When ‘Sharing’ Is More Like Stealing!

'the bicycle', Tuscany , Italy Ken McCurdy Photo

Have you noticed how many people on Facebook and Google+ are using other peoples photos, without crediting the photographer. Some would have you think the photo is theirs by simply re-posting it on there site void of any information from the original sourse. If you read the comments some actually take credit for the images when a follower acknowledges a great photo.

It seems some will go to great lengths to elevate their status on social media pages by re-posting great photographs that appear as their own work. A case in point is a person on Google+ who had a large number of followers due to a portfolio containing hundred of amazing photographs from around the world. Turns out they were not the creator of the photographs, and there was no credit given to the actual photographers either, although the original photographers name could have been included when re-posted. When you deliberately exclude the credit for a photographer or cite the original source it says a lot about the type of person you really are. Willing to do anything to appear popular, at any cost. Eventually this fraud was discovered and the person responsible was investigated and outed across the entire internet social community for there act, on every social network available. They systematically tried to erase themselves and create a new identity but was traced using software to track the photos over the internet and banned and shamed into ceasing the theft of others work for his glory. A reputation should not be taken lightly.

The only ‘effort’ it seems some will make to today is to use the hard work and dedication of another to set  themselves on a phoney soapbox as something they are not. It is a form of identity theft when your photography is used by another who claims it as there work. The time, dedication, travel and expertise encompassed into each image that is created are incorporated into what makes these photographs invaluable to the creator.

The internet is not a free license to ‘copy ‘or ‘download’ at will anything you want and claim it as your own simply because you post it on your social pages. There are written and unwritten codes of ethics that morally we should be obliged to follow in the internet social societies. Unfortunately it seems there are far to many who can’t resist the easy road to fame by stealing others work and claiming it as there own, which is the same if you imply that it is by excluding the original creators name.

Those who deliberately steal images for their own personal gain are being discovered and dealt with through the social pages (Google+, Facebook etc.),  photography sites (Flickr, 500px etc) and the courts in some cases after being sued. Then there are those who use others images to draw viewers to their social media page using images that will attract attention, but choose not to credit the photographer for the image they use. Ask yourself why someone else would want their image, quote or other creative work to promote you, if you are not willing to give them credit for it. If you are guilty of this, and your conscience will be your guide,  you have a choice to either continue benefiting personally off the work of others and not crediting those who you choose to borrow from, in which case the reprocussions can be severe. Or simply start acting morally and socially responsible on the internet when ‘sharing’ work that should be credited to its creators.

It is nice to find your work is being shared because people like your photography enough to look beyond the image at the creator of the work and credit them for it. It is another feeling completely to see your images on another persons site with no credit given to the photographer of the image you chose to re-post on your site. Even worse when you say ‘Thanks’ after a compliment is given for the photograph.

Citing the original source can be a simple as retaining the information regarding the author of the work when posting or searching the internet to find the creator of the work. The latter can be accomplished with  tools such as Google to reverse image search a particular photograph to find the source it originated from. This not only provides you with a link to other images created by the photographer but will let you ‘share’ the photograph responsibly on the internet.

The point is to make people aware that the general rules regarding an artists rights have not changed just because they are now available to a much broader audience through the internet. That being said peoples values and morals seem to have become much narrower in regards to other peoples photographic, artistic or intellectual property on the web. It’s time for everyone to start respecting the creative works of those that have shared their work on the internet. The last comment you want to see on your social page is the one from the creator of the work you could have credited before you posted it.

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