I very much feel photographers including myself have been abused and companies like Google and Facebook have profited off abusing us. This is old news though. I didn't read the whole thing but I will get to it later. I realize that providing a certain amount of free content is part of promotion but I do wish companies would do their part in educating about copyright and make it easier for unauthorized content to get off their sites.
Disclaimer: The following comment is not aimed at anyone here or on FAA but is made as a genera comment about all artists and other business trying to exploit everything they can for free but are dead set against paying for anything.
As far as I am concerned that is a two way street. We expect to get and take every single thing we can for free and even try to scheme and connive how to get as much as we can and more. Then bad moth the platforms for having the audacity of trying to sell us advertising.
For the most part, the people that own the platforms are not part of the problem. They don't post anything. It is the people that join and participate in Social Media.
Everyone wants a free and unrestricted Internet and that is what these people are trying to give you.
If a person does not want to be "abused" don't post your images on the Internet. Pretty simple solution.
The direct download link in Google Images was TERRIBLE and encouraged widespread copyright infringement as well as the attitude that everything on the Internet is free. Everyone downloaded images and never even saw who made the image or it's copyright status. This was designed on purpose. Like all of the platforms, it is designed to keep the traffic on Google. It's no different on Facebook. Try posting a link to an image versus an actual image on Facebook. Same image. Displays almost the same on your phone or computer. Facebook will give the photo posted directly on their site MUCH higher reach. They only make money on clicks within their own respective platforms. And yes, you don't get anything for it.
At the same time, whether you like it or not you NEED these platforms to be successful anymore. Otherwise nobody sees your work. Not posting your images on the internet if you don't want them stolen is about the dumbest excuse I hear from people I have caught with my images. You have to post them online, but you have to be smart about it.
There are copyright laws. Understand them. Learn to register your copyrights. Understand the legal implications of a watermark, particularly in the USA, Australia, and Italy. And be prepared to defend the rights to your images if someone abuses them for their own profit. It's much easier than it used to be to deal with these problems.
I don't disagree with anything you say Tom, but the fact is, the public perception is what it is. And if the perception is that as far as they are concerned, what they see on the Internet if free then that becomes their reality and that is what we have to deal with.
Facebook has 2.45 Billion users. Realistically we have zero chance of changing even a tiny percentage of those minds. The biggest factor is they do not want to be educated, they don't want to change their minds. And most of those that are already educated don't care either.
It is now and it will continue to be the price we have to pay if we want to sell our art using Social Media and not pay directly to do so.
Most of the people that spend time and money trying to "fight" this will never recoup anywhere near as much money as they will lose in time and money trying to fight it.
"Most of the people that spend time and money trying to "fight" this will never recoup anywhere near as much money as they will lose in time and money trying to fight it. "
Exactly Floyd, this is why I prefer to ask one scraping my work for their site, for example, to link back to me instead of take it down.
But the bigger picture, as Tom suggests, is how to use the platforms where everyone gets a fair deal. The author of the article linked suggested to bury our images in copy, I'm talking with him on Twitter and here is what he repeats from his article:
"My way forward at the moment is to integrate photos into something too big for Google/FB/Twitter to instantly give away. You still keep losing individual photos to the regurgitation mill, but you're at least left with something that people can't get from anyone but you."
Interesting read. It's sad how many people and companies think it's okay to take and use a photographers work without their permission. We all see this every single day. Just look at facebook and you're going to find several friends who have taken an image they found on google and are using it as their cover page without the artist knowledge and without recognizing the artists.
I've posted it here before but I met with a fairly new graphic designer a few years ago and was amazed at how a graphic designer fresh out of college didn't understand that photos available on the internet are not all free. He bluntly told me he thought ANY photo on the internet was available for him to use for free for his clients!!! It took me an hour to explain it to him and he finally understood it. This marketing guy was using photos he found on the internet for his clients website, flyers, ect without the artist permission or acknowledgement.
There are many photographers, like me, who solely depend on photography to feed their family. It's the only income we have for our household of 3 and it's sad how all full time photographers work countless hours, 16 hrs a day 7 days a week for a lot less then min wage.
Your comment, Jennifer, makes me think about the articles by Dan Heller ..quite dated, yet quite interesting if not more relevant. Keep in mind when reading these how Sean build FAA here being obsessed with the search engines. What we have here is a great business model to expand on ... no?
That is exactly the false perception that I am talking about Jennifer.
That thinking has become the predominate thinking of over 2.4 Billion Facebook users. It is like toothpaste, once out of the tube there is no putting it back in.
It is estimated that there are 2.1 million professional artists in the USA. Of the 2.4 Billion worldwide Facebook users, 223 million are in the USA alone.
There is no way in the world of ever educating people to the facts or to what the "real" reality is. Does that mean we just give up and don't ever try? Of course not, but we can only do what we can do. After that we have to accept the fact that it is always going to be a losing battle.
So from the article I posted the link to it says this:
"Yes, Google has turned what was supposed to be a search engine, into a content distribution system that more often than not, cuts the copyright holder out of the loop. Let’s just think about that for a moment. There's no need for Google to give away the image. An image search engine only needs to display thumbnails and refer people to the hosting sites. A site that distributes the actual content is a scraper, not a search engine"
So I went to check out Google, because I've not used it in years, and found that all my FAA images have a little link that says 'in stock'. When you click on that, it brings you to my picture page on FAA or Pixels. So I guess this sentence from same article falls into play then: "It would be a very different story if the sites’ funding came from sales of the work. They wouldn’t be building tools for scrapers then – that’s for sure."
While I agree that in many cases, fighting image theft is neither cost-effective or a productive use of time, there are cases where it makes sense. You have to learn to identify when fighting it makes sense.
First, if you are in the USA, you need to REGISTER your images with the US Copyright Office. It isn't free, but you can register up to 750 published images a year for $55.
If you find a bona-fide business with a published address and/or a business registration with their state using your image for any purpose related to their business, you can (and should) demand compensation for your work. If they refuse to offer you compensation, remind them your image is registered with the copyright office and find an copyright attorney or a copyright enforcement service. Many of these lawyers and services operate on a contingency basis if you have registered your image in a timely fashion.
If you have a watermark and someone crops it off, they can be liable for as much as $25,000 in damages for that.
I have copyright registrations that have paid for themselves MANY times over. And I have found businesses using my work for anything from social media ads to website banners to CD album covers to fine art reproductions to high-end photography workshop ads and everything in-between. They have ranged from small one or two person businesses all the way up to major media and Fortune 500 companies.
I have been awarded five-figure court judgments by US district court judges for copyright infringement. And part of one of those judgments is because they cropped off a watermark.
Point is, just turning your back on the problem because someone said it is a waste of time isn't necessarily the best advice, and it makes the problem that affects all of us even worse. You just need to recognize when it makes sense and when it doesn't.
Not a lawyer so please contact someone knowledgeable in copyright law whenever you find something of yours being used by a business before taking any action.
That said, I stick by my statement that you should use common sense when using social media and understand the ramifications of their terms of service and relevant laws before sharing.
It's only a problem for professional artists who have to make money and frown on their work being stolen. Nobody is in it for the fight but we can't play dead either. My kids need food and shoes like the next guy.
If you think it is easy to protect your work, not at all. The copyright registration we have here in the US is pretty much a tax on the artist. It is rather difficult to find an attorney willing to represent you in court. The judges have no clue about the artist's business and your peers most like not either. Contract law gives you more protection than copyright law. I don't believe other countries put the burden on the artist to protect their work.
If you think it is not worthwhile fighting for your rights, thank artists like me that the file format on your camera is a universal one. Thanks to many professional photographers who witnessed the beginning of digital photography you now can open your camera files easily. Artist continues fighting for their rights and those who think it is not a problem are benefitting as well.
Large photography stock houses make more money now going after copyright infringement than they do on licensing the images. The artist, however, sees nothing from that.
I need people to have free access to seeing my art. FB is a great venue for that.
If we were to charge FB, then FB needs to charge us and everyone else. That is not workable for any of us.
Conflating free previews with ripping off my art is not on. It is not true.
Using my art for a large economic gain, I will with a lawyer come down on the party pretty hard. My images are registered. I used a group photo process to register my images that was very inexpensive. Lawyers will generally only be interested if your images are registered.
The brick and mortar world is actually harder for many of us. There are many artists that have a household full of unsold canvasses. I am not one of them. This is not any sort of comment on their artwork.