I don't like to preach to my people, but every now and then I encounter a situation that I like to share, hoping that someone out there hears me. And maybe if I reach just one person then my time at the keyboard will have been worth it.
Let's talk about copyright infringement. Most of you will remember the little incident that happened to me last year when I found a photographer using my images and claiming them as his own. It really put a bee in my bonnet.
I also, from time to time, will share my photos with various media outlets to illustrate their stories or share with their readers. We have an understanding that the image should be credited to me and not sold for profit. So I get a little hot when I see my image on their site with a little "buy this image" button next to it. Yes, I can be a pest about calling them on it and getting that little button removed with an apology. I didn't spend tens of thousands of dollars on gear, education, insurance, and advertising to have them sell my photo for $5.95 and me not see a penny of it.
It's up to all of us as artists to protect each other and support the arts. People in different fields have it a little easier. Nobody can steal the work of a plumber, for example. He fixes the plumbing issue, he gets paid. Nobody is going to steal his work and claim it for their own or use it in an illegal manner.
So as an artist, I also will strongly defend the arts of others. I will not steal graphic designs. I will create them myself or pay the fee to use someone else's.
And when it comes to music, forget about it! I get so peeved when I go to the site of a new (or even an established) photographer and I hear the sound of a popular song playing along to their slideshow of images. A song that I know would cost thousands of dollars to license for that kind of use. I have no doubt that the photographer did not pay the licensing fee for it. Popular songs are just too expensive for small town, low budget photographers to afford. So here's my question, how can they, as artists themselves, stoop to the level of the thief who stole my photo last year. It's the same thing. For them to think they have the right to play that song on their website is the same as the photography thieves who claim they have the right to use any image they see online for their own commercial use -- advertising their product.
I've always preferred to not use music on my website because I like to listen to Pandora while surfing the net. I like my own taste in music and coming upon a site that has music forces me to quickly look for that little box that allows me to mute their music.
However, I have been thinking of offering DVD slideshows to my clients as an add-on. The main thing that has held me back has been the cost of licensing good songs to play along with their slideshow. You see, I'm not allowed to take my client's favorite Katy Perry song and put it with their photos and burn it for them. Katy Perry would like a huge chunk of that money I just made from selling that DVD. And why shouldn't she. She wrote the song, she put it together and she worked her rear off to get it out there. But while in Atlanta I talked to a company that has a collection of good music that they sell the license for just for purposes like photography slideshows.
Triple Scoop Music has hundreds of songs. Good songs with catchy tunes, talented singers, and amazing lyrics. So I made the plunge and put down hundreds of dollars to license some of their music for my business. The artists who created the music will get paid and be able to pay their own bills. Everyone wins!
So look for more slideshows coming from Lisa on Location. And rest easy knowing they're legitimate!
Lisa On Location Photography