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Author Topic: Consent  (Read 1994 times)

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Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Consent
« on: October 06, 2012, 01:58:27 AM »
I'm sure we're all familiar with people who don't really understand social boundaries and use Facebook for less than honorable purposes. I was wondering about a hypothetical ethical scenario similar to this. 

Specifically, a lot of people on Elliquiy use photographs of models and actresses as their avatars, and as templates for characters in all sorts of scenarios. I'm wondering about how the models and actresses might feel if they found out. How would you react if one of the models in a photograph you were using asked you to stop? Extending this hypothetical further, let's say they had NO legal recourse and all that they could do is ask for you to stop? Would you? Why or why not?

I have my opinions but I'll keep them in spoiler tags in case you want to respond first.
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Personally, I think you should stop. I see possible counterarguments here, but I don't know why you would willingly persist.



Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Consent
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 02:16:44 AM »
From what I've been told, should a model/actor/etc should contact one of the mods/admin and request the image be removed, the mods/admin will remove those images.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 02:23:51 AM »
Oh that's awesome! I'm glad we have a policy on that.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 02:38:03 AM »
Though, you must admit, it is kind of silly to wait until a violation has happened. Why not require proof of consent first?

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Consent
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 02:44:16 AM »
No, I don't think it's silly. I don't see anything wrong with using images, so long as they don't resell them and give credit to the creator.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 03:01:37 AM »
O.K., I'm not necessarily arguing toward any policy change here, I'm asking more as a philosopher would, trying to sort out the process of reasoning.

If we are to agree that people ought not have their photos used in ways they do not approve of, and that such use is problematic or even damaging, then why would we simply wait to stop it once it has happened? Why not take preventative measures to ensure that we don't damage others?

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Consent
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 03:07:14 AM »
Again, I don't see anything wrong with sharing images, so long as the person sharing it has no intention of taking credit or money. Should the owner/subject of those images protest, it should be respected and those sharing it should stop. 

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 03:10:30 AM »
OK, so to look at this from a different angle...

Is it only a problem if they find out? Is there inherent wrong in using their image when you can't be sure of their consent?

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Consent
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2012, 03:28:43 AM »
No. If copyright isn't infringed upon, if there is no money being made nor credit for the work stolen from the copyright holder, it is not inherently wrong. Any piece of work, be it art, song, video or writing can be used to a minor degree without it being wrong - which is known as Fair Use under copyright law.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2012, 03:44:39 AM »
Yes, but what is legal is not always right, and what is right is not always legal.

I think it's tricky, because their is not simply consent, and non-consent. There are in the field of bio-ethics, some instances where people can neither give no withhold consent. People in comas for instance are unable to voice their opinion on how their treatment should be handled.

Still though, to act without consent is to risk a non-consensual experience. Is that a risk worth taking?

Furthermore though, we seem to agree that the act can be wrong due to its consequences. I think you are arguing that the act in and of itself posses no wrong, at least until non-consent is brought into play.

What I see here is a problem though.

Let's say Alice and Bob are both good looking, good natured, demure folks who model for a living. They don't want their pictures ever being shared or used on sites like Elliquiy, but they do use various websites, and social networking services to share their portfolio and recent work. Google indexes these, and they end up amongst the stream of pictures of hot people online.

Is the impetus on Alice and Bob to comb through the internet to ensure that they are aren't being violated? That seems unreasonable to expect.

Offline Dim Hon

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Re: Consent
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2012, 03:53:35 AM »
Art is not sex. You can't rape a book or a song. If Alice and Bob don't understand copyright law, they should educate themselves. If they don't agree with it, they should keep their photos off the internet.

That the E staff agree to respect the artists over allowing Fair Use is, in my opinion, wonderful. But to go so far as to reject Fair Use on the off chance that someone would step forwards as an Alice or a Bob? That would really be depressing.

If you are looking for debate, you might want to have this topic moved. Whatever you decide, I've said all I have to say. 

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 04:11:49 AM »
Well, art is not sex, sure. Though, sometimes I think a picture more than a collection of colors artfully arranged, but comes to simulate its subject in many important ways.  Indeed, as we as a culture have matured into the internet, our photographs have actually become in many ways more essential than they have at any point in our past.

We have ourselves as we are in real life, and then there is the character that we construct from ourselves through social networking. The profile photo has, I think, rapidly altered how we relate to our photographs. Indeed we are more closely identified to these portraits of ourselves, than possibly the rest of our profiles. Online, your profile photo is in many ways your face.

It's strange because it seems to me that we've finally gotten to the point that our relation to technology has changed such that we need to revise our understanding of self a little bit.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 05:54:42 AM »
In all more or less normal circumstances I actually agree with Dim Hon. As I said, I'm trying to investigate this more like a philosopher than anything else.

To respond to your last question though, I don't know how we view any of these, but what I'm really trying to get at here is a greater question about digital representations of ourselves and ethics.

To speak really specifically...

Within my own kink group, there are a lot of people who go on Facebook etc. pretending to be disabled, to friend disabled people, steal their pictures, and so on. This is obviously not right, but you'd be surprised how little recourse you have when this happens to you. Legally speaking, the rights are more often with the photographer which makes submitting a takedown request, especially on someone's behalf which I have done more than once, a real headache.

Now El, is well run, and I'm not trying to suggest anything about them or their policies here. However, I already catch a metric ton of poorly reasoned bullshit about my kink. This is true even though I relegate myself only to consensual behaviour and (primarily) fiction. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the issues of consent and this "digital abuse" or whatever it's called, and how to stop it.

It's kind of led me down through this train of thought, and I don't see a lot of good counterarguments. Generally, part of trying to prove something involves trying your hardest to disprove it. I've been through it in my own head enough times, and now I'm branching out to see what others think. El is a community that is pretty accepting of "non-normative" sexualities, and generally well versed in stuff like consensual non-consent etc. so this is presumably a good place to go looking. The kind of scary argument that I see, involves people having some sort of federal or state I.D. system that monitored who has what accounts etc. but that sounds too Orwellian to be plausible...yet.

Returning to my example of Alice and Bob, what are they to do? Let's even assume, for the sake of reality, that they aren't models, but just normal people and their photos were taken off of Facebook?

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Consent
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 05:55:53 AM »
"We're talking philosophically, then let's take this that way. In my point of view, it's actually less okay for an artist to tell other people that they cannot enjoy art that they share with the world. The only things I can see being ethically wrong when it comes to someone else's art (be it writing, music, or visual medium) are as follows: I should never be allowed to take someone's artful expression and make it public if they have not done so first. I should never profit from someone's art directly in a way that takes possible profit from the artist, and I should never take or get credit for the artist's work unless the artist bestows it upon me."

"There might be other circumstantial ways one could infringe upon an artist's rights, but in the end, a piece of art is (for all intents and purposes) an idea. If I, as the artist, share that idea with others, it becomes everyone's idea. I created it, I should get credit for it (and profits if they are to be had), but the idea is out there for everyone now."

"If you disagree, no one here should ever be allowed to run any kind of Cthulu Mythos game (as HP Lovecraft would almost certainly not approve of his work being used on a site so rampant with erotic overtones). No one should be able to write fanfiction or draw fanart, or play RPs in established worlds, without consent from its creator. Pretending one medium of art should be more protected than another medium is arbitrary."

"While I would bow to the right of an artist to do so, it would probably be out of a desire to avoid confrontation over something that isn't worth it. Not to mention, if an artist feels the need to be petty about it, I really don't want to share their art with other people."

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2012, 05:59:33 AM »
I think I posted while you were posting. :(

I think that if you're in a magazine or something, you've kind of implicitly given up your right to purely private domain stuff, at least under the system you've proposed, which I do think seems to make sense.

What's crazy is that in the states at least, when you are in public you lose your right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. So again there are creeps of every kink and fancy that go around candidly photographing people without their consent, sharing and sometimes even selling them. We can talk art all day, but I can't help but feel that something is wrong in our system when this is allowed.

I will say that in regard to Alice and Bob with their FB photos, there is kind of a difference between the binary of public and private. Google+ has rings or whatever, FB seems to change their privacy settings every 6 months to a year.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 06:04:08 AM by tozhma »

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Consent
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2012, 06:05:12 AM »
"Yes, facebook photos and the like are different. I accept that those aren't intended, for the most part, to be spread to the general public. Taking those images and using them without consent is wrong, by my standards. I'm not sure I have any other thoughts on the subject, but I supposed living in the crapsack world we do, people will inevitably do stupid and not cool things. You asked about whether people should do it, however, and to that I say 'no'. One should be able to determine the difference between a model and a random facebook friend."

EDIT: "I mean, I could see, from an objective standpoint, why your image really doesn't belong to you. It's just a set of light signals sent to someone's eyes in the configuration your lifestyle and genetics has brought about. However, not taking peoples' pictures and using them without any consent is just common courtesy. Don't be a dick, would be my ruling on that."
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 06:07:42 AM by Ryuka Tana »

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2012, 06:10:26 AM »
Well, thank you for letting me work through all my guilt and garmonbozia in a public place.

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2012, 06:16:31 AM »
EDIT: "I mean, I could see, from an objective standpoint, why your image really doesn't belong to you. It's just a set of light signals sent to someone's eyes in the configuration your lifestyle and genetics has brought about. However, not taking peoples' pictures and using them without any consent is just common courtesy. Don't be a dick, would be my ruling on that."

The Wil Wheaton rule is one of my favorites. It's biggest drawback though is its vagueness, and yet I think that is what imparts its broad appeal.

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Consent
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2012, 06:22:02 AM »
Well, thank you for letting me work through all my guilt and garmonbozia in a public place.

"Hey, cool by me. I was just waxing philosophical. I like conversing with open-minded people, and I like people who know the difference between philosophical discussion and arguing about personal beliefs."

Offline tozhmaTopic starter

Re: Consent
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2012, 06:26:03 AM »
The philosophical end is the part that's fun, it's the real world that's messy and complex.

How do we stop abuse? That's the million dollar question nobody can answer.

Offline Ryuka Tana

Re: Consent
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2012, 06:42:34 AM »
"Oh, I could answer it all day (probably literally), but 'The philosophical end is the part that's fun, it's the real world that's messy and complex.'"

"Hell, Wil Wheaton answered that question, problem is, people won't let the how work."

"Anyway, I'm glad to have helped you sort the issue. I truly don't believe that art can have a sense of ownership in that way. I mean, why would you give the world art and then dictate how it should be used? I can see reasons why one might, but not one that doesn't smack of egotism."

Offline Koren

Re: Consent
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2012, 08:42:54 AM »
The model etc has no legal right to a picture once it is taken unless it is for a specific reason. However, I do believe that we have a moral right to anything about ourselves, regardless of how and when and where it is produced

Its why I refuse to use photos of people and why I am strongly against the idea of media gossip and paparrazzi as I see it as an infringment of moral rights.

However, I do understand that some people are beautiful and they do lend themselves to certain stories. As such if a partner insists on having an image I sometimes will say "like this picture, but with this and this and not this," and I refuse to flat out use an exact representation of people.

In my mind it would be like if someone took a picture of you, put it online and used it for a rp like those on here, but also any sort of rp, on any level and on any moral scale. Some people would find that flattering, but many I would assume would find it weird and creepy. And I am forced to remember that models and celebrities are still people as well, and still have feelings, from the good guys to the complete moronic dicks we hear about so much these days.
And you can never be sure how a person will react to something like that, and how they will see the way that their picture or likeness is being used. I do believe that they should have to give their consent, even though that would be almost highly impossible for most people who's pics are online, but I dont judge those who do at all as these are just my beliefs and opinions.

Even if I am using an artists work, I sometimes get iffy about using a digital painting or a model or something, but less so, as characters themselves in a creative sense lend themselves to adaptibility.

Anyway, thats just my personal opinion on it. And I may have gone way off topic but I do that sometimes :)

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Consent
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2012, 08:58:08 AM »
Thank you for bringing this up, tozhma.  I never really gave it much thought before.  If Emma Watson found one of my stories and told me to stop using her image, I would.  Should I also stop suggesting that any character in any of my stories look like Emma Watson?  If I really want to take her feelings into consideration, I should.  That would be difficult though.  I am not saying I could not go without having a character look like Emma, but should I refrain from using any celebrity's appearance as a reference point?  Can I say they have Emma's eyes, but someone else's smile?  I am not sure how I feel about this.  I am sure many actresses would be appalled by what I write about their likeness.

Offline Amelita

Re: Consent
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2012, 09:06:53 AM »
The majority of avatars on E are photographs of models/actors or digital artwork.

These are images that are available in public locations on the internet and that is where the Fair Use thing comes in. However giving credit whenever possible is something I consider good manners and respect for another person's work. Note that this means the photographer of a model, not the model itself. (I'll freely admit to my lazy ways of not giving said credit, something I should change really.)

When the photographs are of non celebs the site actually has a rule:

Quote from: item 3 under Images, Avatars and Signatures in the site rules
No images of non-members. This does not include public-figures and semi-public figures, but rather refers to your friends and family who have not also signed up and joined the site themselves.

Which means, using random-person facebook pics is forbidden.

As for the whole idea of this outside E, there is one thing we need to consider. Posting images on the internet means making them public in nearly all cases. That's perhaps not always the legal truth, but it is the reality of it. Posting them on facebook makes them public to a large group of people depending on your profile settings. I doubt anyone uploads pics and keeps them hidden to everyone. Unless you upload images to somewhere you keep them under password protection, you have to be aware of the fact you are indeed posting them to the internet and odds are all kinds of people will see them. Using those images for various purposes may be rude and even offensive but if you want to avoid it at all cost, don't post them. Sadly that is what it comes down to.

The model etc has no legal right to a picture once it is taken unless it is for a specific reason. However, I do believe that we have a moral right to anything about ourselves, regardless of how and when and where it is produced
[...]
Its why I refuse to use photos of people and why I am strongly against the idea of media gossip and paparrazzi as I see it as an infringment of moral rights.

Celeb pics and the moral right to images of ourselves are both good points. However, they still fall under the same hat. With how society is, and we all know it, if you don't want people taking your picture and posting it all over, don't go into the entertainment industry. If you get famous, it will happen. It's not a fun fact, but it's a fact.

I will add, that should a person contact me and ask me to not use their image as an avatar or charrie pic, I would not hesitate to take it down and not use it again. Which is, actually, the answer to OP's original question ^^


Thank you for bringing this up, tozhma.  I never really gave it much thought before.  If Emma Watson found one of my stories and told me to stop using her image, I would.  Should I also stop suggesting that any character in any of my stories look like Emma Watson?  If I really want to take her feelings into consideration, I should.  That would be difficult though.  I am not saying I could not go without having a character look like Emma, but should I refrain from using any celebrity's appearance as a reference point?  Can I say they have Emma's eyes, but someone else's smile?  I am not sure how I feel about this.  I am sure many actresses would be appalled by what I write about their likeness.

So, this raises another question actually.
Do you all have any idea how many characters in fiction are based on real people? Tons. Tons and tons. It's a very known method of writers to add depth to a character or even simply to use said people as inspiration. Can't we view appearances in the same way as personality and behavior? Isn't it what's on the inside that makes a person, after all? :P
Could this be true?:
Using pics to describe a character in a story isn't copying the real person any more than using their personality as inspiration would be.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Consent
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2012, 09:13:06 AM »
So, this raises another question actually.
Do you all have any idea how many characters in fiction are based on real people? Tons. Tons and tons. It's a very known method of writers to add depth to a character or even simply to use said people as inspiration. Can't we view appearances in the same way as personality and behavior? Isn't it what's on the inside that makes a person, after all? :P
Could this be true?:
Using pics to describe a character in a story isn't copying the real person any more than using their personality as inspiration would be.

Where is there a line between "imagine Emma Watson's portrail of Hermione Granger" and "imagine a cute, know-it-all witch with a bit of a chip on her shoulder"?  Should we always use the latter or is the first's shorthand acceptable?