One of my weekly chores is to spend an hour or so trawling the internet looking for unsolicited use of my photographs. It’s a ball ache that quite frankly I could do without but in this day and age the internet is by far the best place to get my work seen and more importantly sold. However there are too many uneducated individuals and organisations who believe that because it’s on the internet, it must be free. I have often found my work used on blogs for example without any accreditation or links back to me and sometimes even with my copyright watermark removed. Is that theft?
So whilst bloggers get on my tits, companies and organisations that certainly ought to know better really rile me. I don’t give a monkeys if you contracted out the building of your website to a shack in India. It’s yours and you are responsible for it. Were there any libellous comments made on there, it’s your ass the courts are coming after.
And so to that latest cheeky blighters to have tried to rip me off. Some years ago I took a trip around the inside of John Rylands Library on Deansgate in Manchester. It’s architecture is stunning from the outside and it’s even more captivating inside. I made several photographs, and whilst there are tons and tons of images of this building on the internet, a couple of mine seem to get hijacked over and over again. Maybe it’s because in those days I was putting a white frame around my images and adding my copyright marker in the border making it easier to remove, rather than on top of the image itself, the way I work it now. Maybe it’s just because other people think they’re really good. Who knows. But the source of this most recent infringement turns out to be none other than Manchester University. I mean a bloody university. Of all people surely they get the concept of the law where it pertains to patents and copyright. But clearly not. Somebody there deemed it appropriate to not only lift the image from my website, but they then cropped off my copyright statement. How do I know it’s mine? I may have shot hundreds of thousands of photographs, the majority of which are utter crap and never see the light of day. However the ones that eventually make it online are my babies. It’s just like a mother’s ability to hear her child’s cry above the raucous clamour of hundreds of other kids. They’re mine and I could spot ‘em a mile off.