Sunday, 2 February 2014

Copyright, labelling your images and the second life of a work of art

There is a very interesting discussion on Annabel Rainbow's blog about copyright law, blogs, the web, Pinterest and having your work reproduced without your knowledge or consent - see link below.

An art work really has two creative lives. The first is the process of creation between the artist and their chosen material. This can be a wonderful, frustrating, fulfilling, enriching experience, which is why so many of us indulge in it. The  is second is the life of the work after completion. This can be in the realm of its interaction with its audience - hopefully creating connection, pleasure, inspiration, feeling, opinion - provoking reaction. It can also be in the physical realm, including being reproduced by the artist or other, with or without the artist's permission, with or without the artist's knowledge, with or without acknowledging the artist.

This is not a new problem. As soon as an artist reveals her work to the world, she starts to loose control of it, and art has been copied throughout history, which is why we have copyright laws. But the web, blogs and particularly Pinterest seem to be producing very gray legal areas. Most artists agree that Pinterest has brought them a larger audience, but many have been dismayed to discover their own images of their own works on sites with no reference or acknowledgement of them at all. And the worst story I have heard was of one artist finding someone had made and was selling cards of her work!

I love sharing - most of us do. I have had hours of pleasure and inspiration looking at art on the web and I admit I love it when others look at my work and leave comments. I have also been frustrated when I have found something on a pinterest board that I like, but can not find out who created it.

For this reason, I will now put my name and blog address on all my own photos. You may pin away, I will at least know that the work will be traceable back to me. Unless, of course, you can remove the name? I know I can't. I've tried, as I wasn't happy with my first attempts. I didn't succeed so its a bit intrusive for the moment. Sorry. Hopefully I'll get there.

Hilary Florence


  1. This topic makes me smile - only 'cause it sure can get ladies' pants in a twist quick! My opinion concerning my own work is a pretty common sense take on copyright laws. You can use my images with credit back to me and my blog - You can take my work and change it - twist it - make it something totally new and I'll say - wow that's cool. I don't want you to use my images to make you money - unless you want to share - grin. And most of the time when I see traditional quilters copyrighting their work - I want to say - OMG - get over yourself - you can't copyright a traditional pattern that has been around for 200 yrs. I've often thought that maybe some of these bloggers should spend more time on learning to quilt then taking so many photos of the quilts they have made. (okay that's me stepping down from my soap box - LOL)

  2. This topic certainly gets peoples' passions up! But I think you have hit the nail on the head with - use my images with credit back to me, and the line it is not OK to cross is making money out of someone else's images. Within those parameters sharing on the net is only to everyone's advantage. In fairness to Annabel though she doesn't use traditional patterns and I don't think that is what she is talking about.
    Hilary Florence