One of the recurring topics that I’ve seen in recent years is that of copyright and what internet technologies mean to photographers. The challenges that photographers face are neatly illustrated in an article the Wall Street Journal published today.
Essentially the Obama Hope poster that was widely used, was created based on a photograph by Mannie Garcia that Sheppard Fairey found on the internet, used without permission, didn’t give credit to the photographer, and even refused to acknowledge the photograph when asked about it.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
Let’s take it another step forward. Let’s apply the Photoshop filter Posterize to the photo and see what happens:
At this point all it appears Sheppard Fairey did was posterize the photo and then trace over it in Illustrator with a few paths. Now I realize not EVERY area in the photo lines up exactly with the posterized photos… but it’s pretty amazing to see how much work didn’t go into this. This is what passes for original artwork these days?
I wouldn’t even be taking Fairey to task if he’d been up front and credited Mannie Garcia for the photo. But it seems pretty low to not even acknowledge the photo when asked about it.
So, this is why copyright matters, why metadata in your photos posted online matters, and why it pays to try and keep track of what’s happening to your photos. I recommend reading the Wall Street Journal article. It makes some excellent points more eloquently than I could hope for.