I’m not going to do that, at least not today.
I believe that most people are good and reasonable, and some aren’t. And that there’s little I can do to protect myself from the ones who aren’t, and that living as if everyone is good and reasonable pays great dividends. (The front door of my house presents what you might call an “optional barrier” to a would-be thief, and I live in a big city. I haven’t yet been the victim of a break-in. Knock wood….)
I agree completely with Liza that using people’s artwork without crediting them is a form of theft. And I would love to credit every photographer (and model, for that matter – why is it that photographers need to be credited but models don’t?). But logistics prevent it. The reality is that Tumblr is the source of most of the photos I use, and much of what is on Tumblr is unauthorized or worse.
So what I do is trust – trust that most photographers have a reaction similar to what I might have if someone posted my words, not claiming them as my own, but as an example of something they admire – namely, flattery.
And to the extent they don’t?
Please contact me.
If you want me to take a picture down, it’s down. If you want credit for a picture, I’ll add credit. If you want some sort of payment? Nope. Not because you’re not entitled to it, but because, well, because I’ll happily go picture-less rather than spend money on content. Photos add something for which I’m not prepared to pay.
An aside: I steal regularly. I never did before, but I run ad-blocking software when I surf the web, and so am the beneficiary of all sorts of web sites without paying for them. I have no moral argument as to how or why this is ok, other than that, well, I fucking hate all the ads on these interwebs. (If there were some way I could subscribe to the internet, for say, $20 or $50 a month, with micropayments going to the web sites I visit from that fee, I’d gladly pay it.)
But that stealing seems to me far more egregious than the image theft I’ve done.
To Roni Loren, the blogger cited by Liza, I’m sorry. But there is one big difference between her and me (and Liza): she is, according to the banner across her web page, a “National Bestselling Author.” She’s using her blog to create value for herself, whether directly or indirectly. If I were a photographer, I’d be much less happy about someone like her using my work than about someone like me.
I’m not a bestselling author, and have nothing to gain (other than neurotic exhibitionism utils) by writing here. Someone who sues me would be making a very different calculation than the person who apparently sued Roni Loren. I assure you, if I ever publish a word for sale, if I ever stand to make a penny from any of this? I’ll take down every picture I don’t have explicit authority to use.
Until then, if you’re a photographer and I have used your work without your permission, I apologize, and ask your permission – and request information adequate to credit you appropriately. If you’d prefer that I take your picture down, please let me down and I’ll take it down as promptly as reasonably practicable.
Readers, what do you think? I know that no one comes to my blog to look at the pictures. Should I lose them altogether?