Photogeoia is currently exhibiting photo paintings of the local Newburyport area.
It’s very difficult to survive as an artist unless you have a steady source of income. Authors sell books. Musicians sell music. Visual artist have shows, but there is an expectation that images should be free, and many images are pirated or used without permission.
Commissions and royalties on visual art is often side-stepped. I love Flickr, Pinterest and many of the social galleries — they’re fun — but it’s a big sink-hole for giving away art without compensation.
As we sit in the comfort with our mobile devices, the visual artist offers us a world of experience. We read reddit and check into facebook for – not news – but images (including video).
Every once-in-a-blue-moon someone will ask my permission to use my work, but that’s the exception and not the norm. I understand that anything I post may be stolen — used without my permission — there’s really not too much I can do about it. Recently I was contacted by another graphic designer who was using a crowd sourced logo design site – said someone was using my logo as their design to win money.
In the future there may be image recognition applications that can be used to find pirated art – and collect fees or fines. But today, unless you’re a large corporation with high-paid lawyers, the cost of collection may be out of reach. So see my terms.
How do we protect the artist?
Websites which are built around images are vulnerable to theft. Good images are wanted. Images posted for free viewing are essentially owned by the public. My advice to artists would be to allow some images to be viewed for free – then grant access to the rest – either by a pass code or by payment.
To protect art from theft there are a few measures to use. Some will prevent images from being viewed and other will allow partial viewing. Some examples include:
- Using a service to add a secret watermark. Not sure how to enforce that. Could be costly.
- Put a big giant engraved signature across the image area. Used by stock art companies.
- Use a do-not-follow-code on your site so your image can’t be found by web crawlers.
- Grant access with a password or payment.