The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed the tardy arrival of this article. It’s all my fault. I’ve been busy working on new projects, assignments and whotnot, plus last week was half term which made for all kinds of interesting time conflicts.
But as if there wasn’t enough to be a-getting on with, the deadline for the Hargreaves intellectual property review has been looming fast, and this Friday (March 4th 2011) is the last date for submissions. I’ve been working on my submission, and I can’t stress this enough; other photographers have GOT to get their submissions in too, or forever hold your manhoods (and copyright) cheap. Do not complain later that you never got a say in how your work is exploited commercially by anyone who happens to steal it.
And businesses that commission original, exclusive photography for their websites, brochures, annual reports and the like should also consider dropping Mr Hargreaves a line, because if the worst case scenario comes to pass, it will no longer be possible to hold exclusive rights to images (whether taken by a professional or in-house) once they’re posted online, and photographers like myself may have even less say in how the work we do for you is used by others. Frankly, the current safeguards against image theft on the internet are pretty meaningless, and this is one area where the law needs to be strengthened.
Another area is that of attribution. Every photo a professional photographer takes should (if they know what they’re doing) have data embedded which gives the copyright status of the image and contact details of the photographer. It’s called metadata, and it’s imperative that any future law makes it clear that that metadata must be preserved as an image is uploaded to, moved around and/or downloaded from the internet or moved (or copied) from one medium to another to prevent the creation of so-called orphan works.
My submission is shaping up to be an explanation of the problems photographers currently face; a lack of understanding of the value of copyright, publishers and news organisations using pictures from the internet as if it were a vast, free stock photo library for them to use as they wish, and the lack of any real sanctions for photographers who find their work being misappropriated. I explain that many of the exclusive deals I have with my clients will be rendered useless unless unscrupulous businesses and publishers are forced to accept that they have to pay for their own content just like everyone else.
It’s a short article this week, because I’ve still some work to do on my submission while also trying to get work done, so I’ll leave you with the tools you’ll need to get your own submissions written and in before the deadline. Why are you still here? GO!GO!GO! and write your submission now…
No photo this week. I didn’t want it nicked…