So I have been digging into copyright issues of late. This all started when I was re-informed that sites like Facebook and Pinterest have a clause in their ToS that states images posted on these sites can be sold by them to any one for any amount of money without so much as a howdy-de-do to the original poster. So yes that means any copyrighted images as well as photos of you and your family are up for grabs.
Now I had first heard of this change before I was ever on facebook and so it went into the circular file labelled “not about me” and I promptly forgot all about it. But recently fate put this concept in front of me again and I’m like “Whaaaaat?”
Now I want to say I don’t plan to get all fanatical about it. Getting robbed in some small way or fashion happens all the time to artists. Personally I know of t-shirts that were made illegally as well as a wall mural. Notecards that were not printed by me have also surfaced. But this I think is bigger and has the potential to really ruin an artist’s livelihood.
So I began digging deeper and realized as someone who makes my living selling my images this could really ruin the whole shebang.
The Plot Thickens
Both Facebook & Pinterest have disclaimers that say things like, they own posted images once posted to their platforms and pinterest states that the pinner must have permission to pin items and that they, the company in fact are not responsible for folks who do inappropriate pinning. When a person signs up for either of these platforms they agree to these terms with the click of a mouse button.
And now Bing has made it ever so easy to pin your favorite whatevers and in fact has gone so far as to offer a tool that you can download so you can pin anything regardless of whether the site has a pin feature. This nifty convenience also bypasses any no-pin code placed on images. (yeah, seriously!)
So Where’s The Harm?
I’ve asked myself this for months now.
Well … if an artist works really hard to be unique and creative and that in and of itself creates collectors. Now let’s say anybody admiring said artist’s style could make copies for themselves with the amazingly simple click of a button … what do you think that does to the market for which the creative individual worked so hard to build and live off of?
Pinterest in particular is creating a world of takers. It’s easy and free so why pay? Hey everybody’s doing it…
But If You Don’t Want It Taken, Don’t Put It Online!
That is the argument one hears over and over again. From every pinner slapped by Pinterest after an artist has issued a takedown notice, or by every blogger using other’s images to illustrate their blog by Google after an artist has issued a DMCA or even major corporations thinking that if it’s been pinned a million times, why should they pay for an image when it’s free from pinterest.
I find this a flawed logic. It’s like saying it you don’t want your writings plagerized don’t be published.
To me someone using my image without my permission is no different than if they walked into my gallery or home and took money off my counter.
So What’s A Gal To Do?
Well I’m back to making it less appealing for someone to pay Facebook or imagery theives to desire my artwork. This means changing my copyright notices on each image to being larger and more invasive. Sadly this means most likely I’ll need to do all of them on my website as well.
Some of you may remember I included a copyright notice at the bottom of my art images posted online. But I kept it small so it was unobtrusive and coincidentally easy to chop off the bottom of the image for any poachers.
In the next post or two I plan to talk more about ways in which to make your images less tempting and perhaps show how to create a very easy watermark in Photoshop.
I have been reading a bunch of articles, blog posts and news statements about various artists fight to keep their right to their own images. Here’s one that is over long in my opinion but is written with wit and whimsy in a fairytale style. Purple Cow … A Cautionary Tale