Steal my content please, Part II

Turns out that the copyright issues surrounding photography in the Bubble video are still not resolved. Now other photographers are getting involved and asking for their images to be taken out of the video and are hoping for compensation. TechCrunch has an excellent article about the issues involved. I’ve taken a few images of Mike Arrington. You’re welcome to use them for free. You don’t even need to give me attribution, although that’d be nice.

The problem is that Flickr is part of the problem.

Why?

It’s hard to find the license on this photo. Even if I wanted to say “STOP, DON’T REUSE THIS IMAGE” it’s very hard in Flickr’s interface to make it that clear — instead you get a little tiny piece of text that says “all rights reserved.” Most human beings skip over that kind of text because it’s legaleze (tell me, what’s the last time you read the legal stuff that comes up when you install some software?)

I really wish Flickr would make it clearer. It’s SO easy to make a mistake and when you do photographers can hold you hostage for payment (an employee, not me, at PodTech once made this mistake — we used an image taken at our own party on a sign without getting the photographer’s approval. That photographer made us pay thousands of dollars for that image and if we had known it would have been so expensive we would never have used his images).

It’s also not possible for me to put this image into public domain, which is what I really want to do. I want to turn over all rights to my images to YOU so YOU can do whatever you want with them. I can’t do that in Flickr.

I wish Flickr made it a LOT clearer on the photographer’s wishes.

I also really like SmugMug a lot better because as a photographer it’s very easy to put a watermark across the image. For instance, here’s a photo where I added the word “proof” on top of the image. That makes it very hard to use without giving attribution.

If we’re going to have a world where photographers want to get paid, then they need to be a LOT clearer about how they would like those images used. If I were Lane, I’d make sure every image of mine had a watermark. If hers did, they never would have been used in the video.

In the meantime, I know that at PodTech we changed our approach to using images. We don’t use anything unless we have signed approval from photographers or other media developers. It sucks, but that’s the best way to protect your business against being sued (and, if you make a mistake the photographer can set any price he/she wants after the fact. It’s very hard to prove that an image is only worth $100 after the fact, and even if you could, the standard is that you’ll pay 3x the photographers’ rate if he/she has to go after you to get payment. In PodTech’s case negotiations started at $3,000 for an image that should have cost only $100 according to professionals I contacted).

Good luck out there. If you’re ever concerned about using my images, I’ll be happy to give you any legal approvals you need. If, for some reason (if I were commissioned to do a specific assignment, for instance), I don’t want you to use the images I’ll watermark them and put them over on SmugMug. But, generally, when I do assignments like that the copyright holder is no longer me and the copyright holder usually doesn’t appreciate their images being placed up on Flickr or other public photo sharing sites.

93 thoughts on “Steal my content please, Part II

  1. You figure that the pro photographers would be using a program like Photoshop and could just create their own watermark on the photos they post to Flickr. It smells like offloading of responsiblity to say “Flickr should have done what I could easily do.”

    None of this addresses the underlying copyright/use. Since we’re discussing a single photo sharing service, we’re ignoring how many other ways a photo is distributed online. Arguing about services isn’t addressing the core need: the contradictions in legislation.

  2. You figure that the pro photographers would be using a program like Photoshop and could just create their own watermark on the photos they post to Flickr. It smells like offloading of responsiblity to say “Flickr should have done what I could easily do.”

    None of this addresses the underlying copyright/use. Since we’re discussing a single photo sharing service, we’re ignoring how many other ways a photo is distributed online. Arguing about services isn’t addressing the core need: the contradictions in legislation.

  3. How does this work on Zoomr? There’s a copy-paste function for photos to blogs, I didn’t see any licensing mentioned along?

    Wasn’t Zooomr also working on some microstock marketplace thing? Something like this may work for Flickr to help photographers concerned about their photos ending up somewhere without attribution and/or revenue share.

  4. How does this work on Zoomr? There’s a copy-paste function for photos to blogs, I didn’t see any licensing mentioned along?

    Wasn’t Zooomr also working on some microstock marketplace thing? Something like this may work for Flickr to help photographers concerned about their photos ending up somewhere without attribution and/or revenue share.

  5. I’m using Bloglines, and since you turned off the the feature, the problem’s stopped happening. Must be something in the way WordPress changes the comment number that changes the new feed item state, and Bloglines much be too sensitive to it. Feedburner has a similar feature, but its never triggered a bug on this scale (50 new items every hour).

  6. I’m using Bloglines, and since you turned off the the feature, the problem’s stopped happening. Must be something in the way WordPress changes the comment number that changes the new feed item state, and Bloglines much be too sensitive to it. Feedburner has a similar feature, but its never triggered a bug on this scale (50 new items every hour).

  7. @33 Well I’d have to agree, your photos are average quality at best. I wouldn’t say they suck. If you were a professional photographer, why did it take you so long to figure out how to use the ISO settings on your new camera? Should have been second nature. If you were that good you’d still be making money. The random shot of Reagan? Well, like they say..a broken clock is right twice a day.

    As for dismissing Mike’s criticism because he hasn’t shown his photos….well I guess we should dismiss any future criticisms you have of any product or service, since you’ve never developed one

  8. @33 Well I’d have to agree, your photos are average quality at best. I wouldn’t say they suck. If you were a professional photographer, why did it take you so long to figure out how to use the ISO settings on your new camera? Should have been second nature. If you were that good you’d still be making money. The random shot of Reagan? Well, like they say..a broken clock is right twice a day.

    As for dismissing Mike’s criticism because he hasn’t shown his photos….well I guess we should dismiss any future criticisms you have of any product or service, since you’ve never developed one

  9. That is exactly why I use smugmug, if I don’t want someone to use it, it gets watermarked, and no right click save as, but 90% of my pictures I don’t care, but I do want attribution. Hey to each their own, but I agree that the problem is flickr.

  10. That is exactly why I use smugmug, if I don’t want someone to use it, it gets watermarked, and no right click save as, but 90% of my pictures I don’t care, but I do want attribution. Hey to each their own, but I agree that the problem is flickr.

  11. I’m glad Thomas Hawk weighed in here.
    That pretty much clears the air.

    I pilfer Google Images like crazy for some episodes of Vlog Santa, usually not paying any attention where they come from, since I consider it an artistic/editorial use.

    Where it gets tricky though – I’m hosting videos on Revver, so there is potential for ad income. Granted, I’ve never offset the amount of time, etc. so it’s at best “hobby income.”

    Likewise, if this video promotes Richter Scales, cd sales, other paid work, etc. than the video is really serving as a marketing tool.

    Damn these gray areas.

  12. I’m glad Thomas Hawk weighed in here.
    That pretty much clears the air.

    I pilfer Google Images like crazy for some episodes of Vlog Santa, usually not paying any attention where they come from, since I consider it an artistic/editorial use.

    Where it gets tricky though – I’m hosting videos on Revver, so there is potential for ad income. Granted, I’ve never offset the amount of time, etc. so it’s at best “hobby income.”

    Likewise, if this video promotes Richter Scales, cd sales, other paid work, etc. than the video is really serving as a marketing tool.

    Damn these gray areas.

  13. I know several professional photographers who electronically tag their images with Digimarc. Then they merely invoice the places where the images appear. It’s a simple work process and more than pays the cost of Digimarc services.

    People will always lift images without attribution because they don’t understand copyright. If it right-clicks and saves, there’s no issue, right?

  14. I know several professional photographers who electronically tag their images with Digimarc. Then they merely invoice the places where the images appear. It’s a simple work process and more than pays the cost of Digimarc services.

    People will always lift images without attribution because they don’t understand copyright. If it right-clicks and saves, there’s no issue, right?

  15. Robert! The link that lists the number of comments on your posts is KILLING my RSS reader. I get 50 new items every hour, or rather the same items appearing as new over and over again. If this is a feature you turned on, get rid of it! If it’s a new WordPress.com feature, tell Matt it’s driving your readers nuts!

  16. Robert! The link that lists the number of comments on your posts is KILLING my RSS reader. I get 50 new items every hour, or rather the same items appearing as new over and over again. If this is a feature you turned on, get rid of it! If it’s a new WordPress.com feature, tell Matt it’s driving your readers nuts!

  17. Mike: I once made my living as a photographer. My photo of Ronald Reagan is still hanging in Silicon Valley’s Republican Headquarters. I’ve probably been shooting before you were born. I notice you don’t offer up your own photography so we can see how sucky you are. That speaks volumes. Also, at least part of my salary comes from doing the Photowalking show: http://www.podtech.net/home/search/photowalking

  18. Mike: I once made my living as a photographer. My photo of Ronald Reagan is still hanging in Silicon Valley’s Republican Headquarters. I’ve probably been shooting before you were born. I notice you don’t offer up your own photography so we can see how sucky you are. That speaks volumes. Also, at least part of my salary comes from doing the Photowalking show: http://www.podtech.net/home/search/photowalking

  19. You have to make your living as a photographer to be considered anything above average. Getting “paid” for photos you’d gladly give away for free only means you suckered some dumbass.

    Flickr is where you belong. That’s why they love you.

    Mike

  20. You have to make your living as a photographer to be considered anything above average. Getting “paid” for photos you’d gladly give away for free only means you suckered some dumbass.

    Flickr is where you belong. That’s why they love you.

    Mike

  21. Scoble,

    Your photographs should be free, they suck. Horrible photography will never be worth anything. Same goes for the writing on blogs. Worthless. If you make money at it it’s only because real writers are still working the print thing till it’s dead but when they switch over you will be out of a job.

    Get over it. You’re just a place holder.

    Mike

  22. Scoble,

    Your photographs should be free, they suck. Horrible photography will never be worth anything. Same goes for the writing on blogs. Worthless. If you make money at it it’s only because real writers are still working the print thing till it’s dead but when they switch over you will be out of a job.

    Get over it. You’re just a place holder.

    Mike

  23. It’s strange how so many photo “sharing” sites seem to enable pirating photos. It’s not just that they make pirating easy, but that they don’t even aid the viewer in legally using the photo if they want to.

    As a photographer, I found this troubling some time ago and helped co-found http://www.photrade.com to try to tie together photo sharing to photo selling so that photographers have a simple one-stop system that allows them all the benefits the web has to offer. Why should photo selling be a separate site from photo sharing?

    We’re in a private invite-only beta right now (as we’ve bootstrapped the business and can’t afford more servers) but I would love to give people a tour and show them how we plan to help photographers.

    My apologies if this comes across as spam, just wanted to share the knowledge with a group of folks who sound like they care about this issue as much as I do.

  24. It’s strange how so many photo “sharing” sites seem to enable pirating photos. It’s not just that they make pirating easy, but that they don’t even aid the viewer in legally using the photo if they want to.

    As a photographer, I found this troubling some time ago and helped co-found http://www.photrade.com to try to tie together photo sharing to photo selling so that photographers have a simple one-stop system that allows them all the benefits the web has to offer. Why should photo selling be a separate site from photo sharing?

    We’re in a private invite-only beta right now (as we’ve bootstrapped the business and can’t afford more servers) but I would love to give people a tour and show them how we plan to help photographers.

    My apologies if this comes across as spam, just wanted to share the knowledge with a group of folks who sound like they care about this issue as much as I do.

  25. Am I missing something in the smugmug interface? I opened up Scoble’s gallery (then a few other random galleries), brought up a few pictures, and unlike Flickr, I can’t see any licensing information on any of the pictures. I can’t find a way to search for creative-commons licensed pictures either. OK, so it offers optional watermarking, but it doesn’t answer the basic licensing questions unless the info’s hidden somewhere I haven’t noticed.

    Flickr may not make it super-obvious, but at least it’s there on each photo page.

  26. Am I missing something in the smugmug interface? I opened up Scoble’s gallery (then a few other random galleries), brought up a few pictures, and unlike Flickr, I can’t see any licensing information on any of the pictures. I can’t find a way to search for creative-commons licensed pictures either. OK, so it offers optional watermarking, but it doesn’t answer the basic licensing questions unless the info’s hidden somewhere I haven’t noticed.

    Flickr may not make it super-obvious, but at least it’s there on each photo page.

  27. don’t most DSLRs have the ability to place your name ok the picture when taken? Hard to dispute in that case

  28. don’t most DSLRs have the ability to place your name ok the picture when taken? Hard to dispute in that case

  29. In the past, before all the blogs and such, the biggest copyright infringers I’ve ever seen/known have been (probably still are) Powerpoint mavens…sales people and speakers. How many presentations have you seen with images? Bet very, very few have ever gotten permission or even thought about it. I’ve always warned my clients that they need to rein in all infringment or they’re going to get burnt and as Robert mentioned, the damages are treble whatever the creator thinks they’re worth.

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