Mark McGuinness posted a great article on the Pinterest for artists issue, Pinterest: an Opportunity for Creators – or a Threat?. A lot of good points there, but do not stop with the article itself or with links to posts in other art marketing blogs about Pinterest. There is a lengthy and insightful discussion in the comments very well worth reading (I could not help but add my $0.02 too).
To me, the amount of attention that Pinterest is getting is amazing. How comes that images of artworks have been shared everywhere for a long while now, from Facebook to Tumblr, often without artist’s consent, and nobody made a big deal out of it? Or did opponents of image sharing only now caught up to the new reality? Is it really such a big deal? Pins are small, unfit for reproduction, even on a very amateurish level. Plagiarism concerns? Artists risk that every time they put their creation on display. Traffic stealing? Now that was probably the most unusual claim I’ve heard, complete with the total lack of supporting facts. Puzzling…
This Squidoo lens by makingamark has answers on all kinds of questions related to packing and shipping art: how to ship different kinds of art, how to ship to exhibitions, to overseas patrons, which materials and tools to use, tips from artist (with video even!), galleries, museums, and conservators: How to pack, post and ship art – Resources for Artists. Great resource!
In an interesting move, Google now asks notable artists to provide them with free art for its new browser, Chrome.
The best part is that Google solicits this type of work from notable artists like Joe Ciardiello and Melinda Beck. If it was general crowdsourcing, I could understand it somewhat – emerging illustrators or hobbyists don’t mind to work for exposure only, just go look at those contest places all over the web. It’s still means using and abusing people to me, but since those people don’t seem to mind I don’t particularly care either. But to approach someone who worked for the likes of ESPN and Rolling Stone and ask for a freebie is an insult. Those artists had plenty of exposure already and were paid for their work too. It’s not as if Google could not do the same.
So maybe crowdsourcing does have a nasty effect on the rest of creative community: if so many artists have no problem with working for free, the rest are expected to cave in and do the same, accepting it as a new norm.
According to current copyright law, artists have copyright over their work from the moment of it was created. Ina case of copyright infringement, the artist can show sketches and preliminary studies and prove that the work was indeed created by him or her. Only when the artwork is presumably under copyright but copyright owner can’t be found, it becomes an orphan work and goes into the public domain for anyone to use without restrictions.
With the Orphan Work bill, it all can change. According to the proposed legislation, an artist must register each artwork down to the last sketch with one of designated private registries or it automatically becomes an orphan. Most artists can’t afford to register copyright over all their works even with US Copyright Office, much less with some private institution that answers to no one and can rise their prices as they please. But even worse, the proposed legislation officially legalizes copyright theft.
Mark Simon has a good article about this disturbing legislation: Mind Your Business: You Will Lose All The Rights to Your Own Art. The fragment of a conversation between Brad Holland of the Illustrators’ Partnership and David O. Carson, general counsel of the Copyright Office, is especially disturbing.