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Google To Host 10M Images From Life Magazine's Archive

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the that's-life-what's-life dept.

Google 79

CWmike and other readers alerted us to Google's announcement that it was making available 10 million images from Life magazine's archives dating back to the 1750s. (Most of the news accounts covering this announcement refer to Life's "photos," and none mention that photography wasn't invented until early in the 19th century.) Only a small percentage of the images — including newly digitized images from photos and etchings — have even been published. The rest have been "sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints." At this point about 20% of Life's archive is online; the rest is promised within months.

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It's lifelike pictures Jim (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809765)

Obligatory:

It's lifelike pictures Jim, but not as we've known them.

Re:It's lifelike pictures Jim (4, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810827)

Life-like indeed. It's magnificent.

I grew up learning about the world from Life and National Geographic. We were poor - pre-transistor days, couldn't even afford a radio -- but we had the media at our fingertips. I remember my father's part in WWII from pictures he showed me of places he'd been, in old copies of Life. I watched as the first seven astronauts were chosen. I watched the last moments of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King and watched an immense culture change from the pages of Life. The ability of Life photographers to capture the eyes of people and stories and places has never been equalled to my mind.

The fact that Google has arranged with the owners of all this Life Magazine material to put the archive online for the rest of you makes me feel a good bit better about Google's place in the Internet.

poor indeed (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811905)

get ready to see the 99.9% of the world print and broadcast were unable to deliver. you only have to look at the perts you are interested in but you may not have enough time left in your life. this is what the tw-aol merger was supposed to deliver years ago. aol could have done it but tw was stupid. aol could have been worth owning, now tw bows to google

Re:It's lifelike pictures Jim (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25812833)

Give me a fucking break please.

Re:It's lifelike pictures Jim (2, Informative)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820295)

Lifelike... you betcha. I've been dying to get my hands on some Margaret Bourke-White images without having to pay Getty Images a few grand per print. Her pictures give a lifelike experience of what it was like to be in so many historical places back in the 40's. It's good that I can finally view these images without having to deall with GI's rediculous pricing policies.

Getty Images has long been the world's largest intellectual property holder. While the general public can get a hold of some of their holdings as prints through poster companies, etc., it's a very small percentage of what they have, and they make no apparent effort to deal with end consumers directly.

While this seems like just a nifty place to view pictured for some, I see it as a victory for those that oppose intellectual property abuse.

Re:It's lifelike pictures Jim (2, Informative)

rudeboy1 (516023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25820547)

Arrgghhh... Scratch what I said before. New master, same slavery. The medium-view images are nice to look at but I tried blowing one up to a decent size and it's pretty heavy on artifacts. The high rez version has a nice big TIME watermark on it. However, the option to fram any print at a somewhat reasonable price ($80-$110 depending on size) is definitely a plus, and I think I may still act on it. It's still about a tenth of the price I was getitng from GI to get a full res print.

Public domain? (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809773)

I wonder was the copyright is for these. Are they all public domain?

Re:Public domain? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809787)

I wonder what the copyright is...

damn non-editable Slashdpt

Re:Public domain? (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809845)

Who cares about copyright when you got pictures this hot [google.com] .

This is hotter (4, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809929)

For hot pictures, I lean more towards this [google.com] or this [google.com] .

Re:Public domain? (2, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810105)

Who cares about copyright when you got pictures this hot [google.com] .

Oooh, vintage pr0n!

Re:Public domain? (3, Funny)

meuhlavache (1101089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810427)

Next magazine: Playboy

40M images & double posters with beautiful bunnies!

What Public domain? (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812017)

There's a serious point in your casual observation. The older pictures were worth more when they were relevant. That is the value perpetual copyright robs us of. You still can't publish them yourself. 90+ year copyright means that only the very earliest recordings and photographs can be shared freely. TW is notorious for demaning huge sums of money for the tiniest violation.

Re:What Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25812183)

Oh shut the fuck up already.

Re:What Public domain? (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812213)

no, thank you.

Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25813849)

Poster is a known troll, crapflooder and operates 14 accounts [slashdot.org] on Slashdot.

Re:What Public domain? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 5 years ago | (#25818177)

I completely agree. IMHO, copyright should be 25 years (or lower) or the death of the author, whichever is later.

You've missed it (2, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856269)

Stories that are told that are retold become our culture. If the stories are owned and cannot be retold they might be lucrative, but they can't become culture. Copyright is the theft of culture from the future. Copyright must be abolished [abolishcopyright.com] because as implemented it prevents [allbusiness.com] the fair use [youtube.com] of works long in the public domain [gutenberg.org] .

This is a good place to thank Larry for keeping up the good fight. God Bless you Larry [softwarefreedom.org] , I hope you win and I'm glad to continue to donate to your cause [softwarefreedom.org] .

Re:What Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25857621)

foo undo mod accident intended to mod up

Re:Public domain? (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812377)

Nah. Dig this [google.com] (NSFW)

Re:Public domain? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810165)

Who cares about copyright when you got pictures this hot [google.com] .

You know whats amazing? I turned off safe search and those pictures of ladies were still dull..

Re:Public domain? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811095)

Nevermind the ladies, the photography [google.com] work [google.com] is hot.

Victorian domain. (3, Funny)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811223)

Hey everybody! Ankles!

Re:Victorian domain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25812661)

Hey everybody! Ankles!

If you like ankles, you'll love the 1940s Reducing School [google.com]

Re:Victorian domain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25812757)

Hey everybody! Ankles!

You may also enjoy this young lady [google.com] .

Re:Public domain? (3, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809865)

damn non-editable Slashdpt

Now that is just funny...

Re:Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25812063)

Maybe he just meant Slash Department?

Copyrights vary (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809889)

The copyrights for previously-unpublished works vary, Project Gutenberg and Wikipedia probably have the answers you are looking for.

In general, anything created more than 120 years ago in the United States is in the public domain. Works that weren't "work for hire" live various-numbers-of-years after the death of the photographer but there is a presumption of public domain after 120 years unless it can be shown the photographer was alive "recently enough" that the copyright hasn't lapsed. There's also a "presumption of death on or before insert-date-here" under certain other circumstances.

I don't have the rules for previously-unpublished works-for-hire handy, but I think that for stuff not published before now, anything before 1923 is in the public domain in the USA. There were special rules in place a few years ago to "encourage" publishing previously unpublished works but I think that is over with.

If Life had done this during that special window, a lot of stuff that would have had only the remaining copyright would have enjoyed extended protection.

Re:Copyrights vary (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810221)

The copyrights for previously-unpublished works vary, Project Gutenberg and Wikipedia probably have the answers you are looking for.

No, they do not have the answers you are looking for, you can be on your way, move along...

Re:Public domain? (2, Interesting)

game kid (805301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809897)

This image [google.com] , among others, claims "© Time Inc." despite its 1860 date, so I wouldn't be quick to call the new archive a gift. They clearly want to (re)assert copyright on the pics.

Re:Public domain? (2, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809989)

I also noticed that when you click on the picture, you get the 'real' full res picture. However, the full res picture has a big ugly 'LIFE' logo stamped in the lower corner. Gee, thanks for screwing up the picture for me!

Re:Public domain? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811945)

I don't know if they're all like this, but the few I've seen seem to be the LIFE logo stamped as an alpha difference. Shouldn't be too hard to reverse the process, not taking the JPEG compression artifacts into account.

Re:Public domain? (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25815857)

I knew it, definitively photoshopped!

Re:Public domain? (2, Interesting)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810189)

Most interestingly, they even try to exert copyright on pictures taken on the moon [google.com] ... so are these reproductions from the magazine and thus copyrightable in some way?

Re:Public domain? (4, Interesting)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809995)

Yes and no.

They are public domain in so far as the originals are long out of copyright. Any magazine you had dated prior to about 1920 (I forget the exact year) has fallen into the public domain and you'd be free to post articles. However, derivative works, namely the scans/data in this case, are probably recent enough to still be under copyright. Yes, they would probably be considered to be insufficiently distinct to be true "derivative works" with a separate copyright, but proving that would require a costly legal battle.

Re:Public domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25810725)

That's alright, I'll just print them, scan them and say that they're derivative works of the derivative works so they're mine now.

Joking aside, I think your post is FUD, maybe you mean it like that or you don't and you've been brainwashed by all the bullshit to really think like this.

Re:Public domain? (4, Informative)

Eric in SF (1030856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810807)

From

http://englishhistory.net/tudor/art.html [englishhistory.net]

The Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd., Plaintiff, - versus - Corel Corporation, et ano., Defendants.
97 Civ. 6232 (LAK)

Their decision was one of the most important copyright decision affecting museums ever filed. The decision was based on both US and UK copyright law.

WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE CASE & WHAT WAS IT ABOUT?
The Bridgeman Art Library had made photographic reproductions of famous works of art from museums around the world (works already in the public domain.) The Corel Corporation used those reproductions for an educational CD-ROM without paying Bridgeman. Bridgeman claimed copyright infringement.

WHAT DID THE COURT DECIDE?
The Court ruled that reproductions of images in the public domain are not protected by copyright if the reproductions are slavish or lacking in originality.

Re:Public domain? (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811107)

The decision was based on both US and UK copyright law.

Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. [wikipedia.org] was a U.S. court decision. It's not a precedent affecting the U.K. I have a web site with my free physics textbooks, and I've received nastygrams from a U.K. museum about a contemporary portrait of Isaac Newton that's reproduced on my site. I didn't worry much about it, because I'm in the U.S., but they and their lawyers did seem to believe that the law was on their side in the U.K. (or maybe they were just bluffing). The WP article has some specific discussion of this at the end.

-1 Wrong (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810917)

This is not how copyright works. If they are in the public domain, the reproduction doesn't matter. In fact, reproduction never changes copyright status, otherwise your copy of Civilization 2008 is illegal but your copy of your copy of Civilization 2008 is legal, which makes no fucking sense, I think you'll agree.

Re:-1 Wrong (1)

Eric in SF (1030856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810955)

Unfortunately the Museum Industry in the US feels differently and it took a Supreme Court Case to get them to stop suing people who have photographic reproductions of public-domain items from their collections. It all goes back to money and control.

Life Magazine... (1, Redundant)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809813)

...was around in the 1750's?

Re:Life Magazine... (1)

geantvert (996616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810291)

Yep! Life was invented by Al Gore 1 billions years ago.

Damn (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809843)

Digital photography really sucked [google.com] back then!

Re:Damn (2, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809881)

"I thought it would be droll if we all sat down and looked at etchings! Would you like to join me, Peter?" -Buzz Killington

Re:Damn (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810269)

No, that those were just really awesome ANSI graphics.

Re:Damn (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25810773)

I've failed to find a link to detail this (maybe someone else can because I'd like to know more) but in a history class we told that during WWI images were transmitted to newspapers around the world digitally via telegraph.

I believe this was done manually with some type of grid overlay and a person assigning a grey value to each grid location. At the receiving end these values would correspond to a dot sizes that could represent various levels of grey.

I'd like to see some practical example if anyone knows more about this process.

Re:Damn (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811357)

From Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wire_picture#History [wikipedia.org]

A system that automatically scanned and sent over a wire a 2-d image has apparently existed since 1881: http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10463545 [scienceandsociety.co.uk] , as a "photo telegraph", although a system using conductive ink was invented in 1861 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Damn (2, Funny)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#25814473)

Actually, I think their digital photography was quite [google.com] good [google.com] !

Re:Damn (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25816761)

Really old "Digital Photography" [port-of-arts.com]

Digital, as in done with a finger. That's a joke... I say, that's a joke, son. Get it?

What about: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25809879)

Playboy?

Penthouse?

Hustler?

Swank?

All the classic porn magazines that you could take anywhere with you? I tell you, you kids missing out!

Good for comparison (3, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25809987)

Its good to know we can compare [new-york-city-travel.net] what the market looked [google.com] like when the crash finally happens.

Re:Good for comparison (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810093)

crash finally happens.

happens? dude, you need to start paying more attention.

Re:Good for comparison (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810293)

Oh, you think the crash already happened? As they say, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

Re:Good for comparison (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810469)

Oh, you think the crash already happened?

I'm no economist but this [google.com] would seem to be a "crash" to me.

Re:Good for comparison (1)

nrlightfoot (607666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810921)

Well, it's still only down (the Dow Jones index) about half as much as during the great depression, 41% now vs. 87% then. Of course it took almost 3 years to hit bottom then, and we are only 13 months into this downturn. At this point in the great depression the Dow Jones index was only down 44%, so I guess this is comparable by some standards. But at least nobody is losing their savings because of bank failures. Oh, and unemployment is 6.5% now, but at the end of 1930 it was 8.7%.

Re:Good for comparison (1)

rav0 (983195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812021)

It looks pretty good [google.com] to me.

Re:Good for comparison (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811051)

The 1929 crash had stocks falling 60% in less than a month. What we have now is more like the initial dive that precedes a crash.

Re:Good for comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25829003)

GM's dropped 56% in the last month. Ford and quite a few others are down well over 45%. And 75% over the last 3 months. It's not just them, it appears Nissan, Daimler, even Tata (Indian car co) and such are down sharply. It appears Volkswagen might be almost the only one to not nosedive. Well, they *did* nosedive a while back, but it was from a few-month $200+ a share bubble.They're back to their roughly their pre-bubble price.

Early photographs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25810021)

"CWmike and other readers alerted us to Google's announcement that it was making available 10 million images from Life magazine's archives dating back to the 1750s. (Most of the news accounts covering this announcement refer to Life's "photos," and none mention that photography wasn't invented until early in the 19th century.)"

Photographs taken in the 1700s involved smearing silver nitrate on people's faces and pressing them against glass. The addition of a camera "lens" was hailed as a major advancement in the early 1800s.

find using google image search (3, Informative)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810297)

you can find images from LIFE if you append this to an image search on google 'source:life'

Computer stuff (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810299)

Obligatory: Computer stuff. [google.com] Lots of fun/memory-jogging images in there ... including portraits of Richard Stallman and family! [google.com]

Re:Computer stuff (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812335)

Yeah,... and you thought touch-screen voting was bad! At least you didn't have to deal with this [google.com] ! I think I'd call that a Floridian's nightmare,... ;-)

Shorpy.com (1)

sdsucks (1161899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810331)

For those that haven't heard of it, shorpy.com has some very cool old high res pictures. I can spend hours looking through them.

Shorpy [shorpy.com]

National Geographic would have been better (1)

rubies (962985) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810443)

Although, I swear I only read it in the dentists waiting room for the articles.

Gay 90's (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810451)

There's so many wonderful gay 90's [google.com] memories.

Oh, those 90's? They're making fun of the 90's like we make fun of the 70's now. But there was nothing gay [google.com] about the 90's.

wait a minute... (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810609)

I know google is amazing, but how are they going to host photos dating from the 1750s from a magazine started in 1936 that showcased images created using a technology invented in 1826. This makes no sense at all.

What are you talking about? (1)

some guy I know (229718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25827923)

I know google is amazing, but how are they going to host photos dating from the 1750s from a magazine started in 1936 that showcased images created using a technology invented in 1826. This makes no sense at all.

LIFE magazine has been around for hundreds of billions of years.
I still remember fondly poring over pictures the Big Bang in my youth.

No, not that Big Bang, the other one.

And publishing was much more difficult back then, because at that time there was no printing press, no camera, and, for that matter, no matter of any kind.
(Ah, the pre-baryonic universe. Those were the days. (Well, not "days", really, because planets and stars didn't exist yet, either, and time was still sorting itself out, but you get the idea.))

Really old photos (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25810995)

...photography wasn't invented until early in the 19th century...

One amusing bit in David McCullough's biography of John Adams is the one where the Founding Father gets photographed for the first (and probably last) time. It took something like a 10-second exposure to take the picture, and Adams was astonished that his image could be registered in such a short period of time!

Do no evil (1)

Drive42 (444835) | more than 5 years ago | (#25811591)

While Google might be a little shifty when it comes to privacy, I'd have to say that this lands them some good points in my book. Combine this development with the recent ability to see Ancient Rome in Google Earth, I'd have to say that there's more than greed motivating this corporation. Of course, there's always the idea of increasing mindshare, but I really doubt that Rome in 3d and Life's photographical archives are really going to win them any immediate popularity points. Well, at least not as many as some other things that are within their financial means.

Dammit, I still like Google. And it's because of this nerdy and amazing shit that they do seemingly at random.
I know that they'll stagnate, and I know that I'll have a damn good reason to hate them at some point, but, just in the category of "cool shit done," I'm going to have to admit that I'm a huge fucking fan.
I want to read the entirety of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in pdf? No fucking problem [google.com] . Thanks to Google.
I don't know very much about the mechanism of power, but if power is knowledge, then Google's done a lot to index it for our use. And for that I'm grateful.

Re:Do no evil (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25864951)

Mod up.

Check out the 1940's photos (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812065)

They're all from Hawaii (or related to Hawaii), and they were taken all in 1941 or 1945. Like WWII didn't exist.

The photos are really cool, but I guess they've either held back the WWII archive or it's separated out of the 40's pictures.

Re:Check out the 1940's photos (1)

Romanito (756170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25815379)

The link on their front page leads to a search for "1940s Hawaii source:life".

Change it to "1940s source:life" and voilà [google.com] .

10,000,000 images, not megapixels (3, Informative)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25812493)

That's 10,000,000 images, not 10 megapixels. Images will be standard 160x120 internet resolution with watermarks & popups.

Re:10,000,000 images, not megapixels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25813747)

Actually, they are 1280 pixels in the long dimension. Very generous compared to their other offerings.

I Still Have My July 4, 1776 Copy of Life... (2, Insightful)

edac2 (652835) | more than 5 years ago | (#25814051)

It should read "10 million images dating back to the 1750s from Life magazine's archives" since Life (not the earlier humor magazine of the same name) was first published in 1936.

Flickr > * (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25814927)

It's a shame that Time seems to want to retain copyright over these images. The only real place meant for showcasing such images is the Flickr Commons [flickr.com] , not some hastily-patched together image display format like Google has done. Then again, they could just upload it to flickr and still retain copyrights, but at least they can generate more comments, tag it up to make the search results rich (and describe it well) and show it to a community that actually appreciates photographs such as these.

Hungry Joe Contributions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25818649)

"Multi dinero. Multi divorces. Multi ficky-fic all day long"

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