So, last weekend I went down to Philadelphia for the annual SPE conference. The whole thing was kinda crazy, kinda amazing and definitely tons of useful information. I’ve got to say though, that one of the most mind-blowing moments came from what would appear to be the most banal lecture topic – copyright. I went as a refresher since I hadn’t paid much attention since, oh, 2004. I figured as a teacher, I should be up on the latest rules and guidelines.
Well, thank god I went to that one! Basically, I found out that any image I’ve ever posted here, or put up on my own personal website is now considered “published” which means that registering it takes on a whole new process. It was also interesting to hear about the ongoing gray area that is the interwebs and how things like the Creative Commons licensing on Flickr and the current evil area that is Facebook and IP rights (fyi – they strip ALL metadata when you upload an image to their site and resize your images!!!!) are unresolved and problematic issues for photographers and copyright. I heard horrible stories just sitting there at the lecture about people’s watermarks being cropped off, images being published in newspapers without credit. If any of you have a Facebook page, I highly recommend reading the Statement of Rights that they’ve posted and pay particular attention to section 2 where they talk about their ability to use anything you post onto their site?!?!
Now I don’t mean to sound like a nervous nelly here, but as someone who has grand designs of making a living off of the images that I create, I’ll admit to being a bit paranoid about how loose these online sites can seem regarding republishing and distributing images. Granted, I don’t ever post my “art” on Facebook – I’ll put up family photos and stuff like that – but if I want to direct people to new work of mine I always post a link to my own site. Just seems safer.
The ASMP folks who gave the lecture were very well informed and offered up their website as having additional info. They also suggested watermarking your images to keep things legit. I don’t know if I’m will to go that far right now, but I’m definitely considering it…..