Reader mick writes in to alert us to a group of photographers in Australia who seem absolutely livid that the government's latest toursim campaign sought to crowdsource photographs that could be used as part of the campaign
. To me, that seems like a perfectly reasonable idea -- in fact, a good idea in engaging people and getting them to take part in the campaign. But the problem comes from the fact that Tourism Australia asked people to let it use the photographs for free. That's when a bunch of groups went ballistic:
The National Association for the Visual Arts, the Australian Copyright Council and the Arts Law Centre of Australia are protesting the conditions.
They are demanding the agency relicense any photographs used in the campaign to pay royalties to the artists.
Let me get this straight. Even though the whole thing is completely optional, and photographers, who don't like the terms, have every right to just not participate, they're pissed off that others can participate -- of their own free will -- by letting the Tourism campaign use their photographs freely. If the photographers don't mind the terms, why should others? The reality is that these groups are trying to stomp out amateur competition. This whole hissy fit is about limiting the market to professionals, and keeping the amateurs out.
Arts Law Centre of Australia chief executive Robyn Ayres says the copyright rules set a "worrying precedent".
"The creative industries play a huge role in our economy and our culture," she said in a statement.
Of course the creative industries play a huge role in the economy and culture. But what does that have to do with willing participants letting the Tourism campaign use their images for free of their own free will?
"Refusing to license these photographic works in an appropriate way sends a message that it (government) does not value creative work in the same way as it values other economic assets."
No, it shows that the Tourism group realizes that some people are more than willing to contribute their works for free for reasons other than direct payment.