Soo…. after a long aversion against Flickr I think I found the golden path through the middle, and with the help from a nifty plug-in provided through Photoshelter I can directly upload my images to Flickr, of course fully watermarked, bang across the middle, which seems to be the only sufficient way to protect your images from being stolen.
I do it mainly for the exposure, to get the stuff out there, and lead potential clients back to my portfolio and what better way is that to do it through websites like Twitter, Facebook, and (heaven help us) Flickr.
There’ve been many discussions going on about how Flickr is the image-thieves-walhalla, and sure, if you don’t protect your stuff it is. But it’s the same with your wallet on the street (not in Finland of course, there you can leave your wallet on the bench at the bus stop and it’ll still be there if you come back for it the next day**). If you keep it in plain sight, it will be gone the next time you look at it.
Anyway… The other day, in my in-box, I found a mail from Ms Emma Williams, who is, according to her e-mail footer, Managing Editor at Schmap Guides, which is an American (NC) based publisher of digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the world. She was writing me the following:
I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the eleventh edition of our Schmap Paris Guide, to be published mid-May 2010.
http://www.schmap.com/shortlist/yadayadadee (<– deleted for obvious reasons)
Clicking this link will take you to a page where you can:
i) See which of your photos has been short-listed.
ii) Submit or withdraw your photo from our final selection phase.
iii) Learn how we credit photos in our Schmap Guides.
iv) Browse online or download the tenth edition of our Schmap Paris Guide.
While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.
Our submission deadline is Friday, April 30. If you happen to be reading this message after this date, please still click on the link above (our Schmap Guides are updated frequently – photos submitted after this deadline will be considered for later releases).
Note the bolded part.
Also… When I clicked the link and read through the more extensive Terms and Conditions I was told that when I agree I would give them a perpetual, royalty free rights of use for this image. The rest was pretty ok, no sublicensing, credit to the photographer, link to the file on Flickr, etc. etc.
But still… I’m a photographer. I sell stock. I make money with my photographs (at least I’m trying to). And if this would’ve been some sort of charity, I might’ve considered. But it isn’t.
And sure, I believe there are enough “photographers” out there who would be proud to see their name in a release like that and who’d be gullible enough to give away their pictures. I’m not one of them, though (not to mention the fact that this particular image is far far from being even close to one of my best…, but that’s a whole different thing ).
**) This, of course, is a metaphor. A matter of speech, to illustrate the relative safeness of Finland. I cannot be held responsible if you actually try this and your wallet is gone the next day )