Stealing photographs – not only uncool, illegal
There are certain ‘social media managers’ who need a reminder that the important word in their job title is ‘social’. And the last time I looked, stealing is not a sociable activity. As you know, every morning Andy takes photographs on Fort Lauderdale Beach and shares them, in real time, with social media followers. I need to remind certain people that this does not mean they are ‘in the public domain’. We are delighted, of course, when people share them, but not when they steal them.
Whatever state or country you live in, stealing is against the law. It is a crime. It is punishable by law. ‘But it’s only social media’ is no excuse – stealing is stealing. Share (Facebook), retweet (Twitter), repin (Pinterest) as much as you like. That way, the original attribution remains. Don’t simply steal and claim the work as your own by leaving out the credit. (Do I really have to explain this to adults???)
Let me tell you what I’m talking about. Or show you, rather.
As you know, Andy is @FtLauderdaleSun on several social media. As you also know, he receives no payment for this. Indeed, the city – who use his images regularly – don’t even issue him with a parking pass. Here’s what he posted on Facebook, direct from the beach, at about 7 – 7.30 am on September 5th. Anyone who knows Andy’s work recognizes it as a Royston original.
Now look what happened on a commercial account on September 6th.
Andy left a polite note asking for attribution. This didn’t. In fact, they deleted his message. By September 7th it was gloves-off time.
What happened next?
- Several of FtLauderdaleSun’s 6,000 FB followers commented on the magazine’s post, pointing out that the photograph was stolen and not attributed.
- The magazine eventually posted saying (verbatim) ‘Thank you for letting us know. We were trying to find the photographer’.
- Someone (me) replied saying (verbatim) ‘It was only published on Facebook, nowhere else. Didn’t you notice whose page you were stealing it from?’
The perpetrators then deleted the photograph and all comments.
Rather than simply (and sociably) attributing the photograph – what would have taken about five seconds – they deleted the entire thing.
Now, you tell me – what does that say about them?