My Turn: DPP’s Article on FREE Images Examined

I am a voracious reader. I love it. I read all sorts of stuff, and love to learn something new. I also suffer fools badly, so if someone thinks they are gonna say stuff and I will just take it, well… sometimes they get an earful. It is something that makes me who I am. Sometimes I worry that I may piss this group off or that group won’t like me because of something I say. And that may be costly to my business. But it also is costly to me to be quiet when I see/hear/read something that is blatantly false and misleading.

Happens a lot these days. And I choose my battles carefully. The article that I am going to dissect is one that ran recently on Digital Photo Pro entitled: “Misinformation: Copyright Tech”.

Misinformation? Well, the irony is not lost on that at all. Not for me. The article is so full of misinformation, terrible ideas and downright silliness, that I feel a “fisking” is in order. Leslie Burns at Burns Auto Parts has a neat little post about this, and there is a lot more on her site here. And be sure to read her take on CC in a several posts – starting with this one.

As this is a rant, let’s get right to it, shall we?

“There’s no stopping the Internet. Just as independent musicians and the record industry have had to learn to work with unfettered downloading of songs, photographers have to consider the fact that there are a lot of fans out there who want stuff for free, despite what the photographer has invested financially, fiscally and even emotionally.”

Well, where do we begin. No stopping the internet. Got it. What that has to do with stopping people’s actions and the interaction between consumers and creators is lost on me, but the author seems delighted with that statement, so we will let it lie there… ‘cept of course for this.

And in what world have artists learned to “work with unfettered downloading of songs”? What? DRM is over? Is Apple aware of that? Maybe I wont have to get yet another update to my iTunes. Has Garth brooks relented and let people download all his stuff free now? Really? Record companies packing up their desks, covering the furniture and heading home for some more “time with the family?” I think not.

Come visit wth me and learn a bit of creative lighting

“…photographers have to consider the fact that there are a lot of fans out there who want stuff for free…” – uh, OK. I want a Ferrari. Now. I want my mortgage paid. Now. I want some of those little sandwich things they serve at Chili’s with the Buffalo sauce… and I want it all FREE. Now. I want I want I want.

But I, just as I Montoya had to, must get used to disappointment. I will have to pony up for what I want. Cash. Dinero. C-Notes and coin.

“…despite what the photographer has invested financially, fiscally and even emotionally.” Yeah, there is no problem there. We are mostly independently wealthy and have no emotions at all. And I can’t think of any other places where the investment means anything… seriously. Can you?

And, I wonder, why would I as an owner of Intellectual Property acquiesce to the tantrums of those who simply don’t want to pay? Is it that they cannot pay? Really? Nawwww… I have seen too many owners of companies crying with crocodile tears about having no money, then driving away in their new Mercedes. Sure, wealth is relative, but so is giving a shit. I care about people who actually don’t have anything, but not so much about someone who is having trouble picking out cheap drapes for their second summer home.

Just because people want something doesn’t mean they get it. And, let’s be fair… WHO is it who is actually wanting to use the images without any compensation? 7 year olds working on their first paper on the Everglades? Some teen wanting to use the image on her Facebook? Or media conglomerates trying to scre…, er, re-define the compensation of the artist who created the work?

Yep… it’s the people who want to ‘use’ the work to make what… wait for it… wait for it… MONEY. So they can go to the store and buy them cute little buffalo sauce sandwiches that I would like to buy, but all I got was a friggin’ pat on the back! I don’t really know anyone who gives a ratsass about some kid using an image for their report. I don’t.

But if some bigass magazine wants to use my image, it must be worth something…right? Or are there no more art directors, photo editors, art buyers and creative directors who give a shit anymore. “Yeah, we were looking for some shitty shot of a factory and we ran across yours. We don’t give a damn about the magazine and the people who view it or what it says about us, we just want something free… and your crappy shot looks about like all we want. You game? We’ll give you… nothing. And we feel your work is worth it!”

“Oh boy… the magazine is gonna use my worthless image and I feel sooooo cool!”

“Even just a cursory browse through any number of blogs and image Tumblrs, and you’ll find countless images disconnected from their original sources and re-purposed for the web.”

Look through any jail and you will find people who re-purposed stereo gear and computers they ‘found’ laying around in the hotel rooms they broke into. (And yeah, I have heard it before…”If you don’t want people to steal your stuff, don’t have stuff, man.” Thanks. Now Shut Up.) Re-Purpose? Bwahahahaha… is stealing a car and parting it out now ‘re-purposing’ the automobile?

“Elias Wessel, profiled in this issue, is a good example. Every time he shoots a new project, it ends up spread almost immediately throughout the blogosphere.”

Cool. Great. Wonderful. If it works for him, fantastic. So we should do everything HIS way so it will benefit…? I am a little foggy on that stuff. I know photographers who do all kinds of stuff that I don’t do. I know brilliantly successful photographers who do things differently. There is NO one way. And I can only imagine if I took his images off of his site, did a magazine with them and made a bunch of money… he would be thrilled for me, huh? Can I make prints and hang them in my gallery? Re-purposed, of course.

Maybe I should re-purpose them into my site… it really is amazing work, and I don’t care about his financial and emotional investment, you know.

“The fine line between good publicity and outright thievery is a matter open to debate, and it’s often a heated debate at that.”

(continued after the jump)

No, sport, it isn’t. Copyright violation is fairly clear. Good publicity is something I go along with, thievery is when someone does something without my permission or involvement. I think that we can agree on that simple point… you can use what I say you can use, but you cannot use what I do not say you can use. Otherwise it is, exactly, “outright thievery.”

“Many photographers have a laissez-faire attitude about the public enjoying their work or snagging images for desktops and the like.”

Many photographers think domestic light beer is good and that Kanye West actually has talent. So what? Photographers come in all sorts of configuration. Hobbyists, weekend warriors, semi-pro, professional, and hacks. Sorry about that hack thing… but, unfortunately… What other photographers do is swell to chat about, but not necessarily a basis for changing copyright structure.

“Other photographers are adamant about protecting their images from being reproduced in any form. There’s a slew of programs and sites that cater to this demographic, from simple protections like Adobe’s Flash-based websites that prevent drag-and-drop image downloading to more intricate solutions like PicScout and Digimarc, which use a combination of watermarking and metadata indexing as a way to track images.”

Yes. Yes there are.

Myth: Stolen Images Are A Bad Thing

Stolen Images are a Good Thing then? Stolen music rocks? Stolen movies are swell. Hey, movie industry… you know those cloying little shorts you do before the overpriced shitty feature comes on…the ones about stealing? Yeah… those. Obviously you all are not on board here. Come on… spend 100 million bucks on a film and then give it away. We don’t care about what it costs to make it. We want it now and we want it free. Waaaaawaaaaaawaaaaaaa…. gimmmeee it.

What… you got an emotional attachment to the thing? Get over it, turds… you had your day. And next time, could you make some better special effects? Otherwise, I may not actually steal your movie. That’ll teach ya.

It really is not hard to take on this level of stupid is it? Stealing isn’t bad? Sure. OK. How about plagiarism… err, re-purposing of articles and books. And how about all those crazy bitches at the libraries not wanting Google to simply scan every book to be given away free? Loonies. Writers make too much money and get too many hot chicks for us to give a damn about them.

“Still, a screen grab is often as simple as performing a keyboard shortcut, and information can be stripped from an image almost as easily as it is to add it.”

Ohhh.. so it is easy to do, and therefor it is good to do? And the fact that “information can be stripped from an image almost as easily as it is to add it…” seems to be the same thing as counterfeiting currency. Hey, we can scan this, print it out and make our own money… information can be added/stripped out as necessary! Damn… that’s cool.

What could go wrong there?

Of course the fact that someone opened an image and “stripped out” the copyright information means that they know that the copyright information was there and that it may be problematic for them so they stripped it out. Like filing the ID# off of a handgun, or filing down the VIN# on a stolen car.

Dude… you are winning me over here. I can make my own cash (5’s and 1’s) and steal cars as long as it is easy to ‘alter the information’ I can re-purpose it to my ends. This is sooooo great!

“More importantly, the advantages of allowing images to be seen can’t be understated, even if the creator of the images lacks control over how.”

No. No it can’t.

Not sure there has been any more ignorant statement made by someone regarding the issue of artists rights ever. Ever.

To think that this writer has such a limited view of copyright, control of image, brand, and of course the litigation that can be caused by unauthorized and illegal use of an image simply runs right by him like a freight train, then make statements that sound like some sort of ‘fact’ amazes and dazzles me.

“The Internet can make an artist, literally, an overnight sensation. If a media-hungry public embraces a particular project or image, it may be seen throughout the entire world within mere moments.”

Yes. I know of several, dozens of viral things that have made people famous. Hasn’t put a nickel in their pocket, but made them ‘famous’. Woohoo… as they say. And that fame doesn’t necessarily transfer into a living, does it?

And I don’t have any problem getting famous with putting videos on YouTube. Just one question…

Can you not see any difference between ME putting it up there and having it STOLEN and put up there? Can you really say they are both the same?

If I decide to put up a video and get all famous and stuff leading me to more money which I probably would not be able to deal with and would end up in a clinic with some sort of addictive thing looking to trade on my fame for more drugs and… oh, sorry. Hey, that is MY business.

Why would I get all giddy over you putting my video up and YOU getting to be rich and hang with Lindsay Lohan at the rehabs? Explain that, please?

“All of these sets of eyes on your work invariably bring back revenue in one form or another, whether through commissioned future projects, prints or what have you.”

Money quote coming: “…invariably bring back revenue in one form or another…”

Bwahahahaha… yeah. “Hey, if you give me a good deal on this first job, I will make it worth it to you on the next one.” “We need a new photographer with amazing style and the eyes to pull this off. Right away we thought of you. Unfortunately, we have no budget for this, but knew you would just jump…” “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Sorry, heard all that crap before. “Invariably”… what, you think we were born yesterday? Invariably my ass. There is no ‘invariably’ with this stuff. However, “invariably” you have lost the abilitiy to do anything else with that image… great deal for you there.

“The difficulty is that the photographer doesn’t always get the credit.””

Duh… ya think?

A watermark can help, though subtle ones that are overt enough to be read while not blemishing an image are few and far between. Another solution is through proper keywording and tagging of images at the source, usually on the photographer’s website or in the original image files. That way, a photographer can leave a path for resourceful Internet seekers to discover the original location of images.”

Simply amazing lack of understanding how the web works. Keywording may work for those who are smart enough to use pure HTML, but not necessarily for database housed images or flash… and, hey… how’s that work on those screenshots we were told were so cool a few paragraphs above? And who can forget the infamous “information can be stripped from an image almost as easily as it is to add it” statement.

Confused? So am I.

“What to do about people or businesses that gain from unapproved imagery?”

Sue them. Fire them if they work for you. Beat the everlovin’… no, I am not violent. Well, I do have a Louisville Slugger that needs a workout… and I can re-purpose someones kneecaps. But more likely I would simply issue a DRM takedown, sue them or their ISP if it was blatant, or turn the wrath of twitter and flickr users on them. Hey, I KNOW that works. Heh.

“Creative Commons is a good middle ground that photographers and artists can explore to allow use of their works without sacrificing the rights that copyrights provide.”

NOPE, big fellah. Hold on there. It isn’t any middle ground. It is abdication and a losing of rights. Once something is set into the CC it cannot be taken back. The artist can only live with the choice he has made… forever. And what does it mean to “explore to allow use” mean? Seriously?

The rights to have the image EVER be licensed or controlled is LOST whenever the image is posted at any level of CC.

“For a good example of what CC-licensing can provide, Flickr is the web’s largest source of Creative Commons content. The community atmosphere of Flickr encourages hundreds of thousands of people to view and rate images, leading to an incredible promotional tool for photographers who know how to use the site to their advantage (Miss Aniela, for instance)—all at the low cost of $24.95 for a yearly pro account, and they even have limited accounts for free.”

“…Flickr encourages hundreds of thousands of people to view and rate images,…” Well, before I take on the ludicrous statement that accompanies this, I must point out that Flickr has NO “Rating” system at all. That’s over at “rate-my-ass.com” and other more artistic endeavors. There are comments, groups, forums and more… but NO rating.

Is the writer clueless about Flickr, or simply mixing it up with “hot-or-not.com”? We report, you decide.

“…leading to an incredible promotional tool for photographers who know how to use the site to their advantage…” – Yes, that may be true, but you do NOT have to have your images on CC to do that. Most, if not all, of the pros and highest followed shooters on Flickr do NOT HAVE CC, but rather have turned it off. I really find your attempt to link CC with a natural use of Flickr somewhat appalling. I really do, sir.

“Rather than the old-school way of saying, “No, you can’t use this image without paying me,” there are six standardized Creative Commons licenses that provide you flexibility in protecting your works for meeting the ever-changing world of supply and demand.”

We all know what a straw man argument is, right. First we create a false “strawman” statement, and then we knock it down. This is classic strawman… the notion that the ONLY way it worked in the ‘old days’ was to demand money sets up the NEED for the CC license.

But people have always been able to say “sure, you can use my image.” Simple… let’s say it again…”sure, you can use my image…without any money. Take it. Use it. Consider it a gift.”

There is nothing new about that…but the author sets up the strawman of that being too difficult, or non-existent then offers something to cure the ‘ills’ that really don’t exist at all. If you want someone to use your image, let them. I don’t care at all if it is what you want to do.

But remember, this valuable, career enhancing information on using CC is coming from someone who just told you that stealing your image is OK! And now he is trying to sell you on a CC license which simply eliminates your ability to ever, EVER, take control of that image again.


“What’s more, Creative Commons is a global solution for allowing or disallowing uses of your work. The set of copyright licenses are available free of charge at www.creativecommons.org. For more on Creative Commons and your rights as a photographer, go to the Business section of DPP on the web at www.digitalphotopro.com.”

Yeah… global… well, I’ll pass on that. I have never been impressed with this CC thing from the get-go as they say. I wonder why corporations are so supportive for this to happen to photographers, while they continue to take steps to protect their property, real or intellectual? Why the desire for photographers and illustrators to give away their work in the desire to be free of that terrible, time consuming, energy wasting copyright protection thing. I don’t see magazines and other publishers rushing out to give their publications away. (And, yeah… we don’t care about the paper, ink, distribution costs or that crap, remember…)

Hey, that stuff is icky… the CC people will make it easy for you to just make pictures and not have to deal with all the encumbrances of having to have an accountant… you wont have any money to account.

But they will… the magazines and media groups that will happily gobble up your work and give you NOTHING back. They will have subscribers and bookstands and advertising and…

But you won’t. You will just feel soooooo cool that a big-time News magazine used your image, after tacitly telling you it wasn’t worth anything at all.

Golly, on second thought… sign me up!

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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

53 Comments

  1. There’s no stopping you! Rant or not, spot on!

  2. Amen Don and really their arguments are at best LAME, the sole idea that fame will put food in your table with the Creative Commons licence is S T U P I D, the writer of this article doesn´t take into account that this is a way to pay our salaries, get our food, get our medical treatments, pay our bills, pay the taxes, pay the education of our children, etc. It is moronic to think that people can live for free, if they think one could go to the supermarket and ask for a free roast chicken because we are following their advice to give everything for free then they are friggin´ lunatics….

    Their interpretation could be easily destroyed to pieces by an IP lawyer who really knows about the issue and by every photographer who has taken the time to understand copyright laws and that makes this for a living. This article way for them to have a library of images to use as they like…

    Nails and bats Don, that is the investment we should be making ASAP.

  3. Bravo, well said and way to go!
    It’s nice to see someone speak the truth and stand up for photographers. Thank you!

  4. Many have probably had the same thing happen. I had the EPA ask to use some of my images of the Tar Creek Superfund site. Said they couldn’t afford to pat for them. This is the Federal Government speaking. The government can afford to give money to billionaires but not the poor schlub who happens to take some images they like.

  5. Bang on the money, or.. If the newspapers win this round, not on the money… Good rant

  6. You’re so full of shit! Copyright as a notion is dead. Your rant just shows how disconnected form reality and stupid you are. Musicians have learned the hard way that you can only make real money from performing live. So have most photogs. You’ll do too, some day. Until then – eat shit and die, i’m done reading your shitty blog.

    • Oh Chuck… pleeeeze don’t go. Your deep insights and bangon pithy comments are so desired. Seriously. Disconnected from reality?
      Soooo ASCAP and BMI are closed down? Sony music is dead?

      It is always interesting to me how stupid some people can be, but – it is sometimes just a fun ride.

      Hasta la vista, chuckee… don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

      My God… my first “I am so offended I won’t read your blog again…”

      Cool!

      I am still gonna have to think about how a photographer can make money “performing” – but hey, Chuck, that strange little foggy world you live in must be full of ‘dancing photographers’ and colored lights.

      See ya.

      Turd.

      (Notice the porcelain stain we lovingly call chuck gave an anonymous email… that’s because on top of being a fairly illiterate individual, chuck is also a liar. A big fat liar.)

  7. Hi Don,

    A couple of years ago, when I started blogging techie stuff, I really looked into CC licenses. My thoughts were that for my blog on tech issues, if I have some code snippets or procedures, I would label those as CC so that others could use them. My thought process was something like this: These code snippets aren’t all that original, some of them are derived from Open Source which has it’s own licensing, and there was no business case in not doing so. However, I chose not to designate these posts as CC because I feared that if one article is CC, then my articles that include my photos in them could be construed as CC.

    The bottom line is that for truly creative works, there is absolutely no business case or any case that justifies the use of CC! In my line of work (IT Consulting) we never have the rights to IP and anything we develop becomes the property of the customer — just the way it is and has always been. To get any work, you assign your rights to the customer.

    Now, why in the hell would you do something like this if you don’t absolutely have to? It baffles my imagination when professions that have actual COPYRIGHT to their creations don’t use that right! And what’s worse, give it away in perpetuity!!

  8. Don,
    Once again I admire your “no punches pulled” commentary. Glad someone has called bullshit on this article. Thanks man.

  9. Loved your Rant!
    I get the same feeling about the writer of the article you are ranting on as I do for any other convoluted “Argument” someone puts out in an attempt to sway the minds of the uninformed: Follow the Money.
    I wonder if the author of the article got paid to write it? hhmmm….

  10. Way to go, Don! I just sent their editors the following:

    Dear Editors,

    I’d like to thank you and your staff for the enlightening commentary in “Misinformation: Copyright Tech”, it really opened my eyes to new possibilities.

    In fact, you’ve convinced me that I should no longer pay for your magazine.

    Thanks again,

    Gordon.

  11. Maybe Chuck was the anonymous writer of the article? Who else would blabber off such nonsense? I’d like to book a few dancing photogs for my daughter’s birthday party though…

  12. The article is ridiculous, but CC does have a place… It may be hard to believe but not everyone wants to charge for all their work. Otherwise we wouldn’t have things like wikipedia and Open Source software. (Examples from the computer world, b/c I’m only an amateur in the photo world).

    • Joe.
      Of course. But there NEVER has been any rule about not charging. I give lots of stuff away. I don’t need CC to do that.

      And that is the insidious part of CC. The authors try to push that it is somehow NECESSARY. It isn’t.

      If someone wants to use your image, and you think it is fine to let them, I have NO PROBLEM with that. EVER.

      But that is with your permission. And it is your image.

      The authors state unequivocally that STEALING and image is somehow OK.

      And that is not OK in my book, and it will never be so.

  13. Somehow I don’t think DPP would appreciate me walking into a store with my camera, photographing all the pages of their magazine, then posting them all over the internet for free (“re-purposing them for the web”, if you will). Yet they published that article?

    If Chuck were correct, and the notion of copyright is dead, then doing that would be okay and DPP would be just another name on the Magazine Death Watch. Then again, if Chuck is so sure of his position, why hide behind a first name, anonymous email and no website?

    Musicians…ah, yes. I know a few people who are aspiring musicians and have followed the ups and downs of their attempts to break into the industry. Performing live, they were generally doing well to break even; as I heard it once, the only groups who make money touring are the truly huge, everyone else does it at a loss to support, guess what: record sales. Those unsigned bands aren’t making it rich from playing pub gigs, they’re playing live to get noticed, so someone will sign them to a label and they can actually make a living doing what they love. To record anything cost 4-figure sums, even for just a limited run of demo CDs with 3-4 tracks handed out for free or near free at gigs. Much like in photography, where you have to spend money to get set up with gear, advertising, hire talent, props, etc…

    If the only payoff at the end of that is a pat on the back and some “fame”, why bother? As far as I can see “fame” is a pain in the backside, only worth putting up with it it comes along with “fortune”. Yet without copyright, you too can be encumbered by fame yet remain poor. What’s the point of that, again?

    • “Yet without copyright, you too can be encumbered by fame yet remain poor. What’s the point of that, again?”

      Chicks, man. Chicks dig starving artists.

      I’ve heard.

      No, uhh… actual experience in that matter.

  14. Very thought provoking article Don. I’m not familar with the mag you refer to hear but certianly all the UK mags promote their readers to send in high rez copies of their work in the hope of being “published”! Not a dime paid and they fill up 8 or 10 pages for free and hold the rights to publish the work whereever they like after that. So if industry mags are doing that what hope have we?

    This is coming from a starving artist trying to break into the industry but refusing to take up any of these wonderful (free) chance to gain exposure!

    • John.

      It isn’t that I am against Free Exposure, or working on stuff that has little to no monetary return in order to gain buzz, momentum, viewers etc. It is that it must be done under your control.

      Working on an online magazine, where there is no compensation, and the people who put it out are working for no compensation and the whole thing is to do something cool is – well, cool. I have no problem with that at all. I want photographers to think of being in control of their work, not necessarily to only charge money for it. There are a great many places where someone can submit images and build a fanbase without losing control of them.

      A far cry indeed from someone TAKING the image and using it without our control. Some people don’t care. Fine, but they are usually only photographers in the “I got a camera” notion in my book.

      And trying to tell me that it will eliminate all that ‘hassle’ of someone contacting me and asking to use the image, which I may certainly say yes to, is pure unadulterated hogwash.

  15. Hey,
    Greetings from Australia. I have to say I agree 100% with your ‘rant’.

    I read that particular article and almost puked up my breakfast. What a load of complete and utter, unadulterated crap!!!!!!!!!

    May I strongly suggest that you send a copy of this ‘rant’ to them and respectfully ask for a ‘right of reply’ – get them to publish it in the interests of ‘common good’.

    Keep up the great work.
    Cheers.

    • Thanks, Willie.

      I do believe they are aware of it. I hope not to cast the entire magazine into a bad light, though. Just this article.

  16. Excellent timing, Don. I just blogged about why I can’t afford to charge day rates because I often invest multiple days into my “1-day” shoots, and this moron thinks I should work for free. I’m going to call my mortgage company and explain that I’m going to start sending tearsheets for payment. I hope the exchange rate is favorable. A couple hundred catalog photos has to be worth at least a dollar, right?

    • And Daron… it isn’t that he is advocating shooting for free… he is stating “let people steal… err, re-appropriate your stuff cause it don’t matter none. He actually states that if your image is stolen, just shut up and live with it… be excited about it in fact.

      I don’t care if anyone shoots for free. If someone wants to take the stereo system out of their car and give it to a total stranger, I have no problem. It is when the total stranger comes in and takes it without permission that it becomes, well, stealing.

      I’m looking at you, Chuckeee.

  17. Yeah, I’m still not quite understanding that one… If my image has no value and can/should be freely re-appropriated, how could it have had any value to my original client in the first place? I just don’t see a well-defined line between working for free and having my work re-appropriated… Yeah, I see – it but I don’t see it….

    I have a friend who makes a decent living selling microstock. I have to break this news to him next time I see him.

    Do you think it would be appropriate to re-appropriate [insert fave photographer here]‘s work into my portfolio? It’s just an example of the types of images I can “acquire” for my clients… and [insert fave photographer here] should be excited about seeing his work online!

    I guess I just can’t draw a neat little box around this idiot’s argument…. I’m going to stop trying until I get ending hunger and World Peace sorted out….

  18. Stealing sure has payed well to Richard Prince. Unfortunately, not so well to the original photographer. But hey – think of all the free exposure ….

  19. My best photo ideas, shots, locations, poses, tricks and stunts are not shown on the internet. I don’t have to rant much about my stuff getting used without credit.

    Here is my opinion about this topic…..

    If you place your belongings on the side of the road with a sign on them saying “free”, you can expect that someone will at least stop to look at them to see if they are worth taking. If it is taken, you’d better not complain that they didn’t offer you anything for it.

    If you leave your belongings next to the road with a sign that says “for Sale”, you’ll get a different reaction. Some people will still stop to look and move on , or stop and pay you your price, or stop and make an offer. And some may even take the stuff without paying for it. Sure, You can call the cops or sue the bastards if you find the person who took your stuff without paying….

    If you leave your belongings next to the road without any sign and no indication what is going on, someone may take it unannounced, someone may stop and make an offer, and the vast majority of people will just pass it by and do nothing…

    The internet is like a road…. without telling people what is going on, you’ll likely have many different reactions… but the vast majority will not disturb your stuff.

    In conclusion, If you absolutely don’t want anything stolen from the internet, don’t put it on the internet. Yelling bloody murder about the high value of your purloined images is pretty hypocritical when you leave such valuable property laying around in the presence of so many total strangers.

    • I understand Paul, but what do you say to the thousands of commercial and editorial photographers who depend on the internet/web to keep their BEST work in front of the buyers? The buyers expect and demand to see the best work, and I cannot imagine how any photographer could stay in business without putting their best work out for display.

      Your argument seems to be one of it’s the photographers fault. Not sure I buy that at all. I SHOULD be able to leave my car doors unlocked, even though I of course do not.

      But beside that point, we aren’t talking about whether an image online invites theft, we are talking about people telling me I should REJOICE when someone steals my picture. I certainly hope that you are not in that camp. The bigger picture is the CC which essentially removes control of the image from the creator and sets it ‘free’. And further that that ability for someone to set their images free has never existed before CC, or at least it was a huge hassle. Both ideas are patently false. You are most welcome to give your picture away – and still retain ownership of it. Very easy to do, no need for CC licensing.

      “Yelling bloody murder about the high value of your purloined images is pretty hypocritical when you leave such valuable property laying around in the presence of so many total strangers.”

      Well, we certainly will agree to disagree on that. At what height do my walls have to be? Do they need electricity? Are they to be manned? Guarded? Once we turn the responsibility of someone to not get robbed we have created a different sort of society, right? If it is my responsibility to keep my home safe, then I am buying a couple of assault weapons and land mining the yard? And “yelling bloody murder” at someone who is ADVOCATING taking images is certainly not hypocritical coming from someone who does not take images, software, music, or writings from someone else without asking for permission.

      And I do not think the word ‘hypocritical’ works here at all. It is not hypocritical of me to expect people to follow the law, is it? I certainly hope that the legal system doesn’t buy into that sort of thinking.

  20. I’ll give you some background….. I am currently a very successful photographer and before this I was a police officer for 20 years. My experience guides my behavior. I am a student of human behavior, I see what people actually do. I adjust my behavior accordingly. When I am in a place where people are more likely to steal from me, I adjust my behavior to fit the location.

    I consider the internet to be a location…… a high-crime area for intellectual theft.

    I do NOT put my best work on my website, nor do I put many other images that I have a vested interest in protecting. It would be akin to publishing the secret formula for Coke and expecting it not to be counterfeited..

    I disagree with your premise that a person HAS to put out their best work in order to get work. No, you do not need to do this, you only need to put out good representative work, but still work that won’t compromise your methods or proprietary information.

    It is only a recent development … in fact it is the internet… that has allowed such wholesale theft. Before that, you sent your work to a select audience, the editor or creative director. Your work wasn’t subject to as much public scrutiny. Your competitors didn’t have ready access to your work.

    Now the game is different… people believe they have to put it all on the internet in order to succeed. I disagree.

    As for the article you disagree with, consider the source and the target. Take away the internet and see what influence the CC would have on the big picture.

    I am not anti-technology. I am FOR common sense and some restraint. Instead of a headlong urgent dash to the top of the heap which seems to be the modern goal of business, I advocate a steady advancement towards a goal. People steal as a shortcut…. and I won’t supply them with anything to steal that will take away from my efforts.

    • “Now the game is different… people believe they have to put it all on the internet in order to succeed. I disagree.”

      I understand that you disagree, but in the world of commercial photography that argument has been decided for us. You may not want to put your best stuff up for whatever reasons you may have. And they may be valid reasons for you.

      But competitors are putting up the best work to get the calls and the response. Maybe not in the wedding / portrait arena, but in commercial photography arena, the website may be the first thing a client looks at before calling in a book.

      I can’t imagine how a photographer would be able to tell someone that they are showing less than their best. If I want to shoot the next Nike or United Airlines ad or get 10 pages in “Outdoor” I best have some kickass stuff up there… my competition will.

      But that isn’t to say that people have to do anything the same way.

      “As for the article you disagree with, consider the source and the target. Take away the internet and see what influence the CC would have on the big picture.’

      I agree. But the internet isn’t going anywhere, so we are left with what we have. Hypotheticals are not reality.

      The courses of business have been largely carved out for us. We may choose other venues to take, of course. And they may seem perfectly logical to the presets and parameters we have established. We also have to know that they may not match what other people are choosing to do.

      If it is working for you, that is great. But I will continue to assert that acquiescing to theft because of a failure to control it is simply being defeated. And maybe I will someday be defeated.

      But I will NEVER surrender.

  21. Yes you may be defeated, as I may well be. and stating that you won’t surrender may mean you’ll go down with the ship instead of finding a safe way off the sinking vessel.

    In the history of the US, we’ve had the wild west, the frontier, where the rule of law was desired but not enforced for a variety of reasons. In the absence of law, Certain strong individuals arranged for circumstances to suit themselves… whether robbers or robber barons. But as time passed and more people populated the area and the will of the many came to be enforced.

    Again, the internet is a place…. a wild lawless place. It may resemble a place you know, a place with laws that work and residents that obey them. When you occupy space there in that wild place, when you do business there, when you choose to socialize there, the unwritten rules of the place apply more strongly than the written and enforced rules outside the place.

    In time, the rule of law may finally hold sway on the net, but for now enter at your own risk.

    Yes, you may absolutely be convinced that the ONLY way to do commercial photography business is to be on the internet. You may be convinced that you need to put only your best on display and all of it there for everyone to view. Come on….. really?

    You don’t have to have all your galleries open to the public… I don’t. When someone wants more info or more examples of my work I happily oblige them and direct them to customized private galleries.

    It’s like a jewelry store putting shiny things in the window but keeping their best custom pieces out of site for only a pre-qualified customer.

    And if the only people out there that will buy your wares will only do business with you when you make all your secrets open to anyone, did you want to do business with them anyway?

    It’s a buyers market…. so find buyers that you want to do business with. If there are no more buyers like that, then the market is dead as far as you are concerned so you might as well realize it and find something else to do with your time….

    The world does not owe us a living. Neither does the internet.

    • If you are at all aware of my writings, I do indeed feel that no one owes us anything.
      The internet is not and thing that can or cannot owe anything. It doesn’t exist – it is simply a place where users can interact.

      Users will be policed by themselves.

      It is my business to help form that opinion. And it obviously doesn’t exist in every person.

      “When someone wants more info or more examples of my work I happily oblige them and direct them to customized private galleries.”

      If you believe that ad agencies and magazines behave that way, well… I got nothin’. Believe what you want. It is exactly not the way I now them to do business. As a creative director, I may have called a book in, or had discussions where private galleries were produced, but the work on the sites was of the caliber that attracted my attention.

      You seem to be arguing that people who put their work on the net should expect it to be stolen. OK. Fine with me if that is what yo believe. But not me.

      If you think that not giving up means to die with the ship, you have a too narrow view of things.

      I can not find your view (as expressed) in any professional art buyers that I know, nor any magazine editors, ad agency AD’s, graphic designers or PR firms out there. I do not live in a vacuum, and deal with these people on a daily basis.

      They do not expect to see less than the best, nor do they have time – usually – to ask to see something they do not know exists. Would it be prudent to say “I only put second rate work on the site, so call for a password to the good stuff?” Otherwise how would they know, since most people are putting their best stuff up?

      And at the rate of using your own words against you… “It’s a buyers market…. so find buyers that you want to do business with…” is exactly what this is about. Finding and attracting the buyers to my site, to my portfolios, to call in my book… all of it is designed to be appealing to my clients and to be appealing to possible clients. As it is indeed a buyers market, I am still confused how to get the buyers to consider me if I do not show the best work possible.

      Far too easy to go to the next photographer or keep look elsewhere.

      “And if the only people out there that will buy your wares will only do business with you when you make all your secrets open to anyone..”

      I am lost there. Secrets? My work is not a secret. I do not want it to be a secret. It is exactly the reason I work so hard to keep in the view of possible buyers so I won’t become a secret. It may be a semantic issue from someone who does consumer work (weddings/portraits) and a person who shoots for third-party usage (AD’s, AB’s, Editors etc…), so it may be a moot point. Most, if not all of the people I know in this business expect nothing short of the best.

      Thanks for the spirited discussion.

      We will simply disagree.

  22. Gotta go with Wizwow on this one. Yes, the internet is a “high crime” area for IP theft. Which is why we have IP law and can serve a DMCA takedown if our content is infringed. If you are not putting your best work up online you *are* getting passed over for folks who are by the art directors and art buyers. Unless of course, your “second string” work is so good that it will attract an art buyers notice on its own strength, in which case, god bless you – you are a better artist than I (or any other photographer out the for that matter.) The idea that ADs are sitting around looking at second rate work going “hey I wonder if this guy has better work, let me call in a book” is simply laughable, whichever way you cut it.

  23. A lot of AB/CD decision are made these days without bothering to call in a photographer’s portfolio. Having less than your best work on your website is simply not going to cut it, unless you have an awe-inspiring preceding industry reputation. The market it too competitive and many decisions are made online these days for booking a job.

    Here’s a case against showing less than the best too. Say I go out and set up a test shoot for my portfolio. It’s a lifestyle set of a family playing on the beach. Let’s say I shoot 600 photos, delete half of them, whittle down the rest to 30 images I’m proud of and that really capture the spirit of the moment. Of those, I pick two I consider the best to show on my portfolio. Now let’s say I’m worried about them being stolen. So instead of the best two, I show the next best two. My fears become justified as one year later these two images are re-purposed by some shady magazine.

    The real question in this scenario becomes, does it hurt me any less that these two “next best” images were stolen instead of the best two? They’re still great images and still go to further the mission of the magazine who has decided to take them. I’m still cheated and will still seek legal recourse. However, during the year time frame I kept these next best up, I might have lost a job unawares because I missed the slight edge the best two images would have given me. Considering in this theoretical world I seem to be a fan of showing second best work, my whole portfolio is full of it. So I’m showing great images, but not the best. And that’s just enough to deny me that big job.

    The moral is, sometimes people are going to steal your images but your recourse should not be to hide your best work in fear of it, but instead seek legal recourse if/when this happens. I might add it should be a strong recourse too and I think there needs to be more protection of artists’ rights in the law. Otherwise, you could in fact be cheating yourself of more creative and higher paying jobs than you are losing from these image thefts.

  24. Weighing in on those last points…

    If you only put your mediocre work out there, you either don’t treat this as a marketing channel in the first place, or you’re only targeting customers of mediocre imagery. Yes, they may ask for better stuff. But they don’t know you have it. And if they were happy with the mediocre stuff, they probably wouldn’t be willing to pay the premium for the good stuff. Totally cool. Just a different target audience.

    That said, you don’t have to put your best work out right away. Just like client work is only published after it ran for the client. But you can put your best work out there with a few months lag. That still shows off your potential, or close approximate, yet provides a bit of leverage on your best stuff.

    There’s no right or wrong here. Everyone has to use the formula that works for him/her. Judging other’s approach isn’t wise. The only judgment you should apply is when you decide whether to value someone else’s approach and do something alike. This world is full enough of people happy to judge first, do something good later (or never).

    And while the Internet may be making abuse easier, it also has opened many new and completely legal opportunities. For me the net benefit is still positive. And if we never considered entering temporarily lawless territory most of the US as we know it would be quite different. So play, and do your part in encouraging proper behavior in this new environment, which starts with leading by example.

  25. I really think you missed the whole point. CC licenses are ways to grant third parties rights to your works for specific uses. This by definition implies that using them for anything else isn’t OK. In a way CC is a very powerful tool for educating people that everything on the internet isn’t free for the taking. Most people aren’t lawyers and frankly copyright law will give just about anyone a headache.

    If you really understand copyright you realize you can’t do anything with any pictures you find on the web because you don’t know what the status of the copyright is on a work. I continue to notice images without licenses (or even All rights reserved) used all over the place without attribution of any kind. CC licensed works almost always link back to the originals and give proper credit where its due. Isn’t it better to get some benefit or promotion than none at all?

    On the topic of DRM. Evil is the only way to describe it. All its accomplished is to prevent people following the rules from using the property they paid for while not preventing anyone from stealing anything. Record companies are leaving DRM behind because they make less money with DRM than without it. Simple equation, make your product a pain to use and dangerous for the user and consumers just stop buying it. Its not worth the trouble.

    Lastly just because others use CC licenses or encourage you to do so doesn’t mean you have to use them. Nor are you giving away any rights to make other licensing agreements with specific parties. You can still sell your work under any license you wish to someone else because you retain all rights under both copyright and CC. Its an opt in system and one that facilitates sharing and communication but it absolutely doesn’t harm anyone.

  26. I have not said, nor advocated anything so extreme as to only show your second best or even mediocre work. I did state that you should show representative work.

    It’ s been my experience in my part of the photography industry ( weddings/Portraiture/commercial) that your competition will be looking for anything that will give them a leg up, a faster means to success, a short cut. I have been asked questions such as Where was that taken, How did you process that, what equipment(camera,flash) did you use, what were your settings…etc.

    I have decided that I won’t be sharing that information unless you need it… as in a client wanting images from a certain location that is not well known and needing to know how to get there so I can photograph them.

    If I show only my best best best, then anyone can copy copy copy it and I lose the creative edge.

    I show representative work, but I don’t show all of my work.

  27. Wow, I read through the entire post (comments and all) and was surprised that up until the very end of Jan’s last comment a few basic and simple concepts that we all learned as children (i would hope) were never mentioned directly. These being:

    “Just because you can do something doesn’t make it right for you to do it.”

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    and

    “Thou shalt not steal.”

    And as Jan eloquently put it, “So play, and do your part in encouraging proper behavior in this new environment, which starts with leading by example.”

    No I am not trying to be a Bible thumper here — but I think any rational human being can see the value and wisdom in all of these statements. Why anybody thinks it is right to just take something — to STEAL something — just because it is there to take is beyond me.

    Paul’s comments kinda baffle me as well. If one was to follow his beliefs — a attractive female should look into the mirror before going out and say to herself “Damn I look TOO good!” in a worried state and then proceed to ugly herself up. You know — throw on some granny panties, make her breath stink by eating some fresh garlic, not shave her legs etc out of fear of being raped. Yeah! ‘Yeah — it’s too bad — but there are just far too many creepy and sketchy guys out there — so I guess I’m just not gonna be able to let the world see who I really am.’

    Sure — there are gonna be some lowlifes out there that outright steal your work and then turn around and use it commercially. I’ve already had it happen to me. But theft has been around for a real long time and will continue to exist for some time to come I’m sure. Does that make it ok. No it doesn’t. Does it mean that I should cower down in fear and not be the best I can be by showing the work I feel best represents who I am as a photographer? Hell NO it doesn’t!

    Also more on the issue of not showing your ‘best’ work online. Every legit photographer I know shows (at least some) of their best work on their website. The thought of a legit photographer thinking to himself “Oh no, I can’t post that to my website or blog — it’s WAAAAY to good!” is just preposterous to me. Think of the some of the top shooters out there. Mark Seliger, Andrew Eccles, Annie Leibovitz, Martin Schoeller etc. Do you think they are holding out on showing their best work on their websites? I don’t think so! And they all are big enough in the business that they likely don’t even NEED to show their work (whether it be a printed portfolio or a website) to get work anymore.

    Anyway — I know A LOT of photographers and creatives in general — and none of them seem to be against the idea of showing their best work online. I think it would be foolish these days to NOT use the internet to keep some of your newest and or best work in front of potential clients.

    Now I do believe in not showing ALL of your best work. Meaning — not putting every single little thing YOU feel is worthy up on line to be seen. Give them a taste of what you do — but leave them hungry for more. Example — on my site I show a minimal amount of images in each section (nine images). But the actual printed portfolio that corresponds with each section has anywhere from 20 to 25 images in it. My idea is to give them enough to get there interest and want to see more in an effort to get a face to face meeting with them. Then work on selling them on your personality and not just your work. Always have new images that they haven’t seen when you go for that meeting. You can’t do that if you put every single portfolio worthy piece in your book up for them to see right off the bat on your website.

    The thought of not showing work online because it is “too good”? At best it comes across as a pessimistic way of living. But, to me, it really just comes across as the person being very insecure with the work they have up online at the time regardless of whether they really have “better” work locked up in a vault at home or not.

    That’s my 2¢.

  28. “If you really understand copyright you realize you can’t do anything with any pictures you find on the web because you don’t know what the status of the copyright is on a work.”

    you could ask

  29. Also Don,

    I would have not have even given the favor of a response to ‘Chuck’s’ comment on here because it simply reeked of idiocy. Some people you are just better of ignoring I think. He’s a great example of such a person.

    I mean — he discredited everything he had to say just by how he expressed his beliefs.

    A textbook example of ‘stupid is as stupid does’.

    • I felt his pain.

      I wonder what color the sky is on the planet he dwells upon. I certainly hope it wasn’t the guy who wrote the article. His name was “Staff” – which, when you think about it makes it even more scary. Eeek.

  30. Quote: Lastly just because others use CC licenses or encourage you to do so doesn’t mean you have to use them. Nor are you giving away any rights to make other licensing agreements with specific parties. You can still sell your work under any license you wish to someone else because you retain all rights under both copyright and CC. Its an opt in system and one that facilitates sharing and communication but it absolutely doesn’t harm anyone.
    _____

    Sadly, that is EXACTLY the sort of misunderstanding of the CC system that is so very dangerous. It cannot sell any work already licensed just once via CC because that license is irrevocable and self-replicating. That is, you license it to Bob under CC and 100 of Bob’s friends like it and take that image and, following the rules of the CC license, put it on their sites with the same license. Each of those friends do the same, ad infinitem. Because the original licensor has no effective way to know all the downstream licensees (Bob’s friends and their friends and their friends, etc.) that image cannot be licensed with any sort of exclusivity to any future client.

    And NONE of those licenses may be terminated except in the case of the licensee (the downstream people you can’t really track) violating the terms of the CC license, which you’ll never know about. Thus one CC license effective equals releasing the work into the public domain…maybe, if you’re lucky, with attribution downstream, but probably not in reality.

    CC licenses are, in the users’ minds, “free” and are now assumed to be the norm. So, they devalue work and harm lots of creative professionals.

    Most of all, they are completely unnecessary. Everything they do we could always do, we just didn’t because people (who didn’t work for the great content aggregators like Google that make their money off free content) knew better.

  31. Thanks Leslie,

    For those who are not familiar with Leslie, she is one of the foremost photography consultants in the business. For more of her insights into the business of commercial photography, please visit her blog here and her site here

  32. If you want my honest opinion Paul, you’re too worried about what everyone else is trying to do and not focusing on what you can do enough. I gladly share with others information on how I put photo shoots together, what I’m looking for, what equipment I’m using etc. You know why? Because my work is more than just the mechanics and setting. People can copy the technicals, but what they can’t copy is my unique vision in what I’m creating. If they’re trying, they’re just playing second fiddle. My photography is an experience I put together for client and team, from beginning meetings to product delivery. That is mine and mine alone. I think you need to look at what you’re trying to say as an artist/photographer, and less about the technicals which are only a part of creating images.

  33. BTW… thanks to you all. We may disagree about things, but that is what makes us who we are. With the exception of ‘chuck’ rhymes with – never mind – it has stayed civil and informative.

    I only wish more discussions went along like this.

    Thanks again to all participants in this great discussion.

  34. “Photographers have to consider the fact that there are a lot of fans out there who want stuff for free, despite what the photographer has invested financially, fiscally and even emotionally.”

    That line right there passionately digusted me. Once the writer added in “emotionally” I was ready to puke. How dare someone even write this? What kind of callous gall would be needed to write this sentence?

    The writer needs to consider the fact that I don’t have to “consider” crap. The “fans” I have hire and pay me to do create. Even my FAMILY MEMBERS pay me many times when I photograph them (though with us, cash + homecooked food is always acceptable ;) ). If my own sister and two best friends can value my work, my time and my profession to pay me, I need to understand why I should be considerate of those who care nothing about my livelihood at all.

    I think your rant is not really a rant but a passionate essay informing us of truth about our passion. Now photographers can decide when to do free work–when to allow images to be used. But it is OUR DECISION of when. Period.

    For example, when I shoot an event and it’s not for a specific client who hired (i.e. community event) I simply email photos of folks to them if they want them to use on Facebook at no charge. I don’t mind at all. How is that the same as someone coming to my Facebook, dragging and saving already compressed photographs to their desktop to compress them a second time upon their upload thus decreasing the quality while my copyright is on them and will have people thinking that was the original appearance of the photo. Then say they want to crop my copyright out and use the image on their website also. Because they “like” my work this should be ok? (Versus someone politely emailing me, receiving a copy of the event photo via uncompressed by Facebook to use as their profile avatar with my copyright remaining, but at my choice to do so.)

    I suppose the author would suggest I thank the people who burglarized my house in 2005. I suppose they had “warm thoughts of me” while they were pawning my Canon film SLR and ingesting my stolen prescriptions. The article is ludicrous and I am glad that you took a stand against it.

  35. I also think the whole idea of “I can’t give out my ‘secrets’ because then someone can copy them and put me out of business” is a red herring – IMHO, if someone can “copy” your work that closely just based on learning your technique, then your work is not that good to begin with as it simply relies on a technical gimmick and not personal vision – which can’t be “copied” no matter how many secrets and techniques you give out. Throughout my evolution as both a painter and photographer, I have been privileged to study with incredibly talented and successful artists, who have *zero* hesitation to give out all the nuances and “secrets” of their techniques – because they know that you may be able to copy their brushstrokes or their lighting scheme, but you can’t copy their vision.

    Look at Dave Hill. How many thousands of photographers are copying his technique right now. You think they are taking his business? Look at Joey L. – he’s got a whole set of DVDs devoted to his technique and process. I wonder is those are hurting his business too… In the world where photographers get hired for vision – technique is almost an afterthought. *Every* one of them has top technique, that doesn’t even enter into the equation. No one is going to steal their business by copying their lighting scheme.

    I mean no offense, this argument (share everything vs. keep secrets unto death) is as old as the art world itself, but in my experience the folks who are really at the top of their fields largely do not hesitate to share their knowledge and then some…

  36. Adding to what’s already been said about sharing.

    In many genres of photography it actually takes a team to make it work. And the better the team, the more likely you can pull off a great result. And what does it take to build / work with a great team? A good reputation. Because everyone of these team members has a choice to work with you, or to work with someone else. If you’re either cheap or a pain in the neck, you’ll have a hard time out there.

    I’ve seen a few very talented photographers. And while they do terrific work, and have a few groupies hang on to them, you mention their name to anyone in the industry, and they roll their eyes in disgust.

    Whether it’s your attitude about being protective of your work, or willing to answer a simple question, it all adds to your reputation. People like hanging around and helping people that are fun, and that are willing to return a favor, or be generous where appropriate. Just today I had a client tell me that they enjoyed working with a photographer that they didn’t have to hound for the images. Small detail, big difference. And hey, not a secret technique.

    If you read a business book, the biggest successes come from being the first in doing something, not just doing something someone else already did. So if you did it first, why do you care if someone copies what you did. You should already be a step ahead of where the copy cats will be tomorrow. That’s the only way you will have long-term success. Is it hard? Sure. Lot’s of sweat. Better get back to it… I think we covered all the bases :-)

  37. In response to the last two comments, my comment was addressing the matter of allowing theft of images, not whether or not photographers should share their tips and secrets–again by CHOICE. Photographers can share anything they want by choice. An article telling photographers to “get over” theft because people like free stuff doesn’t cut it, however.

    Sure other photographers might like “fun” people or whatever but if they are solely relying on the techniques of others and creative common images to download and copy to a T, they have a bigger personal problem than whether or not their images are stolen.

    As far as a client “hounding” for an image, a PAID client automatically recieves their photographs–that’s an obvious. Someone trolling my facebook is not necessarily a client and needs to be an adult and accept the fact that their are laws in place and a simple ASK via email to use an image is not that hard. People go to work every day, complete college degrees and raise families; all of those are much “harder” than sending a simple email.

  38. Matt, I have to say I agree with you 100%. My work is more than a sum of it’s parts. I could tell anyone what my camera settings were, where I shot something and what lights I used, and they still couldn’t re-create it. And if they could, I don’t care for a few reasons. Eventually their in-ability to create new work at that level will catch up with them, or they’ll raise their game and improve their abilities. Either is a good thing. (A rising tide raises all ships and all that).

    Paul, you write, “I have decided that I won’t be sharing that information unless you need it… as in a client wanting images from a certain location that is not well known and needing to know how to get there so I can photograph them.”

    Were there not people who helped you out when you were learning? Beyond the karma argument, which I won’t make, there is a certain responsibility to pass on what you’ve learned to others – otherwise you’re just being a selfish jerk. Have some confidence in your uniqueness, in your vision – an attitude of openness helps us all.

  39. Don,
    I really think this guys onto something. As a matter of fact I’m thinking of “re-appropriating” his ideas into every facet of life. Here’s one…

    Myth: Rape is a bad thing.

    Women are going to have to realize that they have “fans” who adore them & get rid of the old fashioned idea that they have the right to say “no”. The fine line between good sex and outright rape is a matter open to debate. But what about women who want to keep control of their bodies? Prostitution is a good middle ground.

    On the other hand, after pulling my head out of my ass, this sounds like an awfully idiotic line of… uh, thinking? No. Self indulgent BS…yeah that’s it.

    Seriously, great job & thanks

  40. Well, as a matter of example, a breaking story with one of Seattle’s well known senior photographers (http://www.facebook.com/iammichellemoore) who just discovered a website (http://www.torigreenphotography.com/) in another part of the country who apparently has built a large portion of their online presence with images copied from other photographer websites. The whole nine yards, website, blog, FB, twitter. Looks like she misappropriated images from at least a handful of different photographers (if you’re into wedding/seniors may want to look just in case).

    In this case the Internet seemed to have helped the original crime, but was equally helpful in discovering it, and the reaction was swift. Arguably some people overreacted, but it shows that the Internet can unleash an incredible lynch mob in seconds. Again, not unlike the early years of our country.

    It seems rather short sighted (apart from being illegal) to build your presence and marketing based on material that you’re unlikely to be able to duplicate. Even more short sighted to use photographs of someone who has a very distinct and readily identifiable style.

    Which goes back to an earlier point on ‘best work’. The best work is as likely to be stolen, yet more readily identifiable and recognized by many ;-) For everything else there is tineye.

    Anyway, thought I’d share it to flavor this discussion. It’s strayed from the original CC topic a bit and into other forms of ‘free use’ of images.

  41. I’ve had work online since 1999 and even back then people were snagging it. Over the past 11 years I’ve seen my work disseminated all over the web in hundreds of places. I’ve seen it on TV on one of the BS reality shows. One time I even saw it being projected on the cyclorama during a local play that I was dragged to! All uncredited and unpaid. God only know how many times it’s happened without my knowledge.

    None of this stops me from putting my best work online. The reason why? To put it bluntly, the internet has given me my career. I was doing fine art night photography starting back in 1989 and in that 10 year period before the internet no one knew my work existed except friends and family. Once I put it online it was amazing to see the popularity of my imagery snowball, leading to two monographs released by major publishers and gallery shows in LA and NYC. I make more money every year with my photography than I did the previous year. There is no question, that without the internet, I simply wouldn’t exist as a photographer.

    Sometimes it’s hard for me to resolve that dichotomy between those first 2 paragraphs, because I hate giving it away for free. I get requests from magazines to run my pix every week and 9 times out of 10 they don’t pay, so I say no. But it’s impossible to expect that someone that’s never been published before who suddenly has a chance to appear in a magazine to say no, even if it’s for no pay. The human ego is a fragile thing and these publishers know that and take advantage of it.

    I tell my rule of thumb to every young shooter that will listen: “You should never give your work away to someone that’s making money from it. If they are making money using your imagery as content, you deserve some of that money.” Most of the time they give in tho. It’s just human nature and as such, it’s hard to begrudge them for it. What they need to understand tho, is that appearing, unpaid, in a magazine is no big deal. Do it once and you will be totally over it.

    Every store knows they lose a % of business due to shoplifting and internal pilferage. That doesn’t stop them from staying in business, because they know the profits outweigh the losses. This is no different.

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