Photographer David duChemin posted a pretty provocative rant on his blog yesterday. This rant needs a warning, though: COPYRIGHT LAWS MATTER, and SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO FIGHT FOR UNFAIR USAGE OF YOUR IMAGES.
That being said, this isn’t an opinion that is going to be agreed with by everyone. Some are going to support it, and some are going to hate it.
“People are going to steal your work. They always have. They always will…But when that anger forces you to engage in a battle that consumes your creative energy, it can destroy the creative flow you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Win the battle, lose the war.”
This isn’t to say that stealing is OK. STEALING IS NOT OK. But we live in a new world of information. Marshall McLuhan knew it 45 years ago when he was developing the concept of the ‘global village’ – quite a while before the internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. Anyone who expects to stay relevant can’t hinge their lives on how things used to be. Was it better back then? Maybe. But for better or for worse, it isn’t returning to that methodology anytime soon. As the world evolves, things change. Bitching about it wastes the energy you should be using to create.
“To be an artist means you create something and put it into the world. The rest is out of your hands. It will be experienced by people you never anticipated. It will be adored and reviled, which is better than simply being ignored. It will be criticized. It will be interpreted in ways you never intended. And it will be stolen.”
Although if you’re the type of person that would rather chase down a couple of individual violators and complain about Tumblr ruining you, then by all means, don’t stop. Chances are that you might be angry at something else all together…
“For most of us, our problem is not that people are stealing our work but that too few people are seeing it.”
When you fight over change, you’re loosing the battle for dollars.
“So let them steal. Hell, make it easy for them to steal. Put a tasteful watermark on your work so people can find you and then throw it into the wind and hope to God that someone with a larger audience than you puts it on Pinterest. Let people use it when they ask, and when it feels right let them do it for free.”
Free? FREE??? Believe it or not, it is occasionally appropriate. We all want to get paid, unquestionably. But 'FREE' is how pretty much every single one of us has gotten our foot in some door. No one gets paid the first time they pick up a camera. We have to earn our place. We have to earn our way into being indispensible. That’s when we have to ask ourselves, “Am I indispensible?” If the answer is no, then maybe we should take some of our vile hatred for Instagram’s copyright laws and channel it into creative fuel... or just not use Instagram.
“Time and again I’ve seen people thrive when they believe in abundance, generosity, and picking their battles very, very carefully. And I’ve seen people consumed, bound, and floundering when they’ve embraced the opposite…But experience suggests to me that the ones that are most consumed by this stuff are the ones that can’t afford to be. I’ll worry about theft if, God help me, I become complacent and resting on my laurels and my past work is my best, and most valuable, asset. In the meantime I’ll spend my energy doing what I love: creating my work and sharing it.”
What you decide, is up to you.
Via David duChemin