Last night I attended an apasd.org event at Riverdale Studios in San Diego with Michael Grecco. Aside form the usual talk about his technique and his history and essentially a portfolio of his shots and his work process, he touched on a very important subject: getting paid. It seems that it is normal for corporations to steal from Photographers. The reason for it, most photographers, myself included, are lazy. We do not spend the time and money to copyright our work and so they can steal it.
However, there is no excuse any more for two reasons:
imagerights.com will use an algorithm to find images similar to yours and will actually go after copyright infringement with their lawyers. Each instance of infringement is $160,000. BUT! You have to copyright your work first, which actually takes only $50 and a bit of your time.
The positives from this time is of course clear, you can actually get money by going after companies that steal but also by creating an accountability which will lead companies to actually buy stock photography and respect photographers.
If it is one thing I know, it is that you can’t ask for respect, you have to have it for yourself first.
But you say, it’s ok for them to steal my work, I don’t care. I am not a pro and I like my work to be out there, I even use Creative Commons. I asked Michael about this and his response was: Bullshit!
Why? Because it is ok for you to undercut yourself, but it is not ok for you to undercut others. There are people working hard out there to create images and they do not get paid for it because people give out their content for free. It is just as bad in News Media as it is in Photography. The answer is, stop being a slave, do not give your work and time out to companies and free loaders for free. Have some dignity. This is why I am converting all of my images to Copyright Protected today.
So follow my lead. Protect your work, copyright it, find it in image rights and get paid for it. Because you deserve it and they don’t.