My first trip through Thailand and Asia I was a prolific photo taker. I love those photos and that trip. Some of those photos we’re really good and I still reference back to them. At the time I posted a most of my best photos to Flickr so friends, family and strangers could enjoy them along with me. That experience was priceless and I wouldn’t take it back.
For years afterward though I would also get requests to use them from various entities. My stated policy was they were copyrighted and you needed to ask to use them. My unspoken policy was pretty simple, if someone wanted to use a photo for commercial use, they needed to pay for using it. If someone wanted to use it for non-profit use I’d make a decision on a case by case basis. A few did actually got permission to use photos like this one:
Which was used by: “National Council for Geographic Education (www.ncge.org), an non-profit, educational organization for geography teachers.
Today I was searching for photos and links to share with a friend about Haad Yuan, Koh Phangan, Thailand (my favorite place on earth). The first link that came up was this site:
That’s a photo I took in 2006/7 of my friends Andrea and MK walking onto the bamboo board walk just below Bamboo Hut Restaurant and headed toward Haad Yuan. Ironically, I’m actually headed to just that spot in 2 days to SEE that very same amazing Andrea and SparkCircus for the first time since that trip.
Obviously you can easily find a bunch of my fire dancer photography I took on that same trip appropriated without my consent all over the internet as well. Often in collection like this one (attributed at least, but linked, and not with my permission) http://wwwXfunzugXcom/index.php/artwork/captivating-fire-dancing-photos.html. I actually think the attribution here is because I a while ago I contacted a site with a collection much like this (I think Hong Kait) and they added the attribution and link. I suspect this site just copied that site and stripped the links.
So… all this to say that, THIS, is why I stopped posting photos in mass online. I keep saying that I’ll find a way to easily watermark them and upload them, but it’s such a hassle and keeps me from doing so. I’d really like to retroactively watermark everything I uploaded to Flickr in the past, but I’ve never found a way short of manually replacing the photos. It’s not that watermarked photos won’t get taken without permission, it’s that they’re less likely to be taken and even if they are taken there is “something” tying them back to me. It’s not “control” but it is some small thread of connection to the source that makes them not feel quite so completely lost into the digital turbulence of the internet.
Do you care about repurposing of your images? Do you have stories to share? Do you have a magically way to retroactively add watermarks to Flickr?