This Week in Space for Canada

The Winnipeg Free Press reminds us that the Canadian aerospace industry has always straddled a dense political minefield while European based independent advocate Catherine Laplace-Builhe promotes the Canadian Space Agency (or at least she did until US based Facebook shut her down) and the Canadian contractor for the upcoming ExoMars mission reminds me personally that they consider their Canadian contribution to be “significant” and something I should mention here. All that and more, this week in space for Canada.

Our first story this week comes to us via the August 12th, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press article titled “How the West lost the CF-18” which discusses how politics influenced the 1986 decision of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to award the CF-18 maintenance contract to Quebec-based Canadair rather than the Manitoba based Bristol Aerospace. According to the article:

“Cabinet documents obtained by the Winnipeg Free Press through an access-to-information request show Mulroney was briefed regularly throughout the summer of 1986 about the matter, which saw Manitoba based Bristol Aerospace ultimately lose a 20-year, $100-million contract to Quebec-based Canadair.”
“Memos suggest he was heavily involved in figuring out alternative plans and consolation prizes to reduce the outcry he and his government knew would result from favouring a Quebec-based firm that hadn’t actually won the competition on merit.”

Both companies were in precarious positions in 1986, but Canadair was a Canadian government crown corporation looking to be privatized and the CF-18 contract would make it more attractive to buyers. The firm was ultimately sold to Quebec’s Bombardier Inc. later that same year where it became the core of the Bombardier aerospace division, now the worlds fourth largest aircraft manufacturer.
Bristol Aerospace (then the Canadian subsidiary of Rolls Royce PLC) was awarded the maintenance contract for the Canadian Forces Canadair CF-5 fleet in January 1987, as consolation for losing the more lucrative and longer-term CF-18 contract. In June 1997 Bristol was sold to Canadian based Magellan Aerospace, in part perhaps because Rolls-Royce PLC had no further interest in its Canadian subsidiary once the lucrative government fighter aircraft service contracts dried up.
But Bristol’s space legacy, which began when the company developed the Black Brant sounding rocket lives on and in 1999 the firm even won a contract for SCISAT-1, the first purely-Canadian science satellite since 1971.
Of course, most of this information (while readily available online) is not generally common knowledge and this is due to the generally poor quality of traditional media coverage in this area, which leads into our second story.
According to editor Marc Boucher in his July 8th, 2010 article “The Canadian Space Agency on Twitter” the CSA doesn’t have a twitter account, or an account on any other social networking site. This makes it difficult for the CSA to connect with Canadian’s who read less newspapers and watch fewer 6pm newscasts than they once did.
So it’s fortunate for us that there are people like Catherine Laplace-Builhe to help get the word out. Up until a few days ago she was one of the seemingly tireless administrators of the Canadian Space Agency Fans Group on Facebook.
But if you go to the Canadian Space Agency Fans Group today you will find that there are no recent posts or activities which is kind of unusual for a site that, up until August 20th, was sending out a dozen posts a day on a variety of topics relating to Canadian and international space activities.
The reason for this, according to the “Photos from Canadian Space Agency Fans Group” is that:
“The account of Catherine Laplace-Builhe creator and admin of this group has been disabled by Facebook… A photographer… complained to Facebook that Catherine had forget to put a copyright on her photo album Moon …and Facebook has disabled her account.”
The photo in question, by Anthony Ayiomamitis, is widely available on the internet (for example, it’s posted as the June 20th, 2008 Astronomy Picture of the Day) so it’s hard to see why Facebook management felt the need to act in the way they did. As well, indications are that Laplace-Builhe provided appropriate attribution for the photo almost immediately upon being told of the requirement, but was removed from Facebook several hours later anyway, along with all her Canadian Space Agency Fans Group postings and anything she sent to other groups.
Which is a shame, because she is quite popular on Facebook and her fans seem to be getting angry.
A “Petition to reinstate the account of Catherine Laplace-Builhe” Facebook page has been set up to discus the problems that new media advocates go through once they reach a certain level of popularity and potential solutions that would satisfy Facebook and get Laplace-Builhe re-instated.
Perhaps these problems are a large part of the reasons why the CSA doesn’t have twitter or any other social media account. Hopefully, the Canadian Space Agency Fans Group will be back up and running with new contributions from Laplace-Builhe just as soon as possible.
Which brings us to our final story.
Last week the Manager for Remote Sensing at the Canadian office of Swiss based ABB Group (or “ABB in Canada” as the website states) sent me an e-mail which states in part:
For your information, our company was not listed in the article you found from JPL/CALTECH that you referenced in “This Week in Space for Canada” of August 3rd.
The manager is, of course, absolutely correct and perhaps ABB should have been mentioned in the earlier article since it had just received the CSA contract to build the Mars Atmospheric Trace Molecule Occultation Spectrometer (MATMOS) for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is expected to launch in 2016.
According to the e-mail:
The MATMOS instrument is very close to the ACE/SciSat-1 instrument (that ABB built and orbited in 2003) and the Canadian heritage will very significant. For now, we are not authorized to disclose the value of the MATMOS contributions, but as a reference, SciSat-1 was a 60M$ program (excluding launch costs) and an important portion of SciSat-1 program will apply directly to MATMOS.
Hopefully, the above has allowed me to navigate through my own private little minefield and introduced this site to a few new readers in Montreal who will not hesitate to remind me the next time I forget to mention important activities occurring this week in space for Canada.

About Staff Editor


  1. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Dear Chuck,
    In reading your article, it is quite obvious you did NOT research the issue with Facebook very well and certainly you never bothered to contact me to perhaps learn the other side.
    I quote what I wrote on my wall at Facebook:
    When people have no respect for other’s work and the copyright which covers and protects their work!
    I just received the following from “Aerospace Tourism France”:
    Topic: Catherine Laplace-Builhe
    “You are maybe a photographer who has had the chance to take a nice picture but you are the king of morons! !!it will not bring you luck”
    Since when do people think they can lift a photo from a website and use it for their own purposes and without the courtesy of asking permission for its use and/or documenting its source?
    Catherine Laplace-Buihle has a rich history of taking other people’s work WITHOUT permission and WITHOUT credit to the source for the purpose of filling up her personal photo album here on FB. I contacted FB a few months ago regarding this practice and involving one of my photos. FB agreed and removed the photos.
    What did Catherine do? She took the same photo and she reloaded into her photo album once again without asking permission and without crediting the source. I contacted FB yet again and they removed the photo and have now suspended her account.
    Somehow I am the bad guy in all of this and the sample message above from “Aerospace Tourism France” is an example.
    Where do these people live? In a jungle? What happened to common courtesy about asking permission for something which is not yours and for also crediting the source? Is this really too much to ask?

  2. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Are you aware the reason why Facebook shut down the particular page?
    For example, you cite above “A photographer… complained to Facebook that Catherine had forget to put a copyright on her photo album Moon …and Facebook has disabled her account.”
    Did you omit the word “asshole” which was in the text on purpose or, perhaps, were you handed down a modified version? Also, my name was specifically mentioned along with the word “asshole” and which is most probably why Facebook shut down the page.
    Something else equally important: the CSA logo (!) was used without permission, thus making the particular page seem 100% official with two characters behind the identify theft seeming as representatives.
    Oh yeah, something similar happened with the ESO and the European Extremely Large Telescope with the page put up by Catherin Laplace-Builhe and her accomplice now off-line.
    Wanna guess why? I will let you visit my wall on Facebook to see what ESO wrote AGAINST Madame Laplace-Builhe!
    Just my opinion but accurate and responsible journalism to me is getting the right facts and certainly learning both sides of the story!

  3. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Here is the original quotation which is still available online:
    “The account of Catherine Laplace-Builhe creator and admin of this group has been disabled by Facebook..An photographer asshole complained to Facebook that Catherine had forget to put a copyright on her photo album Moon …and Facebook has disabled her account, This photographer who is on Facebook also is Anthony Ayiomamitis,The worst is that this photo exist in multiple copies on dozens of blogs without copyright and without reference to the author !!!!Go see yourself on google image !!! in more Catherine had put immediately the copyright when this photographer has reported the oblivion on the photo into the Album !!
    I should mention the photo’s appearance on NASA APOD does not mean it is available for use by anyone for whatever purpose they see fit. I draw your attention to the “Credit and Copyright” below which reminds each and every user that this photo as all other photos appearing on NASA APOD, for example, are copyrighted and no one has the right to use such material without permission.
    Seems fair and logical to me.

  4. Anthony Ayiomamitis is gaining a great deal attention, media, angst and then some…or so it seems to us ordinary mortals. Now there is a great deal of difference between Celebrity Status, mean-spirited notoriety and making a point.
    Catherine is human, prone to mistakes and was generous enough to admit her error and apologise. It is a great pity that Mr. Ayiomaitis was/is not gracious enough to accept. It is also of no great benefit, except to prove the depth of feeling that we the deprieved, are feeling, Anthony is justifying himself by publishing excerpts from furious members of FaceBook, while trying to portray us as vicious, when people voice their opinions; granted such vitriol is unwise; that message should serve as notice of our universal sadness; however it merely seems to serve to fan the flames of ‘self-righteousness’.
    A pity really Mr Anthony Ayiomamitis, that having made your point, that you have not accepted Catherine’s apology. Complete shame really. I hope you will reconsider this rather horrible war you are waging.

  5. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Dear Gayle,
    My copyright on the SAME piece of work was violated not once but twice by Madame Laplace-Buihle. This is arrogance and nothing else.
    You simply cannot take something which is NOT yours and use it as you wish. Why is this so difficult to understand?
    Madame Laplace-Buihle first violated the copyright in June/2010. Multiple requests were submitted to Facebook my those affected and including myself. Facebook deleted the material from their servers since they are technically responsible for these violations.
    Madame Laplace-Buihle ignored what transpired in June and repeated her actions a few days ago! I contacted Facebook once again about the repeat infringement of MY copyright. They deleted the material ONCE AGAIN and they suspended her account.
    Why are people so rude in thinking they can grab whatever they fancy and use it as they wish? Try producing something yourself and then come and tell you have no problems someone else using it as they wish and without the slightest courtesy in acquiring your permission or acknowledgement.
    Madame Laplace-Buihle arrogantly repeated her infringement on the SAME material not once but twice in the space of two months. In other words, she is challenging the copyright on MY work as well as Facebook’s copyright rules.
    The indifference by some to other people’s work is beyong belief and your comments above fully reflect this attitude.
    No matter how much of a celebrity she may be to some, she has NO business violating copyright and, if I wished, I could place her in VERY serious trouble legally. I have documented fully everything involving her transgressions and with very little effort I can have her in jail.
    What is so hard to understand about other people’s work and the copyright which protects it? Is Laplace-Buihle above the law? Is her popularity somehow a means to bypass the law on copyright?
    By the way, what apology from Catherine? When and how did she send me an apology? Also, why violate the copyright a second time after she was warned about the copyrighted material back in June?
    If I do not protect my work and its copyright, who will? Madame Laplace-Buihle who has a rich reputation in copyright violation involving my work as well as that of others?
    Celebrity status does not make one immune to being responsible!

  6. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    For your information involving multi-party requests for copyright violation by your hero:
    June 16/2010: Copyright Notification Complaint: #139110251 … COUNTLESS photos
    June 16/2010: Copyright Notification Complaint: #139185484 … involving MY work
    Aug 19/2010: Copyright Notification Complaint: #167246079 … involving MY work again!
    Shame on you for downplaying her actions and irresponsibility!

  7. Anthony I can empathize with your need to protect your work and the copyright issues involved with it. Your work is prior published, Web publication and subsequent reformatting only leads to degradation of quality of your original images.
    You do not have a claim and here is why
    There are several factors that work against your claim of copyright infringement, the primary one is the “Fair Use Doctrine” and given the fact that your work is published on the web dilutes your claims for Madame Laplace-Buihle to seek prior permission to use your work. I would encourage you and the readers of this posting to review to apprise themselves of Catherine’s right to use your work for non-commercial educational purposes.
    You can also Google “Fair Use Doctrine” and read other enlightening sources and international treaties governing the same.
    Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia in this matter:
    Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as for commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching or scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author’s work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have otherlimitations and exceptions to copyright.
    1. Purpose and character – The first factor is regarding whether the use in question helps fulfill the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public, or whether it aims to only “supersede the objects” of the original for reasons of personal profit. To justify the use as fair, one must demonstrate how it either advances knowledge
    2. Nature of the copied work Although the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the availability of copyright protection should not depend on the artistic quality or merit of a work, fair use analyses consider certain aspects of the work to be relevant, such as whether it is fictional or non-fictional. To prevent the private ownership of work that rightfully belongs in the public domain, facts and ideas are separate from copyrightonly their particular expression or fixation merits such protection. On the other hand, the social usefulness of freely available information can weigh against the appropriateness of copyright for certain fixations.
    3. Amount and substantiality – The third factor assesses the quantity or percentage of the original copyrighted work that has been imported into the new work. In general, the less that is used in relation to the whole, e.g., a few sentences of a text for a book review, the more likely that the sample will be considered fair use.
    4. Effect upon work’s value – The fourth factor measures the effect that the allegedly infringing use has had on the copyright owner’s ability to exploit his or her original work. The court not only investigates whether the defendant’s specific use of the work has significantly harmed the copyright owner’s market, but also whether such uses in general, if widespread, would harm the potential market of the original.
    Fair use on the Internet
    On appeal, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (in the matter of Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation) found in favor of the defendant. In reaching its decision, the court utilized the above-mentioned four-factor analysis. First, it found the purpose of creating the thumbnail images as previews to be sufficiently transformative, noting that they were not meant to be viewed at high resolution like the original artwork was. Second, the fact that the photographs had already been published diminished the significance of their nature as creative works. Third, although normally making a “full” replication of a copyrighted work may appear to violate copyright, here it was found to be reasonable and necessary in light of the intended use. Lastly, the court found that the market for the original photographs would not be substantially diminished by the creation of the thumbnails. To the contrary, the thumbnail searches could increase exposure of the originals. In looking at all these factors as a whole, the court found that the thumbnails were fair use and remanded the case to the lower court for trial after issuing a revised opinion on July 7, 2003. The remaining issues were resolved with a default judgment after Arriba Soft had experienced significant financial problems and failed to reach a negotiated settlement.
    In August 2008 U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, California ruled that copyright holders cannot order a deletion of an online file without determining whether that posting reflected “fair use” of the copyrighted material. The case involved Stephanie Lenz, a writer and editor from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, who made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to Prince’s song Let’s Go Crazy and posted the video on YouTube. Four months later, Universal Music, the owner of the copyright to the song, ordered YouTube to remove the video enforcing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Lenz notified YouTube immediately that her video was within the scope of fair use, and demanded that it be restored. YouTube complied after six weeks, not two weeks as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Lenz then sued Universal Music in California for her legal costs, claiming the music company had acted in bad faith by ordering removal of a video that represented fair-use of the song.

  8. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Would you like to violate my copyright and we can settle this thing legally? You can refer to your “Fair Use” garbage and WikiPedia as a s ource and we will go from there.
    As an aside, if my work has appeared on the web, it is through my permission and a credit with copyright is supplied. Furthermore, if it has appeared without my permission, I have been successful in having it removed by those responsible and whose servers my work lies. Of course, it is quite possible that one or more of my images may exist on some pages and blogs and which I am not aware of but I can assure you I pursue all such transgressions involving MY work and the copyright which accompanies it!
    I suggest you speak to a lawyer specialized on copyright and intellectual rights! Your worst possible source is WikiPedia and where anyone can write whatever they like.
    And something else before I forget. Some people somehow think that it is okay to violate copyright because someone else is violating copyright elsewhere on the same item. I hope you have the basic intelligence to see the flaw in this logic.
    Finally, a comment was made that my work has appeared in one of NASA’s annual calendars and as such it is public domain. I would like to inform you that the photo was published with MY express permission and its appearance in the calendar does not somehow put it in the public domain nor suggest that I somehow have forfeited my copyright.
    Speaking of WikiPedia, I was asked to allow material of mine used in various WikiPedia pages to be in the public domain so as to permit for WikiPedia to continue using it given a change in their rules. I refused the public domain suggestion from WikiPedia and the material was then pulled by WikiPedia’s own initiative …. and which should serve as a hint to your comment about fair use doctrine.
    Any transgression that occurs on Facebook can land Facebook in serious legal trouble since it is occurring on THEIR servers. This is simply my guess but I suspect this is the reason that Laplace-Builhe’s account was suspended since she was placing Facebook in potentially legal trouble and particular in light of its reccurrence.
    I protect my work as much as possible and I will simply not tolerate copyright violations. This is my work and I will treat it as I please and without owing any excuse(s) to anyone!

  9. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    The Beatles has been one of the most successful groups in the history of music and their music goes back about 50 years.
    Probably half the planet knows their music very well and not to mention how many other millions (and perhaps billions) know a number of their songs inside-out.
    Try and place a few of their melodies on your website. Or perhaps a blog. Or perhaps Facebook.
    Remember to claim Fair Use, WikiPedia etc.

  10. Sorry Raj you are wrong when it comes to copyright. You state:
    “There are several factors that work against your claim of copyright infringement, the primary one is the “Fair Use Doctrine” and given the fact that your work is published on the web dilutes your claims for Madame Laplace-Buihle to seek prior permission to use your work.”
    This is utterly wrong. Just because content appears on the Internet does not dilute copyright.
    I do not know all the facts surrounding this particular case but if the photographer requested the image not be used then it should not be used. It is up to Catherine Laplace-Builhe to ask for permission before posting the image. It is her responsibility to know what the law is. It is one thing to be enthusiastic advocate, it is another to blindly grab content without first asking permission.

  11. @Anthony and Marc – The Fair Use Doctrine is in place for the same reason this situation has risen. Copyrights do have limitations as far as fair use is concerned, especially if it is for educational purposes and has prior distribution/publication on the internet. Outside of Wikipedia I would recommend that you google “Fair Use Doctrine” to read more about it. Catherine Laplace-Buihle has “used” your pictures for educational purposes. When I teach a course at a University/College I copy material from various book’s journals and periodicals to distribute under the Fair Use Doctrine and this use is cleared by the legal department. This has also been looked into by various courts in the US and is permissible.
    Having Facebook deactivate her account is an easy way out. Facebook itself is having it’s own legal problems and typically wants to stay out of issues of this nature, while leaving it for the parties to sort it out. If you feel so strongly about it, why would you not get a cease and desist court order against Catherine?
    At a personal level I did not know about Anthony’s body of work (which I believe is phenomenal) till I learned about it from Catherine’s page. I don’t think she has made any financial gains from your work, nor has it hurt your ability to make financial gains from your effort and investment. Catherine has in no way shape or form claimed it to be her work. I have never seen her advertise any products and services to her 5000+ fan base of people interested in Astronomy and Space Sciences.
    Catherine can come back on Facebook under any name and do what she does. She will attract the same following as she has done in the past for her tireless effort to bring knowledge of Space and Astronomy to a broad audience.
    Anthony I believe that maybe you are right and won this battle but you have lost the war of public opinion. Do not forget you got free publicity from her postings. and in a way benefited from it. As long as this controversy goes you will continue benefiting from it.

  12. With respect to “Fair Use” once again you are wrong. If content has an explicit copyright notice in place, and in particular since this was an image, Catherine had no right to use it without permission. Regardless of how well intentioned she was, she made a mistake. Did Facebook go too far? That I can’t comment on because I don’t have enough facts. I’m simply posting my thoughts based on copyright law.
    If I take a picture and want to sell it why is one person allowed to grab it and use it without permission? Remember as well in this case no matter who good the motive might be, Facebook is a business and as such is selling advertising on the page the image was displayed. Facebook benefits financially by having the picture even if Catherine does not. Catherine’s action left Facebook open to a copyright lawsuit if they did not remove the image. Their response appears to have been to close Catherine’s account.
    As well, saying she gave attribution after the fact does not absolve her from what she did. In fact that states she clearly went about it in the wrong way. Attribution is not the same as asking for permission. Sure the photographer might have given permission, but that’s not the point is it. Anyway if Catherine was doing a good job of public outreach then i’m sure she will continue doing so but will hopefully learned a lesson.

  13. BTW Wikipedia is not always a credible source and should not be relied on for legal advice. You want the law on copyright? Then visit each countries copyright law section from their respective government web sites.

  14. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    You write: “I don’t think she has made any financial gains from your work, nor has it hurt your ability to make financial gains from your effort and investment.”
    The point of the matter is that she used material without permission. I am not claiming that she made money from my work etc etc etc … I am claiming that she used MY work WITHOUT my permission. This is a copyright violation.
    Also, you mention about getting extra exposure for my work. Excuse me but (1) this does not justify what happened (assuming it is true) and (2) how did she get me extra exposure if she never credited the source of the image on both occasions?
    The point of the matter is that MY work is copyrighted. It is that plain and simple. Any use requires my prior authorization. Again, plain and simple.
    I receive countless requests for my work and I am very easy in this regard. People ask me for screen savers and I sit down and prepare them customized versions of my work so as to match the analysis of their graphic card, thus allowing them to use my photos as screen savers.
    My work has appeared in over 150 books and magazines. However, again it is with MY permission. There are NO exceptions and certainly no one is above the law when it comes to copyright.
    The most frustrating part with her tampering is the fact she did it twice, somehow snubbing her nose at my copyright as well as Facebook’s rules on copyright.
    Did their decision to suspend her account surprise you in retrospect? Of course not since she represents a danger to Facebook itself and where her violations are occurring on Facebook’s servers.
    Lets not forget that an account on Facebook is a privilege and not a right. As a result, we must abide by Facebook’s rules whether we like them or not and that includes their (correct) position on copyright!
    When you and I sit behind the wheel of a car, we have an obligation to respect and abide the laws which govern driving and irrespective if you and I may or may not agree. Precisely the same applies to copyright law as well as Facebook’s position on copyright violations.
    I will mention this for the last time: I will protect the copyright of MY work the strongest way I know possible and I do not care if others agree or not. It is, after all, MY work!

  15. Jean-Baptiste Faure

    Just to add a complement to the article, here’s the link to Catherine’s Canadian Space Agency unofficial page on Facebook:
    Facebook pages, unlike groups, keep the posts even if the poster is no longer on Facebook.
    BTW, the Canadian Space Agency unofficial page shows with which enthusiasm and professionalism Catherine used to add content to her pages, no matter the subject.

  16. Anthony – I agree it is your work and you have been graceful to give permission for its use. Things happen and people make mistake, innocently or deliberately. I understand the matter of plagiarism and discourage it among my students. Look at the bigger picture. We could argue till the cows come home regarding whether she had the right or not. You got some great body of work and it/you got advertised. The astronomy community is fairly small compared to other domains and fB medium is fairly contemporary and efficient. I would recommend that you watermark the work in a corner with an URL of your site. This controversy is not serving anybody. Specially the younger generation that have benefited from the aggregation of Space and Astronomical information provided through Catherine’s effort. This issue may be a lesson to a broader audience if the pages are back up, you are acknowledged and a note regarding use of and the need to attribute and/or obtain permission on copyright material is articulated. I will also encourage you to watch TEDtalk
    As an end note. Most Astronomical pictures are created using publicly funded resources hence they belong to the public domain. Few astronomers like you have the talent and resources to create your own. Many a times if you do not have a copyright statement on your picture it is difficult to discern it’s status, especially if it has gone through several generations of posting.
    Let there be PEACE.

  17. I agree with Raj; “Let there be peace..please”
    Anthony…you are gifted and talented, please recognize
    that to share that talent is to help educate, enchant and awe people with it..a brilliant and wonderful gift
    I am really very sad; I know that I am a nobody compared to you, however graciousness is gift which rare..please bestow it now.

  18. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    You write: “Things happen and people make mistake, innocently or deliberately” … I apologize, my friend, but the words “mistake” and “deliberately” do not go together as you have written above and the beauty in all of this is that this describes the situation very well with the constant copyright violations by the party of interest in this discussion.
    You also mention the use of a watermark …. this is NOT needed because (1) everything on my website is marked as copyrighted and (2) copyright is implicit anyway and this applies to everyone’s work.

  19. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    You write “please recognize that to share that talent is to help educate, enchant and awe people with it..a brilliant and wonderful gift” …. this is what I do with website and where my work is available for anyone to look at and enjoy. Obviously I have never restricted anyone to the contrary.
    You also write “I know that I am a nobody compared to you” …. there is NO need for such a statement since I do not consider myself better than anyone. I simply request common courtesy in relation to my work’s copyright. Nothing more and nothing less.
    Is it really that difficult to send a message requesting the use of my work? Is it really difficult to use a photo (with permission) and document the source? If all of this had been done with my work as well as various other individuals I personally know, all of this mess would not have happened in the first place.
    However, someone chose to ignore copyright the first time (for whatever reason) and somehow thought a repeat violation would be different.
    If nothing else, I sincerely hope people have a greater understanding of copyright and that it is not honourable to take something which does not belong to you and without asking.

  20. Wow! Chuck… way off base, you need to research some more!
    There are ways for Ms Laplace-Builhe to share interesting and beautiful images without violating copyright. It is to share the link to the photographer’s website or to where ever the photographer has his image (and that has all of the relevant information) rather than to upload it to what are supposed to be galleries for your own personal pics.
    Instead, she and others persist in downloading images and reuploading them into their own galleries, basically recreating galleries that already exist on the photographer’s site, but now, the photographer no longer sees who is seeing his material. Often they would not include information about the photographer and often they have wrong information about the image!
    By linking to a photographer’s webpage rather than recreating it, you are still sharing the material, but people are able to visit the photographer’s website and learn even more about the images. If you don’t know how to share links, learn!
    Those excerpts were posted by the admins on several pages (CSA, ROSCOSMOS, E-ELT) and personas (Aerospace Tourism France) and Catherine is one of the admins of those pages/personas… so it doesn’t sound like she is apologizing to me!! That status was posted by the admins of those pages. And then any contradictory comments were deleted. In addition instead of discussing the why it is wrong or right, instead Mr A, myself and probably others, get messages cussing at us. I never called Catherine names, but on her behalf her sister has resorted to name calling. And if it wasn’t Catherine, then Mr Faure as the other admin, must have sent the messages resorting to namecalling.
    As for innocent mistakes… fine, that’s the why the image was simply removed the first time … but even after being asked not to post Mr A’s pics that she then deliberately reposted it is not an innocent mistake.
    I’m just curious to know if Mr Faure has written to Mr Robert Gendler asking for his permission to post entire galleries of copyrighted images on his FB page? And no, it is not okay to post the pictures even with the credit line if you don’t have explicit permission. The educational stuff usually applies for one instance, not for the entire gallery!

  21. Jean-Baptiste Faure

    Dear Elizabeth,
    Unluckily for your remarkable attempts to spread discord as much as you can, I did write to Robert Gendler regarding the creation of my albums with HIS photos, and he even accepted me as a Facebook friend afterwards!
    So I did with Jean-Charles Cuillandre, Dan Birchall, Paul Scott Hardersen and Tom Faber on my Mauna Kea Observatory page.

  22. Well, this must have happened in the last day or two because I have emails from him saying you do not …

  23. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    A friend circulated the following link on a mailing list where I participate and Madame Laplace-Builhe’s transgressions were raised: … titled “10 Big Myths about copyright explained”.
    Happy reading and enlightenment!

  24. Hello,
    Thank you for all the comments. Im sort of hoping that everyone picked up on the “political minefield” imagery that I was trying to convey the week, especially given the multiple responses, comments and gotchas that seem to be going back and forth.
    In summary, here are a couple of the points that I was trying to get across:
    1. The CSA doesn’t have a twitter account or an account on any other social networking site. This makes it difficult for the CSA to connect with Canadian’s who read less newspapers and watch fewer 6pm newscasts than they once did.
    2. In the absence of any such activities, its fortunate that there are people like Catherine Laplace-Builhe to help get the word out on the CSAs activities.
    3. Her Facebook account was disabled because of a copy write violation complaint by photographer Anthony Ayiomamitis.
    4. I think disabling Ms. Laplace-Builhes account is a little harsh.
    I stand by those statements. Heres what else I think:
    1. The link provide by Mr. Ayiomamitis ( seems to provide a decent summary of copy write myths as they exist in the United States.
    2. Unfortunately for Mr. Ayiomamitis, any legitimate suit must also take into account the law as it stands across multiple jurisdictions and not just the US. These could potentially include:
    a. The jurisdiction where Facebook is incorporated (which might not be in the same jurisdiction as the physical location).
    b. The jurisdiction where Ms. Laplace-Builhe resides (which seems to be France).
    c. The jurisdiction where Mr. Ayiomamitis resides (which is Greece, according to his website).
    d. Almost any other jurisdiction where the unattributed photo could potentially have been viewed. This includes countries like China and/or Iceland which both have copy write laws differing substantially from those most of us are familiar with.
    3. Some of those jurisdictions where the laws are different might not accept a claim by Mr. Ayiomamitis.
    4. Facebook isnt sure where the law stands, their legal culpability or which jurisdictions are involved and thats why they erred on the safe side by disabling Ms. Laplace-Builhe account.
    5. But Facebook cant disable too many accounts or their business will begin to suffer as people start to move their social information and lists of interests (whether theyre copy written or otherwise).
    6. Ms. Laplace-Builhe could potentially repost any or all of her items (including any photos) at any time to any other site in another jurisdiction and there would be no guarantee that another complaint would end with the same result. Adastragirl is right and there are indeed ways for Ms Laplace-Builhe to share interesting and beautiful images (even images belonging to Mr. Ayiomamitis) without violating copyright laws.
    Laws regarding copy write are in a state of
    change and flux. We should all take a look at the TEDTalk link provided by Raj Jain to get some background on this.

  25. Even without the copyright issue, I certainly can’t see how anyone could justify copying and posting someone’s work without permission and without giving full credit. It is not that hard to ask permission and can usually be done with a quick e-mail. I use photographs for educational programs and I always ask for permission and give credit to the photographer. I’ve never had anyone say “no,” although I have not gotten a response occasionally, in which case I simply look for another photo.
    I think Ms. Laplace-Builhe’s actions were indefensible. There is no justification for ignoring the wishes of an artist or author regarding his or her material. The fact that she might be able to post images elsewhere without permission and without violating copyright law does not make it right.
    A lot of nations have signed The Berne Convention…
    Clear skies, Alan

  26. Since 1995 Every few years I re-read the book Being Digital by Professor Nicholas Negroponte of the Media Lab at MIT
    It is a reminder of the Earth getting flat in the digital age. I would encourage that the participants in this group try to read it.

  27. Jean-Baptiste Faure

    I wrote to Robert Gendler at the occasion of my friendship request about 2 months ago.

  28. Catherine Laplace-Builhe

    Firstly, I want to thank Chuck Black for this article.I will speak once for all and I will not respond to the following comments if there are after mine..This in order not to continue a pointless polemic that serves no purpose, because we will never agree with my detractors.I have never infringed copyright with this picture and especially not 2 times as said Mr Anthony Ayiomamitis.I always put the captions, names of authors and the credits on the photos that I download, if it’s the case. The photo comes from a image’s site “ “…and this photo was not copyrighted.There was even the function “Share with Facebook” !!This photo has been uploaded with this link on the Facebook wall of a friend in August 20,2010 at 6:43pm and it still visible..Unfortunately since this date this image no longer exists on “”…When Mr AA agressed me on the photo in public and not in private message, I immediately searched the legend with the software TinEye,and I found the Nasa apod.I posted the credits and my Facebook account has been disconnected seven hours later without warning…
    I admire the work of Mr AA on TWAN but I think that his aggression towards me is disproportionate.He spread rumors about my relations with the ESO and Canadian Space Agency ..On the wall of the Goupe of the petition (nearly 1000 members)There is the letter of congratulations that the ESO sent to me 3 weeks ago ..
    Yes I have made a mistake with this picture, I repared the mistake and I apologized to Mr. AA. who has not accepted. The price of this photo is very expensive!
    I will not reply to Elizabeth who wants her moment of glory,in putting his comments here..Taking advantage of my eviction, she and few people have spammed ALL the walls of my groups and my pages in making defamatory and hateful comments.On my page Roscosmos she said that it was not me who created this page with much hate…The members had asked her to leave the page .. Admins had to close the access to all of my groups / pages to protect them.Elizabeth: I have no sister on Facebook!
    A month ago a member of Facebook has taken my personal photo for set in avatar..I protested and Facebook said me that there was no copyright on a picture that represents me .. A human worth less than a Greek ruin in this world.!!
    ESO in a mail continues to support me and hope that my account will be reconnected soon.When Facebook disconnects someone who is creator of groups, all data are lost and thousands of hours of researchs and nights sleepless, relentless effort, disappears.And all the many members who have shared links have lost everything too, because those documents have disappeared from their walls!
    I am French and passionate about the aerospace and Astronomy.I just wanted to share my passion with my friends on Facebook and talk about the Canadian Space Agency. I found unfair that everybody only speaks to NASA ..
    My groups / pages are a success because I spend many hours for make live them..
    With Eso-Europe Southern Observatoty,Kepler mission,The WOW,CSA (groupe and Page)Roscosmos, Extremely Large Telescope and Thity Meter Telescope this makes a total of 22,445 members / fans!
    The priority is to reopen my account not of argue with people who don’t want listen to reason ..
    I will admire always work of Mr AA it’s sure but I will refrain from cross his path..
    Thanks again for all Mr Chuck Black and thank you to all my Facebook friends and especially to Raj,Jean-Baptiste and Gael !

  29. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    I exchanged some messages with a gentleman who perhaps used the best word possible for copyright violations: parasitism.
    I personally cannot come up with a better word than parasite to describe people who feed off others’ labours.
    As for Madame Laplace-Builhe, I will not honour her actions or half-lies above with the dignity of a response. I have documented everything the best way possible and the reader(s) can decide who did what and how etc.

  30. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Madame Laplace-Builhe writes …
    “I have never infringed copyright with this picture and especially not 2 times as said Mr Anthony Ayiomamitis. I always put the captions, names of authors and the credits on the photos that I download, if it’s the case. The photo comes from a image’s site “ “…and this photo was not copyrighted.”
    You have violated my copyright on the particular photo not once but twice and as indicated by the submissions to Facebook in relation to their deletion thereafter.
    Although I have no way of confirming your source for the photo, its first deletion by Facebook on the basis of copyright infringement should have been a serious warning. Of course, why do you care when you repeated the copyright violation two months later and as confirmed by Facebook’s deletion once again.
    Pleading ignorance – the photo comes from elsewhere and is not copyrighted – is a lame excuse and a very cheap way out.

    “Unfortunately since this date this image no longer exists on “””
    Of course it no longer exists. I contacted the individuals on whose server it appeared and I documented my case for copyright infringement. They immediately deleted the photo and offered their apologies for their user’s actions.
    “When Mr AA agressed me on the photo in public and not in private message, I immediately searched the legend with the software TinEye,and I found the Nasa apod.”
    This is NOT true! In my public message left below MY photo in YOUR album, I specified the photo was mine, I documented various sources to show that the photo is mine and where Credit and Copyright is specifically referred back to me and one of these sources I specified was the NASA APOD which you refer to above.
    Also, why did you not bother to use TinEye before rather than after so as to locate the owner of the photo? Please leave the games on the side and be up-front about this matter!

    “I posted the credits and my Facebook account has been disconnected seven hours later without warning”
    Immediately upon informing you of your dirty work in the comments section below MY photo in YOUR album and the fact the uncredited photo was mine, I proceeded to contact Facebook about the repeat copyright violation on this photo.
    “I admire the work of Mr AA on TWAN but I think that his aggression towards me is disproportionate.”
    Thank you for two reasons! You admire my work because you are aware of it and you knew the copyright owner behind the photo. You conveniently forgot to ask permission and credit the photo not once but twice.
    Speaking of TWAN, a complaint was filed against tyou for approximately *** 10 *** photos which are on the TWAN website and which also appeared in your Facebook album. Each of these photos were used without permission and without a credit being referred back to their source. This complaint by TWAN was filed on June 16th (as I specify above) and involved the countless photos which you admired but “forgot” to request permission and/or credit.

    “He spread rumors about my relations with the ESO and Canadian Space Agency”
    I have both first-hand information as well as information on my wall by ESO’s representative. More specifically, we have the following comment on my wall by ESO’s representative: “We have noticed the issue of the copyrights violation that has been raised on several Facebook pages and accounts. Since among these pages involved, one is dedicated to the E-ELT, weve decided to write you an e-mail.” as well as “At the same time, we would like to reassure you that we have kindly asked the administrator of the page to have the E-ELT name separated from her personal issues, as well as suggested her to act responsively with respect to copyrights in the future.”
    “There is the letter of congratulations that the ESO sent to me 3 weeks ago”
    And what does this letter of congratulations have to do with the references to “asshole photographer”, “king of morons” and the copyright violations on my work? Are you somehow immune to copyright violations because you have received a letter of congratulations from ESO?
    “Yes I have made a mistake with this picture, I repared the mistake and I apologized to Mr. AA. who has not accepted.”
    When have you apologized to me? This comment is the first indication of any apology. Also, my implying an earlier apology, do you mean “asshole” and “king of morons”? Is that your apology in this matter? I am an asshole and the king of morons for protecting the copyright on my work?
    What do I accept (as per your comment above) when an apology was never sent and the only comment received was about “asshole” and “king of morons”?

    “The price of this photo is very expensive!”
    This is one point where I will agree and there was absolutely no reason for it! Some common courtesy on your behalf would have allowed you to use the photo without the slightest misunderstanding or problem!
    “I will admire always work of Mr AA it’s sure but I will refrain from cross his path”
    Thank you … for the latter point!

  31. The claim that it was a simple mistake doesn’t seem credible. Facebook won’t disable an account unless someone repeatedly infringes on the property rights of others.
    Clear skies, Alan

  32. Catherine Laplace-Buihle is well-known copycat.
    She was punished by facebook with good reason.
    Of course Facebook would not disable an account if the copyright violation happened just once.
    However, Catherine Laplace-Buihle’s activisites on Facebook involve several copyright violations.
    Anyone who has followed her so-called “work” on Facebook is aware of the huge amount of images she had in her albums. Many of these images were posted without mentioning the original photographer or link to the source where she found the pic.
    Catherine Laplace-Buihle is not a photographer nor a writer. She has not written own articles or taken own photos and she has therefore little if any respect for other peoples work! It’s a simple as that.
    What Catherine LaPlace-Buihle calls “thousands of hours of researchs and nights” is nothing more than she surfing the net, doing copy & paste, posting images she found into her own facebook albums!!!
    Some research!
    I feel sorry for all her victims whose work she has used without permission in order to make herself popular.
    I would suggest that Catherine Laplce-Builhe started taking her own photos of night skies and writing her own articles instead of stealing others work!
    Only then would she be taken seriously. But as it is now, she remains a selfish copycat who shows zero respect for others work and on top of it feels sorry for herself because she was caught doing something illegal.
    Facebook closed her account because she broke their rules. If Facebook now suddenly opened her account, they would send the wrong message to everyone – hey, it’s ok to steal others images and we don’t mind if you’re guilty to a couple of copyright violations!
    There are many honest people on facebook who ask permission and credit the source. Unfortunately, Catherine LaPlace-Buihle is NOT one of them.
    Facebook did the right thing closing her account!

  33. I think this topic has been discussed enough here. It was one portion of Chuck’s article. I will moderate comments and remove any I find that violate the SpaceRef terms of use.

  34. Thanks Marc,
    I appreciate the responses from both Mr. Ayiomamitis and Ms. Laplace-Builhe for their statements. There seems a general consensus that Ms. Laplace-Builhe violated copy write with her actions and that Mr. Ayiomamitis then reported her.
    But Mr. Ayiomamitis might want to separate the issue of copy write (which we generally agreed was violated and for which there are civil and criminal punishments in place) from the facebook response which was to terminate Ms. Laplace-Builhe without recourse or explanation.
    James Wilson assures us that facebook would never take this action if the copyright violation happened just once. Alan French states that it was a simple mistake doesn’t seem credible.
    Perhaps we should check to see if there are policies and procedures in place explaining why facebook did this. Perhaps they even have enough detail to justify the actions taken, predict future behavior and even confirm compliance to local laws.
    But if there are no policies or procedures in place that seem to apply, maybe we should ask facebook why they acted in the way they did? That way, Mr. Wilson, Mr. French and especially Mr. Ayiomamitis wont need to spend quite so much time defending an organization which, at first glance, seems quite capable of defending itself.
    Is facebook always right? Nope.
    Last summer, even the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found facebook policies to be confusing or incomplete specifically in the area of privacy protection, according to the news release posted on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada website at
    CBC news went even farther in their July 16th, 2009 article titled Facebook breaches Canadian privacy law: commissioner (at where they stated unequivocally that Facebook shares its users’ personal information with developers who create games and quizzes in a way that breaches Canadian privacy law, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has found.
    But in this instance, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ended up asked Facebook direct questions about their policies and procedures and requested changes which made them more complete, less confusing and took steps to bring facebook into compliance with Canadian law.
    Someone should do the same this time.
    The time for Mr. Ayiomamitis and others to defend facebook has past and facebook executives should weigh in on the matter.

  35. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    I do not have the slightest idea what was the rationale behind the suspension of the account. However, I would bet my last dollar (!) on the fact that Madame Laplace-Builhe’s actions forced their hand and this action.
    The reason is simple (in my mind). They have an obligation and responsibility of what appears on THEIR servers. As a result, if you have copyright violations occurring on their servers, they have no other choice but to look after the matter immediately.
    If they do not, not only are they implictly condoning such action(s) but they are also opening up themselves for legal actions against them.
    In my particular example, they know for a fact they have a repeat offender (I do not care about the denials by Madame Laplace-Builhe) which takes on greater significance from Facebook’s side. One can argue that the first transgression was based on ignorance, accidental, a misunderstanding etc. As a result, Facebook can probably cover the incident. However, when you have a repeat infraction by the same user, the benefit of the doubt afforded during the first incident (ignorance, accident, misunderstanding) cannot hold any water.
    With a repeat violation, how can Facebook not act in the way they did?
    In my mind, it is not at all a surprise the action they took since their hand was forced down this path.
    I am indifferent as to their rational but in my mind it is clear-cut as to what went through someone’s mind at FB in suspending the account. I find it difficult, if not impossible, to argue against the logic I describe above.
    Just take this particular website to illustrate my point further. Suddenly pornography appears on this site and no does anything about it. Well, a few days later additional pornography is loaded and again nothing is done about it and in spite of the complaints (vis a vis copyright violation complaints). The only conclusion one can draw is that this site permits or, at least, is indifferent to the issue of pornography. This opens up the owners of the site to legal action.
    We can use my example of pornography if we restrict the example to a single user. If you warn someone that pornography is strictly prohibited and they turn around, snubbing their nose at you, and do it again! Please tell me what options you have? JUST ONE in my opinion since your hand is being forced by this particular user who continues to ignore your requests and warnings and continues without regard and, thus, jeopardizing the site itself as being labelled a source (and promoter) for pornography.
    By the way, it is not copy + write but copy + right in regards to your message above.

  36. Chuck,
    It might be useful to read Facebook’s terms of service. The TOS say that accounts will be disabled , if appropriate, if the user repeatedly infringes on the intellectual property rights of others. Obviously I can’t know exactly what Facebook did, but can only assume they went by what they wrote in the TOS.
    There is an appeals process if Facebook removes photos for copyright infringement and the user feels this was done in error.
    And also note that Facebook, when you upload photos, always asks you to check a box saying that you certify you have the right to distribute the photos and that they do not violate the terms of service.
    Clear skies, Alan

  37. Alan, why can’t we “know exactly what facebook did?”
    I think we should be able to independently confirm and validate a corporations actions and compliance with the appropriate national laws. Last summer, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada though also thought we should and they turned out to be right.
    Anthony, by this point you’ve mentioned at least one other copy write violation (at where you “contacted the individuals on whose server it appeared” and “documented my case for copyright infringement.” How many other instances of copy write violations of you work have you noted over the last six months? How much time does this take out of your day to police?

  38. Chuck,
    As I wrote, I can’t know exactly what Facebook did. I suspect there might be legal ways for the concerned parties to find out.
    Clear skies, Alan

  39. Interestingly the moderator of this discussion Marc Boucher is a part of this discussion without full disclosure on the onset about his role, especially when he is taking a position which is tilted on one side. Mack, BTW I was looking for “SpaceRef terms of use”. Would appreciate a post of the URL.
    I have also noticed that my parity post in response to Anthony’s statement –
    “As for Madame Laplace-Builhe, I will not honour her actions or half-lies above with the dignity of a response. I have documented everything the best way possible and the reader(s) can decide who did what and how etc.”
    has been removed without providing a reason. In fairness and not appearing dictatorial, biased or trigger happy I encourage Marc to please bring that post back online and leave it to the users to discern. Less than that this discussion board and faces the possibility of diminished credibility.
    Chuck has sorted out Anthony’s and his supporter issues fairly eloquently –
    “But Mr. Ayiomamitis might want to separate the issue of copy write (which we generally agreed was violated and for which there are civil and criminal punishments in place) from the facebook response which was to terminate Ms. Laplace-Builhe without recourse or explanation.”
    …”The time for Mr. Ayiomamitis and others to defend facebook has past and facebook executives should weigh in on the matter.”
    In this context I went back and reread the posts. It is not surprising enough that Anthony and his supporters have demonized Catherine because Facebook has deactivated her account; it is hard to hang your hat of Cathrines guilt on actions by Facebook. This is akin to a recent claim – A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.
    I beg to ask – is Anthony and his supporters really interested to protecting his copyright or is there something more sinister?
    I write software which I implicitly and explicitly copyright. Because of Fair Use Doctrine (for education, discussion, critique, I put mine and my company’s name in the preamble of each file and in every preamble of subsections of the code within the file to enable proper attribution. You may call me paranoid but I know from my patent and copyright lawyer, it will be difficult to prove that the Fair User of my work without attribution was a violation of my copyright and was violated with the full knowledge of the perpetrator that it was my work. When I consult for government funded research the work that I produce indicates that it is a government funded project and hence is free of copyright.
    Majority of images in Astronomy and Space exploration are created by publicly funded governmental organizations and are free of copyright. This is a statement on NASA’s website with every image posted – “No copyright protection is asserted for this photograph.” Anthony’s images can easily be mistaken as non copyright images produced in public domain especially if it has been reposted dozens of times. It only need one post without attribution to break the chain of credits.
    For centuries painters, artists and scientists like Galeleo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo have signed or written their name on their work. They did not do so on a piece of paper and glue it to the frame, analogous to Anthony’s claim that his copyright claims are on his website outside of his images.
    Instead of Catherine bashing and doing the victory dance. I would encourage Anthony to add his copyright statement on his hard work creating these beautiful images with a statement “For permission to use – his URL. That way the n’th generation reposts will still have this information and receive a wider publicity while protecting his copyright. It will also promote your work when images are sent through private e-mails or list servers. Try policing the whole world.
    I strongly support Catherine’s work and also enjoy your body of work that was introduced to me via Catherine. There are hundreds of young budding children who come to our sidewalk astronomy event to whom I have introduced her page and in turn your body of work. These kids have developed a keen interest in Astronomy and they have also learned to appreciate Astro-photography. Rather we even held an event on Astro-photography a couple of month back and had a standing room only attendance, many of the attendees were young middle and high school students.
    There are no winners in the quarrel. I would like to see Catherine start posting on Facebook including your work. The real looser is the Greek god Hermes the god of knowledge and invention and goddess Saraswati the Indian goddess of knowledge, music and the arts.

  40. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Good or bad, my work is very well-known and popular. As for infractions, there are many but they are easy to locate using various tools. Strange as it may sound, Google is really good at helping me identify many such infractions. Also, there are times that people make the mistake of using my photo via a direct link to the photo itself from my website but without permission or credit and I catch them when studying my site’s logs. There is also the tool (TinEye) mentioned earlier in the thread by Madame Laplace-Builhe. Also, I do receive emails from people whom I may or may not know alerting that my photo appears on such and such a site, blog etc and without reference.
    With respect to time spent, probably 30 minutes or so each week since Google, for example, is very effective as is TinEye.
    I should emphasize that various services out there which provide space to their users are always very accommodating and understanding. They will always remove material which violates copyright without the slightest hesitation and offer their deepest apologies for the infractions.
    I should mention and emphasize that photographers are very accommodating when it comes to sharing their work and it is with great difficulty and rarity that someone will deny a request to use an image. As an example, two weeks ago a new book appeared containing 33 of my photos and for which I did not receive a single cent (with my understanding of course).
    The great irony in this particular case is that a simple email requesting permission to use the image of interest (as well as many other images used without permission) would have easily been met with a positive reply.

  41. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    You write: “I beg to ask – is Anthony and his supporters really interested to protecting his copyright or is there something more sinister?”.
    This is something which really annoys me. The comment that I have seen is that my interest in all of this is to go after some sort of celebrity.
    What do I have to write in order to make you understand that my sole interest in all of this matter is the protection of my work? Do you really think that I somehow care (ex. jealousy) of her supposed celebrity status in her groups? What does her celebrity status amongst a bunch of FB users have to do with me?
    The ONLY reason this thing has taken the proportions it has has to do with the fact that Madame Laplace-Builhe reacted in the worst possible manner in relation to the disabling of her account by launching an attack against me (vis a vis the references to “asshole photographer” on various space agency blogs she runs) as well as via the petition her partner started and where again I was specifically mentioned and identified with the above phrase.
    Her attack was a means to show herself as the victim and drum up support to have her account reactivated. The only victim in this particular incident is myself.
    It is her actions that got her banished from Facebook and it is her consequent actions that have made the incident take on much greater exposure than perhaps SHE wanted.
    I will say it again: I will protect the copyright on ALL of my work the greatest way possible and I do not care whom I have to take on to protect my work. Madame Laplace-Builhe thought that her few thousand groupies would somehow change the situation at hand.
    How often do we see examples where the actions following a mistake somehow make the initial mistake even bigger? Well, to paraphrase Madame Laplace-Builhe, the particular photo proved to be too expensive (strictly due to her actions before and after the copyright violations).
    I am not sure I can be any more lucid in response to your question.

  42. Anthony – points well take. But I still would like to point you to my earlier comment:
    For centuries painters, artists and scientists like Galeleo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo have signed or written their name on their work. They did not do so on a piece of paper and glue it to the frame, analogous to Anthony’s claim that his copyright claims are on his website outside of his images.
    Instead of Catherine bashing and doing the victory dance. I would encourage Anthony to add his copyright statement on his hard work creating these beautiful images with a statement “For permission to use – his URL. That way the n’th generation reposts will still have this information and receive a wider publicity while protecting his copyright. It will also promote your work when images are sent through private e-mails or list servers. Try policing the whole world.

    In many parts of US and Canada we have to undergo a 4 hour coursework on “Defensive Driving”. You always drive defensively not because you are a good driver but to protect yourself from other drivers who may be bad or just committed a mistake that could be fatal.
    It seems your position is akin to – “just because there are other drivers who are bad or make mistakes, why should I drive defensively”. You could potentially collect a lot of money from lawsuits against every bad/error prone drive you cross paths with. How many lawsuits are you willing to fight and what about injuries, loss of limbs, brain damage or even death you risk. Just because you are a good driver doesn’t mean that you don’t drive defensively on macadam/concrete highways, or for that matter the digital highway.

  43. Marc; I searched on search engine to read the SpaceRef terms of use.
    I got the following error message –
    “Results matching SpaceRef terms of use.
    No results found for SpaceRef terms of use..”

  44. Raj,
    I think these are the terms of use Marc was referring to:
    They are really very easy to find. Just look at the bottom of each page. Hard to miss.

  45. Oh; Thanks James.

  46. Thanks to everyone for responding to these posts and my apologies for the spelling mistakes and grammar errors that have been slowly creeping into my responses.
    Sometimes, when I’m overtired or stressed I make mistakes. Sometimes I even swear in a totally inappropriate manner or judge others without reference to how I’d prefer to be judged.
    I’m hoping that everyone here will have patience, with me at least, as we seek to learn and exchange information.
    Raj, I like my editor. Your point is accepted and understood but be nice to him anyway.
    Alan, thank you for your measured and thoughtful reply to my query.
    Anthony, I have only a few more quick questions to ask.
    1. Has any site ever refused to take down your photo’s, refused your request for attribution or simply ignored your e-mails?
    2. Have you ever come across a copy right violation hosted on a Chinese server or by a Chinese organization?
    3. How about an Indian or Russian or even a Swiss server?
    4. Have you ever needed to take legal action to enforce a copy right claim?
    Thanks in advance for your responses.

  47. I will definitely be nice to Marc.
    Good questions Chuck.
    I have a point to add:
    TinEye a Google owned company and has limitations as to what it can reach inside layers of obscurity. In the WEB 2.0 era of dynamic web pages images can be stored as a encrypted database item that Google has no reach to and will not appear in the repertoire of its images thus making it impossible for TinEye to search for them.

  48. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Your question brings a smile to my face because it is timely. A few months ago, someone decided to “borrow” a very well-known and unique photo of mine (see ).
    I was contacted by some third-party informing me that the photo looked familiar and they had managed to find me after some searching.
    The sad thing is that the user who “borrowed” the photo placed it on Mozilla’s servers. The sad thing which I am referring to is Mozilla’s reaction.
    They ignored my first message to them and I was quite surprised that such a visible and well-known company would simply ignore my request and without even the courtesy of a reply. I sent a second and more terse message about a month later but again no reply.
    Two months after the second message, I sent them a third and “final” message informing them that I would proceed with legal action if the photo was not removed from their servers. In each instance I had complied fully with their requirements for removing copyrighted material including complete personal details (phone number, address etc).
    Fortunately, the photo was finally removed after my third message to them and which I had marked as “final” in the Subject area.
    Mozilla has been my only problematic experience so far and I am quite disappointed at them by virtue of being such a large and visible corporation.
    Each and every other experience has been quick and immediate with a favourable action within 24 hrs.

  49. Just tried TinEye against an image I downloaded from a website and checked if it could find it’s source.
    Here is the response I got:
    Wondering why TinEye couldn’t find your image?
    TinEye is constantly crawling the web and updating our image database regularly. If we missed your image, it is simply because we have not yet crawled the website or page where it appears. But be sure to keep checking back! We add tens of millions of new images to TinEye every month, and our index is on the grow.

  50. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    I accidently overlooked your other questions. No experience so far with China, Russia, India or Switzerland.

  51. China, India, Switzerland, and the Russian Federation all signed The Berne Convention. Of course that doesn’t mean everyone adheres to it equally.
    Clear skies, Alan

  52. Thanks, Anthony for your response to my query.
    It’s good to know that China and India are so respectful of your work and of international copyright laws (although I expected as much from the Swiss).
    It’s also good that you’ve never had to follow through on a threat to sue for copyright violation or been counter sued by those you make claims against. After all, Ms. Laplace-Builhe and others also have rights and the easiest way for her to assert her’s might just be to threaten to sue or counter-sue someone.
    It’s a shame she doesn’t know she also has this option and hopefully shes not reading this (but if she is, she might want to send a letter on legal letterhead to facebook. They seem easily intimidated).
    I leave everyone with something I call “a conversation between a writer and eight lawyers on how international copyright laws apply in just one specific instance of electronic copying.”
    It’s on a linkedIn discussion page at and it’s worth noting that none of the comments mention the punishment where you get banned from Facebook for copyright violation.
    Oddly enough, no one mentions the Berne Convention either.
    With such a disparate range of opinion, it seems likely that at some point somewhere, someone is going to have to follow through with a threatened suit in order to help define international laws in this area.
    Hopefully, none of us participating in the discussion today will be involved..
    I wish you clear skies Alan… and everyone else as well.

  53. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    The link you provide surrounding the various opinions is very good and informative. With the exception of the first Indian representative, I find all other opinions reasonable and as I would have expected.
    As for Facebook, I think it is a very interesting case study with many surprises to probably materialize over the next few years. Simply guessing on my part but I suspect their TOS agreement is the foundation of any defense they would put up if and when challenged legally by simply claiming (valid or not) that the user had agreed to these terms upon sign-up.
    I think it is of interest to note that there are no subscription fees imposed by FB so far and, as such, they can be seen as a free service (read: privilige) and which perhaps (?) gives them leeway as to how they handle their business.
    Finally, I would like to make a request to Raj and who in a recent message said “Let there be Peace”. I received an email a few hours ago informing me of some new chaos on a group hosted by Catherine Laplace-Builhe and where photos were deleted by FB. I checked the wall of this group and I was very disappointed to see Raj make the comment which was to the effect “I wonder if AA had anything to do with it”.
    I find this comment totally disgusting with someone simply looking to generate futher heated comments, animosity and perhaps hatred. This comment is totally uncalled for and very irresponsible!
    I looked into older messages on the wall of the particular group (Aerospace Tourism France) and I see other sarcastic messages by Raj who has taken excerpts from this particular thread on SpaceRef and reposted them at FB.
    Raj, why on one hand are you suggesting “Let there be peace” and on the other promoting further animosity in such an underhanded and dirty way?
    This is very disgraceful on your part and shame on you!

  54. There is perhaps nothing against taking parts of this discussion and posting it elsewhere, but it strikes me as very inconsiderate. Parts of discussion out of context can be misleading. Folks who are interested can and should be reading the entire discussion where it is taking place. Their ability to do so also makes posting parts of it elsewhere unnecessary.
    Clear skies, Alan

  55. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    I just checked again and I see that a different Raj posted the comment about “Did that Anthony guy have anything to do with it?”. As a result my initial comment above is off-base.
    However, the comments thereafter still stand and involving sarcasm (ex. the bull fighter running away when confronted).

  56. Some thing I posted this on the discussion board of the Petition Site.
    I appreciate your in-site on this unfortunate issue. I am not an astronomer but I love observational astronomy and now I am dabbling my hands in radio astronomy, home brewing my pieces of equipments.
    I grew up in Bombay India in a family of 6 living in a 350 sft apartment. Thus my parents were very involved in our life and the roof of our apartment building was where we spent a good part of our childhood. On cool winter nights we slept there with other children in our building, (by September, October our parents had babies) laying face up enjoying the mystery of our universe and sharing our “discoveries” with each other not knowing what they meant. My father subscribed to several science magazines for us. When I was 8 I built my first telescope using a 30 cm magnifying glass, a clear marble, cardboard and a plumbing washer to hold the eyepiece. What a thrill it was among the children in the neighborhood when the craters of of the moon unfolded before our eyes. We searched for Neil and Buzz on July 21 1969 with our telescope.
    Fast forward today and my 16 year old son is sharing experiences in a similar manner. The only difference is that he lays in a comfortable bed in his own bedroom the size of the apartment I grew up in. He is highly connected with is peers through Facebook. Outside of his school and internship he spends most of his time in his bedroom. His reach of the heavens is beyond the craters of the Moon, made possible through work of folks like Catherine, Jean-Baptiste and Anthony These children share their “discoveries” through Facebook posts and chat. Seems like my role is diminished to only buying him a good laptop (akin to the science magazines my father subscribed to). He has learned a lot from the information available on the internet and the local astronomy club.
    Through online lectures from MIT (distributed through ), Wolfram, helpful mentors in the community and Facebook he has worked through advance graduate level math and science coursework (Hamiltonian equations, groups, rings and fields). His reach is not limited outwards into the heavens but also into the structure and behavior of subatomic particles through a year long internship at a large particle-accelerator facility in our town working on some advance mathematical modelling to control and stabilize beam behavior. A notoriety he earned on his own fruition and the internet being an enabling force.
    The quantity of knowledge has grown exponentially. Digital media and modern paradigms are the primary paths through which the current generation of budding scientists obtain it. In the next 10 years 60% of scientists in The US will retire. Given the current projection of students acquiring PhD’s in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) it will be difficult to replace half of them. It takes at least 16 years to create a STEM scientist once a child enters high school. This is something our generation need to be aware of or else our future and way of life is at stake.
    On the issue of violating copyright and Fair Use Doctrine my son had an interesting take. He believes that posting an image on Facebook is akin to him copying an image from a journal or a magazine and pasting it on his bedroom wall. When his friends visit him they get to see it, enjoy it and even discuss about it. He wonders if that makes him a copyright violator. Isn’t this the same paradigm with a Facebook account? In their world of torrents and peer to peer sharing they do not have an appreciation for the extreme punishment afforded to Catherine. The “free” users of Facebook are not Anthony’s commercial clients.
    With modern technology there is a change in paradigm. The distribution, consumption and consumers of knowledge and information has also changed and we need to keep up with it to ensure our own future.
    When the internet was conceived at DARPA, the visionaries (hippies) saw a world where every piece of information and knowledge is freely available to everybody at anytime without any restrictions.

  57. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Very interesting reading!
    If we can equate the two set of actions as being the same (your boy’s desire to share a few photos with his friends and a Facebook user’s ability to do the same), where does one draw the line? In fact, are you not implicitly suggesting a free for all where anything and everything is now “open-source” and each user can do as he or she wishes? In fact, by extension, you are suggesting that anything and everything on the internet is free. If this were the case, I can assure you the internet would be dramatically different and certainly of much lower quality and I hope you can see why.
    Your little boy can download a few images he finds interesting and share them with his friends while dreaming about places to visit in the future etc. In fact, what is there to stop him from bookmarking such images and pages rather than saving his own versions of the same?
    However, on Facebook, why not do the same with a simple link to the same interesting photo? Why is there such an adrenaline rush to take a photo and stick it in your photo album without permission and credit to the copyright owner for others to see? Will the others not have the same view when presented with a link? In fact, Facebook will display a linked photo for immediate assessment within Facebook.

  58. Hi Antony;
    I tried to get my 16 years old to respond but he would not. He felt this discussion was silly and we adults were quarrelling like kids. However, he says this guy has got a passion and the bling to pursue it. What is the big deal about it?
    I assure yall I dont share his assessment about us, but this is the generation we will be dealing with.
    He made an interesting point though. Why wont Anthony put the authorship and copyright statement in the margin of the picture?
    His analogy if the author did not print his or her name on the book they have written then how is one suppose to know who wrote the book. Also, if the book is in the library and somebody wants to copy it then how is one supposed to know what its copyright status is, if the ststus is not printed on the book? One cannot expect the readers to check in a remote catalogue for this information every time it is necessary.
    Words of wisdom coming from a 16 year old who wont join our juvenile discussion.

  59. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    A couple of comments in relation to the above text:
    (1) Your boy feels it is all much ado about nothing. Please ask him how he would feel if he created a computer game which was popular and he discovered that a copy was circulating without his knowledge or permission on some public board and how he would feel about it? To add insult to injury, also if that board was perhaps a source for others to also acquire copies.
    (2) With respect to adding qualifying information on the margins of a photo, this is something which I personally do not do and also prefer not to do since it is a distraction to the observer of my work. Does an author of a book have a copyright statement and his name on every page of a book? Of course not since these details are on the covers (front and back as well as the introduction). The same book also has an explicit section identifying the book as copyrighted material.
    My “book” is my website and where I document each and every single image as copyrighted material on each webpage hosting my work and I also have further elaboration on the copyright of my work and its potential use by third parties in the FAQ section available from the main page and menu.
    The law right now is fairly specific on copyright and I think we all agree that it is quite comprehensive. I interpret your points and comments above as a deviation from what is in effect right now and as being more philosophical as to what perhaps “should” be the law (from your point of view).
    I think we can agree that the Internet is the greatest library in the world. However, there is no doubt in my mind that this is incredible library would be of much lower quality if the internet was indeed a free for all and where everything was public domain. If nothing else, those with an interest in the value of their work would shy away from the internet, thus lowering its value and impact.
    I can give you a very good example which is right up your ally (mine too): is freeware the same quality as commercial software? Your answer is a reflection of the internet and the two avenues it can take. if we turn the internet into a public domain basket, we have the analogue of freeware. If allow material posted on the internet to be protected by copyright, we have the analogue of commercial software.

  60. Hi Anthony;
    Your Question -I can give you a very good example which is right up your ally (mine too): is freeware the same quality as commercial software?
    Lets start with Linux – totally free and it is a very popular operating system extensively used in research, educational, corporate and governmental world.
    Apache HTTP server – totally free and it is a very popular Web Server including secure web server.
    PHP Programming Language – Totally free and a very popular WEB 2.0 applications.
    MySQL database system – Totally free and a database of choice for WEB 2.0 applications.
    Now lets look at Facebook – Totally free built on MySQL and PHP on an Apache WEB server.
    I have looked at various science and trade journals and found that the copyright statement exists with every image that is copy written, including illustrations and graphs.
    Paradigms have changed.

  61. Anthony Ayiomamitis

    Your software examples above are very good. However, it is certainly NOT representative of the software field itself or, otherwise, companies which produce commercial software would be out of business.
    Linux may be a great alternative to UNIX but the latter is far from dead and certainly is holding its own (just an example).
    In relation to your last statement above, one of us has perhaps misinterpreted something. When someone/something such as a magazine uses predominantly third-party material, one will indeed see the material being used either cited immediately below the work being used or at the back of the book (or article) where all of the acknowledgements and credits are provided. My work has appeared in approximately 75 books and I can confirm this first hand.
    My comment in my previous message was directed at your example of “if the author did not print his or her name on the book they have written then how is one suppose to know who wrote the book” and where I replied that I have my website which not only represents my “book” but each and every page is further documented as to the copyright holder and creator behind my work, thus not tiring the visitor further with similar copyright statements and reminders on the images themselves.
    Similarly, an author writing a book with his own material will not remind the reader with a copyright statement back to himself with each every diagram and image. This is what I was referring to and suggesting in my previous message.

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