I've changed the background image of my blog, using one of my images. I don't know why I just went with the template defaults... easy or lazy? But with all the discussion of piracy and SOPA and PIPA recently, I see (possibly) stolen images everywhere. I wonder if permission was granted to Google or if the template images were purchased from a stock agency or if they were just found and copied because they filled a design need.
I am surprised at the number of people who think that if something is online, it's free... or should be. And I'm even more surprised by the number of my photographer friends who are against any sort of reprisals for theft of intellectual property. Yet they would be in an uproar if they found one of their photographs being used without their permission. Why is a movie or a software program any different?
I am not for or against the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills. I haven't read them in full. Maybe they go too far, I don't know. But I am in favor of punishing those who steal and their indignance at being held to a higher standard is ludicrous to me. Am I a goody-two-shoes? I assure you I am not. But we must all agree to play fair; especially since, thanks to the internet, we are all neighbors.
Now, people have said to me "If you don't want it to be stolen, don't put it on the internet." Surely, we can do better than that. But this brings me to another question that I have asked myself and other photographers: If you couldn't show your photos to anyone... not online or in local galleries or at camera club meetings... would you still take them?