So you think you have a good reason or excuse to use a photo you found on the Internet without asking the photographer who took it? Let’s see if it can stand the test.
This article started life as a note on why anyone would steal your photo given the number of free or low-cost resources available to bloggers today. As I was writing it, the universe kept tripping me up by throwing articles at me on letting your digital images go, some with very compelling arguments/viewpoints. For example:
- Wired: In Digital Age, Sourcing Images Is as Legitimate as Making Them
- PetaPixel: The Power of Wikipedia: How I Became Gaming’s Most Popular and Anonymous Photographer
If you were to take an informal survey of everyone in your morning train/bus/subway/tram car commute whether they would license their photos in such a manner so as to let other people use them freely, without knowing what the end-product was, I suspect that there would be a split along age lines, with those having grown up from day one in the Digital Age being more likely to let their photos go. Before you jump on me for being ageist, stop and think about how the overall attitude towards online privacy has tipped over the last 5-10 years and what demographic has joined the online community in that time.
And to add to the mix, the flipside:
- *PBS/Media Shift: Who Really Owns Your Photos in Social Media? (Updated 2013 Edition)
- British Journal of Photography: French newspaper removes all images in support of photographers
As a photographer who has encountered her photos used both with and without permission, I still tend to cling to the idea that it couldn’t hurt to ask beforehand, even if my Creative Commons licensed photos both here and on flickr don’t really require it. It’s the human thing to do.
- h/t to @MacManXcom for posting the video on twitter
- Featured Image: David Hume Kennerly [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
* Update 22 November 2013: Photographer wins $1.2 million from companies that took pictures off Twitter