Since I started Blueline Photography I have always watermarked my photos when I release them for general viewing. I've been asked why I do it. Its not a decision I took lightly.
Within a few weeks of starting Blueline I started to see my images being used without permission by individuals, sports teams and even businesses. I had positioned my watermark at the bottom left and whilst some people had edited the photo to cut it off others had not. I'll be honest I let things slide as I didn't have the confidence to challenge the use of my images.
So why did I choose to watermark you ask? A few reasons really:-
- To protect my work, to try and prevent use of my images without my permission
- To prevent low resolution photos of mine being used, as the quality that a screen shot gives does not meet the high standards I set for myself
- To get my business name out in the community when people view my images
Over the past couple of years I've used 3 or 4 different watermarks but finally settled on my current one that you can see on the photos in this blog, I settled on this as I believe that it has the right balance between branding my images and not detracting from the overall effect of it.
In terms of the photographs they are protected by copyright just like any other piece of creative work, and are protected in UK law by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and some EU directives that came into force in 1989, and under these acts they come under the classification 'Artistic Work'. This basically means that photographs can't be used or reproduced without permission.
I have to say I've gained in confidence a bit and have now started challenging people who use my photos without permission, for me its the same as theft, you wouldn't walk into a shop and take items without paying! Times I have challenged people I've done it in a polite manner, the abuse I've received back in some cases is a disgrace. Other reasons I've had is that people want to 'help' me grow my business, sorry if this sounds harsh but the best way to help me grow is pay the £2.50 for an image and tell people who you bought it off. This means that I can reinvest into my business and help it grow myself.
All in all the use of my images without my consent is demoralising and at times makes me think is it all worth it, I have many, many fantastic customers and friends who support me and share my posts and buy pictures, so yes, yes it is worth it. However I will continue to challenge the illegal use of my images.
Thanks for reading.