Sunday, September 16, 2012

Artist, Educate Yourself

Some blogger operating under the name "Girly Underwear" and referring to herself as a photographer has some great lessons to teach us all in her post How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Pinterest. Let's take a look at the best bits.

As someone who takes photos for a living, I don’t see Pinterest as a threat against my work. I am only concerned about two things: people taking credit for my work, and people making money off of my work.
Like the majority of people who are working tirelessly to fill Pinterest's servers with infringing third party content, and paid only in "likes" and "followers," our intrepid photographer needs a few rounds with a clue bat. She keeps confusing plagiarism (people taking credit for my work) with copyright infringement (people displaying things on various media platforms without permission of the creator), and fails to grasp that a financial motive is not a prerequisite for actionable infringement.
Should I have to pay for every photo that I enjoy looking at on the internet? That’s like saying anyone who heard “Call Me Maybe” on the radio should pay the artist.
If creatives harbor such gross misconceptions, is there any hope for the public at large to understand the rights of artists to make a living from their creative output, based on their ability to control its distribution, display, and mediatization? I'd venture to say that most people know that the radio stations pay royalties to broadcast "Call Me Maybe." I bet that even more people know that Pinterest doesn't pay a cent of royalties to the creators of the images it re-broadcasts without permission.
Keeping a virtual closet of products that I will never be able to afford is enough retail therapy for me, it makes me feel like I already own them.
This comment is a direct reminder of an earlier post, here on Creators Against Pinterest: An Image Is Worth More Than The Object It Represents. That simple admission reveals a much deeper truth, which is that, on the internet, images themselves are a commodity. Some content providers make more money from displaying the photographs of their art/craft than selling the actual product. Images are valuable. Images make money. Images make money without being licensed, without being printed. They make money from being displayed on the popular media that is the internet. Our blogger knows how much an image is worth: more than the object it represents. Yet, she fails to grasp the money concept, which is the transfer of "image wealth" from their creators in the the greedy hands of Pinterest through the tireless hoarding of its users.
My suggestion to photographers who do not want their photos passed around on the internet? Don’t put it there.
How often have we read this argument? If you don't want your purse to be snatched, keep it home. If you don't want your car radio stolen, take it with you every time you leave the car. If you don't want your home to be burgled, board your windows with plywood.
Consequently, I could see myself pinning (or infringing!) lots of photos but a landscape photographer will have a tough time selling me one of his prints [...]
It's very difficult for people to understand how very few of us make money from prints. It's not about the prints. It was never about the prints.

If we hope to educate the public to respect copyrights, we need to educate each other, first.

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