Thursday, October 20, 2011

Photo linking & no ThURGHsday! today

First - there's no ThURGHsday post today because I'm working on what I hope will be a big splash for the next post & band in the movie. I'm really excited about it and, if it comes through, will hopefully give the series a lift.

Second - you'll notice that there are no pictures or video attached to this post. I've been doing a lot of reading today, mostly about the use of images on blogs. That reading has led me to begin work on a mission statement for this blog. Statement of purpose. What this blog and I are all about. So you have that to look forward to.

This bout of introspection was brought on by a Google+ post by one of Your Older Brother's friends, Bryan Jones, who has had some of his fantastic photos used on other blogs without permission or attribution. He posted about the transgression and I pointed out that I had given the photographer credit on my Smiths & Stone Roses posts. I have to admit, I felt pretty self-righteous. I was doing The Right Thing.

Thankfully, what came next was a couple of Bryan's friends pointing out that "Attribution does not release you from copyright infringement - or from permission." and "Especially when they post advertising on their page and clearly make money with it." I took both of these comments to be about me and what I've done here on Your Older Brother. I felt upbraided, and rightly so. I humbly asked what bloggers should do, and was pointed to using photos which are available under Creative Commons license; one person linked to a CC photo search tool.

Each person quoted above responded that they were talking about the original non-attributer/non-linker, not me, and had stories about their viewpoints ("It's a delicate balance though -- as do I let my work be seen -- or do I hide it all in a box and let no one look at it without getting paid.") - one person even had their pictures of university sports offered for sale by a sports website without his permission.

The main article I read was over on Design Sponge (titled Photo Usage) and had a list of good practices for bloggers when using the photographic artwork of others. (There's another good article that touches on photo usage titled Online Etiquette & Ethics, Part 1)

One thing I aim to do on this site is provide links to locations where the music can be obtained legally and will hopefully result in the musicians getting paid for their music. (And yes, through ads and affiliate links, money for me as well.) As someone who was in a band who was trying to make a living as a musician, I feel strongly that artists should be compensated for their work, whatever form that should take. I strive for integrity, and for me that includes identifying, attributing & linking to any photographs I use on this site that are not my own.

I was glad to have learned this lesson, and I'm thankful to Bryan and his friends for teaching me. The Internet is very "wild west" at times, and while I'm not perfect, I try to be as honest as possible. I have downloaded music illegally. Not proud of it, but it's happened. But I also had a subscription to eMusic for a couple of years and that showed me how easy, enjoyable and inexpensive it can be to get digital music legally. Some of my favorite bands of the past couple of years - Surfer Blood, Best Coast, The Hold Steady, Magic Bullets, Boy + Kite and many many others - were purchased and downloaded from eMusic. Usually two albums a month and I had plenty to explore and listen to. I also enjoy the free use of services like Slacker and Spotify to help introduce me to new music. Some bands like the Fornicorns and Maritime have their albums up on services like bandcamp & Soundcloud for free listening & purchase through the site.

So from here on out, I will try as hard as I can to get permission beforehand when I use someone else's pictures, and I will keep attributing & linking to the photographer or original site. If I publish a post and hear back afterward and am asked to remove the picture, I'll comply with the artist's wishes.

Photography plays a large part in enjoying music - it does for me, at least - and I want to keep spreading the word about good art, whatever form it takes. Because your older brother has good taste about all that stuff, right?

3 comments:

  1. As an academically immersed person, I totally understand the need to cite. However, I feel you may have been "upbraided" a little bit unnecessarily here, Sam. Worry less...your blog is awesome, and while I understand your desire to be squeaky clean, ethically speaking, I also wish it didn't affect your ThURGHsday totally awesome music posts. These bands are lucky you're here to speak for them.

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  2. I'm not a professional photographer, so this is conjecture on my part, but if I were, I'd probably watermark every image I put online with my name, or company, or website... I think it's a fair assumption that a lot of things online get passed around pretty liberally, and that's not always a bad thing. Make it work to your advantage.

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  3. @Anon - thanks for the support! I don't strive for squeaky, necessarily, but I want to do business honorably. :) I needed the education, and I'm thankful for it.

    That said, if there are any rock photographers out there who would like to have their work featured here, or would like to partner with me for any posts I'm working on, please feel free to contact me at OlderBrotherSam at gmail.com. Thanks!

    @Ike - I do see some watermarks occasionally, but that's a good idea for me to do as well with my pictures. Might get the blog name passed around, too. :) Thanks for your comments - hopefully some photographers find it useful as well.

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