I really hate having these conversations................... My heart hopes that most people just do things not knowing that what they are doing is truly wrong or how much impact it has on the photographer or artist. And I'm going to hold out my hope that I'm right because this honestly does hurt.
I started noticing a trend at the most recent, large, world show events in Oklahoma. Friends and customers I've know for years were posting what looked like cell phone images of videos taken at the shows and a few times I noticed cell phone images of photographers photos as well posted on Facebook. I asked a few friends why they were posting like that and was told it was due to excitement and waiting for the videos purchased to be received; I get it. I too have waited weeks ready to jump out of my skin from reining horse shows this year. Seems harmless enough anyway, right? Wrong..................
I'm pretty naive; I always think the best of people and hope that they wouldn't intentionally do anything to hurt me or my business. After about 15 urgent phone calls and text messages after one of the biggest, well known and prestigious events this year I was finally able to return this person's call. At first I thought I had done something wrong or captured the most extreme animal abuse ever on film; not only that but the way it sounded was that I posted it on this site! I do my best to organize and give a quick glance to nearly every image that I put on here, especailly during that event, and I was 99% sure something like that didn't get by me. Then they said I had to take it down quickly as "it's all over Facebook!" When I asked how as I had literally posted none of these images as they claimed it finally occured to me........................ why pay for it when you can simply take it?
If the image is good enough that you'd like to post it on social media or print it, then it 's obviously good enough to purchase....... Examples of "Borrowing Without Permission" include, but are not limited to; taking a cell phone shot of an image here on my image hosting site and posting it, copying and pasting the links to your images or the galleries, attempting to do a right click and posting or printing the image and/or grabbing somehow, someway, any of my images and using them for self promotion or gain. I share plenty of images on Facebook and even ask people to SHARE them but please do not download them, and that is okay but any of these other things are not.
I know that some of you, especially my friends, don't realize that this hurts photographers and artists, but it does. I'm sure it's not your intent by anymeans. But I do ask you to think about this; this is how I make a living. It's how I feed my own horses, my dogs and my little piggie (and she likes to eat!). I don't walk into your barn and take your saddle without asking you, it's disrespectful and it's hurtful. Those of you that know me know that I spend HOURS at these shows, mostly on my feet, mostly on the go, making sure that I capture special memories of each and every person who walks into the arena, I'm often the last person to leave and I work for days making sure images are uploaded and online after the show. I do this on top of my "real job" that I still HAVE to have to afford to be at the shows for you. And most of you that know me know that I'm there cheering you on and encouraging you; you inspire me and I love doing this. But I can't do it for free. Each image that is "borrowed" without permission takes money away from me and makes it harder for me to continue doing this.
I'm once again asking nicely; if you haven't purchased it, if you didn't ask for my permission to "copy and paste" it, if you didn't ask me if you could share it, then chances are it's "borrowing without permission" and since my images are copyrighted it could cost both of us a lot of money we'd rather not spend, certainly a lot more than a $25 social media image would cost to purchase.