Copyright Infridgements, Ethics, Morals… I had enough!

OK, that’s it. I am a very calm and down to earth person with a fuse longer then the Equator. But unfortunately this time it went too far and I just have to vent…

Copyright… It’s a subject that lies very close to me and many more people out there. Copyright is there to serve a purpose, keep our work safe. It doesn’t matter if you are a film maker, a recording artist, photographer or a painter. You love what you are doing and also you are hoping to be able to make a living of your passion. I am just saddened how your work sometimes is stolen by big and small corporations, individuals and others. Only because you found the image online does not mean it’s OK to just take it and treat it like your own! It’s not OK!

Occasionally I use other people’s work to illustrate something, but I will always credit the copyright owner and when possible I will always try to get in touch with the owner directly for permission to use their work. In this time of age, with all the electronic communications and emails this is made so bloody easy! I am tired of all the excuses, there are no excuses; if you want to find someone, you will. So why are there still people that are taking the mickey on a daily basis?

I think I have a good life, I am still smiling and doing what I love doing. I am not rich, rather the opposite. I am like many in this profession, struggling to get well payed (or even just payed) gigs to pay for the everyday life and to invest in a future. Everything cost money!

I have been photographing live music acts since 1998 and it’s one of the very few things that makes me really happy and energized. In between payed work, most of the live work I do is free work, I do it for the pure passion of underground and independent music and to promote underground and independent music acts. I am always happy if anyone wants to use my images for their music page etc. In most cases I get an email from the band with the inquiry if they can use the images and HOW they can use it. Independent and underground musicians usually don’t sit on a large amount of money and have to finance everything them selves, of course they can use the images, JUST ASK, I don’t bite. Both of us get a credit and exposure.

You scratch my back, I scratch your back.

What I am trying to say is, that so many people are making it so much more difficult then it really is. Why complicate it? Yes I know, I have been a bad boy and seen downloaded films and listened to downloaded music. I am not a saint. But when I can, I do spend money on films and music. Being a filmmaker and a photographer I do have an extended DVD collection of films which all are bought legally. There is something nice of having an original within a constant reach and with a HD quality.

KatoThis is the image that was submitted to the competition.

So why do I write about all this now? Well, I do mention copyright from time to time. But this time I really got irritated, angry and bloody hurt. To make a very long story very short, an image I took back in 2011 on London Soho in a collaboration with another person, was sent in for a competition without my knowledge. Because of the person that sent it in, I’m fine on not being notified. The image was one of seven images that won the competition. Awesome! There is no reason for me to get annoyed at all. But what really pissed me off was that the image was never credited, the person that sent in the image took the credit as HIS image! WTF?! A small competition or a big one, doesn’t matter! I was working my bum cheeks to make the image what it is, I am very proud of the image and I really enjoy it. If not for my friends and family that mentioned that they saw the image online, I would probably not find out until much later. Another issue is, that the person in the photograph is a person I used to work with for many years. I did write an email with my congratulations and I also asked for the reason of no credit given. The reply was short and sweet: “Dude, I’m fucking busy at the moment with work… We’ll talk more when stuff calms down.”

Stuff calms down? You what?

Don’t take me wrong, I am truly happy for the image to have won, I really am. I am just not happy with how it all has been dealt with and I am tired of being treated like shit for no reason what so ever. We all make mistakes, learn from them, no one is perfect. But, don’t think you can just come and do whatever you please with what’s not yours!


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