Protect your Copyright
I am disturbed by the many tactics of those in the world who seek to gain rights to use other’s work for little or no charge, or through outright subterfuge.
Typically, I abhor competitions and contests. I am one of those people who measures his skill by my ability to be better today than I was yesterday. To enter some type of photographic cattle drive where thousands of images compete for some pittance of a prize and some modicum of recognition is belittling of my skill and the quality of my craft. A professional doesn’t enter the county fair-they get paid for their work. Freebies and prizes are for the amateurs.
Now, it appears there is financial incentive to not compete. Pro Imaging has recently put out some information regarding competitions from such major players as Adobe and National Geographic. It seems that photographers are signing their rights away to enter these contests. Read the Article here.
With the advent of millions of high-quality digital photographs out there, the consumers of photography are finding ways, legal if not moral, or blatantly stealing images. This Washington Post Article details how easy it is to find that you have been robbed. Next time you watch TV look for pictures made by you.
My own fight with Microsoft over their allowing viewers of this Space and others to go straight to Snapfish to illegally print my photos, is well documented on my personal blog. Essentially, anyone liking my picture can click a button and get a print sent to them. Microsoft and Snapfish benefit but I, the creator, copyright holder and rightful owner come up with nothing.
I made the mistake of sending this photo to a local TV station for use in their Weather Segment. After sending it, I was sent a link to a page that notified me I had given up exclusivity to the image. I wrote them back and informed them that I had not relinquished rights and that I was contacting legal to enforce my copyright. I was saved in that my original image did not meet their acceptance guidelines. (I had the 4×3 ratio slightly wrong and failed their criteria)
I wonder how many of us submit photos to CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC, the local paper, some contest, a national magazine or whatever without reading the fine print.
Read the fine print. Don’t give away rights to your image. If you find you have been hoodwinked. Send them a Cease and Desist so that you have grounds to prove later that you are defending your copyright.
Put Copyright Notices on your images-all of them.
Rikk Flohr © 2008