Photographer Compares Microstock Sites To Pollution And Drug Dealing

from the yeah,-that's-convincing dept

I guess it's natural to lash out at technologies and companies that undermine a business model built up on artificial barriers and scarcity, but it won't do much good in terms of actually adapting. But it's kind of amusing when it's done at the same time that someone is embracing those new technologies as they undermine other business models at the same time. Taylor Davidson points us to a photographer bashing the idea that microstock sites like iStockPhoto help "create new markets." It's actually been really depressing to see so many photographers react so poorly to new technologies, and this case is no exception. In the ranting post, he compares microstock sites to pollution in China and drug dealing. All the rant really screams out is "I'm so set in my ways that I can't compete or adapt my business model."

However, the really amusing part is highlighted by an anonymous commenter on the site who mocks the photographer for whining about how microstock sites are undercutting his old business model at the same time that he's advertising his own books and services online, rather than advertising in newspapers and phone books. As the commenter notes:
If everyone is supposed to stop posting their photos and selling to istock, how about photographers stop using the Web and advertise in phone books and newspapers so those jobs aren't lost? And maybe you can go back to using film instead of digital so that film manufacturers aren't put out of business? Sounds like to me you're all for taking advantage of technology except when others doing it hurts your bottom line.
And that's really a key point. Technology changes markets, and the more you look, the more you realize that it almost always enlarges the overall market for those who take advantage of it. Yes, there's more competition in the photographer market, and the model for stock photography has changed. But the nice thing about the microstock market is that it has opened new markets. A lot more people can and do buy stock photos than did in the past. If I can't find a decent Creative Commons/public domain photo for presentations, I'll go in search of one I can license from a microstock photo site in a second, because it'll just cost $1 or so. So I actually end up spending a fair amount on stock photos in the course of a regular year. Compare that to the situation seven years ago when we were working on a revamp of our corporate website. We went in search of a photo to use, and the licensing deals we saw wanted about $1,000 for just one year of usage. That meant we spent nothing, because that just doesn't make sense.

So, yes, the economics are changing, but if you're smart, you can take advantage of it. It may mean moving beyond just the stock photo market, or using such photographs (or even giving away works for free) to build up reputation for freelance or custom assignments. Most photographers I know never made much money from stock photos anyway, finding much more value in commissioned work. And recently, I've been hearing of success stories from some really good photographers who have used their existing work, given away for free, as strong advertising to get more (and more lucrative) commissions.

In the end, it really comes down to how you deal with it. Do you whine and stomp your feet and compare the new world to pollution? Or do you figure out how to adapt? Economic progress doesn't care in the slightest how much you liked how things used to be.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    Bridal Photographer makes money selling photos...

    My bridal photographer use to sell each piece of the puzzle at a high cost but recently she decided to change. She now will let you download and print any photo you want from your wedding for just $20.00. She only allows you to print those photo's through a site that offers competitive pricing. She makes a commission for doing this and she has seen her profits grown by 200+% in just one year.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    BBT, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    "But it's kind of amusing when it's done at the same time that someone is embracing those new technologies as they undermine other business models at the same time."

    This sentence is painful

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 1:44pm

    The commenter's post is excellent. A copy should be sent to Lily Allen, Rupert Murdoch, and the MAFIAAs.

    Apropos of nothing, I recommend doing the following:

    - Watch any of the Zero Punctuation reviews at the Escapist. Here's one: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1118-Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-2

    - Come over here to TD and peruse the latest article, which you cannot help hearing Yahtzee Croshaw read out loud in your head.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Dan, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    The photographer could also go back burn & dodge and junk his computer with Photoshop & Illustrator. He could live his dream of Ansel Adams as long as he has a trust fund and the talent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Press a button. Click. That recording of reality is now under the photographer's copyright for centuries. Just press a button. That's it. Click.

    Write a novel? Well, that takes many button presses. Paint a picture? Button pressing is replaced by daubing paint. Making a movie? So many buttons pressed.

    Yet another reason why copyright bothers me so much. Why is pressing a button held in the same creative sphere as writing a novel? They are nowhere near the same yet they enjoy the same government-enforced monopoly. Fro centuries.

    Way to record reality! In mere seconds, no less!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re:

    "Yet another reason why copyright bothers me so much. Why is pressing a button held in the same creative sphere as writing a novel? They are nowhere near the same yet they enjoy the same government-enforced monopoly. Fro centuries."

    While I also have a problem with the way copyright is applied/used today, and I appreciate the esteem in which you hold those that undertake novel writing, there is MUCH more that goes into GOOD/ARTISTIC photography than merely clicking a button....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Michael (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    As a painter I am very upset by all these photographers undercutting my portrait business, before I was even born! Woes me...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Sure, I would agree with that in a heartbeat, except the reality is that if you press a button, regardless of how much went into the setting up, you're still awarded a copyright that lasts for centuries.

    Just doesn't make much sense, is all. Then again, that's intellectual property for you. Hey, why don't we tax intellectual property like real property?

    Of course, if we had sensible copyright reform, I wouldn't say anything about photography being one of the lesser arts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Alan Gerow (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re:

    That's not so much artistic photographic expression as it is journalistic photography.

    The effort to create art does not dictate the value of the art. A photographer can click a button. But before that button is clicked, the frame of reference is composed, settings in the camera adjusted for desired photo quality for mood or presentation. Objects can be placed aesthetically or for meaning.

    The difference in composition of a good photograph and a bad photograph is subtle yet substantial.

    You can put batteries in a camera and click a button and get a picture, true, but that doesn't mean that's all there is to be a photographer.

    I could be a painter by dumping a bucket of paint on a canvas ... 1 action. Done, I call it "Gravity".

    I could write a novel in a day, doesn't mean it would be any good at all by anyone's definition.

    A movie can be made with 2 button presses, "record" and then an hour and a half later "stop". In fact, there's an entire film movement (I forget the name) that considers this pure film making ... so edits, no cuts, no scripts.

    You can oversimplify all these art works into 1 or 2 meaningless actions. But it's not the actions that dictate the end product, but how the actions come together, and how the audience reacts and perceives the value their life has been enriched by the artwork.

    Alternatively, someone can spend their entire lives working on a novel ... and it sucks. Someone can spend years painting a portrait and it never looks like anything more enriching than a kindergarten picture. Someone can press 2 BILLION buttons for a movie, and get Waterworld.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    "You can put batteries in a camera and click a button and get a picture, true, but that doesn't mean that's all there is to be a photographer."

    Maybe that's what bugs me about it. For some, that's all it takes and yet they don't pick up a pencil and claim to draw?

    Which is funny because in order to draw all you need to do is pick up a pencil. And then draw with it.

    I've brought this up before: take a wedding and have 100 photographers record the event. There won't be that much variation in the end results, one of the drawbacks to recording reality with a camera.

    Take 100 artists to record the event? The end results will be much more expressive because there is a greater artistic filter to go through.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    cameras are copy machines

    Cameras are copy machines; photographs are copies; photographers are copy machine operators. All photography copyrights are copyfraud. Certainly some photographers are much much more highly skilled than others; doesn't change the fact that the camera is a copy machine. The highly skilled operators should be able to charge more for their services, and be in greater demand.

    Maybe we could solve this copyright silliness by just declaring anything we make a copy of, is copyright us. That photo is ©Joe Photographer, until I make copies of it - then my copies are ©Me. That should make the copyright maximalists happy, and it would make me almost as happy as copyright abolition. "Your copies belong to you, and my copies belong to me." Copyright everything, or nothing; it all comes out the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    kyle clements (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    The existence of so many of these micro stock photography sites makes it very clear that a large segment of the market was not having their demands met by photographers.

    Don't be angry that someone is better able to serve your clients. Offer them better services!
    Focus on services micro stock sits can not offer. You can't exactly get family portraits, wedding photos, Christmas photos, etc. from a stock site. focus on that stuff!

    Offer generic stock photography through your site at super low prices, so if you are making a wedding album, for example, you can throw in a few extras for a small fee.

    But most importantly: be friendly.
    Once your photos are 'good enough' the biggest thing is, "are people comfortable around me?", "do they want to spend time with me?" My photos are no better than the ones they could get from any other photographer in the area, but I'm friendly, and familiar.

    Most of my photo gigs come from a very small group of repeat customers, and I offer them the one thing micro-stock sites can not: photos of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Re: cameras are copy machines

    I'm in the copyright nothing camp. It's awesome! We sing and tell stories and make it up as we go along.

    The copyright everything camp? So boring. Can't do anything without the proper license.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Littlebike, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    I have an idea, I am going to start a blog and copy every post from Techdirt.com, but change a few words here and there, then publish it. I will also sell advertising at a slightly lower price.

    If techdirt gets upset then I will point out that it is their problem if they cannot manage to make a profit or that some other site is replicating their content and selling it for less - referring to advertising.

    It seems your mode of operation is to suggest that all content should be free at all times to everyone and that content creators are just selfish SOB's because they want to make a living off their intellectual property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Jon Bane (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    ya. That's the ticket. Cause offering a product through different means is exactly like copying someone else's work.

    If you can't make the distinction between the two, you have lost at the internets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re:

    That's not so much artistic photographic expression as it is journalistic photography.

    Doesn't matter. The copyright is the same. Are you suggesting that copyright should be based on artistry? Maybe the length of copyright should vary for each work depend on a rating from a board of art critics?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Re:

    I have an idea, I am going to start a blog and copy every post from Techdirt.com, but change a few words here and there, then publish it.

    Feel free to go ahead. Mike has already stated that people are free to copy Techdirt. So what's the URL? Yeah, that's what I thought. Typical copyright liar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Sneeje (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Re:

    Actually, Techdirt has welcomed this idea (which unfortunately for you has been suggested many, many times). The reason they welcome it is that you will be surprised to learn that they already exist and in no way compete successfully with Techdirt. The reason Techdirt is a successful blog clearly eludes you and has nothing to do with the elements you suggest you will copy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Re:

    Beautfiful, a photographer that gets it. Maybe there is hope.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    Re:

    I have an idea, I am going to start a blog and copy every post from Techdirt.com, but change a few words here and there, then publish it. I will also sell advertising at a slightly lower price.

    Why even change a few words? Go ahead and copy the whole site. We've already discussed this:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0348223430.shtml

    Many sites do. None get traffic. If you can figure out how to get traffic, good on you.

    If techdirt gets upset then I will point out that it is their problem if they cannot manage to make a profit or that some other site is replicating their content and selling it for less - referring to advertising.

    Um, but we won't get upset. Besides, advertising isn't our business model. It's a pretty weak one. If you can somehow make it work, more power to you.


    It seems your mode of operation is to suggest that all content should be free at all times to everyone and that content creators are just selfish SOB's because they want to make a living off their intellectual property.


    No, not at all. I'm afraid you need to read more carefully. We believe quite strongly in making money, and that means understanding basic economics on what you should charge for and what should be free.

    But, anyway, back to your plan, when you set up your Techdirt copycat site, please let us know where it is. Would love to check it out. Good luck!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That sounds about as useless as copyright lasting for centuries!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    max.elliott (profile), Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

    One photographer I know....

    My uncle, who is also a mountain climber, climbs mountains and takes photos. Often dangling from a ledge. He uses film and offers a limited run of prints for sale. There's no animosity for people who borrow electronic copies of the pictures, because what he's selling isn't an 'image', but an actual physical printing of that image. He does business over the internet, and ships people their art in a box.

    It's possible to make money as a film and apature photographer, as long as you allow for the stock image people and the ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MARKET they're in. In much the same way that artists in the Letter Press Card arena don't sell LaserJet ink. I'd even argue that StockPhoto sites have put the ART back into picture taking and taken over the commodity-style work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    Re:

    "It seems your mode of operation is to suggest that all content should be free at all times to everyone and that content creators are just selfish SOB's because they want to make a living off their intellectual property."

    Actually, that's my mode of operation. I am a copyright abolishionist, after all. I look forward to that day, in the near future, when copyright ceases to be.

    "Content should be free at all times to everyone."

    That sounds wonderful! Like a library? That holds every last piece of artistic human expression? Why, that would be the most amazing thing, the most wonderful thing. And you're against this idea? Are you mad?

    "Content creators are just selfish SOB's because they want to make a living off their intellectual property."

    Why isn't intellectual property taxed like real property? If they're making a living? Seems fair. People who make their living on real property have to pay taxes on that property. Seems fair.

    Content creators are not necessarily artists. If you took away all the artists who are selfish that would leave non-artistic content creators. And yes, they are selfish.

    Ask them about the public domain. They hate the public domain because it provides an attentive avenue of competition that pulls money away from their content, which they treat as a commodity anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Another fun fact: The bashing is being done from a Blogspot blog.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    littlebike, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Endorse the race to the bottom

    So from everything I have read as a response to my message, all techdirt readers would be content if they were to find the years of education, experience, and capital investment they put into a trade were suddenly 1/10 the value it was just a couple years ago?

    Bricklayers, electricians, nurses, accountants, painters, construction workers, writers, editors, printers, engineers, programmers, teachers, plumbers, etc should have no issues with such changes if they were to come to their field or work?

    They should be fine if there is a massive influx of individuals willing to do their jobs at 1/100th the wage they were earning?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: Endorse the race to the bottom

    Yes! Now you've got it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Endorse the race to the bottom

    Why isn't intellectual property taxed like real property?

    And if there were an influx of plumbers who could do the job at 1/100th the price then yes, plumbers would have to adjust or go out of business.

    What you're actaully describing is a future where instead of calling a plumber, you would do it yourself.

    OH MY GOD! WHAT A HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE THAT WOULD BE!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: Endorse the race to the bottom

    So from everything I have read as a response to my message, all techdirt readers would be content if they were to find the years of education, experience, and capital investment they put into a trade were suddenly 1/10 the value it was just a couple years ago?

    Huh? How do you figure? Not at all. We're actually talking about maximizing their value, by recognizing what it makes sense to charge for, and what it does not make sense to charge for. Just basic economics.

    Bricklayers, electricians, nurses, accountants, painters, construction workers, writers, editors, printers, engineers, programmers, teachers, plumbers, etc should have no issues with such changes if they were to come to their field or work?

    I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

    They should be fine if there is a massive influx of individuals willing to do their jobs at 1/100th the wage they were earning?

    Markets change. You need to learn to adapt.

    At one time people had to write books by hand. Then the printing press came along and the scribes lost their jobs. But the end result was progress, a huge publishing industry and much greater opportunity for everyone.

    At one time people had to ride horses to get places. Then automobiles came along and lots of horseshoers/buggy whip makers/etc. lost their jobs. But the end result was progress, a huge auto industry and much greater opportunity for everyone.

    At one time all phone calls were answered by operators. Then automated switchboards came along and lots of operators lost their jobs. But the end result was massive progress, a huge telecom industry (and now internet industry) and much greater opportunity for everyone.

    Things change. People adapt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: Endorse the race to the bottom

    Except for the copyright maximalists! Am I right? They never change, even in the face of certainty and they are horrible at adapting.

    They use the same tired arguments from over a decade ago. They will use the same tired argumemts a decade from now.

    I honestly believe that they're not really people at all. Just a computer program with a few algorithms to make it appear they are human.

    "Things change. People adapt."

    Except those who are so frightened of freedom that they refuse to see the forest for the trees. They need more control. They need more locks and fewer keys.

    I pity them. I really do. And I wish them the best of luck. In the future. They're going to need it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Endorse the race to the bottom

    Case in point: In the future it is entirely reasonable that someone will begin making indestructible socks.

    "But what happens to everyone who manufactures socks that slowly degrade over time? What about their jobs? So a consumer can purchase a pair of socks only once? What happens to the sock industry? I hope that future never happens. It sounds horrible, if you're into selling socks that slowly degrade over time."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Chris Barton, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    Microstock

    the problem with microstock is not buyers getting images cheap - that is fine. It is true that microstock has opened up a whole new market of cheap images for many new uses. The problem is that the microstock RF license is so open, that the images can be used for anything, anywhere, for all time.

    3 dollars for an image used once on a blog? Sounds fine to me.
    30 dollars for an image used on the cover of Time Magazine? err... there is something not quite right there... particularly when Time Magazine then sells the next double page advertising spread for 1 million dollars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    littlebike, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 6:29am

    [i]3 dollars for an image used once on a blog? Sounds fine to me.
    30 dollars for an image used on the cover of Time Magazine? err... there is something not quite right there... particularly when Time Magazine then sells the next double page advertising spread for 1 million dollars.[/i]

    Exactly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    exactly... what? are you saying that if "joe the plumber" buys a street hot dog and a soft drink for 2 bux it's ok, but if steve jobs buys the same thing it should cost him 1000 bux because of who he is?

    is there even oxygen on the planet you're from?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    wvhillbilly, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    My question is, why do we need a term of copyright that effectively lasts for centuries when the value of most copyrighted works is exhausted in just a few years? Authors, composers, arrangers etc. did just fine back when the term of copyright was 14 years, and there was always incentive for plenty of new works. So why not release old works into the public domain when their value has been exhausted so others can re-work them, re-create them, adapt and make derivative works of them, instead of locking them up for life + 70 years where they will soon become orphaned and lost to society forever?

    This current situation only benefits large corporations like Disney and the record companies, who seemingly want to get royalties from the same works forever. Life plus 70 years might as well be forever, and especially with the term being extended another 20 years every time the copyright on Mickey Mouse is about to expire. If Disney or someone else wants to keep their copyright forever, then make an exception where they can renew their copyrights for a fat fee for as long as they want, and let the rest of the works pass into the public domain after a reasonable term where they can be recycled, reused, adapted, expanded and built on to make new works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    MCR, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    Re: Microstock

    That photographer can now add to his resume: TIME Magazine Cover photographer. Can you say exposure? The one thing unknowns want, even before money, is to be known.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Littlebike, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

    Time Magazine Cover:
    Exposure does not pay the bills.

    Length of copyright:
    There are many photographic works that continue to pay divendends several decades after origination - the heirs of the photographers are able to live off that continuing income.
    images of the Beatles, Kennedy, Sanatra, Madanna, Obama, Clinton, Bush, Tour De France, Olympics, etc, will still have value in the coming decades.

    I dont understand why people feel they should be able to use those images for profit without paying appropriate fees.


    The plubmer:
    The plubmer using an image to sell his services to his local community is much different than Kholer using an image internationally to sell thousand dollar faucets generating hundreds of millions in sales.


    It appears to me Techdirt commenters are bitter individuals who have never created anything of value that others would be willing to pay for and feel they should not have to pay for anything creative from anybody.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 11:04pm

    Re:

    Free art. Art is free. Ideas are free. Free ideas.

    Free control. Control is free. Ideas are control. Control ideas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 11:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Copyright abolishionists want to free intellectual property.

    Copyright maximalists want to control intellectual property.

    Which do you think has a future?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2009 @ 11:09pm

    Re:

    "It appears to me Techdirt commenters are bitter individuals who have never created anything of value that others would be willing to pay for and feel they should not have to pay for anything creative from anybody."

    Oh and what do you know? I mean really? About anyone here? Does your mommy understand copyright? You? How about the nature of art? Creativity? Who cares? Copyright will be rendered obsolete in the near future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 28th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    Time Magazine Cover:
    Exposure does not pay the bills.


    It is not our (ie everybody's) problem to make sure the photographers can pay their bills. It's the photographers' problems. It is also not the purpose of copyright to make sure they can pay the bills, it's to make sure they are motivated to keep producing photographs.

    Length of copyright:
    There are many photographic works that continue to pay divendends several decades after origination - the heirs of the photographers are able to live off that continuing income.


    That's a bad thing and contrary to the purpose of copyright. Dead people can't produce more art, so posthumous copyright term makes no sense at all.

    The plubmer using an image to sell his services to his local community is much different than Kholer using an image internationally to sell thousand dollar faucets generating hundreds of millions in sales.

    If you can make a business model that charges everybody according to their net profit, go for it. It's probably going to be easy for Kohler to either pretend to be Joe the plumber, or go to some other stock photo site that doesn't jerk them around. Or even more likely, produce their own photos, but that is beside the point.

    It appears to me Techdirt commenters are bitter individuals who have never created anything of value that others would be willing to pay for and feel they should not have to pay for anything creative from anybody.

    I think most TD commenters are people who work every day, are paid for the work they do that day, and have to work again the next day to keep getting paid. And we don't see why artists should be able to work once and live off the income from it for the rest of their lives. And we really don't see why artists' children and grandchildren should be getting income from that work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re:

    As an artist, I fully support this position.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Re:

    "I dont understand why people feel they should be able to use those images for profit without paying appropriate fees."

    I don't understand why photographers feel they should be able to use those cameras for profit without paying the creator of the camera every time they use it.

    "Exposure does not pay the bills."

    Yes, genius. Taking pictures doesn't "pay the bills" either unless you actually effectively market them, for which exposure tends to help.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Littlebike, Nov 29th, 2009 @ 12:39am

    "I don't understand why photographers feel they should be able to use those cameras for profit without paying the creator of the camera every time they use it."

    A camera is nothing more than a tool, much like a hammer. It is not the tool doing the job, it is the skill of the user creating the end result.

    "Yes, genius. Taking pictures doesn't "pay the bills" either unless you actually effectively market them, for which exposure tends to help."

    Yours is the typical response for somebody who thinks they are doing a photographer a "favor" by giving them "exposure".

    I personally know a photographer who has been published in a couple magazines and produced all the images for a book. On both occasions the publisher said "this will be great exposure for you" and tried to get the work for free. On both occasions the photographer stuck to his guns, got his fee and licensing.

    The "exposure" has done absolutely nothing, nobody has ever contacted him for a job because they saw his work in either publication.

    So no, "exposure" means jack shit. Getting paid a fee for work delivered does.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    tim, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright IS taxed. At the point you exercise it (licence an image) you pay tax. Just as much as if you earn money from a job requiring no talent at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    I think that there are far too many photographers out there that are overly passionate about this subject and they may be the same sort of people I see in photography forums passionately defending their camera's brand name like it was the word of God. It probably is the changing of the times, whether I am loathe to admit it or not, but I will probably stay in macrostock until I am digging it out of its grave with my own nail-torn claws.

    That said, I never understood why people seem to think that photography is such a simple act. What people are griping about is the time and effort that is cheapened to such small gains.

    If you think creative people have it easier with flexible hours and none of the traditional five days a week thing, you may be surprised. For me, shooting stock never ends with a simple click of the shutter, but during the late nights into the early hours of the morning cleaning, editing, and trimming everything to look nice and neat. That's several hours of effort for a decent paycheck in the end. If you ever worked in creative fields like advertising or gaming, you know that there are always deadlines, and that you rarely get the chance to sit on your laurels unless you're really REALLY popular.

    But since the gain isn't worth it anymore, is it worth someone working chemicals in a photo lab or in front of a computer building layers and trimming colors or removing blemishes for a handful of photos only for the opportunity to gain a few bucks in some indeterminate future?

    I guess I can see how in the end this works, but it's not something I see offering lasting results or higher quality things you can desire. Metaphorically, you're choosing a Honda over a Ferrari--not a great example since I know Hondas aren't as cheap as they used to be, so bear with me--and encouraging a Walmart sort of atmosphere as a result. With the way this economy's going, I guess it's appropriate too, but it's not going to attract higher quality work.

    And for reference, I don't think I'm a Ferrari maker by any standards. Maybe Audi, but a man can always dream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    SEO Services, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 3:31pm

    SEO Services

    Don't know what is wrong what is rite but i know that every one has there own point of view and same goes to this one..SEO Services

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Best buy USA, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Great Post

    Great Post.I like the link.Now expecting some good ideas from your upcoming post
    Best buy Store
    Discount electronics

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This