time publishing my work. The time and effort I put into researching, compiling, scanning, and commenting on the materials I scan is worth something. In fact, my articles incorporate the scans into a new piece of art (my column), and that is also well within my fair use rights. You likely look at the scans as something you just want to download and preserve out of the original context in which they were presented (again, my column, which constitutes a “new work”), while I look at the scans in the context of the comments around them, as a monolithic piece of entertainment writing that should not be broken up. If I were mindlessly scanning ads and shoveling them in your face without the added value of commentary or filtering, then yes, I would just be a “man with a scanner.” But it looks to me that you are just a man with a “download button” who has no appreciation for the entertainment I am attempting to provide.

If my mission were to document and historically archive for all time the ads I was scanning and provide them as a historical service to the community, then yes, my position on watermarks would be flawed and needless. However, we in the US who want to make something of our lives have that “dark contingency” to deal with…called capitalism, that drives men to make everything you consume as entertainment, including the movies, music, games, computers, and BBS software you love as well (don’t even get me started on the medical technology that has likely saved your life many times over). Take out that “dark contingency” and you’re living in the Soviet Union circa 1970. I for one like it here in the US. If you don’t like it, move to Cuba or just shut up.


Jason Scott Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 4:22 pm
There is no need to wave the little red flag at everyone who disagrees with you. Taking a two-tone approach to the world (you agree with my opinion or you are a communist/anti-capitalist) doesn’t win you any arguments, and belies, once again, your youth.

Part of that youth appears to be an unawareness of copyright law and of the use of specific terms; for example, calling yourself a “publisher” in this context is a bit of a stretch. You are not a publisher, having not created the work, gotten license to publish the work, or, it is assumed, paying the original creators of the work for any monetary recompense you are gaining by distributing the work. Similarly, your tossing around the term “fair use” is flawed, considering you’re using the works for (self-admittedly) financial gain and not for any academic, parody or journalistic purpose.

You are throwing around “entertainment” as a shield that would protect you from being considered an infringer of works, and that’s a weak shield indeed.

Leaving aside your fat-fingered grasp of the legal and economic situations you are in and portend to, I am surprised to hear of your dismissal of both historical and archival efforts, considering you have “branded” yourself as someone who appreciates “vintage” computers and history.

Are you saying that your entire motivation for this ongoing project is financial? Were your initial weblog posts merely filled with keywords intending to drive hits to your site? I don’t mind someone being out front with their motivations, and will file you along with the spam weblogs that collect every ad-click-relevant term they can under one leaky roof, but you seemed to have a different motivation, and I’m sure Simon thought similarly. It seems a shame that we would be both wrong.

Bear in mind, sir; I am your audience. And I am disappointed.



At this point, we switched to e-mail:



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 16:41:16 -0500
From: RedWolf
To: jason@textfiles.com
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads argument

Jason,

I apologize for disappointing you. I do love what I do (the blog) and do
it because I love it, not because of money (I won’t make any money on it in
a very very long time). However, I do wish to eventually make money doing
what I do, like everyone else. That doesn’t make me evil, and of course,
you wanting to be a historian doesn’t make you evil (or communist) either.
My comments on Cuba and all that were off base and I apologize — I think we
both got a little over dramatic with our verbiage. I still do not agree
with you regarding watermarks, but I do not wish to make an enemy of you.
Indeed, there are already too few enthusiasts out there to do that. I’m not
sure how we could compromise, but we could at least agree not to fight about
it, and I could delete all of both of our comments on VC&G (that contain our
arguments) if you agree to it as well.

If you really want access to my scans unmodified, I am willing to provide
them to you without watermarks, providing that you don’t turn around and
publish them somewhere else instantly. Forget all that “fair use,”
“copyright,” “publisher” talk, etc., I just want to protect the work I put
into doing it (at least for a short period of time), whether it’s legal or
not (I of course, think it is, but we should put that aside, as I assume you
don’t really mind that I am trying to entertain with these ads). I hope you
can understand that desire, and I hope we can, in fact be friends.

Let me know what you think,
Benj (RedWolf)



A second e-mail followed the first:



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:06:39 -0500
From: RedWolf
To: jason@textfiles.com
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

Jason,

As an extension of my last email to you, I thought about it some more and
decided that I will no longer watermark the images of ads that I put up on
GameSetWatch. I have deleted our argumentative comments on VC&G and
replaced them with a message saying that I will no longer watermark them. I
apologize for all the comments I made and would like for us to be able to
put this behind us and be friends. Sorry, again, for all the trouble.

Benj (RedWolf)



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:20:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Jason Scott
To: RedWolf
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

Are you saying that you will continue to watermark the ads that you post on
vintagecomputing.com?



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:25:01 -0500
From: RedWolf
To: Jason Scott
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

I’m not sure. I’m thinking about not doing it on VC&G too, as it is a
logical extension of my other statement. But think about this: would you
rather have the scans, provided as entertainment and with a watermark, or no
scans at all? I do put work into finding and scanning them, and I want to
get credit for that. Like I said, they’re not random scans of ads
(especially the VC&G Retro scan of the week), but ones I have spent many
hours going through my materials to find entertaining ones. Is the work I
put into doing that worth nothing?

Benj



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:42:28 -0500 (EST)
From: Jason Scott
To: RedWolf
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

You are asking me to validate your value structure, and as had already been
proven in our public conversation, they are absolutely non-compatible. So
that’s probably a dead-end to go down.

Your argument is what I call the “heavy lifting fallacy”, which says that if
it’s a lot of effort to lift a TV out of a store at night and get it through
the broken window, you’ve somehow “earned” the ability to own the TV. Your
ability to spend hours poring over someone else’s hundreds of hours of work
and cherry-pick decontextually amusing pieces does not earn you anything, in
a grander sense. So no.

And as for the “scans with watermarks” or “no scans”, I would choose no
scans, since damaged goods are often accepted by people in a general sense,
obviating energy spent to do scans down the road.

Your work is in your descriptions and writing about the scanned art and text
you are appropriating, including any ancilliary funds you acquire from your
writing skills and, apparently, driven hits to your site, since you’ve
chosen to go the advertising route. I have no issue with your own take on
the works and your writing regarding them. That is journalism, creative
writing, and most importantly, yours. The art is not. No amount of effort in
finding the art makes that different.



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 18:00:55 -0500
From: RedWolf
To: Jason Scott
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

Jason,

You are a smart man. But in my hasty, inferior, unwise, and youthful
judgement, and in light of what you have just said, I have chosen to change
my mind again. The watermarks will stay. Nothing personal. I really do
like your analogy about stealing the TV, though. I just wanted to tell you
because I have respect for you as a person and didn’t want you to think I
was lying earlier when you see watermarks on the next scans. I’m also sorry
to have lost a reader. Please do not sling my name in the mud; I will not
sling yours. We can both go our separate, supposedly mutually exclusive
ways.

Thanks for the enlightening conversation,
Benj



Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 18:03:47 -0500 (EST)
From: Jason Scott
To: RedWolf
Subject: Re: VC&G Ads Argument

It is quite something that one person’s criticisms could make you act as you
have today.

During this conversation, Redwolf modified the comments area on his weblog entry, deleting all of our comments and adding the following two comments:

RedWolf Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 1:16 pm
Just as a note, there was a long argument here about watermarks that got a little overblown on all sides and I sincerely apologize. You win: I will no longer watermark the scans of ads I put on GameSetWatch.

RedWolf Says:
March 10th, 2006 at 5:40 pm
I will also no longer scan anything because, according to Jason Scott, my value as a researcher, scanner, and commentator on the scans is valueless and “anyone can do it.”

Ultimately, of course, he removed even these two entries, leaving the entire conversation socked away from prying eyes. This is my main reason for “un-socking” it on this weblog.

So there we stand, with Redwolf sinking back into his self-made goulash of Adam Smith capitalism, squatters’ rights, and dismissal of goals, and I continuing to harken out my shrill calls of historic consistency, archiving, and some nebulous motivational cloud of “the greater good”. From any vantage point but our small arena, we surely seem the same sort of person, but I contend that, ultimately we are not at all.

So.

As I wrote in an essay a while back, I am never content to leave arguments with myself holding a negation (don’t do it) or someone else holding the negation (you shouldn’t do it) without, instead, redirecting that energy into something productive, with an extra bonus if the resulting project leaves the watching public richer for the effort.

I therefore now announce DIGITIZE.TEXTFILES.COM, a fast-growing collection of scanned TIFFs, JPGs and PDFs of historic ads, catalogs and brochures. With hundreds of megabytes of scanned items in just the last 24 hours (this is what I’ve been up to), I now present you the beginnings of my own massive archive of watermark-free, entertaining, enjoyable pieces of the past, most of it going back 20 or more years to the innocent days of the dawn of home computerdom.

I’ll likely cover a few of these items in upcoming weblog entries… and I hope you all enjoy them.

Under the glory of the Red Flag,
Jason


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28 Comments

  1. jayrtfm says:

    I’ve got some brochures from the late 80′s for computer graphics compamies (pre-powerpoint slidemaking systems).
    What’s the specs on how you scan them?
    Besides tiff, would you want it in jpeg, djvu or zoomify.com ?

  2. Well done Jason! It’s great to see someone who is so passionate about, what may seem to others, such small things, but things that really matter.

  3. Mike Whalen says:

    Yes, I agree with your comments, Jason, and I applaud your passion!

    But… But …

    Although, I can see, that feelings were hardly the matter here, from my birds-eye perspective it seems that both of you went in guns-a-blazin’.

    Both of you over-reacted and colored your commentary in such angry tones, the convesation fell apart immediately. If both of you would have put your guns down, you might have been able to come up with a third alternative.

    Indeed, I’m really surprised a compromise wasn’t discussed. In my limited web-authoring skills, it seems to me trivial to save two versions of the scans and provide a link to save a copy sans-watermark.

    If either of you had offered this option during the email portion of your conversation, perhaps you could have reached a compromise.

    Perhaps.

    But you will likely never know now. You’re both back in your respective corners. The match is over. Seems to me you both lose.

    And those of us who actually do mind the watermarks lose, too.

    Sorry for the criticism, but it does seem to me this entire event was not handled well.

    Cheers,

    Mike Whalen
    http://www.thecomputervalet.com/blog

  4. Mike Whalen says:

    Sorry, I meant to edit out the sentence:

    “And those of us who actually do mind the watermarks lose, too.”

    I had forgotten about your new endeavor.

    Cheers,

    Mike…

  5. Alex says:

    Oh dear. Well, he has a point. Your original request was extremely short and may have seemed slightly aggressive, despite how you may now qualify this by calling your posts flippant, etc.

    He has a point: people would reproduce his scans. If these are being made available online for the very first time, he ought to be able to point people in the direction of his site if they’d like to see more of them. Given that he states he is considering a release of unwatermarked material at some point in the future, nothing of vast historical importance is going to be permanently spoiled.

    I think you’d have been more successful in your efforts if you’d prefaced your first comment with a gentler introduction.

  6. Alex says:

    PS: I’m sure you mean to say ‘marr’ rather than ‘smarr’. If you toned down the legalese/lit-crit (‘belies…to wit’), I’m sure the guy would have been more receptive.

  7. Jason Scott says:

    Alex, I don’t agree with much of what you’re saying, but I did want to make clear: I really did mean to say “Smarr”. If you read past entries, they contain equivalent nonsense words.

  8. Krisjohn says:

    Jason, I particularly respect you for your “…as for the “scans with watermarks” or “no scans”, I would choose no scans…” stance.

    So, I’m a person with a scanner. Can you put up a page with guidelines for submissions?

  9. Ajax says:

    It’s actually “mar”, not marr.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=mar
    And I like the made-up “smar”, it seems to combine “smirch” and “mar” rather nicely.

  10. Jason Scott says:

    jayrtfm and Krisjohn, I’ve added a page to digitize for your questions:

    http://digitize.textfiles.com/helping

    Thanks for wanting to help!

  11. hork says:

    Jason,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Kudos.

    - h0rk

  12. kevin says:

    Interesting, I am amazed that someone would watermark something they had scanned and put it up. I’m paranoid enough to put up stuff to begin with. I have scanned quite a few things that I HAVEN’T put up simply because I haven’t been able to contact the copyright holders (eg, a couple softalk magazines, books,…). Probably no one would care but at the moment I don’t want to risk it. That doesn’t make complete sense really since I do put up old 8 bit era hardware (and some software) manuals…I guess I figure most of those companies don’t exist though someone might get irritated if I put up all the issues of old magazines…I HAVE gotten permission for some things, some old books and creative computing magazines, though those are already up at the atari archive site. I have been slowly gathering some ads to put up on my (registration required) wiki for old apple II things…I would like to put up ad scans for old games and other things, I have been severely time constrained so I haven’t done much for a while.
    I’ve put in…hundreds? of hours scanning and OCRing things over the years…most of it was in the attempt to preserve it. Some comments on scan qualities…If possible, I scan it at 600dpi minimum. The rational is, scanning (done “right”) is a pain, disk is cheap, and pulling the files off a disk will be easier than rescanning hundreds of pages here and there when you decide you want higher quality. You can always downsample it for distribution if necessary. Also, from various ad hoc experiments I’ve found that you can store your original at 600dpi jpeg at very high (90-95%) quality and lose only the original paper grain. Now I will usually just save PNGs (a compressed TIFF should be the same) but if I really need to save space for some reason the jpeg method will be good enough to OCR from later. That is part of the reason I’d like to save the higher resolution, 300dpi just isn’t good enough for OCR. OCR still sucks now anyway for any mildly non-simple layout, but I’d like to think in 10 years I could pull out my old 600dpi scans and get some good output. I have decided (at the moment) that I would like to archive both the ephemera (ie raw scan) as well as the underlying context (raw text). Both have value depending on what you are interested in…text is easy to search, the raw scan has perhaps more interesting historical value. Sometimes I find old video tapes I recorded 20+ years ago have more interesting commercials than programs.

  13. Jason Scott says:

    Kevin, a post with great content! I enjoyed reading it.

    I went with 300dpi for two reasons: first of all, my personal observation of the scanning is that it’s sufficient to be able to OCR and print. Obviously some things will not reproduce as well as they could but it seems pretty good.

    The other reason is I don’t think this scanner I use (a canon) is really doing much better after 300dpi; that is, I think it’s just faking it and adding lines but that there’s not much chance the thing is actually getting that level of quality beyond 300dpi.

    The most important thing, to me, is that after scanning I am storing these papers as well as I can, demarcating them for what they are, and I suspect another group, maybe myself down the years or maybe someone who gets my estate or papers, can re-scan in the material using state-of-the-art equipment.

    I think 300dpi is sufficient for most decent OCR; it’s more a case of the layout and colors. For example, some of these are black-on-grainy-paper nightmares that will likely never easily OCR. I figure someone can get a grant.

    What matters, though, is we’re both aiming towards the same goal, preserving. And I appreciate the work you’ve done.

  14. RedWolf says:

    Hello, this is the RedWolf as quoted in the above emails and comments.

    While although I don’t appreciate Jason publishing my _private_ emails with him (the public comments are ok), I wanted to share with you what I learned through our argument. I thought about this issue a lot over the weekend while I was on vacation.. it gave me some good distance to step back and take another look at it. Taking away all the abrasiveness of Jason’s initial volleys against watermarking, I realized that he had a really good point, it was just presented poorly and haphazardly, likely because he didn’t expect me to respond so abrasively either. The conversation-turned-argument did degrade very quickly (I take equal blame for it) and prevent any reasonable dialogue from occurring. I realize now that the reason I reacted so strongly is because Jason’s comments brought to the surface a conflict that had already been going on deep inside me, that I had pushed to the back of my head — that of whether it was “right” or not to watermark scans of work that I do not own or control.

    My ultimate conclusion is that, while I could “get away with” watermarking the scans and that it would fulfill my short-term goals of preventing distribution for a while, it was ultimately a short-sighted and selfish thing to do, considering my love for the preservation and enjoyment of vintage computers and games (..almost exactly what Jason said). Therefore, I have decided not to watermark my scans of other people’s work anymore, and not because I don’t wan’t Jason to bitch about me (gee, I guess I was right about that), but because I actually, truly agree with him now. I have removed the watermarks from the scans in the GameSetWatch article and will no longer be watermarking any scans of materials that I do not own in the future, whether for my blog, Vintage Computing and Gaming, for GSW, or for anywhere else.

    Had Jason taken out the jabs about my “youth” and the like (which he continues to pound into your head, because he’s apparently an old man ;) ), I would have been more receptive to Jason’s request initially…also I had low blood sugar at the time the argument was taking place and that sometimes makes me act in rash ways. I apologize again for being a butthole to you, Jason. I hope we can truly put this behind us now. I want to you know that your opinion will always be welcome on VC&G, but next time, please use a softer approach so I don’t misinterpret your intentions. :) And in turn, I will try as hard as possible not to over-react.

    Thanks,
    RedWolf

    And as a note to a previous commenter, I did offer to provide him the files unwatermarked if he liked. But whatever…it doesn’t matter now.

  15. kevin says:

    It’s true that 300dpi is sufficient for many things but I’ve noticed in some comparisons recently that the OCR error rate is lower with higher dpi scans. I used to do 300dpi scans myself, till I started scanning some softalk mags that had some amazingly small type (like 5 or 6 pt or something) and with 300dpi it just wasn’t legible. The main reason I decided to do 600dpi+ is that my goal was preserving as much of the original I could via scanning. I asked myself, could I reproduce the original quality of the original item with this scan? The question is, what are you trying to reproduce? The original text/data? The feel of the old magazine with ads and all? I feel that if you can see the original halftoning clearly then that is enough. That in itself causes problems for me…obviously halftoning is a side effect of printing, usually the original artwork/picture did not have halftoning. So, should I remove the halftoning before distributing it or storing it? Some scanning programs will do this for you, and there are various ways to do it manually (which result in sometimes a better looking picture for the screen but lose information as any image manipulation does.) My solution is to usually leave it as is…since I scan at 600dpi and I usually distribute it at a lower dpi the downsampling removes the haltoning and the question for me…but I always store the
    original scan.
    As to the question of text…my long term goal is to do semantic marking of content, to sort of reverse engineer the original content into some sort of machine readable markup format that can reconstruct the original, but more for searching than for any reprinting effort. I had written a trivial cgi (well, started) some years ago to do a distributed OCR proofreading effort, the idea would be that people could go through and proofread a couple pages of OCRd text, and perhaps do some semantic markup (this picture is an ad, this picture is figure 3, this text block is part of article A, this is part of article B, this number is the page number of the original layout…) Later I discovered a very similar application used by the gutenberg project, at least the proofread portion…don’t think they did the semantic stuff.

  16. Neville says:

    What bugs me about this whole thing is the reeking stench of moral superiority. In a general sense I agree with your pursuit to archive material which would otherwise be lost, but I’m not sure that gives you some holy right to leave snarky little comments on other’s sites, and to respond to them with such a faux-intellectual tone. Why not explain in the benefits of not watermarking his scans? Pointing out the flaws in watermarking is a lot less convincing than pointing out the benefits leaving the scans untouched.

    eg: “Hey, a love the site. I think it would be way better if you left your watermark off the scans – I appreciate your efforts in scanning the material, but the watermarks kind of ruin the archival attempt in my opinion. I have a site ‘textfiles.com’ and have an interest in archiving this sort of stuff – if you stopped watermarking I’d love to link to you as an example of archiving done right.”

    It may not gel with your “Crusader of archiving, death to the watermark infidels” action, but I think it would probably turn out with a better result for all.

  17. Jason Scott says:

    The result of all this morally superior-toned text you didn’t like is that RedWolf no longer watermarks, I don’t watermark, several people have written to me that they intend to remove the watermarks from their collections they have online, and I have scanned over 300 pages of historical advertisements and brouchures into digitize.textfiles.com.

    I can live with those results.

    P.s. Don’t watermark your scans.

  18. Neville says:

    What I was getting at is that you were a real dick about it. The same result – maybe better – could have been achieved if you’d just gotten off your high horse and been a regular human being and treated others with respect.

    But you’re right, the end justifies the means, so keep it up.

  19. Jason Scott says:

    What would have been a better result?

  20. Neville says:

    Many things. Allow me to compile a short list:
    1. A new friend/acquaintance. Someone with similar interests who may be able to help you out in the future on some sort of joint project. (I know you fancy yourself as a lone ranger, but it might happen)
    2. He becomes actively interested in convincing others to stop watermarking. Whilst you’re doing a dandy job with your vigilantism, another pair of hands wouldn’t hurt surely?

    I did say a short list.

    Anyway, I shouldn’t have to provide a list – there was no reason to be a dick about it, being nice would have been equally effective in my opinion. That alone should be worth it.

  21. Jason Scott says:

    Let me return your list with another list.

    1. RedWolf was scanning in advertisements from magazines roughly 10-15 years old, watermarking them with his website’s name/logo, and then redistributing them. He had been doing this on his website for a period of roughly 4 months.

    2. Upon noticing this, I posted a comment in his weblog telling him this was a bad idea.

    3. Over the course of the ensuing conversation, RedWolf branded himself the “publisher” of these scanned works, implied aspects of “fair use” that a 10th-grader would dismiss during a book report, and called me a communist for questioning his profiting off the previously-owned works.

    4. Along this timeline, he flip-flopped on the watermarking, deciding to remove, then add, then remove, then add, then remove them, which I think classifies him somewhere in the range of “a pile of glands with a weblog”.

    5. Instead of petulantly deriding his behaviour in a posting in a weblog, I instead put my money where my mouth is, and started a website following all the credoes and suggestions I had stated to RedWolf, a website that has now gotten global attention and which has, sans watermarking, brought a pile of new historical images up for the world to enjoy.

    Not that I had to provide a list or anything.

  22. Neville says:

    “Instead of petulantly deriding his behaviour in a posting in a weblog, I instead put my money where my mouth is…”

    Let’s change this to “As well as petulantly deriding…”

    You can return my list with another list all you want. My argument, which you conveniently ignore post after post, is that if you hadn’t been such a dick in your dealings with redfox things would have gone better. Maybe there would be more than one “website that has now gotten global attention and which has, sans watermarking, brought a pile of new historical images up for the world to enjoy.” if you’d acted like an adult. I don’t disagree that redfox responded in a childish manner, but you hardly encouraged an adult exchange.

  23. Jason Scott says:

    The man’s name is RedWolf. Show some respect!

    Things went fine. I’ll take my behaviour advice from you about half an hour after I take my medical advice.

    I’m sorry my actions were not up to your standards, but me is me and there we go.

  24. Neville says:

    That’s the spirit!

  25. bowerbird says:

    redwolf, good for you for keeping your mind open
    and coming to the right conclusion! and thanks for
    your work saving our history for the cyberlibrary…

    and jason, thanks for textfiles.com!

    -bowerbird

  26. Jason Scott says:

    SPOILER: IT ALL WORKED OUT

  27. pAlpha says:

    But then again, maybe not? I notice that the recently posted scans on the Vintage Computing site are suffixed with a signature banner thing. :)

    • Jason Scott says:

      No, I TOTALLY approve of the signature banner. He’s not watermarking – his software attaches a small black tab on a random side of the image, without covering any of it. If someone wants to get rid of it, it’s absolutely trivial – and if it’s some automatic image stealer, then it’ll bring it along for the ride.