More people are sharing photos and videos online with friends and family, as well as those they've never met. Consider this: One hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second. Pinterest, which lets people collect and share digital images, has grown to about 12 million users since launching in 2010.
The growth of these and other websites makes it easier for videos and images to be shared and reshared online -- or at least end up in places beyond where they were originally posted.
"With the advances in smartphones, digital cameras and social websites, more people are becoming interested in photography and videography, and they're able to share their work broadly and quickly with others," says Bill Robbins, an award-winning advertising photographer, commercial film director and current program chair of professional photography at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, graphic design, and photography. "But no matter if you're a professional, amateur or simply enjoy taking and sharing pictures or videos, it's important to consider how and when to protect your work. It's something that we teach our aspiring professionals and something that others may benefit from learning."
Take well-known "mommy blogger" Danielle Smith for example: Smith, her family and her blog, ExtraordinaryMommy.com, made international headlines when a family photo -- one used for their Christmas card -- was taken from one of her sites and used in an advertisement in the Czech Republic.
Whether you are an aspiring professional photographer, videographer or just someone who wants to share your unique content with others while still getting credit for it, here are five things Robbins suggests you consider before sharing your work online:
-- Know what you're getting into. Read the Terms and Conditions on photo- and video-sharing sites like Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa and Photobucket to make sure you fully understand and agree to the terms. Notice if the site has a designated copyright agent, displays a take-down procedure and has a clear copyright policy.
-- Obtain a Creative Commons license and share your original content on sites that honor those licenses, like Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube. Creative Commons licenses -- www.creativecommons.org -- help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make certain uses of their work. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve.
-- Keywording is key. "Keywording a photo is almost as important as the photo itself to drive people to your image online," says Robbins. "Think of keywording as drilling for oil. You start with the obvious word and then keep drilling down until there is nowhere else to drill." For example, if your image features a sumo wrestler, start by tagging your photos with words you think people will use to search for your particular image, like "sumo," then use words that are more conceptual to the image, like "big," "strong," "powerful" and "wide body."
-- Consider your audience before you share. Are they trustworthy? Will they give credit where credit is due? Use programs that allow you to have control over your audience, and that let you select your own privacy settings to ensure you have full control over how and with whom your content is shared.
-- Make it your own. Consider developing your own website or blog to post your original content so that it's always tied back to your personal brand. Include a copyright disclaimer on your site. Then spread links back to your site through your social channels.© 2012 ARA
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