17 October 2008
More on Protecting Your Work
There are several people on deviantART.com that I follow and one of those artists is Dave Ellis of the UK, who also goes by Dingodave. I began followind Dave because of his nude work. I liked the simplicity of his art, using natural lighting or his expert use of whatever light he could find available to do his bidding. However, when you look at the man's landscape work, OMF Goodness... you'll be mesmerized by his use of HDR. Even when he doesn't use HDR, the way he captures the local scenery around where he lives in Herefordshire, make me so envious, I want to move across the waters.
Oh...I'm sorry. I'm getting off the point as to why I am posting about him in the first place. (See how just talking about his work gets you distracted?) Umm, oh yeah. In his recent dA journal entry, Dave is disgusted by the recent theft of some of his artwork. According to his post, well, let me just put it in his words:
"That is until I 'googled' DingoDave as a image search today - in just 5 minutes I found 7 of my images on 5 different sites (including flickr and photobucket, suprise suprise ) - One A'hole even had my image for sale as a print!!!!"
Now that's just downright wrong. So not only are knuckle-heads pulling other people's images off the web and passing it off as their own, you've got low down scoundrels who will actually try to profit from your hard work! This has been an ongoing topic of discussion and area of concern for photographers every since the first image capture. Many opinions exist on the matter that go from one end of the spectrum to the opposite extreme. In a recent seminar/workshop, we got to listen to a pro give us a talk on copyrighting your work. But then another pro in the group began shooting him down on the spot, believing that none of any of the copyright laws work and that you should simply not have anything on the web...period. ~Good heavens~
I've seen some photogs welcome any and everyone to their body of work. Right-click at your heart's content, as far as they are concerned. I can't recall who, otherwise I'd definitely give you the link, but they surmized that the more their images showed up, the better exposure. Well, I guess that's fine as long as the right-clicker is giving you credit and singing your praises. I am not sure I am as comfortable as this artist in having my work in the hands of anyone who wants a copy. Yes, you expect those who will pull your images from the web where the final destination is their C: drive. But what can you do for the freaks who will do you harm or profit from your efforts?
I am not an expert on the matter, let me assure you. For that I invite you to Carolyn E. Wright and her bloggings and legal opines of lawful protections and rights of the photographers. I've posted on her blog, Photo Attorney before (just recently, in fact). Let me emphysize that I strongly suggest you become quite familiar with this woman. It'll do you good. I promise! However let me add in a disclaimer: That promise is not in a legal since, of course...just as a figure of speech.
For starters, register your images with the Library of Congress Copyright Office. As a rule of thumb, I do it every 3 months. That's because that any NEW work you produce is fully protected when registered within 3 months of its creation. Otherwise the protection starts on the date of registration. Infractions that occur before registration are not protected. Second, you need to let people know your work belongs to you. Throw a simple copyright text on your image. An ALT-0169 will get you the "©" (using a PC). I normally use © 2008 Terrell Neasley on my images. I also don't put images on the web at high resolutions. Typically a web image doesn't need to be bigger than 72dpi and I make the file size small like around 70kb or under. These are reasonable protections. Can someone lift your copyright info...sure. They can crop it out or just edit it out. The fact remains that you need to still show that you've made an effort to identify the owner to the image and protect it.
Also, you can build the metadata into your photos. Chances are, your camera already includes some of that info. I need to be better at this myself. In fact, there are a lot of things in which I need to be better. The metadata is embedded into the file of the image itself. You can also have digital watermarks in your images. I won't go into great detail on all this. You can easily google the points and get a plethora of info on anything you need to know. Creative Commons is another legal protection device that will actually let you stipulate terms as to your images use. deviantART allows this option. There are many software companies that provide a for-pay service that will track a certain amount of images for you. This way anywhere that image goes on the web, its traced and you'll be aware of its use. I have no idea as to what happens if the image is altered by someone. You'll have to check that one out on your own as well. One company that is barking on another unique trend is a search engine that searches by image not words. You can type in NUDE on google and do a word search or an image search based on the word NUDE. Tineye, of Idee, INC., will actually do a search for an image, based on an image and show you where that image pops up, whether its altered or not.
I'm sure there is something I missed here. This is not an all exhaustive listing on a guaranteed, sure-fire method of protecting your photographic expressions. It is a start, however. Some will disagree. I already know that. Where I am in factual error, let me know. All this is info is based on my own research and indepth study over the last few years.
These are a few more images of Clarissa. Isn't she just beautiful? This girl has been through a lot and she still keeps going forward and upward. Gotta give her credit. She's a trooper.