soultga's blog

When is a restriction not a restriction?

posted by soultga, Oct 28, 2006 3:31 PM — 4 comments

As you can see, I choose to make all my images "must be notified when using the photo for any public work". When I first joined I went for 'notified and credited', but I later changed this as I felt it was too restrictive.

Subsequently, I have found no evidence of the "must be notified" status putting people off, and I have a very healthy number of downloads - about 1,000 a week at present. Let me give some thoughts on this issue.

A lot of SXC members do get very hot under the collar about 'restrictions' - in reality, I don't think it's sensible to lump all the different forms of restriction together, as there are important differences.

The written permission restriction is, for the most part, rather frustrating and widely misused. I can see it's value in protecting images of identifiable people; its use for a landscape or similar seems less justified. I know that I cannot usually be bothered to contact someone just to be able to view their photo full size - after all, you can often view a picture full size and decide that it's nowhere near as good as it looks in the thumbnail.

The 'notify with credit' restriction is laudable, but not always realistic. Of course we all like to be credited, but there are clearly many artistic uses, such as advertising, that just cannot accommodate this. Where I can, when I use SXC images publically I tend to credit the photographer whether they ask for it or not; similarly, I respect and appreciate when people are able to credit me.

That's why I've settled for the 'notify for public use', as it's the only 'restriction' that, well, imposes no restriction. I do get e-mails from people asking permission to use one image or another, but this is not necessary and represents a misunderstanding of this restriction - you are only asking to be 'notified' (i.e. told about) public use, which can quite happily be a comment or e-mail after the event. For me this is the right balance - I impose no restrictions on accessing or using my work, other than what is set out in the standard SXC terms of use; I just ask that if someone has used one of my photos publically they tell me about it. I regularly receive such contacts, and I've had no indication that people see it as an onerous task - it's only polite, surely, and these contacts are part of what makes SXC for me such a rich and interesting community.

This for me is more honest than saying that your images are 'no restriction' but then asking people in your profile description to let you know if they use the image. Surely that's the same thing as 'must be notified'?

Anyway, I hope that explains where I'm coming from - it is something I have given a lot of thought to, believe me!

Comments | RSS

1. posted by winterdove, Oct 29, 2006 7:27 PM

well said, and i agree

however, i use "contact and credit for public use", although "public and/or commercial use" would be more specific to my terms, as i do allow commercial use.

2. posted by fcaute, Oct 30, 2006 6:18 PM

I'd like to put a vote on you dude! hehe...
I wish that too... if someone use one of mines for commercial issues, for example, I'd like to get a copy of that. That's all. Just courtesy and good habits.

3. posted by marian78, Nov 3, 2006 9:21 PM

hello from me too this is the first message i ever leave in sxc... The thing is that in that way people can download and use photos, but because they re bored or dont want to, they dont even leave a message or email you , to tell you where it is used. wouldnt you be sad if one of your picts is widely used on the internet and nobody even remembers where the first one came from? I guess that written permission is just trying to do this deep deep inside. I take it as a way for you to be able to control how many copies are used and where( even if you accept to give your pict to someone and he spreads it around, it will be more difficult than to be absolutely free.)
Consider if you take a shot of a beer bottle and someone makes a website, a print ad and for his own reasons dont want to credit you. Later on you may see your free photo in a campaign that worth lots of $$ and you wont even be credited! (rare but it can happen)...I dont know , what u think of my oppinion? To avoid misunderstandings i must say that im not a photographer, an amateur maybe , i ve only uploaded just a few picts, all are free and only one is written permission shot, just because i want to know where it will be used....Thanx 4 reading the big post!

4. posted by macvan, Aug 24, 2007 7:07 AM

When I use photos from this site, the instant I see one that requires permission to use, I close the window and move on.

I work on very tight deadlines and very low (read: nonexistent) budgets, and I don't have time to email a photographer and ask for permission to use a photo, sit around for days (sometimes weeks) for a response, then send the proof of the ad to my client just to have them reject the photo (and most of our clients are not used to working with professionals so I can't use low res comping photos or they will get rejected because they "look bad").

However requesting notification and credit are perfectly reasonable, and I can't imagine someone being turned off by that request.

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