Posts Tagged ‘copyright infringement’

Why I never liked Mandrake Linux / Mankdrake Linux has took its name from an 1930s comics Mandrake the Magician

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

I never liked Mandrake Linux, since day 1 I saw it.
Historically Mandrake Linux was one of the best Linux distributions available for free download in the "Linux scene" some 10 to 12 years ago.

Mandrake was simple gui oriented and trendy. It also one the Linux distribution with the most simplified installer program and generally a lot of GUI software for easy configuration and use by the end user.

Though it's outside nice look, still for me it was like an "intuition" that Mandrake is not so good as it appeared.

Now many years later I found by chance that Mandrake has been sued to change their Operating System name with another, due to a law suit requit by the copyright holders of Mandrake The Magician comics. "Mandrake the Magician" used to be a very popular before the Second World war in the 1930's.

Mandrake the Magician Comics Magazine from 1930's Cover, Mandrake the Black Magic Magician

It obviously not a co-incidence that the Mandrake names was after this comics and not the mandrake herb plants available in Europe, Africa and Asia. This is clear in Mandrake Linux distro earlier mascot, you see below:

Mandrake Linux old distribution logo, magician penguin

Later on they changed Mandrake's logo to loose the connection with Mandrake The Magician and used another new crafted logo:

Mandrake GNU Linux newer logo
Its quite stunning nowdays magician obsession, has so heavily infiltrated our lives that even something like a Free Softwre Linux distribution might have some kind of reference to magician and occult stuff (I saw this from the position of being Christian) …

Later due to the name copyright infringement Mandrake Linux was renamed first to Mandragora Linux.
Instead of putting some nice name non related to occultism or magic stuff the French commercian company behind Mandrake rename it to another non-Christian name Mandragora.
Interestingly the newer name Mandragora as one can read in wikipedia means:
 

Mandragora (demon), in occultism

Well apparently, someone from the head developers of this Linux distribution has a severe obsession with magic and occultism.

Later MandrakeSoft (The French Company behind Mandrake Linux) renamed finally the distribution to Mandriva under the influence of the merger of Mandrake with the Brazillian company Connectiva this put also an over to the legal dispute copyright infringement dispute with Hearst Corporation (owning the rights of Mandrake the Magician).

Having in mind all fact on current Mandriva "dark names history", I think it is better we Christians avoid it …

How to digital watermark to a picture – Protect pic with copyright image or text with composite, convert and Phatch on GNU / Linux

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Reading Time: 9minutes

Watermarking is a technique to identify a physical or non-physical object with its owner (creator). First watermarks in history originates from very ancient times.

There are two basic types of Watermark types:

I. Physical Watermarks (classical)

II. Digital Watermarks

Historically Classical Watermarks, were mostly important. As we tend to use more and more visible and we switch to use of more invisible stuff, nowdays the importance and use of digital watermarks is steadily raising.

You have most likely already seen pictures from websites which contain a copyright holder message stamp or website logo on it.
As you could imagine the picture watermark is placed in order to prevent pictures from being re-used in another internet space ,without the picture copyright holder explicit permission…

Watermarks have entered most if not all areas of our life, but we often don't recognize they're there / rarely think about them.
Few of the many "physical watermarks" we use daily are:
 

  • paper money watermark (to protect against anti money forgery)
  • bank debit / credit cards stamps near the card chip
  • postcards paper stamps

There are too many different kind of "physical watermarks" and since this is not the accent of this article, I will continue straight to explaiin a bit on Digital (picture) watermarks and how to watermark images with ImageMagick image editting command line suit.

Just like with physical watermarks, there are different kinds of digital watermarks. There are:
 

  • Picture (Images) digital watermarks
  • – Steganography

  • Video watermarks
  • Audio stream digital watermarks
  • Visual digital watermarks
  • – Visible area of text or picture over another text picture or video

  • Invisible digital watermarks
  • – digital information (files) metadata with watermark content etc.

The topic of watermarking is quite wide, so I will stop here and focus on the main idea of this article – to show how to place digital watermark on graphic image or collection of pictures.

The most straightway non-interactive way to do picture watermarking is with ImageMagick's composite command line tool. This little handy tool is capable of creating watermarks in single and multiple pictures.

If you prefer to have a simple text as a watermark, then you should use imagick's convert cmd.

1. Putting a watermark of picture in the right bottom corner

$ composite -gravity southeast -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy Writting pc freak watermark picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

2. Placing watermark to picture in the bottom right corner

$ composite -gravity northeast -dissolve 80 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy Writting pc freak picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

3. Watermarking picture in the bottom left corner

$ composite -gravity southwest -dissolve 90 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

Snoopy writting watermarking picture on the bottom left corner imagemagick (composite)

4. Watermarking picture in the top left corner

$ composite -gravity northwest -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.jpg \
output-watermarked-image.jpg

As you see from above example, composite even accept mixing up input / output between PNG and JPEG pictures 🙂

Output Watermarked Image picture on top left corner with pc-freak logo image Imagick composite

5. Put a watermark in the image center

$ composite -gravity center -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \
output-watermarked-image.png

position watermark on the picture middle (center) composite output picture

6. Sealing image with custom text / Text Watermarking a picture

a) Writting text watermark to an image centered in "footer"

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg

This will place a watermark in position 0,12, meaning the text will be added in the bottom center of the watermarked image.

Watermarking a picture sealing with custom text image imagick composite pic

-pointsize 20 defines the text font size. hip0s Watermark is the actual text that will be stamped.

b) Writting image watermark with font type customization (Arial Tahoma etc.):

To list all available fonts ready to be used by convert, type:

$ convert -list font
$ convert -list font |grep -i arial
Font: Arial-Black-Regular
family: Arial Black
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Black.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Bold.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arialbi.ttf
Font: Arial-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/ariali.ttf
Font: Arial-Regular
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial.ttf

$ convert -list type
Bilevel
ColorSeparation
ColorSeparationMatte
Grayscale
GrayscaleMatte
Optimize
Palette
PaletteBilevelMatte
PaletteMatte
TrueColorMatte
TrueColor

On my system, I have 392 of fonts installed, to check the number of installed fonts ready for use by convert I used:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'|wc -l
392

To only check exact fonts names usable in convert:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'

To use the red marked Arial-Regular for font of the text picture timestamp issue;

$ convert watermark_picture.jpg -font Arial-Regular \
-pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" \
output-watermarked-image.jpg

Watermark and with Arial-Regular font image magick convert screenshot dog type writter

c) Using external font with convert to place image text watermark

Lets say you would like to use an external font (arhangai.ttf) not listed in convert -font list usable fonts:

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-font /usr/share/fonts/truetype/arhangai/arhangai.ttf \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image_7.png

Talking about fonts, if you would like to add some external, nice free-fonts (ttf) files to your current logged in user, exec:

hipo@noah:~$ cd ~/fonts
hipo@noah:/fonts$ for i in \
$(lynx -dump http://www.webpagepublicity.com/free-fonts.html|grep -i .ttf|grep -i http|awk '{ print $2 }'); \
do wget -r -l2 -nd -Nc $i;
done

This will add 85 new nice looking fonts. Putting fonts in .fonts/ directory, are red while fonts are looked up by applications installed on respective the server or desktop GNU / Linux systems. Any font put there is ready to be used across all ImageMagick command line tools, as well as will be added across the list of possible fonts to use in GIMP and the rest of gui editors installed on the system.

According to the (watermark) texts font size passed to convert on some pictures the text written will exceed the picture dimensions and only partially some of the text intended as watermark will be visible.
If you encounter the exceed picture text problem, take few minutes and play with fonts sizes until you have a good font size to fit the approximate dimensions of the (expected minimum / maximum – horizontal and vertical) stamped picture dimensions.

For the sake of clarity, here is a list with arguments used in above, composite and convert examples.
 

  • composite — The ImageMagick command that combines two images.
  • -dissolve 80 — The number after the option determines the brightness of the watermark.  100 is full strength.
  • -gravity southeast — Determines the placement of watermark.
    Possible options are; north, west, south, east, northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest, center
  • watermark_picture.png — The watermark image is the first argument.
  • image-to-watermark.jpg — The second argument is the original image to be watermarked.
  • output-watermarked-image.jpg — The third argument is the new composite image to be created.
    N. B. !  If you don't specify a new file, be careful, the original file will be overwritten.

As ImageMagick is cross platform graphic editting suit – it runs on both *nix (Linux,BSD) and Windows. I have tested it on Linux, only but on FreeBSD and other BSDs it should work without any problem.
The composite and convert above examples should be easily rewritten to run on achieve watarmarking on MS Windows too.

7. Watermarking multiple pictures in a directory

To watermark multiple pictures within a directory use, a short bash loop in combination with either convert or composite could be used:

$ cd your-directory/
$ for i in *; do
convert $i -pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg
done

convert and composite also support wildcards like '*.JPG, *.PNG', but I'm not sure if this syntax can be used for mass picture marking?

8. Adding watermark and doing other various advanced Image Edit, Convert and Compose stuff with Phatch GUI program

Another program that is capable to put watermarks on pictures and besides that doing a number of routine graphic manipulation operations achievable with expert Image manipulation programs like GIMP / Inkscape is PHATCH = PHOTO & BATCH

Phatch is swiss army knife for doing web design or or graphics design on Linux.

Phatch is really great and easy to use program. Tt makes putting basic designer effects on pictures with no requirement for any design skills.
With Phatch you can become a designer for a day literally 😉

If you haven't used it yet, make sure you try it!
Below, are two screenshots of Phatch running on my Debian G* / Linux

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot Watermark effect

Phatch is installable via apt on Debian and Ubuntu Linux. It has also a phatch-cli tools, which are a possible substitute to ImageMagick's composite / convert tools.

On deb based distros install Phatch with:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install phatch phatch-cli

In Phatch it is also possible, to create a combination of filters to be later applied to an image file or a group of image files all in a directory. The program capabilities are really outstanding, it is pure joy to work with it.

Using Phatch GUI interface is hard to comprehend in the beginning, I needed few minutes until I can get the idea how to use it. Anyhow once you know the basics, its very easy to use onwards.

Phatch currently can perform the following actions:
 

  • Auto Contrast – Maximize image contrast
  • Border – Crop or add border to all sides
  • Brightness – Adjust brightness from black to white
  • Canvas – Crop the image or enlarge canvas without resizing the image
  • Colorize – Colorize grayscale image
  • Common – Copies the most common pixel value
  • Contrast – Adjust from grey to black & white
  • Convert Mode – Convert the color mode of an image (grayscale, RGB, RGBA or CMYK)
  • Effect – Blur, Sharpen, Emboss, Smooth, ..
  • Equalize – Equalize the image histogram
  • Fit – Downsize and crop image with fixed ratio
  • Grayscale – Fade all colours to gray
  • Invert – Invert the colors of the image (negative)
  • Maximum – Copies the maximum pixel value
  • Median – Copies the median pixel value
  • Minimum – Copies the minimum pixel value
  • Offset – Offset by distance and wrap around
  • Posterize – Reduce the number of bits of colour channel
  • Rank – Copies the rank'th pixel value
  • Rotate – Rotate with random angle
  • Round – Round or crossed corners with variable radius and corners
  • Saturation – Adjust saturation from grayscale to high
  • Save – Save an image with variable compression in different types
  • Scale – Scale an image with different resample filters.
  • Shadow – Drop a blurred shadow under a photo with variable position, blur and color
  • Solarize – Invert all pixel values above threshold
  • Text – Write text at a given position
  • Transpose – Flip or rotate an image by 90 degrees
  • Watermark – Apply a watermark image with variable placement (offset, scaling, tiling) and opacity

Most of the function / effectsPhatch in the up list works fine as I tested them to get to know the program.
The only effect that didn't worked for me is Blender effect.
Trying to apply the Blending effect I got error:

Can not apply action Blender:
'dict' object has no attribute 'rfind'

dict object has not attribiture rfind error screenshot my linux

Its really a pity blender filter don't work. I've seen on Phatch's website some pictures showing the blender effect in action and it looks really awesome.

In attempt to work around the err, I tried downloading Phatch's latest release and running it with python interpreter but it didn't work out …
I tried also to install some packages to the system that somehow seemed to be related to blenderversatile 3D modeller/renderer program but this worked neither.
I suspect Phatch blender effect is not working on Ubuntu too as I've red complains in some Ubuntu forums.
If someone succeeding making blend effect work please let me know how?

Interesting feature of Phatch is the program support for applying its predefined filters using a cli interface.
The syntax for phatch cli, should be something like:

phatch -console action_list.phatch

Where action_list.phatch is a Phatch predefined filter. Anyways I didn't manage to figure out how to use the program CLI. I'll be glad to hear if someone succeeded in using the program console, if so please share with me how?

9. Adding Watermark to pictures with GIMP

To add a watermark text or picture in GIMP, there are plenty of ways but is more time consuming by both Phatch or convert, composite..
There is a script in gimp plugin registry site – watermark.scm which adds watermarking capability to GIMP

On my system this script was installed with the deb package gimp-data-extras. To apply the plugin on a pic, I used GIMP menus:

Filters -> Eg -> Copyright Placer

GIMP Copyright Holder plugin Watermark Screenshot

If someone knows about better or quicker ways to do watermarking, please share 🙂

Bulgaria silently signs for ACTA / Why ACTA, SOPA and PIPA are bad for our freedom

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

r freedomYesterday silently with zero publicity, Bulgarian representatives ratified the ACTA (Trade agreement for fighting counterfeit.)
The name sounds really good, but it has not much to do with what ACTA is about, when applied to digital medias and data sharing.
The ACTA legislation has been ratified in Tokyo last week, where 22 of the European Union membership countries signed in favour of these "malicious" treaty.

The basic idea of ACTA looks tempting as it gives more freedoms to copyright holders, however if you look closely you will understand actually this copyright infringement clauses are not so in favour of us the users but mostly in favour of multinational corporations.
For all those who have not heard about ACTA and SOPA in short this is anti freedom of speech treaty, which if put in action could lead to serious filtering of the internet.
The ACTA 's controversial treaty has already raised an outcry from dozens of computer literated individuals who daily use the internet. Unfortunately, ACTA is less known among non-tech guys … and hence most people on the internet have no about its existence.

If ACTA is ratified and set to be valid as a legislation to Bulgaria, this could lead to total Internet censorship in BG (more or less like it is in china now).
ACTA legislation will make sharing files via torrents and other P2P community file sharing networks a criminal activity.
Another effect of ACTA is that practically free software which reads a proprietary formats like DVD becomes illegal in Europe (like it is currently in America) and I will become guilty for just reading the non-free format..
As a result of ACTA our ISP (Internet Service Providers) will be forced to log and keep all traffic flowing through their (Routering servers). Filters on a local ISP level that will be censoring free speech could also become totally lawful…
Already there are plenty of ANTI-ACTA and ANTI-SOPA propaganda website which are trying to bring some more awareness to the public for the issue… Once an individual is suspected, to fraudulent activity or anything that breaks what is in ACTA is he is presumed to be guilty of crome …
Just watch the two videos below and you will see how terrible the consequence could be if this legislation is integrated with todays Bulgarian government laws. If you're hearing for ACTA for a first time and you live in a country which has still not rafitied ACTA as a local country legislation, make sure you spread the word and let all your friends about the bad impact of this anti-human legislation. We have to really stand up and protest to retain our digital freedom !

The Internet can be censored if Protect IP ACT (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are put in action !

ANTI-ACTA – Hmmm But What can you do??