Friday, January 1, 2010

Open Letter To Artists, Photographers, Musicians, Creators

After receiving a comment from a photographer who accused me of "stealing" her works simply by posting them in one of my blog entries while providing a direct link to those images, I wanted to address the issue. It's not the first time I've had to remove a blog post for that reason. I'm having a difficult time finding the harm in featuring someone's creations if a link is provided. Isn't it like recommending an art gallery or a museum? Or directing someone towards a favorite restaurant? Or letting someone know about a great album? I just don't see the harm.

I get a lot of traffic on my blog. Depending on the time of year, anywhere between 1,000 to 3,000 hits a day. I figured that would be appealing to someone who has a web presence, since the whole point of having a blog or a website is exposure. I'm guessing that it's a matter of ego - that it's an issue with asking for permission. And I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that.

That said, I get a lot of emails from artists thanking me for featuring their work. And that's really cool. And I love when people feature my works on their sites with a link back to mine. I really appreciate the effort and the traffic. So I just don't get it. I don't see the harm. But I'm certainly not close-minded about it. I'm open to getting someone's insight on the matter.


NoahFentz said...

I remember when you had "brewing" on your page and it was about projects you were working on before it was a blog. One day I googled "Katzper" and I was directed to one of your post about my haunt. I was estatic!! I believe I even emailed you that day thanking you. I can still google "Katzper" and your link shows up even before some of the creepyhouse links. I love the fact that somehow my haunt is linked with your work. THANK YOU!!

I had a page devoted to haunters faces associated with their haunt. I either took pics of them at gatherings or found them on the web through their myspaces or other gathering posts. There has only been a few(3) that has asked me to remove there picture from the site. I did not understand because it was after all a link to their site and the photo was already on the internet. One of the haunters had over 100 pics of their face on their myspace. I just did not understand. I removed their pic with all of their info. Some appreciate and some are offended.

I have been slacking off lately on the website updates but when I get the chance you will definitely be linked/appreciated.

g said...

that said, i didn't say you had to delete them, I asked you to please ASK permission before posting. You did leave a link to my site, which is how i found that you posted them, but you only put "source". Just add a note, taken by.... from this site... etc.

everyday I find people using my images all over the internet without any recognition. It's hard enough to make a living at this let alone keep all my images in control.

Jay's Shadow said...

If I was some kind of an artist, I would love for some one post my work when they put a direct link to me. That shows that they have an interest in my style and they are showing it to others who have the same interest. Hell...when you posted some of my stuff, I was thrilled and I am a nobody!
What a shame....he/she was probably a snob anyways....

Pam Morris said...

well, like, here we go again...some people are just born with a stick up their a--. far as I'm concerned, you're doing these guys a favor by featuring their stuff on your blog--you go to the trouble of providing a link, well, that's another favor. It's too bad there are freaks like this out there; they make life difficult when it doesn't have to be...carry on, Rot!

Jeanne said...

I see no harm in featuring another's work - whether it be photography, sculpture, painting, prose, etc. - as long as credit/link is given to the creator of the work.

I enjoy your blog and am able to view a lot of wonderful work by artists I would probably never know about if you didn't showcase them.
It takes a lot of work to post as frequently as you do. And I appreciate your hard work and the endless wonder of artists that grace your pages! Thank you.

Jeano Roid said...

People like that are just confused about how it all works. If they are credited and there is no selling or misrepresenting going on I do not see how it hurts the original party. Look to the news reporting industry.
Those who get bent out of shape should just get bent.

Brandi McKenna said...

Rot that person is an idiot. Your blog rocks and IS heavily trafficked and you are the king of Halloween art and ambiance in my opinion. I can't thank you enough for putting my meager creations on your blog...the art you find is so amazing. Will be that person's loss to have the post removed. You were doing them a favor!!
Happy New Year!!
I enjoy your writing too!!

Johnny Love said...

How silly really. I've had the same issue with my blog. I'd think it would be a huge honor to have your work displayed on someones website, especially yours.

It's almost like those elderly people who have to haggle you about the simplest thing just so they feel like they're doing something of use. said...

I, for one, am grateful whenever you post any of my artwork on your site. There's no way my site gets 1000 to 3000 hits a day so I am REALLY GRATEFUL!

Rot said...

You may not have asked me to delete the entry, but you accused me of stealing your work.

That's a serious word to throw around.

Had you sent a comment asking me to modify the blog entry to include your name, I totally would have done it in a second, but you accused me of theft.

g said...

sorry you took it so harsh but i just found my images printed in a book taken from my site, credited to another person. It sucked. They then tried to accuse me of stealing their photographs. It's hard to keep everything managed. I think if you added "taken by name" or the name of the link or something, not just source. And again, just a simple note "hope you wouldn't mind if I post your images", or hell, "Hey I just posted your images!"

it is that easy.

Mr.Macabre said...

I remember you featuring my Hallowe'en Tree in my garden and had "source" down below the picture that linked to my blog. I was thrilled! I still think of that with honor to be on Pumpkinrot's blog! So should anyone else with a lick of sense!

As an artist, both prior professionally and as a hobby, I would for one be ecstatically delighted to have any sort of free publicity!

Rot said...

To be accused of stealing is something I'd never take lightly, so yeah, I took it harshly.
That book situation is a great example of theft. I catch people trying to sell my images all the time. That's theft.

Helping a fellow blogger get exposure - that's not theft.
Of course that's my opinion, and it differs from yours. And that's cool.

Terrormaster said...

Rot, I've followed your blog for quite a while and I stand 100% behind you on this. There's a lot I could say about the whole thing. But long story short it comes down to one thing: old media vs new media.

I've often debated with a friend of mine who used to work in entertainment trademark and copyrights. I had redesigned her website for her on top of Wordpress. I was floored that she wanted it pretty much sealed off - comments disabled, no hotlinking of images, etc. She's strongly against hotlinking images of any kind even if a source, a link-back, and credit is provided. She claims it's in the interest of the artists she supports on her site. Most locked down WP install I've EVER done.

Old school vs new.

ShellHawk said...

I can see how this guy could be hyper-sensitive to theft. Perhaps he could have phrased things differently and taken note of the intent, rather than the particulars. Sometimes diplomacy, rather than immediate outrage, is the best answer.

Rot said...

Well said.

Gypsy Moon Art Studio said...

Rot, you recently featured my eye rings. I love finding myself on others' blogs. As long as a link to the artist is provided, I don't see the problem. We all need to help each other out. It's called networking.

Dixie said...

I don't understand why ppl have to be that way. I personally am still selling my autograph to my friends and family because our haunt was on your site. Made a cool $3.25 so far, and hope to keep selling. HAHAHAHA.

We love you Rot, don't go changin'.

Rot said...

: )

Brad said...

It's a shame that the artist in question doesn't understand that their work was being displayed as a compliment to their talent. If it weren't for the links you provide on the "What's Brewing" page, I would never get to see one tenth of the marvelous websites that are out there. You provide a great venue for getting other peoples ideas and creations to be seen by a much greater audience than they would otherwise find on their own. Having been one of those featured (my humble attempt to copy your amazing 'Trick r Treat'), I found it to be the most flattering thing to have happened to me in decades! Pity others can't see it that way.

Vintage Seance said...

I totally get what you mean. I don't see why people seem offended by this when really you are doing them a favor. I love it when you show my work on your blog, it makes my day! I see it there knowing that it not only inspires you, but will hopefully inspire others who read your blog. Hopefully people realize that by featuring them on your blog, you are only doing them a favor.

Arcane said...

Rot, funny as I remember getting input from you on this very same topic when I created my blog. I don’t see how that can possibly be interpreted as stealing someone’s work when a link is given back to that person’s site. Anyone ought to be flattered and grateful to get that kind of exposure on your blog.

House Bloodthorn said...

It seems to me that the addition of a simple 'watermark' on any (if not ALL) digital images by the artists themselves goes a long way towards deterring a good number of would-be image 'thieves' (what self-respecting 'thief' wants a cool image with the actual name of the actual artist on it, right?).

Acquiring a good, clean, digital copy of an image would then require interested parties to submit a request for authorized use of said image (i.e. book covers, what-have-you).

Also, photo-manipulation issues aside, watermarks have the added attribute of including a designed link/URL back to the originators site.

Conversely, and watermarks not withstanding, when using another's work, full credit including name and/or website should always be given. It's only right.

In the case of Rot's blog, it usually is and graciously so. Anyone spending more than five minutes perusing his blog would know that it's a class act all the way down the line. It's really a pretty small price to pay for the displaying of, and exposure to, some really great art. Rot has always diligently paid that small price.

The 'asking permission' bit is a bit naive. Any artist worth their salt who's been online for more than a week should EXPECT, good intentions or not, their images to be purloined at some point. Sad, but true, it's the nature of the Internetz beast.

While the leaving of a 'note' or some other form of communication that your images have been posted may be courteous and good etiquette, it merely shifts the responsibility of protecting your work to the user/viewer. Good luck with that. It really is best to do all YOU can do as an artist to protect your name and your work from unauthorized use.

Alas, temperance and foresight, it appears, can be art forms unto themselves.

Patrick said...

Here's my two cents. I see no harm in posting photos with a link back; however, that link should contain the name of the artist and/or their website. This is more valuable because of how search engines crawl websites looking for links to other sites and is more conducive to folks actually clicking those links to go check out the plugged website. If you spent all day asking for permission to use stuff which amounts to a free advertisement for an artist then nothing would get done. Also, it would be wondrous if one could leave a moderated comment on your own posts without needing a Google account or Open ID so that a link back to the commentator's site could be added in the comment; once again, more valuable and conducive to people leaving real commnets and it can still be moderated to prevent SPAM.

Jay's Shadow said...

To put it very simple, I would of never of found any of the haunts or art or music/dark ambient if it wasn't for Pumpkinrot's "What's Brewing" page. I also remember the "brewing" page was just about you, then you decided to make it more than that. Your search ability is just insane.

So we will just brush this one off and leave it behind....move forward while this person lying in the dirt to decay....rotting away.

~Scout~ said...

You gave credit, but apparently it wasn't GRAND enough. *sigh*

It hardly warrants or excuses calling someone a thief.

It makes me squint my face - which is unfortunate - since I don't look my best when I'm squinty.

I hope this doesn't deter you from maintaining this blog in the same fashion and ultimately fair way that you always have.

If I had any talent at all, I would be honored to be listed as a "Source" here.

Shotgun_Mario said...

rot, your site is wonderful, and you do a damn good job to give enough exposure to the hallowe'en world. Keep it up, and don't let one or two people's wining spoil your spirit on the matter. Keep doing what you're doing EXACTLY the way it is. You source everything that you post, and that's better than 2/3 of blogs that I read. The 'source' text is simple and unobstructive, which I really appreciate. It's there, and if I feel like looking into the owner's work, you've provided it at just once simple click away. If I'm not interested, I move on past the images or text, and the original artist gets little more than a free advertisement with me, a potential customer simply brushing past, uninterested. No waste. They're not loosing anything. Anyone who 'complains' about their exposure is either on an ego trip, or is crazy enough not to see through what you're doing for them.

Keep up the damn good work my friend. ;)


comment toward 'g':

If you're posting information online, you can effectively consider it public access/domain on a person-by-person basis (aka in a non-commercial based transfer, OR in a transfer that would result in lost profit), and this has been held up in several american court rooms, resulting in the cases being thrown out. If you want to try and 'control' that flow of information online that you upload, then DON'T post it. That's the only way it will work. People linking to your site is NOT the same as someone violating your copyright by claiming ownership or selling your work claiming it to be their own. I've seen rot's work being sold on Deviant art in photo collages several times, and I've gotten the uploaders to take the files down. I have no problem with sharing data, up until money gets involved, and that's when it bugs me. What you're trying to claim here is apples to oranges.

Be thankful you got some free exposure.

Ghoul Friday said...

Funny, my New Year's post was asking people to link back to sources when they use their images. I made the comment that the bloggers I follow are diligent about that, and that included you. So to see this is a surprise.

I think people need a brochure when they start posting on the net that explains how good and how crappy it can be. As others have said, if you post it online, people will take it. They might even try to sell it as their own. The only way to truly protect an image is to NOT post it.

If you're only afraid it will be used in print, lower the resolution considerably before you post. Any other tricks - flash galleries, watermarks, you name it - can be foiled with a little computer know-how. And that is just how it is. Sucky, I know.

The POINT of posting on the net is to get exposure which leads to more sales or just helps you connect with other people. So ANY time someone posts your work with a link back to your site - especially from a site that has lots of traffic - is a GOOD thing. Free advertisement.

Rot, if it makes you feel better, just spend the week highlighting my work. You can talk about my likes and dislikes, how charming I am (no no, stop!), how I've inspired you and saved you from depression and stopped you from throwing in the towel.

Or you can just provide a link back to my site. But know when I read "Source" I'll apply all the subtext above to that simple word.


Rot said...

Awesome : D

Lisa said...

I found your blog this past fall from a LINK that someone else provided and I simply adore it.You provide a wealth of information and SOURCES for others products or art I may want to purchase.
I say keep it up please,simply do whatever you need to to placate the odd objection and don't take it personally.There is no way you could keep everyone happy. said...

Because of your blog, I once drove out to Lancaster, PA to see an art show by Mike Eagan and I now own one of his paintings. I discovered him through your blog and I have shared that link with many of my friends and clients. Can you imagine if he wrote to you the first time you blogged about his work and told you to take down his images and link to his site?

Cindy Alderton said...

Although I don't shoot the type of image one would usually find on your blog, I would be honored if it ended up here. Aside from the fact that you have so much traffic running around your site (HELLO EXPOSURE), it's just a damn great place to be featured!
That photographer's loss...they probably don't like Halloween anyway...

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Shellhawk said it best.

It seems like a case of a hothead. Funny how YOU'RE expected to be excessively polite and diplomatic, but that person couldn't extend the same courtesy. Hello, Pot, I'm Kettle, and I'm calling you black.

G: You get further with honey than you do with vinegar.

Mantan Calaveras said...

I would say, as an artist, it is a professional courtesy to ask permission from people whose artwork you'd like to show on your blog.

Yes, ultimately, it is a benefit to the featured artist, and clearly this is a case of an overly-sensitive artist who has been burned previously, but artwork is highly personal, and some people will take offense if their work is not under their strict control. This is their own preference, and because it's impossible to enforce this kind of property right dispute reasonably, I think that it becomes solely a matter of courtesy and mutual respect.

Not that I think that you were intending to disrespect anyone.

Johanna Parker said...

I guess this is a touchy subject for some, but I came across your site from studying my own website stats and noticed you had been referring folks to my site! Yahoo, I LOVE that!..... It IS networking, and as long as credit is given to the proper source/artist and a link provided, I think it's FAB.....

Thank you for featuring my Halloween folk art designs in the recent past.....

Happy Haunting,
~ Johanna Parker

John Rozum said...

One of the aspects of your blog I enjoy the most is discovering other people's work through the links you post.

Regarding my own work, if they leave the watermark on the images, and even better, if they also include a link, I'm okay with it. If they try removing the watermark, then I have a real problem because then they're clearly going out of their way hide where the image came from.

In the photos I post, where there isn't a watermark, as long as a link is provided, I'm okay with it. I try to do the same, though honestly, there are images I've pulled long ago without remembering to mark where they came from. in that case, I'm only too happy f the person behind them gets in touch with me so I can rectify the matter.

By all means, post anything of mine you'd like.

NecroBones said...

I have to agree. Since the image is featured AS a link/advertisement to their site, rather than stealing it for your own purposes, not only is it fair-use, but it's beneficial to them.

I'd still take it down at their request, but still, I don't get why they're flipping out either.

Jason-v said...

I dont see the harm either,.its "free" advertisement..

The Gill-Man said...

I was accussed of "stealing" an artists work once, when I posted a pic of the Creature on my MySpace page. What irked me about the experience was that I found the pic online, with no watermark or artist's name, so I listed it as "artist unknown". I was contacted by the artist, and he tried to claim I had removed the watermark! Uhhhh, no. I wasn't trying to pass it off as MY work, I was just featuring a great pic that I liked of my favorite movie monster! I would have been happy to have updated the info, and even link back to the artist's site, but he just wanted it removed. As a result, he passed up the chance to have his artwork promoted for free (and I definitely would have, as some of his other pics were simply amazing).

As an artist, I can completely understand not wanting someone to appropriate my work for an intention contrary to mine, and I certainly don't want someone to try to claim it as their own. That is crappy, all the way around. That having been said, I have NO problem if someone wants to link to my work, or feature it on their page while giving me credit. I honestly don't see the harm in that, and I think it is GREAT to get free press!

Yeah, art is extremely personal...but once you've put it out for the world to see, it is also "theirs". The viewer/listener/reader develops a relationship with the art. If you don't want someone else to show it off or praise it...don't put it out there! Keep it at home, locked away from prying eyes (I've certainly kept quite a bit of material of my own away from public consumption).

G...I see your arguements here, but I think you're being a little too sensitive on this one. The person who stole you pics and claimed they were there's...they are definitely thieves. Rot, on the other hand, was just trying to give you some exposure. I can tell you, without any hesitation, that I've NEVER seen him not give credit where it is due. His blog has exposed me to numerous artists, of all different mediums, that I never would have discovered otherwise. This is a GOOD thing! Ultimately, don't bite Rot's hand! He's feeding you new fans!