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Thread: Amazon patents "photography"

  1. #1
    It's all about the Light!
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    Amazon patents "photography"

    Insanity!!

    http://www.photographybay.com/2014/0...te-background/

    Amazon Technologies, Inc. (a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.) has legitimately patented studio the common studio photography method of photographing subjects on a seamless white background using a cyclorama and the USPTO actually granted the patent.
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    Ausphotography Regular
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    Ha Ha,might find a 18% grey background, or should that be 12%, or 8%.

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    The US patent office needs an overhaul of the rules that it has to abide by. Another reason to laugh at the good ol' USA and wonder why our political alignment is so US centric.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    You'll probably find it's more to protect Amazon from people trying to hold them to ransom ie patent trolls. Someone could quietly register a patent that would cover their technique (and granted, a lot of other photographers too!) and then attempt to claim against Amazon. Not the first time it's happened before: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/26/pat...ckout-service/
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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Whether this is an issue with the patent office or not, it's ludicrous that someone even requested the patent.

    I have a simple policy when it comes to these things. If someone does something like this, I will not support their business. Thanks Amazon, it's been great doing business but there are plenty of companies out there I can support without using your business.
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    Ausphotography Regular bitsnpieces's Avatar
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    Well... The patent almost seems legitimate after reading it, but also ridiculous. I haven't done any studio work myself, so I don't know for sure.

    But what it sounds like to me is, they have created a new way of doing studio and they want to protect it.
    It sounds like that because the article talks about the conventional way of studio which involves post processing (and it's not like we have anything to argue against that unless you want to show your technique or go into technicalities, which nobody has tried to prove or show for in a higher legal manner, they would consider Amazon's belief sounds right?), Amazon has their own way.

    Now, yes, if the patent is to protect their new method from patent trolls, understandable.
    If they simply want to protect their idea because it's something they'll use a lot of product photos or models or whatever, understandable. It's the same as us here when we share an image and we put "Please don't edit". We share our photo but don't want others editing/manipulating it. Same thing, Amazon has a new concept, they've showed us, but don't want us copying them - understandable.

    Now, thirdly, in my limited knowledge of studio work, for their technique is actually just your standard stuff, then yes, what in the world are they doing? This is ridiculous. But then again, would you want a patent troll to be on your case because they've seen your studio use a certain technique? or Amazon to say, yeah, go ahead, use it, we patent it for the interests of photography use so you don't get in trouble by trolls (now wouldn't that be great, unless they just want to troll us themselves? o.O)

    Now, going back to the diagrams shown by Amazon, I've watched a few tutorials, but never seen a studio with that many lighting - maybe high end studios, movie studios, who knows, already does it, I don't know, but from this side of things, it looks different, and hey, if it does provide a 100% white background compared to having to 'post process' as Amazon says, then I guess this is new in a sense and they want to protect the concept. If what we have now is perfectly fine for studio work, just keep using it. I think Amazon is just being pixel peeping so they want a perfect white thus their new technique.

    I think Matt's comment on May 6, 2014 at 7:48 am expounds a lot. The patent is somewhat precise and limited - in general, we should be okay to continue our work. This is an Amazon specific patent and in how they do their work, to which they find more effective then what other people usually do (in their opinion).
    Here's more information on their patent:
    http://pdfpiw.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=0...piw.uspto.gov/
    And a handful of comments down onwards are very informative reads.

    Amazon is protecting themselves, not trying to destroy us - that's how I look at it. They're rich and powerful, they don't need to worry about us, they only need to worry about patent trolls.


    Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by bitsnpieces; 15-05-2014 at 8:46am.

  7. #7
    It's all about the Light!
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    It lacks genuine inventiveness - it should not have been allowed

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    Ausphotography Regular bitsnpieces's Avatar
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    I think as long as it doesn't get in the way of the everyday and working photographer, it should be okay. If the patent is strictly internal to their own specifications and usage, then it wouldn't really effect us would it? I mean, unless you accidentally use the same settings/setup up they've put claim on.

    Well, only time will tell. It's like what some commenters have posted, is that after a while, they realise how stupid it may have been and take down the patent. We'll see - not much we can do here now.

  9. #9
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    I know of 3 or 4 different ways to get pure white backgrounds, and obviously, the more lights you hit the subject with, the more chance you have of having a pure white background.
    A patent is only worth as much as you are prepared to spend to defend it.

    While a patent may be granted, it doesn't mean that it will stand up in court.
    Last edited by Bennymiata; 28-05-2014 at 7:11pm.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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