After seeing several of my images used without permission, notification or credit on separate platforms in recent weeks, I’m seriously considering watermarking anything I share or post in the future. For quite some time now, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that individuals see no fault in taking and using someone’s work or personal property without at the very least, asking. For whatever reason, this has always been a music related issue for me. Bands, record labels, magazines and the what not perhaps thinking that someone else’s work is public domain. While it was a personal friend and professional photographer who, years ago, convinced me to stop watermarking my work, it was another who upon relaying my frustrations, asked me, why on earth I wasn’t.
Upon sharing some new watermarks with a friend and my ideas with my wife, I was told that someone might crop out my watermark if it was perhaps placed incorrectly, or that I might consider sharing small, grainy ones instead. Needless to say, it’s frustrating. While this could take some time, I feel that with some time and patient research, I’ll be using more watermarks to both protect my work and piss off the mother fuckers who take without asking. Below are some links to my recent discoveries.
In a recent conversation with friend, fellow photographer and mentor Kevin. I was questioned about my use of watermarks. I explained that I had so many of my music related photos used without permission, notice or credit over the years and how using a watermark gave me a sense of assurance that such branding would cut down on, if not eliminate the practice of taking without asking. As ridiculous as it might seem, it pisses me off when I have to ask for a photo credit after it’s already been used without notification. In the days of film, this never seemed to be an issue, due to the fact that you, the photographer, owned the negative. In a time of social media’s immediacy and a digital age where a file / image replaces the negative. Problems certainly have more of a chance to arise.
Still, his question and critique really made me think. Is it really worth it? Does it reduce the emotion or intended message within the image. If so, does that tiny assurance relieve any of the anxiety or paranoia of having one of your shots appear uncredited on someone’s band page? Probably not. But still, it’s an idea I’m still not ready to completely embrace. So, what do you think? Bands, Photographers? I’d love to hear from you.
The conversation and debate about Watermarking continues. I’ve been speaking with a lot of friends and fellow photographers since my prior posts regarding the subject. The overwhelming majority agree I need to take steps to protect my work from being used with permission or credit. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself knocking my head against the wall chasing bands on Facebook. Having bands take shit of my website and even found one of my shots on a credible website with no permission or credit. (My email yet to be addressed after more than four days) From now on people can take my work and put it anywhere their heart desires because there’s going to be a big Fucking watermark on it. No worries, no complaints. Safe and sound. The End.
The other night while uploading an interview and some new pictures to my music website I decided to add a disclaimer “All Photos Property of James Damion and Unite Fanzine.” I’ve been having a lot of people use my photos without permission or credit and it was beginning to piss me off. As I stated in an earlier blog post I’m not crazy about the idea of watermarking my images just yet. However I do find myself spending more and more time reminding folks that if they are going to use one of my images as their profile badge they should at least give me a photo credit. Well, only hours after loading the update I found some kid took the picture off the site and used it for his Facebook profile picture. No credit or notification. I was pissed, especially considering his bands shot was directly under the disclaimer. After confronting him I was still pissed and started watermarking everything. Pictures, records, my cat… You name is. I wanted my Watermarks to be large and obnoxious. I even tangled with watermarks that didn’t even have my name on them. “YourBandSucks”, “DicksDon’tCredit” and more insane ones too dirty to post here. Hey, I was pissed and Nasty Watermarking seemed like a better idea than spitting teeth. I’m calm and detached now and thinking that watermarking might be the next step for me. In the meantime…..
Watermarking is an essential tool used by photographers to protect their work from being used without consent. It’s something I’ve toyed with for years but never fully warmed up to. I post a lot of my work to networking sites such as Facebook and at one time My Space. Often finding myself answering friend requests from people who’s soul reason for friending me was to tag my work without even crediting me. I also have absolutely no issues with telling people/friends/bands rather nicely to do the right thing. I need all the publicity I can get. It’s my work and sure as shit I’m going to protect it. Like I said, watermarking is an essential tool for many. I just don’t think I’m one of them. I guess I’ll be watching with due diligence for those few who fail to understand the idea of giving credit where credit is due. Those that slip through the cracks will have to deal with their own bad karma.