Saturday, August 21, 2010

A sidenote...

On a "I've just had one and a half glasses of wine and am putting off finishing a drawing" side-note, I just wanted to start a little discussion on a topic which I interests me.

I have noticed sometimes that people put huge scary watermarks on their drawings on the internet, or get mad if their image is re-blogged without recognition (like on tumblr or their items are put onto Polyvore).

My opinion on my work is that I like to make images that are clear for everyone to see and enjoy, to use as their backgrounds on their computers or phones or whatever if they so feel like it, and, if they can't afford my prints, they can print out the lower res images and put them on their walls. Without a big name and copyright symbol scrawled over the image.

In the end, an image/artwork should be created to be enjoyed/considered by others. To be inspiring. I make my living from my art, so I don't believe in giving my hard work away for free (I am very much opposed to "free art" shows, where people make "art" and other people can just take it for free from the walls), but I think it is more than just a commodity. As long as people recognise that a lot of hard work goes into everything that I do, and they don't copy things that I do for money, then, whatever.



louisa said...

I'm going to see Cory Doctorow talk at the Writers festival about Copyright and Creativity, he basically thinks copyright is dead, and I'm interested to see how, as a writer he still intends to make money.

I have had creations of mine appear on other people's flickr uncredited, and it's clear they are trying to pass off my work as their own. That pisses me off. I've even seen a photo of mine on someone's tote bag, which i found for sale en masse on eBay. If it had been my drawings I'd have been furious but it was just a photos, still. NOT cool.

On the other hand if someone is collecting pics of stuff they like but forgot where they got it from, that doesn't really bother me. it's a compliment. as long as they're not trying to make money off it.

Perhaps rather than a big ugly watermark, a simple corner statement/signature on the image means that people wont accidentally forget where they got the picture from. if someone chooses to remove it when they print it and put it on their wall it's not a huge deal, but if someone removes it and posts the work as their own, then you have a strong court case.

I think it's admirable that you are happy for people to print stuff off themselves. especially since you offer reasonably priced prints, particularly post cards... While i have saved some of your images on my hard drive, and possibly linked to them in my blog, I haven't ever printed any out. but maybe that's because i do have the cash to buy nice things from you :)

Ali J said...

It is great to share your art, I do the same thing. I'm happy for other people to enjoy my art where possible. But I don't like it when people mash up my artwork (polyvore) or use my artwork to make money without giving me any credit (or money).

There is a reason they put watermarks on the image. In American law if you remove a watermark from any image, you are automatically infringing on their copyright. So those companies that steal our art and reprint them... without the watermark... can be taken straight to court.

It isn't the same in Australia, but because it happens in America... everyone assumes it happens everywhere. That it is like a foolproof situation.

Personally I've had to put watermarks on some of my licensed images for clients - so that image will always be attributed to them, as they have purchased it.

I like doing free things too, so people can enjoy my art. And will be having free images for people to print off.

Janet said...

There is a copyright code for people who wish to share their work openly. Creative Commons (CC) licences allow you to formally pass selected usage rights to the public, while specifying which rights (if any) you wish to reserve for yourself.

I recommend reading up:

Apparently the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) isn't too keen on the whole idea, but many people use CC licences to share their work without losing legal control of it.

Devon said...

I usually put watermarks on deviantart stuff, at least at full view, because there are people out there who keep insisting on 'tubing' my drawings. Adding sparkles and phrases like "Hot skank" or whatever the kids say these days. I don't like this.

It makes me sad when my stuff is posted on tumblr with no credit, because I am not very recognisable yet, so if a neat person sees it and wants to know who painted/drew the picture they won't know and can't be my friend.

But big watermarks are yucky. And big signatures! I have noticed alot of young artists sign their work massively. I guess they are very proud but sometimes it messes up the composition.

Sarah McNeil said...

If it is not linked to anywhere, if someone loves the image, surely they would put the effort in to find out who made it if they wanted to know?

A bad part about letting art out to the world is that people perhaps might try to say that the artwork is their own, and without a name on it how would someone know that it's not. But these stealing people are rare, bad people and generally are noticed, then people stop speaking to them. These people also copy artwork even with a signature or watermark because they are evil.

Felix Curds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dear colleen said...

I don't use watermarks because I don't like them plus I like customers to get the best possible sense of what they are buying and I think watermarks get in the way of that. It's a big leap of faith for people to buy online as it is without making it any harder.
most online images are far to low-res to use to sell on as they are, so if someone is going to copy your work they will be coping from scratch and no watermark is going to stop them. This is a much bigger fear for me that someone will run off with my idea and use it for their own gain.
Personally I'm always pleased to see my work being used on blogs and most people are good and give credit.

becka said...

Yeah, this is a tricky one and being copied or having people re-sell your work as their own is a very understandable worry for artists. And while I have seen this happen to artists, I honestly think that the likelihood of this happening is so small in the general scheme of things. Plus, I feel like the people who are going to do it aren't going to be deterred by much, so I have to wonder how much a watermark would stop someone.

As for people printing out work, I really agree! I'm not a visual artist but my husband is...and some of the stuff we sell such as housewares, etc could be pretty easily replicated if people wanted too. Obviously it would be nice if people bought it from us and we made some money, but I think that ideas are free and are there to be shared, so if someone wants to make their own chalkboard or bunting or whatever based on our design - go for it!