On Copyright Infringement
Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of your work. So much so, that my wife and I chose San Francisco as a recent vacation destination largely in part because of your photographs.
My question: Are you worried about copyright infringements when using Flickr? I’m an amateur whose work doesn’t even compare to yours, and I’m even worried about people using my photos without permission.
I’m not out to make a living with photography, but I certainly don’t want anything of mine used without permission.
The person who sent me this email suggested that I write a response by way of a blog post so I thought I would.
I look at my photography like this. When I make an image it belongs to me. It belongs to me while I take the photo. It belongs to me while it sits in my camera. It belongs to me while I process it on my Mac. It belongs to me while I let it sit in an archive folder waiting to be uploaded to the internet.
Then I upload it to the internet and it’s like I’m taking a bird and opening my window and letting it go. Off she goes. Her song to be enjoyed by the entire world — certainly no longer mine.
There’s a wild band of parrots that flies around San Francisco. They squawk and make beautiful noise in the trees above the city. I think someone made a movie about them once. They are far more beautiful and interesting than the parrots who live in the cages at the pet store.
Don’t get me wrong. Were the economic incentive interesting enough to pursue with regards to copyright infringement with one of my photographs I’m sure I would. But it would have to be really, really, really interesting.
I’m trying to publish one million photographs before I die. And I’ve got big plans to do some important work with collage and collections later in my life. And that work is far more important to me than worrying about what’s going on with a bird that I already let go out the window and who now is miles and miles away from me.