UfD: Protecting You and Your Images
Recently I was given an opportunity to put some work into an exhibition. It seemed like a great idea and I have to say I took a lot for granted and through it I learned a lot. There are things that many of us who don’t exhibit often don’t know or don’t think about.
The work I had in the exhibition was in a public place, but it wasn’t being watched. I wasn’t the only one with work there and two out of my three pieces were stolen, or have disappeared. Others have experienced the same.
The problem then arises as to who is responsible?
With almost all exhibitions the gallery or place where you exhibit your work takes no responsibility for stolen or damaged work. When you put your work in to be exhibited you usually do it at your own risk. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really aware of it for this exhibition. It wasn’t until I had gone too far into it that I realized the work wasn’t going to be supervised.
Not long after that we were told that the digital files of all the images would be given to the people who held the exhibition so they could print them out for exhibitions elsewhere. I have to say I was never easy with this idea, but waited until I had a chance to talk to someone about it.
What I found out was that the images have just been given to them without any conditions placed on them as to what they can do with them, well as far as I can tell. Everyone has got carried away with the idea that their work might be in further exhibitions. Though we all found out about this before we were aware that images had been stolen from the original show.
So now these people have three of my images, which are all high resolution images, so they can be printed and I have no control over what happens with them. I have asked that they delete them, but who can ever be sure that it actually happens.
I am just going to list some ideas on how you can protect yourself from this happening again. I’m sure others have had similar ideas, so please, if you can contribute please do.
By this I mean, make sure you know exactly what is going on. Never assume anything.
2 – Will the Work Be Supervised
Really as soon as I knew it wasn’t going to be I should’ve clicked. The work is not protected from anything. There is no one to stop people from just taking the work, or from destroying it. You really shouldn’t agree to work not being supervised unless it is behind glass or protected some other way. Our work was just pinned to boards.
3 – Find Out About Compensation
If the conditions are like ours, where the work wasn’t secured at all you need to find out if you will be compensated if something happens to it.
4 – Have an Agreement in Writing
5 – Giving High Resolution Images
It should be, never give them to anyone. Once people have them they can do what they like with them, unless you have a contract. If you have one then you can stipulate what they can and can’t do with them. You have something to protect you.
Our images were given away basically, so we have nothing set up to protect us.
Many competitions require you to send in your images as well and again, you need to be aware of what is required. Read the fine print, find out what they can and can’t do with your images. It will be there in the Terms and Conditions. You can’t argue with them, and either you agree with them or you don’t, so then you have to decide whether or not you will enter it.
Don’t ever enter a competition where they have full rights to your images. You might be signing away all rights and they might make millions from your image. You just don’t know.
I hope these points all help you to understand how you can better protect yourself. The part that is the most concerning for me is that we have given away our images and there is control over what they can do with them. They could use them for advertising, they could sell them or they could just give them away. We don’t know. I am not quite sure what to do now, I’ve requested that my images be removed from them, but I don’t know how to check that it has been.
So protect yourself, be sure you know what you are doing, be aware of the details, read the fine print, get things in writing.
The images today are ones that I would use for exhibition purposes.