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Monday, October 12, 2009

Photographers: Don't Screw Us

The American society of Media Photographers has started a campaign to fight stealing pictures online. Below is their list of ten reasons to fight online image stealing. You can find more info on

  1. Photographs are Intellectual Property and therefore have value to the creator. If you are tempted to steal, that is because you recognize the value of the IP and are not respectful of the value of efforts of the creator. That’s not right.
  2. Just because a photo is posted on the Internet, it is not free. It wasn’t put there so you can simply take it. It was put there to share an idea, promote talent and gain attention. You can’t walk into a museum space or a gallery space and walk out with whatever strikes your fancy. Cyberspace is no different.
  3. There are laws in place that protect Intellectual Property and they come with penalties. These penalties are exponentially worse than paying to use the work and acknowledging the creator. Exponentially is a lot.
  4. Professional photographers are just like you. We have families to feed and mortgages to pay. Stealing takes food off the table. Times are tough thank you very much.
  5. If contacted directly, a professional photographer can be very accommodating, get involved and help you make your project better making you and your client look better. And who doesn’t want to look better?
  6. Stealing. Not cool. How did you feel last time someone pirated one of your ideas or advertising concepts. Sucks huh?
  7. That photo you are thinking of stealing took time to make. Sure the shutter snapped in a fraction of a second, but there are years of hard work, education and talent invested in it. Stop for a moment and consider that please.
  8. Speaking of investments. That photo wasn’t taken with an iPhone or a disposable camera. Not that the iPhone isn’t great for snapping pics of your BFF. Professionals have significant investments in cameras, lights, computers and software. These things are costly to own, upgrade and maintain. Remember that next time you are looking at our work.
  9. We are passionate about what we do and we hope you feel the same way about what you do. Passion brings respect. We respect that you are potential clients and future collaborators. We want to work with you. We hope you want to work with us too. By the way, if the project is Work for Hire please let us know upfront. We can’t respect you if you try to sneak one by us.
  10. Some things were meant to be free. Human beings, primo parking spaces, unsolicited advice about your love life. And yes, even occasionally photos. Just ask.

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