Fair use of photos on blogs… the photographers speak out.

I’ve been getting some flames from photographers on my personal blog who think I’m saying bloggers should be able to just use any image they find on the web, however they want, and just claim “fair use.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

What I’m saying is bloggers should respect photographers, not use their images beyond the conditions of fair use as described by copyright law, and work to find an equitable solution to the issues.

I had dinner with two big name photographers in L.A. recently. These are folks who’s name you might recognize even if you are not in the photography industry. I asked them both under what circumstances could use their images without paying them, they both immediately responded emphatically “under no circumstances!”

Interesting. I asked them if they had heard of the term fair use, and they said they had heard of it but their photo agencies had told them that no one can use their images ever without their permission. This, of course, is not true. There is fair use, and there is commercial fair use as well. The issue is how, as an industry, we will impliment fair use. It is, at the end of the day, up to us how this all goes down.

Today I’d like to hear from photographers what they think is acceptable fair use of their photos on blogs.

How would you like to see bloggers treat your photos?

Let’s get specific, let’s give examples. Everyone is talking about the legal issues in this space, which can be argued either way till the cows come home. At the end of the day us debating the legal arguments doesn’t amount to all that much since if a case does go the distance a judge and/or jury will decide the issue.

Today I’d like to be pragmatic and hear what real-world uses you would allow, and which ones you think cross the nebulous lines between fair use, abuse and infringement. Perhaps the photographers can come up with some guideline for blog fair use.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

best, Jason

Note: Don’t post flames in the commentthey will not make it up. Please stay on target and let’s be constructive in our discourse. If you must be vulgar or abusive please do it on your blog, or just send your flames to me personally at jason at calacanis dot com.

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