As a semi-professional photographer in the niche DJ industry, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time (years) and money (thousands) to learn and practice the craft. And in that time I’ve created a hefty portfolio of distinctive work to support the reviews that we publish on DJWORX. You can see this body of images on Flickr here and here.
Bar the occasional commercial shoot, the images have been taken with no financial gain in mind. I just want our content to be as detailed, informative, and eye-catching as it can be, and frankly it was fun to learn a new creative skill too. I love that people enjoy the images, and it’s an area that I plan to expand in the very near future.
One thing has become clear over the years though, and it’s that my images are used by a great many people outside of DJWORX. I’m deeply flattered when people ask if they can use images as desktop pictures, university dissertations etc, and only ask for an image credit in return. Sadly, many do not ask or credit.
But if it’s for commercial use — i.e. you’re in business and use my images to support your money-making project, then there is a small licensing fee to pay, or at the very least a clear credit must be given. But adding a credit is not enough — permission MUST be granted for you to use the image in any circumstances. If it isn’t, then in my book it’s stealing my work to enhance yours.
Of course, sometimes it’s entirely innocent, and I’m a very understanding kind of guy. But when the watermark is cropped off or removed (sometimes badly), or the image is edited to disguise the origin, then I’ve got an issue. Paraphrasing a famous quote — it’s definitely better to seek permission than to ask forgiveness, especially where my work is concerned.
Please note — I’ve yet to see what is legally described as “fair use” of my work. Using that as an excuse isn’t going to work with me.
MY LINE IN THE SAND
Given that part of my future business will be offering my services to the industry as a professional photographer, I need to draw a line in the sand, and here it is:
- ALWAYS ask for permission to use my images.
- If it’s non-commercial, I’ll probably grant it but will still need an image credit for my work.
- If the image use is supporting the scene in the wider sense, I’ll almost certainly give permission and just want a prominent image credit.
- If you’re a business however, and want to use my images, then we’ll need to come to an arrangement. Money is good, but sometimes goods are a workable substitute.
- ALWAYS ask for permission to use my images. I don’t think I can be clearer about this.
Think of it this way — the internet is my shop window. But if I had an actual shop, would you steal my product from it? To me, as the creator of said product, it’s exactly the same thing, online or not.
So please consider this a very friendly reminder to be nice. Support our work just as we have supported the DJ scene for a decade and a half.
Thanks very much.