Good Discussion

There is a good discussion taking place on the Lightroom Killer Tips site. Read it here.

In brief, somebody created a tool that attempts to create a Lightroom develop preset from a photo posted to Flickr. It reads all the metadata including that which Lightroom write to the photo and reverse-engineers a preset that could have been used to create the image. That sounds like a neat trick to me but I didn’t for one second think that it would be so controversial.

Some parties threatened the author, Mike Wiacek, with legal action. Not surprsingly he was preturbed and he’s taken the tool down for now. Read about it here.

From all the comments I have read no one believes his tool is illegal anywhere but legal action, even if meritless can be expensive and time-consuming. I would have done the same thing if I was as clever as Mike.

Still, I had an uneasy feeling about the tool. Why? I posted the following comment to the original thread:

I’ve read some of the arguments, and while I agree that the tool isn’t a copyright law violation, but I still felt a little uneasy about it.

Then over dinner I came up with an analogy. What if I could buy a battery-powered probe in Costco that I could dip into my soup at a fine dining restaurant? This fantasy probe estimates the ingredients of the soup. When I get home I can plug the probe into my PC and advanced artificial intelligence software attempts to re-create the recipe.

I don’t think I have broken any laws by attempting to reverse-engineer the soup. And the result probably won’t be very good. But if I was the chef in the restaurant I’d still feel a bit violated.

In this case I think the critical step that troubles people is the attempt to create a preset that I can apply to my images with one click. That feels different to me than an exhaustive listing of the photo’s metadata.

But, as so many have stated, I can stop all this by removing the metadata before exporting the image to Flickr.

I like food analogies.

The discussion is ongoing and if you visit Matt’s site maybe he will have a new version up that will not attempt his trick on images that have been marked copyright on Flickr.

One of the many reason I like to live in Thailand is that people think of going to the law as a last resort, not as a first.

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2 Responses to “Good Discussion”

  1. GB-in-TH Says:

    As of Sunday. 21st June the Preset Extractor is up again at http://lrpreset.appspot.com/.

    Only photos that have a Creative Commons license, or are in the public domain, or are part of the Flickr Group http://www.flickr.com/groups/lrpreset/ will work with the tool.

    Try it.

  2. Watching the Rain « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] can use the Lightroom Preset Extractor so you can make pictures just like mine! Go ahead, I promise I won’t sue […]

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