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 Post subject: Legality of Photo Mosaics?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 8:44 am 
As I understand it, Runaway Technologies owns all rights to the photo mosaic concept. They hold a patent on the technology, and strictly protect their copyrights because they sell mosaics as fine art. So wouldn't creating these mosaics be against the law, and using the software to do it also be against the law? Or are there certain things people can do to protect themselves against this - for example, creating their mosaics in a certain way?


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Photo Mosaics?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 5:47 pm 
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Sincerely, I have no idea about this.
Obviously I did not get any technology from Runaway or anyone else. I just wrote on my own a program for to make mosaics. Now, if this is prohibited then where is our freedom?

P.S.: Some time ago a lawyer in Australia was able to get a patent on the wheel. It was to show how many patents are "wrong". :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:12 am 
Check out http://www.photomosaic.com and read the bottom of their page. Regardless of writing the software yourself, they own the patent on any process that compares the colors of a source image to put together a series of smaller pictures to come together and look like the original. They don't issue licenses for the production of mosaics because it would interfere with their "fine art" sales of $25,000 each. And they say they agressively seek to shut down people who intrude on their patent, regardless of them stealing code or not. Someone told me that there are certain loopholes to avoid violating the patent, but I don't know details on that. If anyone else has any more information on that, please let me know. Thanks!


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 Post subject: patent
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 3:10 pm 
a few years back i talked to an editor from DDJ and he said they hired lawyers who said his patent is very weak as Silvers tried to force DDJ to remove photomosaic source code from their website (from Michelone's article in DDJ).

making a photomosaic is nothing more than pattern dithering. it involves compaing a matrix of pixels to another matrix of pixels, which is exactly what pattern dithering is all about. And as http://www.rick-n-steve.com points out, any of the pattern dithering techniques of decades past can be used to generate photomosaics. to say he invented photomosaics is riduculous. the technology to make them have been around for ages, and Silver's patent can be taken to court if you have the money.

steve
http://www.rick-n-steve.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:21 am 
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I agree with steve.

Also even I don't think you can make a patent on "any" process
"that compares the colors of a source image to put together a series of smaller pictures to come together and look like the original"

This would mean that he dont have the patent on the process but on the type of images described by the word photomosaic.

In my case, the process I use is different than the process of Runaway because the program make a lot of particular calculations. The way I compare is different, the way I calculate is different, and so on.

How it is possible to say "I have a patent over all possible ways, for to create an image that compares the colors of a source image to put together a series of smaller pictures to come together and look like the original"? The patent must be just this sentence, because any other detail will produce a different process on creating the mosaic.

Even photomosaics is not new. In the past, people created photomosaics manually. A mosaic of photos that globally rappresent something else. So he cannot say that he invented the photomosaics. Maybe he can say that he invented the idea to use a computer program for to make a more detailed photomosaic. But not the idea of photomosaic and not all type of processes for to create one.

byeee
Andrea


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 12:47 pm 
Well, I read an article about Silvers:

http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/19 ... arts-1.asp

It states that "The inspiration for this successful idea came from Ken Knowlton's work of seashells glued to a wooden board that, from a distance, created a face."

So the man was inspired by the work of an earlier artist, and now he wants to patent the "look and feel" of the process for himself. That sounds incredibly mean spirited.

Anyway, I doubt it will stand up in court.


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 Post subject: sad state of patent law
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:22 am 
The fact that these patents even exists illustrates the sad state of patent law. Andrea is not making money, and, as far as I understand, does not live in the US, therefore I think they'll have a hard time obtaining anything in court.

May I recommend Andrea to release his source code under the GPL?


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 Post subject: My opinion
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 1:29 am 
As I understand copyright law the other company would have to show that your source code is almost identical to theirs, and that you somehow had access to their code. And as a side note: if they are actively prosecuting their patent, then they are doing a pretty $hitty job of it. =)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:01 pm 
What about these photo mosaics, which were created in '93 and '94 and widely published?

http://www.digitalartform.com/archives/ ... _phot.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:21 pm 
Actually, I happen to like the patent on Browser Plugins and the "<meta http-equiv="REFRESH">" tag...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:21 pm 
I forgot to link... oops :D


link


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 4:05 am 
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lol :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:56 am 
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http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid= ... 3&from=rss

Interesting atricle

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:45 pm 
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Just out of curiousity... I checked out the European patent listing... Now I'm not entirely sure about this, but it looks like the European patent at least might have expired?
Quote:
PRS Date : 2003/09/25
PRS Code : LTIE
Code Expl.: - LT: INVALIDATION OF EUROPEAN PATENT EXTENSION
EFFECTIVE DATE: 20030402

...

PRS Date : 2003/10/15
PRS Code : REG CH PL
Code Expl.: - PATENT CEASED

...

PRS Date : 2006/04/05
PRS Code : 25 SE
Code Expl.: - LAPSED IN A CONTRACTING STATE ANNOUNCED VIA POSTGRANT INFORM. FROM NAT. OFFICE TO EPO
EFFECTIVE DATE: 20030702

http://v3.espacenet.com/legal?DB=EPODOC ... =EP0852363


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:04 pm 
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Interesting.... Maybe because in Europe you just cannot have a "software only" patent?


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 Post subject: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:44 am 
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Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office
http://www.uspto.gov

What Is a Trademark or Servicemark?
A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A servicemark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms “trademark” and “mark” are commonly used to refer to both trademarks and servicemarks.

Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. Trademarks which are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the USPTO. The registration procedure for trademarks and general information concerning trademarks is described on a separate page entitled “Basic Facts about Trademarks” (http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/).


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What Is a Copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

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Patent Laws
The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to enact laws relating to patents, in Article I, section 8, which reads “Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Under this power Congress has from time to time enacted various laws relating to patents. The first patent law was enacted in 1790. The patent laws underwent a general revision which was enacted July 19, 1952, and which came into effect January 1, 1953. It is codified in Title 35, United States Code. Additionally, on November 29, 1999, Congress enacted the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA), which further revised the patent laws. See Public Law 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501 (1999).

The patent law specifies the subject matter for which a patent may be obtained and the conditions for patentability. The law establishes the United States Patent and Trademark Office to administer the law relating to the granting of patents and contains various other provisions relating to patents.

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What Can Be Patented
The patent law specifies the general field of subject matter that can be patented and the conditions under which a patent may be obtained.

In the language of the statute, any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” subject to the conditions and requirements of the law. The word “process” is defined by law as a process, act or method, and primarily includes industrial or technical processes. The term “machine” used in the statute needs no explanation. The term “manufacture” refers to articles that are made, and includes all manufactured articles. The term “composition of matter” relates to chemical compositions and may include mixtures of ingredients as well as new chemical compounds. These classes of subject matter taken together include practically everything that is made by man and the processes for making the products.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 excludes the patenting of inventions useful solely in the utilization of special nuclear material or atomic energy in an atomic weapon 42 U.S.C. 2181 (a).

The patent law specifies that the subject matter must be “useful.” The term “useful” in this connection refers to the condition that the subject matter has a useful purpose and also includes operativeness, that is, a machine which will not operate to perform the intended purpose would not be called useful, and therefore would not be granted a patent.

Interpretations of the statute by the courts have defined the limits of the field of subject matter that can be patented, thus it has been held that the laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter.

A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required.


Basically, as Copyright, Trademarks and Patents apply to Andrea Mosaics, here's the long and the short of it:

1) Robert Silvers (Runaway Technologies) owns the Patent for his creation, PhotoMosaics.

2) Robert Silvers owns the Trademark for PhotoMosaics.

3) Robert Silvers owns the Copyrights for PhotoMosaics, and for any "fine art" pieces created with his software.

However, Robert Silvers does not and cannot own a Patent, Trademark or Copyright for the idea of using a computer program to create photographic moasaic images.

This is the same idea as with, for example, Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola company owns the Copyright for Coca-Cola and the Trademark for Coke. This prevents anyone else from selling another product under their brand name. They also own the Patent for their own formula. However, they do not and cannot own a Copyright, Trademark or Patent on making cola. If this were true, there would be no such thing as Pepsi. The same thing with the many, many kinds of automobiles. Each manufacturer owns the Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents own their own designs, but none of them owns the exclusive rights to making cars.

Because Andrea does not use Robert Silvers' "fine art" images, he is not in violation of Copyright laws in that respect.

Because Andrea refers to his works as "photographic mosaics," and not PhotoMosaics, he is not in violation of Trademark laws in that respect.

Because Andrea's software was designed by Andrea and Andrea alone, was not based off of Robert Silvers' PhotoMosaics program, and his program uses different algorithms to create a similar (but not the same) end product, he is not in violation of Patent laws in that respect, either.


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 Post subject: Re: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:19 am 
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coyote_blindside wrote:
Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office
http://www.uspto.gov
...


I think you are right. I accepted to rename "Photomosaic" into "Photographic Mosaic". But honestly I don't know if this is correct.

What happen then if I register the trademark "Windmill"? Nobody can use that word anymore? The excuse for "Photomosaic" is that it is a compound word. But there exist tons of words like that. Anyone have the right to register any compound word as a trademark?


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 Post subject: Re: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:28 am 
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Andrea wrote:
coyote_blindside wrote:
Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office
http://www.uspto.gov
...


I think you are right. I accepted to rename "Photomosaic" into "Photographic Mosaic". But honestly I don't know if this is correct.

What happen then if I register the trademark "Windmill"? Nobody can use that word anymore? The excuse for "Photomosaic" is that it is a compound word. But there exist tons of words like that. Anyone have the right to register any compound word as a trademark?


As I understand it, it is not possible to copyright any word or phrase that is commonly used already. For example, you couldn't copyright something like "Have a nice day" because that is already in common use. However, if you wanted to copyright the phrase "Andrea says to have a nice day," you may be able to register that.

It's the same basic principle with Photomosaics. At the time that it was copyrighted, "photo mosaics" as two separate words was probably not in common use, let alone as a single compound word.


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 Post subject: Re: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:54 am 
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Photomosaic and Photo mosaic was widely used to describe this technique. Now after trademark registration lawyers says that we have to use the word "Photographic mosaic". But isn't "Photo" and "Photograph" two words for the same meaning?
From Wikipedia: A photograph (often shortened to photo) is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface

From Wikipedia: (Redirected from Photographic): Photography is the process of making pictures by means of capturing light on a light-sensitive medium

By making a photographic mosaic I'm not creating a new photo but I'm assembling different pictures together, a mosaic. In my opinion "photo mosaic" and "photographic mosaic" are similar common words for the same meaning...

Andrea


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 Post subject: Re: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:46 am 
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Andrea wrote:
Photomosaic and Photo mosaic was widely used to describe this technique. Now after trademark registration lawyers says that we have to use the word "Photographic mosaic". But isn't "Photo" and "Photograph" two words for the same meaning?
From Wikipedia: A photograph (often shortened to photo) is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface

From Wikipedia: (Redirected from Photographic): Photography is the process of making pictures by means of capturing light on a light-sensitive medium

By making a photographic mosaic I'm not creating a new photo but I'm assembling different pictures together, a mosaic. In my opinion "photo mosaic" and "photographic mosaic" are similar common words for the same meaning...

Andrea


I agree wholeheartedly.

"Photo mosaic" and "photographic mosaic" are similar common words sharing a common meaning. I obviously cannot say with absolute certainty, but I'd be willing to wager that the key here is that Photomosaic as a single compound words most likely was not in common use prior to Robert Silvers' registration of the term as a trademark for his product. I'm sure that it was referred to as a "photographic mosaic" or "photo mosaic" but not as a single word, "Photomosaic."

In any case, that's really neither here nor there. The important thing to remember is that contrary to what some people might think, Robert Silvers does not have exclusive rights the idea of making picture mosaics. He only has the rights for what he himself has created. That would be limited to the term "Photomosaics," the "fine art" images produced by his software, and the sofware itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Regarding Patents and Copyrights
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:21 pm 
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Yes! He even don't invented photo mosaics! Read wikipedia about :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:28 am 
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Precisely. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:21 pm 
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Robert Silvers tried hard to claim ownership of an entire art style and suppress anyone else's forays into mosaics made from images. {Copyright the "look and feel" of something? Give me a break!} Fortunately, judging by the abundance of photo mosaics, photo mosaic-making programs {both free and for-profit} and small companies actively producing photo mosaics on commission, he has largely failed.

What Mr. Silvers attempted to do would be akin to Claude Monet trying to copyright French Impressionism. Thankfully he could not stem the tide of technology which enables pretty much anyone with a computer to not only crank out mosaics every bit as good as the ones he's made {and many I've seen that are better} but for anyone with enough programming knowledge to brew up their own homemade mosaic maker. Yea for the information age.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Photo Mosaics?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Sorry to resurrect an almost 2 year old thread, but this was among the best discussions of the Photomosaic patent that I found through a quick Google search.

Andrea, firstly, thank you for writing this software. I made a series of mosaic posters with the digital photos I've taken over the past several years, and they look FANTASTIC. After receiving so much positive feedback, I was thinking about offering to make these commercially. People can send me a photo CD or upload a zipped collection of their images, and I send back the finished poster. Because I'm now on a Mac, I was going to use the Macosaix program, which I've been playing around with for the last few months. The final result would give the client 3 final-image overlay options done up in Photoshop that they would choose from before printing.

That's as far as I got before hearing about the patent situation. I did notice that the legal case for this patent's existence has been called into question, and is under review since Nov. 2008. I have no idea how to get updates, but I can add to this forum if it changes.

In any case, I understand that Mr. Silvers wants to protect what is his, but by the basic logic of myself and others on this forum, what's his includes the coding he wrote, the name Photomosaic, and what artworks he has created with it. I don't see how he can patent a generic art form, when there are other people who can create similar end results with totally different coding & processes. It seems, if he does want to protect his patent aggressively enough to the point that he would go after people using different software and coding processes from his, it would amount to legal bullying but ultimately not stand up in court. I expect that he thinks if he threatens everyone else from the competitor's ring, he'll never have to go to court, where he would ultimately have to defend his patent and potentially lose it. I guess, due to the patent review, that someone finally said, "hey wait a minute..."


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Photo Mosaics?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:38 am 
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Here is some more news I found about this:
http://www.pubpat.org/silversfinalrejection.htm

Moleet


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