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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 18 November 2010

Photography Plea for Christmas

WEBSITE says that we have all done it in the past, seen a photograph on a website and copied it, but how many do that from a book?  How many see copying a film or a TV show as a breach of copyright, even when it is on the internet? So why the change of heart when it comes down to photographs? Photography is just as important to society, if not more so than the music or film industry, yet it is often seen as a less important to people as they think, due to the fact they can take images themselves, photographs are free. This is most relevant on the web. You often hear the words:- “The images are in the public domain, as they are on the internet!” The true meaning of it is in fact they are still copyright, but the folder/virtual location is viewable by the public. It was just bad terminology that made people think anything on the web is free! Without images, the internet would be a very dull place, but photographs are all over the web and to keep standards high, think before you copy! The freedom to view them is very increasingly complex, with the likes of Google and other search engines including Yahoo, to name just to, that offer image searches. Often these systems display images taken by photographers, but not the website they are on. So the user copies the image and does not read the copyright information on the site. One answer is that the photographer should watermark all images, but this often spoils them, thus a new problem for the commercial photographer is found. If he/she lowers the resolution, it stops commercial print copying, but not web and electronic copying, so watermarking often is the answer, but that too spoils the images he or she wanted to show in the first place. Another solution is not to put them on the web in the first place, so photographs that are stunning are never seen by the masses on the web and the photographer cannot show their skills and sell their work! Then you have yet another option, that is to just give up on trying to enforce their copyright on the web against electronic copying. This can result in loss of sales and in the end, total loss of copyright control and in some cases even worse! Often the words by users of a copied image follow “But it advertises your work if I use it on my site…” Yet what they do not understand is that it costs a lot of money and time to get images, so credit given is fine, but it does not pay the bills. Would you go into a bar and order a beer, drink it and then say thanks, walk off without paying. Then when asked, you say to the Police:- “I told my friends the bar was fantastic. The beer was cold and glasses are clean.” Would you get away with it? What public need to think is that killing off the industry, by illegally copying photographs on the web is destroying people’s livelihoods! It is not just photographers who are affected by the copying of images. Models, hairdressers, make-up artists and lots more all suffer, as without the cash from photo sales, photographers can’t hire them. Newspapers and other groups have to also cut jobs, as photographs make money for the papers, which in turn employ countless staff. Even the internet suffers, as loss of photo sales affects website developers, programmers, not forgetting camera shops and the list goes on. Without images the place would be a poorer place. Photographers are very important part of society and provide a major part in our everyday lives. This is often overlooked. They are often more important than people acknowledge, so this Christmas, think about it. Don’t copy an image illegally. Photographers are now taking legal action against illegal users and you could easily face a criminal record if caught. Don’t take the chance, support a tradition that helps shape society instead. Support the art form that is photography. Support your photographers! Don’t copy images, even to your Facebook account without permission as photographers have bills to pay just like you! 

Our political comment ~ Remembrance Services

THIS year, the red poppy has again been hijacked for political purposes. In Hyde Park, London, angry exchanges took after an ‘Islamic group’ called ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ burned poppies. Even in Southport on Sunday, 14 November 2010, a protester was shouting at the start of the memorial service. But it was not just the protests that have raised eye brows, but also the fact that some of the nations outside the UK do not understand the true connotations of the poppy. One big example of this happened this year, with the Chinese… So what is Remembrance Day and why should we strive to keep the symbol of the Poppy, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday? It is in no way glorification of war or a demonstration of power, as some might have read it described in recent weeks, but it is the UK’s way of remembering just how costly war truly is. It is our manner of remembering those who sacrificed their lives to keep us safe and free. In an ideal world, this would not need to be done, but by holding services and keeping the Act of Remembrance alive, it causes to reflect on just how bad war is. The origin of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance comes not from the colour red taken to mean war, but because it was one of the few other living things that survived the battlefield of Flanders, in the western part of Belgium after the First World War. And for those who do not know about that war, that area was considered to have had the bloodiest fighting and the biggest loss of life. During the conflict, the poppies flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, brought life, hope to the troops on both sides and reassurance to those still fighting that life goes on. But its colour also became a representation of the blood spilt. How is that a symbol of wanting war? Many Muslim people have questioned the actions of the extremists. One Muslim on Merseyside came over to me and confided:- “I am Muslim, I am here at the memorial service and I come every year. I hope people see that true Muslims do care and respect, honour and mark these days. I would like the press not to focus on these radical extremists. Do they not know or care that Muslim people died during the first and second world wars?” A similar statement was made by Akf Suyeb. To us, it just shows how deep misunderstandings and cultural barriers still exist, despite that those who sacrificed their lives fought to overcome such issues. But without their sacrifice, we would not be able to even contemplate discussing such things today, and that is why we must strive to keep services alive; to honour and mourn their loss, but also to contemplate what could have arisen without it. Email to with your views and feelings on what you think about this issue. Also take a look at our video on Southport.TV of the services and parades we covered on 14 November 2010. Also let us know what your feelings are about these services.

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