In my line of work, I’m often dealing with figuring out if something falls under the Fair Use or Copyrighted laws and how, if at all, they can be used in a classroom or in a demonstration.
As a photographer hobbyist, I’m constantly amazed at how much people don’t really care if something is copyrighted or that they ignore copyright notices.
For instance, I have this photo of the barbed wire up at Flickr. It has over 6700 views – that’s 5300 views more than any other image that I have. I’ve gone searching to see where it’s linked. I’ve tried finding out why it is getting so many views. I can’t find it. Typically when that kind of thing happens, someone has blogged it. I don’t know who or what or where so I don’t know how my photograph is being used.
If I blog someone else’s photo, I will put a note into their comments letting them know because I don’t want them to think I’m 1) stealing it; 2) using it for a a situation they may not support.
So, it’s sometimes funny when I see that people have used my photography for something and haven’t told me. Or that they are using the low-grade small versions that aren’t great for desktops. In fact, I had one person tell me that I should be proud – she was using my photograph as her desktop that day.
Okay, maybe my cynicism is coming through just a bit. The thing is, I put a lot of work into these things and ASKING before using is usually nice. But not even saying anything…is that fair to the person who is doing the work?
Should I be honored that people find my work good enough for their desktops or should I be peeved that they are just taking it?
Should I be flattered?
I think it really, really bothers me when a company uses my images when they have CLEARLY been marked as either full copyrighted or Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 licensed. This company, for instance, has used at least one of my photographs and several from other Flickr users and has given very few of us credit nor have they even asked if they could. I have written to them telling them to stop using my photo. But it is still up.
Without getting into legal hassles, how does one make sure that people out there understand that the things we do require time, money, and creative process – and isn’t that at least worth a link or a mention? And in the case of a company, money? If they are charging for their design skills and if they are making money off of their site, shouldn’t they spread the wealth?