Photography is just like…

…music. You hear a pop song in commercial, but that company doesn’t own the song.

…software. You buy software, but that doesn’t mean you own the code.

…blueprints. You may own the building when it’s built, but the architect owns the design.

…sculpture. You can buy art, but you can’t copy and sell it as your own.

The intellectual property is an intangible asset, that is, it is intangible as well as it cannot be defined or specified by its physical parameters. It is created by human intellectual or inspirational activity. Therefore, the intellectual property must be defined in some discernible method to be protected by the laws.

via Intellectual property valuation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

What’s your simile for photography licensing?

Please Don’t Take My Images

Dear bloggers, writers, designers, illustrators, anyone that wants my photography on their website:

Here’s the deal. If you want to talk me up or talk up my client, I don’t mind if you use my photography in a bloggy editorial kind of way. I just want a heads up. If you take my photography to promote yourself (even if by bringing traffic to your website where you sell products or services), then we have an issue. These photos are my intellectual property and are protected by US copyright law. All rights reserved means I decide how and who uses the images.

If I just took your car (or your horse) to run some errands without asking you, you’d probably be upset. Sure, no harm was done to your car (or horse), but it’s your property and you would like to know where it is. You’d probably want me to pay some gas money or feed it, too.

I feel the same about my photography. People, innocently or not, just lift my images all the time to promote themselves. In some cases, this is could be a very bad thing. For example, say someone said negative things about my best client and used my photography to prove their point. This puts me in hot water with the client and could even be interpreted that I provided the images to them to slander my own client. Thus, the reason I want a heads up before you use my images.

Hope you understand where I’m coming from. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I just am trying to look after my business. After all, I do this for a living and I can’t eat a photo credit.