One photographers policy on stealing his work.

Three helpful resources to study when dealing with copyright infringement.

I need to rant.  If you're sensitive to salty language, please close this window now and do not read any farther.  I'll wait.

Good.  So it's just us grown ups in the room now, and the easily offended have opted out, right?

Brace yourself.

DON'T STEAL MY SHIT!  AND FUCK YOU IF YOU DO!

I knew going into this business that it was going to be a tough start.  It might take years for me to really get my business off the ground.  Nine months into it and the cost of doing business still exceeds my incoming revenue.  I've had equipment wear out that I simply can't afford to replace, and every month I keep getting more bills.  I've nearly depleted my initial investment just keeping my website up, email active, and phone turned on.  I haven't been able to draw a salary, so my basic living needs are coming out of my very limited personal savings.

It sounds like I'm complaining about my situation, but I'm not really, I'm setting the stage for my outrage.

Twice in the last couple of weeks I've had different images of mine stolen off of the web and published for commercial purposes.  The worst part is that on both occasions it was done by someone who handles publicity as part of their regular duties.  First it was a nationally known comedian's Beverly Hills management team, then it was the national marketing director of a large chain of comedy clubs.

My initial approach in both of these situations was the same.  I'm flattered that you like my work, and I would be willing to be easy breezy about the whole thing if I could use this as an opportunity to start a healthy mutually beneficial ongoing business relationship.  Both times I was given a very warm "We wouldn't need any of the services you offer, and we don't pay for photography."

IF YOU DON'T NEED MY SERVICES, THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU USING THEM!?

Obviously I'm flattered that you like my work.  But this is my work, this is how I feed myself.  When you utilize my work without permission and without fairly compensating me in the operation of your for profit business, it makes feeding myself a very difficult task.

As for not paying for photography.  If you are not willing to pay for something, it's because you hold it's monetary value at $0.00.  Worthless.

IF MY WORK IS WORTHLESS TO YOU, THEN YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE FUCKING USED IT IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE!

Okay.  I needed to vent that.

Just to be clear, if I've ever taken your photo and posted it online, you're welcome to use it on your personal facebook.  I love it when people do that.  I even encourage you to share anything I post also.  But if I've taken your picture and someone wants to use it in an advertisement or in the operation of their business, explain to that person that the photo is not licensed for commercial use (unless it is, then please stay within the limits of the original license or contact me to get expanded licensing).

So today I'm in an unresolved dispute with two different companies.  I'm hopeful they will see the error of their ways and do the right thing.  If not the law is firmly on my side.  Depending on the nature of the copyright infringement, violators can be subject to huge statutory damages.  I really don't want to go there.  I'd rather end the day with two new clients than two new defendants.

If you like my work and need my work in your business operation, I'm happy to help, let's talk, I'm sure we'll be able to come to an agreement.  If you don't think my work is worth anything, then you should have no problem not using it.  Fair enough?