Copy Rights and Wrongs

Did you know that 10% of all the photographs ever made were taken in 2011? With the dominance of smart phone cameras and the ease with which their images can be distributed, and redistributed across social networks, such as Instagram, Flickr and Facebook, protecting the intellectual rights and permissions of these images becomes ever complex and difficult to police. Exactly what can be used for the purposes of education is not always clear cut, and the advice tends to conclude with ‘if you aren’t sure, then don’t use an image’. Where I have used other photographer’s work in this Learning Log I have linked to their website and provided a link to the image source.

Image editing also creates a cause for concern. With the ability to adapt and combine images, at what point is a photographer’s intellectual rights violated? Whilst I have been working on my 5th DPP assignment I encountered a similar problem. Since the project is about the state of the economy it seemed only natural to include images of money within my images. I had thought of altering a £20 note and making the Queen look unhappy, and then positioning the money on the wall of a closed Job Centre. This was going to be a reference to the high unemployment at the moment. However I hadn’t realised that paper notes are copyrighted and that there are certain conditions to using them digitally. This included not being able to alter any part of the Queen’s image. So I’ll need to have a rethink about my next few images. The workflow for creating digital images can be virtually seamless and so quick to do that it can be all too easy to construct images without thinking through the implications.

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About Matt

Photography degree student with the Open College of the Arts.
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