Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Photography

 Old Tucson, Arizona

Because I came across a discussion elsewhere and posted a comment regarding it, I thought I'd expand on it here. It's regarding photography and the use of someone else's images. I've been reading some people who are unhappy that their images have been taken without recompense.

I get how they feel, but the truth is if I go searching on Google for a photo of a certain subject, I will sometimes come across mine. The fact that I put my photos onto my blog means they can be taken by someone else who is ignorant of the copyright I put on the original page where it appeared.

This is a major issue for the Internet as bloggers who use someone else's image without permission can be sued-- and have been. Sometimes the fees can be high enough to shock. [a warning regarding use of images]

When I have seen images I want from a Google search, I have contacted the photographer and sometimes found they don't even own the image. It belongs to a newspaper. The people who might use my images with permission/or without have those images showing up as theirs unless they give credit (and those who ask permission always say they will do that).

A few times I have wanted to use something I owned, but the artwork and words were not mine. Tarot cards are one example. The fact that I owned the cards did not mean I owned the right to reproduce them elsewhere. I contacted the person who created them, explained how I wanted to use my scans and received permission. If they had asked a fee, I'd have not done it; but in that case I wasn't using them in a commercial way. If I had wanted to use one on say a book cover, I'd expect to pay something for the right.

Basically the safest thing to do is never use anybody else's image without permission and be sure whoever has it has that right.  I have been asked by the way about using mine and given permission almost always when it's a blog that I think is in sync with mine.

If you are though the photographer, and you put your images out on your blog, you are at risk because they will show up not just there. The answer is put them out small enough that they cannot be enlarged sufficiently to be used and put a watermark into them. That's no guarantee but it makes it a lot harder. If you reduce their size, they don't have the value allowing someone else to reproduce.

The truth is though that everything we put online-- words and photos-- can be taken and not always by someone who means ill by it. They may have just come across it on a Google search and thought it was fair game. Google has a notation alongside that it's not but how many read that?

And if you take photos certain places, it's not automatic that you can use them professionally. For instance when we visited the movie studio and tourist attraction Old Tucson, we asked if we could use the photos we took. They said yes. There are places we have been where the site itself is considered a creation of the owner and you cannot use the photos for business which means sell them or use them as I might on a book cover.

Same is true of images of people which is why it's safest to buy them from somewhere like CanStock where there is an agreement to protect you. Crowd scenes might work and not get you in trouble but a specific photo of someone, you better have it in writing that they allow you to use it. CanStock sells images royalty free and that's the ideal if you are wanting them for a book cover or any commercial use.

1 comment:

Tabor said...

I came across this same article on copyright. I took an all day course on it once and it is complicated. I have a copyright statement on my blog, I downsize the majority of my photos and the ones I am trying to sell are on a site that tries to prevent stealing. But, as you point out, it does happen.