As you have seen in this article on copyright infringement, I decided to implement watermarking of all my images which are larger than 500 pixels. I felt the watermarking is justified to solve similar copyright infringement in future. Friend of mine Dijiraj has experienced a bizarre twist on this scenario. A few days ago he was visiting the Chitra Santhe at Bangalore and came across a stand of paintings, being sold as original work of art. The only problem was that the painter had made “faithful” (but unattributed) reproduction in paint of Diji’s photographic image which is shown above. If you have a facebook account you can check the photo of the painting taken at Chitrasanthe by Smrithi Kangovi here. Now image resolution or a watermark wouldn’t make much difference here, a painter could nick a photo at screen resolution. The painter had “stolen” friend’s intellectual property and made it his own by interpreting it in paint. The law apparently sees no problem with this.
The rights of copyright holders need to be protected, but some draconian remedies that have been suggested would create more problems than they would solve.
– Patrick Leahy
By definition a written quote is attributed and hence a context. If it’s not attributed then it’s just theft. Whereas a copied photograph from the net rarely, if ever, attributed properly. We obviously haven’t the time, or the capability, to study all the works of art in the world to check whether this is in fact true so a percentage of people will get away with making rip-offs without being caught.
Philosophically, originality is linked to free will. If we are all beavering away in our own corners, minding our own business, creating for ourselves, then anything we haven’t done personally before, is original. And then there is no reason not to do something that someone else has already done. If however, we are all in it together, then originality is defined with respect to the community. And then, it is up to the individual to be fully aware of what everyone else has ever done.
I fully accept that the theft of images from the net does take place. However there is always the risk that whenever you put your images out there that they might be stolen. Does this mean that we should never show our images on the net or in print? No, of course it doesn’t! What’s the point in making images if we don’t share them? Life is full of risks and this is just one of them. One just needs to take the precautions one sees fit – as long as they fall short of paranoia!
For me, My photograph’s purpose should be (amongst other things!) to uplift, inspire, evoke and enlighten – not simply to make money. Though I do need to pay that bill… 😉 So I prefer to have my images without watermarks. So what do you think? Should I keep them or remove them? I want your opinion in this regards before I take a decision regarding watermark.