Artists need Pragmatists

I must admit I find the whole copyright situation confusing. I used to think that I didn’t really care if someone shared or downloaded my work because that’s nice that they like it. I didn’t want to wreck my pretty images with huge tagging and that if someone wanted to buy my work they would just buy it. This is part artistic idealism and probably my generation. As a ‘digital native’ we’ve downloaded so much stuff for free and never thought there was anything wrong with it till somebody else got into trouble or our computers were full of bugs (it had its own punishments). We thought artists who fussed over ownership were being out of touch killjoys. I would then go on to buy work I liked and respected but would not for the cheap ‘pop’ stuff. Then we all grew up and went, hey where’s my money? This is what happens when you ‘share’ ie. give your work away for free.
My manager kept saying repeatedly, “Put better tagging on your work, lower the resolution etc” and I was like, “No it won’t look nice and it’s a hassle and I can’t lower my resolution because then you can’t pint it nice and *BIG!”* And he’s like “well you’re giving it away for free”, and I’m like, “No it has a price on it!”
Well even ‘normal’ people would say to me, “Why would they/I pay for your work when I can have it for free?” and I would huff and go, “It’s all priced, people who want to will buy it!”
So eventually I caved and put a small tag in the bottom right corner, see it’s mine, this satisfied copyright and it still looked pretty. Pretty and still free.
After god knows how many months of complaining about ‘lots of looking but not buying" we had amazingly the exact same conversation we’ve had ten times over and I went, “O.k I’ll try it!”
I now have the largest tag across my work, a clear layer and no ‘pin it’. I’ve become the opposite of what we were as culture craving teenagers, a ‘non-sharer.’
This means if you want it you do actually HAVE to buy it, because you CAN’T download it. It still feels mean but if I had of listened from the start this wouldn’t have happened: Journal
Now my/our work is on this shitty website and we have to ask them to take it down because surprise, they’re using it for free, hi res image with no tags.
I still think sharing is cool, but this is not cool and my manager and ‘normal’ people we right all along, why would people pay for it if they can get it for free?
Basically, if you want to protect yourself and make money for your work, tick large tag, clear layer AND no pin it on your settings. We’re already providing cool hi res images that come up nice and big wherever they are or whatever they’re put on, don’t make it so easy for them. So many redbubblers keep having their work stolen, nowehere near shared. Every time this happens we lose customers, people who pay you for your work.
Artists need this kind of advice because we’re dreamers, we love art and people and sharing culture. Business people know better, heck even ‘normal’ peeps know better and we don’t really listen.
Idealists need pragmatists, they bring us back in touch with that reality we’re not really interested in and they make us do crappy chores that protect us that we can’t be bothered doing because they’re not fun and creative, like ticking boxes and ugh ‘marketing/promotions’.
They also make us put prices on our work, real ones so we actually make money.
Next recommendation: Change the prices on your work. every single one of those boxes with the standard 20% needs to be changed to a pricepoint, the actual amount you WANT for your work. Stuff being cheap, that’s another nice problem artists and ‘sharers’ have. The minimum will only give you a minimum return, have a look at how it changes, quite a bit of markup is still reasonable, think about market prices for cards and prints. This has to be done for every image, don’t listen years and hundreds of images later, do it every time you load. Ugh, how unfun! Business people make money from doing the unfunnest things. They plod along doing the necessary while we soar, then they have shitloads of money and we go hey will you help me be like you but I don’t want to do the shit bits. ;) They’re great! Listen to them and don’t be lazy! Laziness never rewards.

Journal Comments

  • Cindy Schnackel
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  • ©Janis Zroback
  • Sorcha Whitehorse ©
  • ©Janis Zroback