More than a year since I wrote something here, but today I’m here to talk about copyright and why it’s useless for modern photographers.
I see a lot of professional as well as amateur photographers who slap a Copyright-symbol on their photos as if it’s some kind of magic protection from evil. The sad truth is that the concept of Copyright itself is somewhere beteen pointless and evil. Don’t believe the nonsense, copyright is no longer relevant in this digital future.
Copyright had relevance 30 years ago, before the widespread digital distribution rolled in. Every time I see a photographer with a website, where all the photos are thumbnail-size and if they’re somewhat decent resolution are covered in various bullshit copyright-protection watermarks and/or various hacks to try to prevent downloading of the photos, I sigh and move along. That photographer is obviously stuck in the past and is a dinosaur.
The web is about sharing. You literally cannot put something on the web without it being shared. Either in the traditional sense of sharing (i.e. distributed) but also shared in the sense that people see it and share the experience, the thoughts, your art. It could also be shared in such a technical sense that it’s shared into the cache of the visitors webbrowser. Sharing is part of the internet. You can’t show something and try to cordon it off as if it was some kind of goddamn museum.
My philosophy is to live in the present, and the future. I appreciate sharing. I refuse to fall for the temptation of slapping watermarks, copyright and various other crap on my photos. If you want to share my photos, PLEASE DO! The only thing I ask is that you don’t pass them off as your own, and if possible link back to my website. But since I cannot control this I have made the choice to not be bothered. I can’t stop people if they choose to do this, but I ask kindly that you don’t because it’s just rude.
Therefore I refuse to acknowledge the concept of copyright and instead choose to license my photos and creations with a much more relevant type of license. It’s called Creative Commons and I’ve chosen the CC-BY-ND 3.0 license. You can read more about it at the page tht link leads to, but in short it means you are free to distribute my work in any way, shape or form as long as you don’t change it. Those are the provisions of the license. Also, I’m not difficult as such, if you want to do something with one of my photos feel free to ask – I’m generally very generous and not the difficult kind.
The only restricition I place is that if this is for widespread commercial use, you need to contact me for my permission. Non-commercial use? Go nuts, have fun as long as you credit me. Use it for your wallpaper, your magazine, whatever.
Photographers need to let go of this silly fear of “stealing” on the web. The minority of assholes who download someones photos exist and are a pain, but 99% of websurfers are cool and just want to enjoy your art. License your stuff under a CC-license, move away from the stupid “copyright” and instead enjoy the freedom. Because that’s what most artists, musicians and creators want – to have their work enjoyed and admired, not locked up behind bars and worry about trivial problems.
The one driving force behind my photography is that I enjoy it and that others enjoy it. Everything else is a bonus.