18 July, 2013

Important article on damages of infringement

I don't usually post nearly the exact same thing on both my blogs, but this is an important article I wish everyone would read and take to heart.

"How Image Sharing Sites are Undermining Photography," by photographer Tara Bradford, July 18, 2013

My thoughts on this article and this issue:

This could as easily be about infringement of images of paintings, sculpture, etc, or for that matter, poetry and writing.  Visual artists do reverse image searches to ferret out infringements but so far plagiarism checkers for writers that I've seen are not as good and some writers simply google portions of their writing.  I've also seen some evidence that plagiarized text on a PDF may not turn up on some plag checkers. I could be wrong on that as I am not a writer or poet so I rarely do those kinds of text searches.  Anyway...

This article was posted on a Facebook group this morning, and many artists I know, (myself included), are well acquainted with the author's struggles to protect her copyrights.  

Infringement really does cause damage. It's not flattering and it's not really free promotion. (If its unattributed the 'free promotion' excuse is especially stupid.)

People may not understand that an image IS a product. It can be used as illustration, advertising, to generate ad income, support causes, make greeting cards and other products like pillow covers, key chains, mousepads, reprints, knock off versions of the art from Chinese sweat shops, and more.  All without the artist or photographer being asked or paid.  

It is no wonder that many are marking their images with a giant name and copyright notice now, even though that does mar the image. But it also mars it for many unauthorized uses that cost artists money and time.
One of the biggest myths I'd like to see die, along with the misuse of the word 'sharing,' is the false belief that everything online is in the public domain.  It isn't.  

These people may be confusing 'public place' with 'public domain,' but either way, it exhibits ignorance and a sense of entitlement that makes image owners clamp down.  

The public domain applies to almost nothing online, despite increasing appearances of even search engines to make it easier to infringe than ever.

If you are someone who needs to use public domain images, beware of sites that offer images they claim are in the public domain. They may have been uploaded by infringers so anyone using them is subject to being accused of infringement, too. Problems with False Creative Commons Licenses: http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2013/06/11/the-problem-with-false-creative-commons-licenses/

Thank you for reading!