The trouble with sharing

I like to share.

Oh but let’s place a caveat on that statement: I don’t like to share my boyfriend, my shoes, my camera gear or my ball glove. And none of that is negotiable.

But when I get home from a day on the dusty trail, I like to share my pictures. I post them on Flickr, Google+ and Facebook.

Maybe it’s the slightly insecure creative in me that needs to hear someone say ‘great photos, Ang!’

Maybe I’m just a bit of an egotistical showoff, knowing my pics are good and think you need to see them.

Maybe it just depends on the day.

I recently switched my Flickr protection from ‘some rights reserved’ to ‘all rights reserved.’ I think that means people can use my work as long as they give me credit.

It isn’t that hard. A Finnish website celebrating Maremma sheepdogs used several of shots of my beloved baby, Shep, and gave me a nod on each one.

I suppose, though, that sharing my photos on Facebook and Google releases me from any protection of my photos. Scott Bourne dissected the G+ licensing rights fairly well last summer and we’ve all heard — ad nauseum — how loosey-goosey Facebook is with any claim to copyright.

Basically, once you share, you have no rights.

But I expect a certain level of decorum from the people I’ve added to Facebook as ‘friends.’

Particularly those who consider themselves ‘family.’ (Another caveat: I don’t consider an individual who married my cousin to be my cousin and thus not really family.)

Last night, I posted to Facebook one of my more successful shots from a day on the road, exploring the ghost towns of southeastern Alberta. Weird hobby, I know.

I was up and at ‘em early, catching the sunrise glowing behind the Mossleigh grain elevators.

It was on my page for less than five minutes when I received the following comment: ‘Great shot, cuz! I am stealing it!’

I caught a breath. Not just because he called me ‘cuz’ but the word ‘stealing’ made that vein in my forehead throb. I responded that it would be far more appropriate if he asked me first and gave me the opportunity to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’

Ultimately, it’s my fault.

For being lazy and never getting around to designing a watermark.

For trusting people to respect my work.

For sharing too much.

It will make me hesitant to share in the future, knowing there’s no way to stop anyone from ‘stealing’ my pictures should they choose to … ‘family’ or otherwise.

And that kinda sucks.

How the hell am I going to get my ego stroked now?

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There are 8 comments. Add yours

  1. 5th February 2012 | classicconfusion says: Reply
    "cuz" made me cringe a little. Ugh, that's a little tacky of him, isn't it? I'd still post with a watermark, you can't give up all that ego-stroking! :)
  2. 6th February 2012 | Urbana Junkie says: Reply
    The annoying thing is, that on FB you can't start saying what people can or can't take as you are then as seen as being a spoilt sport. Though posting with a watermark does seem like the only viable solution ;)
  3. 6th February 2012 | thatangela says: Reply
    LOL ... you know what's the best part of it all? I've never even met the guy! Haven't seen my cousin since she was 15 in 1989. I'll be working on my watermark as soon as I get P-shop installed on my new laptop. I promise!
  4. 7th February 2012 | Gabriela Vargas says: Reply
    Shit happens. :P
  5. 7th February 2012 | Ranan Samanya says: Reply
    Yes, that kind of attitude is rough. It may be OK if were real friends, but to say it to someone we've never seen... hmmm.... BTW if you happen to work with a Mac and Aperture or iPhoto, BorderFX is a free plugin that can handle watermark, EXIF stamps and borders very easy. B-)
    • 7th February 2012 | thatangela says: Reply
      Damn me and my loathing for all things Apple. ;-)
  6. 7th February 2012 | billshawphotography says: Reply
    No one will respect your copy right if you don't. I make a good part of my income from photography and I really don't mind if someone grabs an image for a screen saver or some other innocent personal use. But as image makers it's important to protect misappropriation of our images not to mention the likeness of those whose images are part of ours. Don't forget we can be responsible for damages to our customers if we are negligent in protecting their privacy. I've actually had requests from people that were shown in password protected galleries of mine to kindly remove them. A friend of mine got a cease and desist from the attorney of a celebrity who happened to be the bride's sister/maid of honor in a wedding he had shot. So do keep the privacy of your client and other subjects in your shots in mind.
    • 7th February 2012 | thatangela says: Reply
      Great points, Bill. Thanks for sharing!

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