Since when does posting on social media amount to "giving work away?" I don't think I did.
The terms of social media use give broad use rights to the publisher and others. This can mean simple sharing amongst others or for full-blown commercial advertising. That's part of the deal. You get to showcase your work and in exchange give away very broad rights indeed.
I should point out that if your costs of obtaining a great image are exceeding that image's earning potential in the market...... That is also capitalism.
Well yes, capitalism has indeed. Funny thing is I have never seen other photographers as direct competition really...and actively welcome competition as it raises all of our collective abilities...But my main point is those who espouse capitalism and derive significant profits or benefits have decided to put the cost of overheads for things like website content at zero. Or to put it another way those who publish my work have unilaterally set the fee at precisely nothing without asking me, even when there is a huge spoiler of a watermark running through the image that visibly asserts my rights and my phone number is embedded in the meta data...its just ignored. I really am at a loss to understand this...equally I am at a loss to understand why anyone would pay for stuff they can just help themselves to when there are no apparent or obvious consequences - that is until I show up and ask them to do the decent thing and pay only to be told "we don't pay for images..." and then the process of asserting ones rights commences...
This is not capitalism, its theft. This is not a definition of a functioning market between willing buyer and seller. This is what I mean by not being able to compete with free.
I am also not suggesting that anyone should allow people to use images for free. However art and picture editors will increasingly look at social media as a source for obtaining images as supposed to the "old way" of sourcing images which was contacting people that they knew. Perhaps reductions in image sales volumes is due to people not engaging with this process?
Always made more sales by knowing who would most likely use the image before I created it, rather than using a scattergun approach. But even when I used social media to push my work, the volume of infringements did not slow down, nor did anyone make contact asking to use before publication. It became apparent that I was adding more material to a conveyer belt that eventually ended in infringing publication.
What I am suggesting is that we should use Facebook and other media creatively as advertising outlets for our images.
It can be a great tool. Its just not worked for me. I'm taking a very long view on the image market and right now I am actively choosing not to participate in the electronic world. That does not mean I have stopped creating, nor does it mean I have stopped selling my work, its just not online.
Your court case raised around £1400. I have been lucky enough to have made considerably more than that on single image sales where the purchasers originally found the images on Facebook! And I didn't need to go to court! Sure there is some unlicensed use, but the licensed use more than recompenses me for this.
Couple of points;
Luck is like hope - its great when an unforeseen sale happens but I don't see hope/luck as good strategy for business. When creating an image I usually have an end publication or use in mind. It is, if you like, stacking the odds of a successful outcome rather than relying on the chance of someone finding the image.
As for the court case, don't look at the headline figure. The judge "only" awarded £350 for two months online use - or £175 per month. The rest was further damages for ignoring a watermark and first british serial rights. The balance was costs. I was happy with the original valuation for what was quite a low traffic site and for the additional damages. I would have rather sold the rights, but that didn't happen and once published the infringer took away any chance of selling an exclusive license.
And whilst selling an image for a lot more than the court case achieved might seem like a good deal, without knowing the use rights that were sold its pretty much impossible to make any form of sensible comparison. Like I said, don't always take the headline figure at face value.
And sometimes its worth going to court to assert your rights, to stand up for fellow creators and help set guidelines as to why ignoring a watermark is a bad thing. I really wish other creators would stand up for themselves and in doing so help others, but I do recognise its a personal decision.
Finally I will add this; I have been known to refuse very lucrative use rights because the intended purpose of publication was not in keeping with my own values, or was misrepresentative of the subject in question. This right - the right to say "no, not at any price" is often overlooked by the masses - until something goes wrong that is. But by then its too late...right now I have an uncredited image doing the rounds, acting as a non-attributed advert you might say. Of the 3000 or so infringing uses there are political agendas, religious bias and other disagreeable uses I would not allow at any price. And all of this from an image someone else decided to share on my behalf...
Edited by decosnapper, 14 November 2014 - 02:30 AM.