Old cellphone pictures, texts published in book
Think about every picture and text message you've got on your phone right now. Now imagine if all of it ended up in a book for everyone to see.
That's exactly what has happened to more than two dozen people, some possibly from Sugar Land, whose cell phone pictures and text messages are featured in a book that's selling on Amazon right now.
Local 2 has warned you about protecting your personal information on your cellphone by erasing your data before you sell it or throw it away. Most people worry identity thieves will go after passwords and financial information, but a New York artist found a different use for personal pictures and text messages.
The book is called "Razrs." There's no written story, just pictures and text messages. All of them were retrieved by artist Kyle M.F. Willaims from 28 cellphones sold by a Sugar Land cellphone repair shop on eBay.
By phone, Williams said he purchased 45 Razor cellphones for $89 to use for an art project. When he received the package and realized most of the phones still had pictures and text messages on them, he decided to use the phones for a different project.
Williams calls the collection of texts and pictures "a moment in time."
Local attorneys said it may violate common law copyrights. University of Houston constitutional law professor Peter Linzer said you own any picture you take, no matter how mundane. Someone who took the cellphone photos would have to come forward and file a copyright infringement lawsuit to find out if the common law copyright would hold up in court.
Regardless, the copyright violation is certainly not clear cut. Copyright attorney Charles Vethan of Vethan Law Firm said some would argue that the phone's owners should have wiped their phones clean before they sold them or ditched them. You can follow the manufacturer's instructions that came with your phone to find out how to do that.