As a visual artist I understand what it’s like to have your work taken without permission. Taking an image even one that has been watermarked and using it without paying the artist is wrong. If found the artist has the right to request you take down the image. Just because you change the image or remix music doesn’t mean the original artist should not get some sort of compensation for their work. I think in the case of modifying an image it depends on the how the modification is use. Was it paid for or was it used without permission? Is the artist who made the change profiting from the modified image?
I believe if the artist purchased the image for the intent of reuse and it was sold as such then the original artist has no say. If the image was taken without permission, even from news media then the original artist should have the right to collect compensation. Music, video, imagery and print media should not be used (even snips) without permission from the original artist. The entire remix controversy is simple in the fact that creating art for profit off of someone else’s work without permission is copyright infringement. It really is that simple. There is no doubt that it is creative but it is taking their hard work and profit and claiming it as your own.
Now there are alternatives that people should consider. Most agencies that sell images, video clips and audio clips offer “free media”. You still need to read and understand how you can use this media but it is out there. Then we have other sites that are built on user content and many of these offer shared content, again with restrictions. When these site find copyrighted materials the take them down. YouTube for instance will send notification to users and explain why they removed a video and how to contact the copyright holder. The “Fair Use” of media has some merit only if the guidelines are followed and enforced. If you think about it we have done this for years in the form of critic reviews, the releases of movies, videos and music.
The other source people should consider is creative commons. The sharing of many forms of media and art. Depending on the license you can use, distribute or even remix these items. It has opened a world of possibility for the remix community. Think about a gathering of artists from around the world with the purpose of sharing and blending their ideas to create new unique artistic expressions. I have personally used music from this site. I have also added to free images at several stock photography agencies. The free content is out there we just have to find it the legal way. Respect artist by respecting their copyrights. If you do use someone’s work remember to give credit where credit is due!
Thanks for reading!
I whole-heartedly agree with you Allen that there is no such thing as taking something creative - music, art, dance, film, photos, whatever, and change it and say it is yours. The hard work and creativity came from the original artist. The next step or remix is just an adaptation of someone's perspective, and the original artist should be compensated in whatever manner they deem equitable. It makes me sad though that this is such an easy way to be creative, and that people may not try so hard to be originally creative. I hope not. Thanks for the sites you have shared before with free music and images.