Friday, June 03, 2011

giving credit

I like it. I'm not entirely sure that you always need to contact the photographer to ask their permission before using their work.  Personally I'm busy. I barely have time to answer emails as it is. Personally I would rather you just used the image with a proper credit. Sometimes emailing me to let me know that you used my image is nice though, it gives me a chance to say thank you. 
Which is the thing. As a photographer I want you to use my images, I want my work to be seen by more people, I want to know that people like it, as long as you give me a proper credit (proper means including a link). A lot of the rhetoric being used in discussions about giving credit would suggest that photographers don't want you to use their work and as such I worry that bloggers are starting to fear the use of images that they find online. Of course there are photographers who don't want you to use their work without asking and sometimes they have good reason to. Sometimes they have sold the rights to the photo to someone else and they will get in big doodoo if you use it. Sometimes they just feel a little precious about where their work goes and what people do with it. And that's fine. Those photographers usually state quite clearly, where you can see it, that they don't want you to use their work. In fact even if it's not right there where you can see it you should probably have a good look around their website just in case. Should there be such a request, send the photographer an email. Even if they don't say that you can use it (and they often will) they will be pleased that you like their work and you will have spread some happiness. Isn't that nice? And if a photographer asks you not to use their work don't, for the love of god, take a screengrab of it and use it anyway, even if you do give credit. That's just obnoxious and you deserve that unpleasant email they will send you. Oh and whilst we're on the subject of unpleasant emails from photographers: photographers, please look properly for credits before you send unpleasant emails. Sending an email telling a blogger that they're infringing your copyright when the credit is right there at the bottom of the post, clear as day, will not only make you feel like an idiot, the blogger is unlikely ever to promote your work again.  (I speak from the experience of the pissed off blogger, not the stupid-ass photographer.)

So. To surmise, my thoughts are: 

  • don't be scared of using someone else's work on your blog.
  • As long as you CREDIT IT PROPERLY. 
  • If you're not going to credit it properly, DON'T BOTHER.
  • Unless you have looked and you just can't find the source and you really really love the image and can't bear not to share it, in which case, personally, I don't think that there's too much wrong with acknowledging that you can't find the source and asking your readers if they know. I may be mistaken.
  • You don't always need to ask the photographer's permission.
  • UNLESS they have clearly requested that you do so. 
  • Screengrabs are for assholes. 
  • Maybe buy this print if you just can't remember not to be an asshole. 

If you want a more eloquent and comprehensive guide to The Rules of Using Other's Work, check out {frolic}'s post on the matter, which I'm pretty sure has (deservedly so) become the definitive guide on the matter. 

*GIVING CREDIT PRINT, By Pia Jane Bijkerk, aka STREETCRED. For sale by Mammoth Collection, via {Frolic}
* photograph of print by Pia Jane Bijkerk