Don’t Steal Stuff

I do a lot of photo-blog reading in my quest to stay informed, and nine times out of ten the stuff I see is great and informative. But I just read a blog entry on a site targeted primarily at wedding photographers. The post was for those who produce slideshows to showcase a couple’s wedding day in synch with music. These multimedia slideshows are often sold to the couple, or simply used to showcase the photographer’s work online. The article addressed the legality–actually, the lack thereof–of using songs for commercial use without approval. The thing that bothered me was that the author shrugged it off. I won’t pretend to think that sort of thing doesn’t happen, but neither will I pretend that it’s not a big deal for us photographers. So let me be clear: it’s not okay to use a song for commercial use without licensing it. It wouldn’t be okay for a musician to steal my photographs for use on his album cover, so why should I treat his creative output any differently? We photographers are in the same boat as musicians; it’s getting harder for to make a buck with our creative output. And if photographers won’t stand up for the legitimate licensing of music for commercial purposes, what hope do we have that anyone would ever pay for our work? There’s a great primer on music licensing for photographers, including useful resources for licensing songs legitimately, at the Wedding Photojournalist Association’s web site.

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