Being a photographer, especially a professional one, can be an extremely difficult task in the digital age. I read a very good quote the other day; “Everyone loves your work until they have to pay for it”, this has sums up how I feel a lot of the time. As a digital creative, my work is often overlooked as having value, the phrase “we’ll give you credit” is mentioned more times than I’d like to remember but I stick with it because I love it.
Part of the reason digital creative works; photography, graphic design and music, are seen as being worth less and less is the ease in which you can get it for free. Why buy something when you can get it for free? Good question right? Because the creatives who slave to create the works that you enjoy deserve to be paid. They are providing a service and deserve remuneration.
As a digital creative myself, I spend a decent amount of time uploading my works to get them out into the world via Flickr, Instagram and Facebook. But because of past experiences (most notably the Red Jumpsuit situation) I watermark my images. Although not all of my images online have watermarks, the works that I capture for The Music are posted by them online without watermarks.
This is where Pixsy come in. I don’t recall when I first read about these guys from the states, but I remember being very excited by their concept; Pixsy helps photographers find where their works are being used online and will licence, invoice and chase up the copyright infringer. The best part? They do it for 50% of the licensing fee they receive from the infringer.
I know what you’re thinking, 50% sounds like a lot right? But when you consider that lawyers and court costs can rise into the 100’s of thousands of dollars, getting 50% of a licence fee that I wouldn’t have seen is certainly a win. Part of the benefit of using Pixsy for me, is having the backing of their name, I have had issues in the past issuing invoices to infringers, as a single photographer is not seen as a threat and will generally go un-paid.
I highly recommend that you head over to Pixsy ( http://www.pixsy.com/ ) and request an invite to join their absolutely fantastic service. At the moment they’re still in the early stages and aren’t quite ready to open the flood gates to what I’m sure will be a massive influx of photographers. Once you’ve gotten your invite, simply link pixsy to your flickr, instrgaram, 500px, website and more and they will search the web for every place using your images. For example, see below, two of the literally thousands of instances of my images being used (luckily both of these are legitimate!).
Pixsy is a significant step to giving the power back to photographers everywhere and in stopping online image theft, maybe we can remind the world that there is value in our works and we won’t give up quietly.