I’ve had a quandry rattling around in my head. Usually when we have some thought playing on repeat, it’s not something beneficial. It’s just some open loop that we run over and over looking for closure, mostly without realizing it, and usually not finding what we’re looking for until we finally bring it into focus.
This time was no different.
I work in a field of intellectual rights. It’s easy to NOT steal something physical, but the whole world gets murky when the goods are virtual. What constitutes copyright infringement when the products are words, photos, videos, and ideas? Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with any “theft” or potential bounds stepping in that regard. (that I know of?) And perhaps that’s a topic for another blog. However, in the case I’m noodling right now, it goes a step further.
Do I even HAVE the intellectual rights to “my” images?
Here is the crux of the question:
- Owned the camera
- Set the camera settings
- Had the ideas for the shots
- Told people where to go and set up the shot
- Chose which photos were worth sharing
- Cropped and changed the degree of said photos
- Photoshopped where needed
- Applied color correction and filters…
but you didn’t PRESS THE BUTTON… are they still your photos?
As you can probably guess, it’s a situation I’ve encountered, and tend to encounter when I am in the photographs myself. (Mainly the manifestation of this nuissance is “whom gets the credit for the photos on social media?”)
Does the art belong to the curator or to the camera operator?
After a couple of hours where my brain was picking at this sore like a curious tongue, I sat down, wrote it out, and decided to put an end to the issue. For me, this takes the form of journalling and consulting the wisdom of the universe. (If you have problems and have not tried this method – definitely recommend!)
Katie: This feels so stupid and inconsequential. WHY does this bother me?
Universe: You need recognition and credit.
Katie: *flinches* Do I feel like I don’t get enough?
Katie: Why not?
Universe: You are unsure of your skill and place in this world and need to be affirmed.
Katie: Do I have skill?
Universe: Most definitely.
Katie: Ugh. *sigh* What can I do about this situation?
Universe: Let it all go. Poof. If a specific situation in regards to this comes up, deal with it then. But. No more internal squabbling. It doesn’t matter and will not change the world in any truly important or marked way whom gets the credit. What WILL change the world for the better, however, is you letting go.
While this conversation didn’t give me clarity as to “whom owns the photos” it shed light on something much more valuable. In this case, IT. DOESN’T. MATTER. The opportunity cost of wasting my thoughts on something like this is high, while the returns are low. Thankfully, because of this frank and vulnerable look at myself, I’ve been able to put this issue to rest and have ceased caring. 🙂 Oh happy day!
If you were curious about the process, it’s super simple. I had my journal and I outlined the issue, but writing it down is not necessary. All you must do is afix the issue in your mind in the form of a question. Then wait for the response that arises. Don’t look for it, and don’t judge it. It will probably be something you don’t want to hear. (Did I want to hear that part of me wants more credit? Heck no!). But only through glimpsing our truths head-on, dark as they may be, can we move forward into the light. With each answer you may probe deeper into the issue until you have found the clarity needed. If you are honest and open, you will not have a problem discerning what is truth, and what are sugar-coated lies.
I’d love to hear the questions you ask and the answers you receive. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you are brave, post in the comments below!