OMG! Someone totally infringed my copyright!

OMG! Someone totally infringed my copyright!

Originally uploaded by mofo

Many of us use Flickr to share our artwork with the world. Personally, I use it as a means to feed right here into my personal website that you are viewing. Recently, a friend discovered that one of her photos was being used by a local site without properly providing credit, and she contacted the blog writer to ask that this be fixed. After several unanswered emails, she posted the story to Flickr and it pretty much took upon a life of its own.

I want to hear what other artists think about this issue. Are photos, or any artwork, really, posted on Flickr or elsewhere available for free to others? Is it up to the artist to take all means necessary to protect their work, or is it free for anyone else who wants to print it for their wall? What does the term “photo sharing” mean to you?

Here is the photo, which was saved to another server and posted in a local blog. You can read all of the comments, including the claims being made by the blog editor on Mo Fogarty’s photo right here.

Here is the Local Kicks article where the photo was used, but has since been removed, along with comments that were made:

Note the comment by the blog writer:
My editor used the photo from flickr because it had no copyright on it and no information to credit. As I am sure you know, flickr is not a professional photographers website, its photo sharing for amateurs, like all of us. We changed the photo since you don’t want it used, I would just recommend that if you post photos to flickr, just note on them you want verify and credit for usage, that’s how the system works for media outlets. Thanks for reading and hope this helps.
By Emily Miller

This is the other blog post on NBC Washington, which is the same, but hosted on a different site (the photo was also removed):

Here is a comment I just left on the New York Times article, which hasn’t been approved, yet:
Are Flickr Photos Fair Game For Home Printing?

I have to admit that I really don’t understand much of the legal issues surrounding this. However, many of us use Flickr to host our photos for other means, such as feeding into a personal website. As an artist, this is exactly what I do.

Flickr is not a source for free photos. It is not a website where you can freely download other artists’ work to use as you please. While we do share our photos in the traditional sense, to allow others to view them, Flickr is not a website like Napster or Kazaa, where music was downloaded for free (and, illegally). The term “photo sharing” to me is synonymous with those photo-sharing sites that have been since shut down.

While I understand that there is the potential for my photos to be printed or otherwise stolen from Flickr, the opportunity would still exist anywhere my artwork is available on the Internet. Hosting my artwork on Flickr would be no different than hosting them on my personal website from my own server, or from anywhere else online.

I think the underlying tone here is that most of us would allow our photos to be used elsewhere should we be asked for permission, first, and then properly credited.

I would really like to hear what other artists think about this because I think it’s bullshit. The record industry lobbied hard to shut down music sharing sites, and won. The film industry includes the disclaimer on all videos that copying is illegal. As artists, we should stand up to protect our artwork in the same way.

Please comment. I do moderate my comments (because of spam) but will post them all as long as they are not offensive and mean.


And, yes, I did ask for Mo Fogarty’s permission to use her photo in this post before I used it.

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