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December 8, 2011 3:53 AM   Subscribe

On the 6th of December 2011, as has been traditional for the past 9 decades since Finland's Independence, the President, Tarja Halonen and her spouse, Dr Pentti Arajarvi host what is known as the Linnan juhlat or Castle Ball, an extremely popular televised reception for the notables of the nation. Along with the usual dignitaries, the President is also permitted to select invitees based on merit - entertainers, athletes, individuals - whom she feels have been in the news in the past year. This year Peter and Teija Vesterbacka also were invited due to Peter Vesterbacka's work as the CMO of Rovio. Teija Vesterbacka wore a red dress for the evening that had design concepts from one of the birds in the mobile game Angry Birds. Highlighted in the Finnish news by the very select group of photographers permitted entry to this exclusive event, it was when the photograph of this dress went viral among global MSM that the angry birds began to fly.
posted by infini (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is confusingly framed. I expected it to be about the cool dress or even Finnish customs, but it turns out to be about copyright & angry photographers.
posted by chavenet at 4:22 AM on December 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


I know there's some Angry Birds knockoff theme park in China, but I was still not prepared for just how popular Angry Birds is in China. Almost every stall selling anything in Beijing, whether at tourist attractions or inside shopping centers like Yaxiu, had Angry Birds hats or shirts or bobbleheads alongside the panda ears and more traditional Chinese kitsch.
posted by kmz at 4:34 AM on December 8, 2011


Seems like a bit of a non-story to me.

LA times is American. Photographer has disproportionate power of copyright under US law and massive taxpayer-funded hammers to enforce it at low personal cost.

Dude was wronged, and that sucks, and it would have been better if it hadn't happened, but that happens to everyone and at least he has unusually privileged recourse. I'm not seeing much reason to care.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:35 AM on December 8, 2011


I bet if you asked the LA Times how much they'd want you to pay to use an image from their website, the answer would be a large number. I'm even willing to bet the answer would be a large number if it was the image in question, which they stole.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:36 AM on December 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm even willing to bet the answer would be a large number if it was the image in question, which they stole.

DO IT!
That would be really funny, and then I'd have to eat my previous words :)
posted by -harlequin- at 4:38 AM on December 8, 2011


The LA Times responded in the comments in the site. They have arranged to make payment and apologized for the error.
posted by humanfont at 4:42 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's impossible! Robert Levine and Andrew Keen said the little people were the thieves killing Big Content.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:43 AM on December 8, 2011


I have to highlight the Independence day ball itself, since it doesn't seem to have been discussed much on Metafilter before.

It's hard to describe just how big an event 'Linnan juhlat' is. It's not like people generally feel much passion about it but it -- I'm not under the impression that we do. Nonetheless it is something that an exceptionally large portion of the public pay attention to, and the people who are invited are a fairly broad selection of people of various kinds of significance.

I'm also under the impression that its emergence as the defining event of our Independence day celebrations is something of a historical accident rather than something that was planned to be quite this big.
posted by Anything at 4:53 AM on December 8, 2011


And one cannot understand the event without knowing its format, particularly how it begins.

It begins by the president shaking hands. For roughly two hours.

Two hours.

Beginning here. Ending here.
posted by Anything at 5:18 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kiitos for the additional information, Anything. Last year I sat through the broadcast because a friend told me his parents were on at 7.20pm exactly and we all showed to watch!
posted by infini at 5:24 AM on December 8, 2011


This is confusingly framed. I expected it to be about the cool dress or even Finnish customs, but it turns out to be about copyright & angry photographers.

There really was not much in English that's available on the event, perhaps Anything can add more context. As for the dress I specifically didn't want to link to photographs of it.
posted by infini at 5:25 AM on December 8, 2011


I'm also under the impression that its emergence as the defining event of our Independence day celebrations is something of a historical accident rather than something that was planned to be quite this big.

Maybe a post on that background of the war and the story around that era would be nice?
posted by infini at 5:33 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, our independence was actually gained not in a war but as part of the dissolution of Tsarist Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. War is nevertheless a big theme around independence day here because of the fight against attempted Soviet conquest later during WW2. One of the ways this is reflected in 'Linnan juhlat' is that the first ones in line for the presidential handshake are decorated veterans from that era.
posted by Anything at 6:03 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bet if you asked the LA Times how much they'd want you to pay to use an image from their website, the answer would be a large number. I'm even willing to bet the answer would be a large number if it was the image in question, which they stole.

To be fair, this is a standard business tactic -- take what you want if you can avoid paying; pay the minimum possible if you can't; charge the maximum possible; lie as necessary. Now, parts of this are entirely reasonable, but the package is toxic.

In other news, shaking hands for two hours sounds horrible. I am glad I will never be president of Finland.

Also, probably too obvious,but:

Metafilter: Do You Have to Suck the Sweat out of my Balls now that I am Dead?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:15 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The LA Times responded in the comments in the site. They have arranged to make payment and apologized for the error.

You wonder how often this is done, or if they're just testing the waters to see how often they can steal images without the people who created them noticing.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:16 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even though I know that 'kiitos' means 'thank you' in Finnish, every time I see it I still think it is the name of a snack food or candy bar.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:25 AM on December 8, 2011


The Washington Post recently called and asked me if it could use my "Bacon Cat" picture for a Gene Weingarten column, which I allowed them to do, because it amuses me that Bacon Cat is still a thing (I did tell them that in return, it would be nice for newspaper to make a donation to a local literacy charity).

Of course, if they hadn't have asked, I'd've been knocking down their door and mentioning things like copyright and making them send money and stuff (again, probably to a local charity). Lesson: It doesn't hurt to ask first.
posted by jscalzi at 6:28 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Do You Have to Suck the Sweat out of my Balls now that I am Dead?


ah I see you've discovered the whole reason for this FPP, one irresistable title
posted by infini at 7:08 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In other news, shaking hands for two hours sounds horrible. I am glad I will never be president of Finland.

In theory you might still marry one by accident. The spouse, too, shakes all the hands.
posted by Anything at 7:11 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


In other news, shaking hands for two hours sounds horrible. I am glad I will never be president of Finland.

Or Estonia, for we have copied the format and our president has to go through the same ordeal on Estonian Independence day.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:19 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


(We call it the Penguin Parade, which is strangely apt in the present context)
posted by daniel_charms at 7:20 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I still remember when Europe voted in 2006 to make Hard Rock Hallelujah the Finnish National Anthem. Happy belated Independence Day from America, Finland!

;-)
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2011


daniel_charms: Or Estonia, for we have copied the format and our president has to go through the same ordeal on Estonian Independence day.

Do you also broadcast the handshakes from start to finish, with bland commentary?

Our commentators give short remarks on as many guests (roughly a third of the 1800 total) as they have time for and manage to recognize, mostly about what they're wearing and what institutions they represent.

Penguin parade is certainly an illustrative description :)
posted by Anything at 8:18 AM on December 8, 2011


As a person of Norwegian extraction from Minnesota I have made many jokes about Finns, but I must point out here that the Finns during WWII were pretty bad ass (especially during the Winter War). You people have earned the right to do all the hand-shaking you want, as far as I am concerned.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:18 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does Judith Griggs now work at the LA Times? Or any of those "reputable" news media outlets?

But honestly Monica, the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it ...
posted by IAmBroom at 10:33 AM on December 8, 2011


The Daily Mail ran the same story with the photo, for what it's worth. It's credited to Matti Maikenen/Polaris - but the rest of the pictures look like screenshots.

Mind you, the same newspaper ended an article about a Scottish reality documentary with...a link to an illegally uploaded version on YouTube. And, you know, it's the Mail.
posted by mippy at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2011


I can't add anything to discussions about the legitimacy of copyright, but I did notice something interesting: the angry photographer makes a distinction between HuffPo and the LA Times, basically that he expects the HuffPo not to pay and expects the LA Times to pay. I understand his logic, but from, say, the LA Times perspective, they would then be subsidizing the cost of photos for the HuffPo.

I have a blog and I copy images from everywhere, usually under appropriate "fair use" rules (e.g. a post specifically about an advertisement). While I'm not huge, I've never received a cease and desist letter from anyone except.... Michael Bay-- not for using his movie images, but for pretending to be him in a fake interview. What alerted lawyers was not my stealing someone's work, but stealing someone's identity.

Looking at a photo of a person, I understand the photo was taken by a photographer, but the impression is that the image belongs to the photographed. I know this is wrong, but it is the likely source of the problem-- people steal the image because they need an image of a person, not an image by a photographer. e.g. if you need to steal an image of Mick Jagger, you steal an image but not the one by Annie Leibowitz.


It seems to me that what is missing from photographs is a way of making them identifiably as someone's brand, i.e. finding a style of photography, or an edit, etc, that makes the work clearly someone's. That won't solve the problem, but it is a practical step towards a photog protecting his work.
posted by TheLastPsychiatrist at 12:37 PM on December 8, 2011


It seems to me that what is missing from photographs is a way of making them identifiably as someone's brand, i.e. finding a style of photography, or an edit, etc, that makes the work clearly someone's. That won't solve the problem, but it is a practical step towards a photog protecting his work.

TheLastPsychiatrist, you're describing a watermark.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:48 PM on December 8, 2011


In other news, shaking hands for two hours sounds horrible.

Aha, but then: Sauna on köyhän apteekki.

Also, with Finlandia playing continuously, the time flies.
posted by Twang at 4:02 PM on December 8, 2011


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