Can I use that picture? No. Well… I’m going to. Street photography and copyright infringement.

An issue every photographer struggles with, sharing their work with the world while protecting intellectual property, has a new high-profile case.

Humans of New York, the blog of street photographer Brandon Stanton, is a hugely popular blog featuring posed and candid images of the many unique citizens in America’s most populous city. According to The Guardian, clothing company DKNY offered Stanton $15,000 to use 300 of his photos. Feeling $50 per photo was inadequate compensation from a wealthy company Stanton requested more, which DKNY denied.

A fan of Stanton later brought to his attention that DKNY had in fact used many of his images in a window advertisement in Bangkok. Taking a very admirable path, Stanton asked DKNY donate $100,000 to his local YMCA, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In what was a simultaneous act-of-kindness and backhanded swipe, DKNY donated $25,000 in Stanton’s name.

So how do photographers, and artists as a whole, attempting to establish their name protect it at the same time? There’s no fool-proof way. Watermarks, finding websites that don’t allow downloading of images and small file sizes are all techniques.

Personally, I size my images small enough they wouldn’t make a decent print and hope people will at least ask if they want to use it. I have found out this isn’t an adequate approach.

The topic will only continue to brew confusion and controversy, as popular image-sharing software Instagram has recently been sued over inadequate protection of users photos.

Today I will share some of my street photography from Seattle.

© Robin Wood

Street1_small

I didn’t have much reaction time when I saw how the orange of the man’s shirt and child’s stroller complemented the orange accents on the posters.

Street3_small

Here I was simply interested in the smooth curvature of the drinking fountain and the bike-lane indicator in the street when a pedestrian came to quench his thirst. Again I had to quickly step back to get a more inclusive image before he continued on his way.

I dig his tall, white socks with black shoes.

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