Photos Taken Offline

I take my slideshows offline. Here’s why.

I got a rude awakening the other day when someone sent me an e-mail postcard that featured one of my photographs.

Now I know this person didn’t mean anything by it. He was writing to me about something in the photo and I guess he figured that the photo would help him communicate what he was trying to say.

But it got me thinking. And it made me realize that the .Mac slideshows I’ve created to show off the places I’ve been are a perfect format for theft. They’re a high enough resolution for the Web (obviously) and for printing at smaller sizes. These are usually photos of remote places in Arizona and I’d like to think some of them are interesting and artistic. I create and sell photo greeting cards with these photos. It would really piss me off if someone else was doing the same thing with my work.

My friend Laura, who is a local photographer, is stuck with a similar dilemma, and was asking me about it just the other day. She wants to show off her work on her Web site and make photos available for sale. But she’s worried that people will just download the photos off the Web and print them. People do it all the time. People mistakenly believe that if something is on the Web, it’s not protected by copyright law.

It’s happened to me with work I’ve written here. Someone liked one of my articles in these blogs so much, he printed it out, photocopied it, and distributed it all over town. He left my byline on it, but made no note of the context of where it had been found. His goal was to make me look evil — some people really do need to get a life — but he wound up providing entertainment for a lot of people who agreed with me. But that’s not the point. The point is, he broke the law in distributing my work without my permission. The next time it happens, I will prosecute. Heck, I’d love to get a copyright thief to pay for my helicopter.

So anyway, I pulled the high-res photos offline. And, from now on, photos will be limited to the small, low-resolution images you see here in these blogs.

What do you think?