Well, I've been avoiding this post like the plague. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration, just a bit, no not really. So since I'm sitting here suffering from a little bit of writer's block and way to over tired, let's just get it out of the way. So here is why a person shouldn't steal photographs and what can happen.
Photographers Deserve to Make a Living
Everyone deserves to make a decent living in their craft. Everyone. Artists, musicians, actors and performers all have this right.
Photographs Add Value
Photographs are valuable just like any artform. It takes a look more than a push of button especially in complex work. Here is another post on the value of photos if you are so inclined.
Sharing is Fine
For me personally and this is just me I don't mind people sharing my work on social media. Share away. It's why I put it out there, so people can see it.
*Please note some photographers do not allow their work to be shared on social media. It is their work and hence their right.
Copyrights Expire for a Reason
Generally in Canada copyrights expire in about 50 years. The reasoning behind copyright expiration is that after a certain period of time the works become public domain allowing creators to build upon previous works. This in turn benefits society, allowing the artist to a reasonable living in their lifetime. It is to note: That I am not a lawyer and this in no way constitutes legal advice.
Right to Fair Use
Now fair use is tricky, in fact I'm just going to glance over it. For instance, if a person is submitting their work to something like a photo contest most times this will give the company the full right to publish the work as they see fit. It depends on the terms listed at the time of the submission, and again I'm not a lawyer.
The current penalty for a commercial infringement in Canada is $20,000 (max) per instance. So if a person were to steal five images that equates to $100,000. It is to note that commercial constitutes any financial benefit in the case of websites or blogs. Even something as simple as advertising on a blog can render a site as one for commercial purposes.
The best thing a person can do is ask permission. In a lot of cases as long as the work is properly credited to the photographer with a link and write up, you'll get permission for a one time use. Of course advertising is completely different.
Please keep in mind this post is coming from a good place. I welcome people to share my work and am always humbled when people do. And, of course if you want to put one on the side of a building, give me a shout.