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Image copyright - Why all the fuss from photographers?

Updated on April 28, 2013

"Borrowing Images"

There is always lots of discussion about image copyright, copying of images, theft of images, borrowing of images etc etc. Many people cannot understand why photographers get upset and one of the most common things I hear is I haven't taken anything from the photographer he/she still has their images so they haven't lost out. Let me via this hub try to explain a few things that may help a non photographer see it from another view point.

Image ©Howzat Photography
Image ©Howzat Photography

Imagine for a minute

Imagine you have spent a lot of time making your garden look really nice, plush, level lawns, perfect flower beds and perfectly colour balanced. You have bought lots of equipment to help you achieve this result and spent lots of time planning it and getting it just so. Your neighbour has an average garden that's OK but nothing anywhere near as good as yours. One Saturday morning you get up and discover your neighbour has removed the fence between your gardens and is having a garden party with his chairs and tables in your garden and guest all walking around looking at your flowers. You go round to his house to complain and you are confronted by a sign that says, Cream Teas £5. So now not only is he in your garden he is actually making money from it. You head through his back gate and spot him at the bottom of your garden talking to some people. As you head towards him you notice a sign has been put up in between the two gardens which reads, this beautiful garden is the work of my neighbour. How happy are you going to be with this situation?

Image ©Howzat Photography
Image ©Howzat Photography | Source

The Confrontation

So you get to your neighbour and say "what are you doing?, this is my garden" he replies telling you its not an issue as he hasn't taken anything of yours, when he is done you will still have your garden. You can still use your garden whilst he is using it so he cannot see the issue. You say "but its MY garden" he acknowledges that fact that its yours and explains that is why he put the sign at the edge of your garden saying it was yours so everyone knows. You should be really pleased with the publicity he is giving you. You are now probably very annoyed and say "but you are charging people so you are making money from my work". He accepts that fact but explains he is not making much so its not like he is getting rich and he is not taking anything from you so why should he give you any of the money. After all he hasn't taken your garden and you can still use it so you haven't lost out and don't need paying.

image ©howzat photography
image ©howzat photography | Source

The Conclusion

Hopefully by now you can see the similarity's between this scenrio and the scenario when someone has borrowed a photographers image and gone on to make money from it whilst claiming they have done the photographer no wrong at all as the photographer still has the image. In my next article I will explain the work that goes into some images and the effect unauthorised use can have on the photographers ability to earn their living from their images. I hope that by explaining things from the photographers viewpoint people that need images for blogs, hubs etc will understand why they shouldn't just borrow images from the internet


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    • HowzatPhotography profile image

      HowzatPhotography 5 years ago from Newport Pagnell

      Thank you. I'm just trying to explain things from the photographers view in a calm fashion as usually the only time people get the photographers view is when they have already infringed copyright and everyone is a little tense about the "theft" and the invoice

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is an awesome use of analogies to get the message across loud and clear. Ever since your first reply in one of the forums addressing the issue of copyright infringement, I have been overly conscientious about the use of images. In fact, if it doesn't come from public domain, Wikimedia Commons, or other free share image site that also allows "commercial" use, or if I didn't create it myself, I won't use it. Great hub.