May 6, 2015 by 250 Beers
I try not to let things shit me off. I’m generally an easy-going kinda guy. Those that know me will (hopefully) agree. Yeah, sure, I’m a pompous Londoner sometimes but it takes a lot to really rile me.
A flurry of something persistent occurred recently and the annoying irk finally tipped me over the edge.
You see, I take a lot of beer related photographs – mainly on my iPhone and iPad. Many get uploaded to my Instagram and Facebook feeds – especially when the subjects of the photos are beers that are new to me and my continuing beer tally.
I should state at this point that I will never proclaim to be a photographer – more so a beer drinker that simply likes to take snaps of his beers.
Over the past year or so, I’ve stumbled upon at least a dozen of my images being used to promote certain things such as events and tastings – even bars and breweries have been at it. That’s 12 times that I’m aware of. Heaven knows how many other instances there are where I’ve been ‘exploited’.
I feel dirty, used.
At first, I thought it was a bit of a novelty when I saw a photo of mine elsewhere but then I started to realise that in most cases my photos (which, again, are just a hobby for me) were being used by bars and breweries to generate business for themselves – bringing in the coin on the back of my goodwill.
I’m reluctant to name and shame but we’re talking sizeable organisations from all over the country here.
If you’re reading this and thinking “Grow up mate. Get a life!” or, in traditional Aussie fashion, “Pull your head in mate, you Pommy prick!” Well, put yourself in my shoes. I’m sure you’d feel the same way especially if a business was pulling in cash from your unpaid efforts.
Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have flown off the handle if the images received a little credit here and there – a wee mention in the small print somewhere. I don’t want any monetary gain.
A burst of three occasions in the space of two days knee-jerked me into action just a few weeks ago…I decided that I needed a lawyer.
Not really. That’s ridiculous.
I decided to employ the use of a watermark on my photos. It’s something that many photographers do to retain their dignity and prevent others from using their gear. Whilst I’ll never deem myself a photographer – far from it – it seemed like an achievable way to go as I lack any knowledge in copyright or property law or experience in breaching ones personal rights.
The decision to introduce a watermark – which is just a transparent version of my 250beers.com logo – wasn’t one that I took lightly. I pondered over it for a while. What if looked a bit wanky? In the end I knew that something had to be done so I ran with it.
A few people have commented positively about it online and on Instagram. I’ve even had a few ask how they can go about following suit. I don’t want the watermark to be intrusive on my amateur photography – I just want people to respect what is owned by me. At least now if a business decides to use a photo without my permission, a little hat tip to 250 Beers will be unavoidable.