Thursday, June 26, 2008

the desirable colorado street bridge

the photo from which the banner image at the top of this blog was cropped gets seen every day, but has never been featured as a daily photo. due to some recent events, it deserves to make it's debut today.

long story short, earlier this week i was contacted by an online company who apologized for stealing the title banner image from the top of my blog and using it on their site. an intern had "borrowed" my work and passed it off as their own. fortunately the company was honest enough to inform me because i probably would have never seen the picture in use. it turned out to be random chance that they stumbled upon my blog and found the controversial image. the situation was resolved and the image was taken down but it raises an interesting question - how do you protect your online photography?

adding a watermark seems to tarnish the artwork, and even those can be airbrushed out. should we just take it as a form of flattery when our work is used, regardless of if permission is obtained? and what should the consequences be if you discover that someone has stolen your image? i'd love to hear your comments on this issue. let's get a discussion going on this.


ben wideman said...

Okay, I thought more people would be interested in commenting on this subject, but maybe I rambled on too long.

Seriously though, comments are always welcome, even if you think I'm way off base.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

You didn't ramble at all. Just a very difficult question to answer. Instead of taking down the image, I hope you inquired rather or not they might be interested in purchasing the right to use your photo.

ben wideman said...

Ya, they declined to reimburse me for my work, so it was taken down.

You're right, a tricky question!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Anyhow, If you go to the Pasadena Daily Photo Blog's comments on the June 14 post, you will find a discussion and proper links to these issues. It's towards the end. Look for .

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Don't know what happened but look for

Pasadena Adjacent said...

and again... uselaine. Sorry Ben. The code isn't allowing me to link Elaine. Sorry Elaine

ben wideman said...

wow, 40 comments on that post! You're right, that was discussed at length, and what is found there is very helpful.

~mona~ said...

I used to take a lot of concert pictures. I had friends who had asked me if they could post them on their band websites and I said, "sure."

A few months later I see a concert poster in a window in Sierra Madre! The poster is dominated by a beautiful photograph of the band. Mine!

I was flattered. When I asked the guys about it, they said that they had told the promoter that they could use any of the images on their website... and mine was there.

I think if people are passing them off as their work and getting credit or paid for them it is immoral or a crime. There are ways of disabling right click saving, but folks who are savvy can capture images (maybe not in sufficient size to make them worth using though.

Nice blog, Ben.

ben wideman said...

wow, having your image displayed as a form of marketing is quite a stretch. I can imagine that didn't feel great. It seems like there is a fine line between promoting your art and being taken advantage of.

Petrea Burchard said...

Some people don't understand why artists should be paid. I have a hard time understanding why they think an artist's work is less valuable than that of, say, an accountant. If someone wants a product they should pay for that product, be it art, food, skill, whatever. Each person's time is valuable, each person's skill is valuable.

Regardless of time/skill/value, we also have laws. Copyright laws. I'm currently in the process of trying to explain this to a blogger who copied an entire post of mine and passed it off as his. Thank you, Mona! Yes, it's immoral. At least he's not getting paid for it.

I'm glad to have found this discussion. It's an issue near and dear to my heart.

Jim Klenke said...

Touchy subject for sure.

Without permission, its a big NO, and may be a no depending on what the person wants to use my photos for.

I have had a few people ask to use some of my photos. One was the webmaster for the Chamber of Commerce/City of Terrell websites and the other a local business, both said I would get credit. I said yes to both.

I wouldnt be against selling rights to use my photos, but I would hate for someone to use photos I have taken in place of hiring a real photograher just to not have to pay them a standard rate, or have someone offer to pay me and undercut someone else who is trying to make a living.

There is one local person out there who lifted my photos, put them on a slideshow posted them to youtube. No big deal, he isnt trying to make money off of them but he passes them off as his own, kinda creepy really. OK now I rambled on.

ben wideman said...

No, no. I think rambling is great!

You're right though, that is a little creepy.

Benjamin Madison said...

I've always been asked (so far as I know!)

I could be wrong but my understanding of copyright is that by posting your photo on your blog you establish copyright and, should someone take your image and make a great deal of money from it you could probably successfully sue.

Aside from that I think it is possible to define acceptable use and your rights through creative commons licencing. See

ben wideman said...

that's helpful! thanks for sharing.

Petrea Burchard said...

Benjamin Madison is correct. By the very act of creating your work, you have the copyright on it. Proving it is a more difficult matter, but the law says you own the work you create simply by creating it.

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