Credit The Creator
this photo –
Jordan Grace Owens
The undoubted beauty from finding the creative work of another person is one of the many advantages the Internet has given us in the last few decades. Work which, in other times, we were only able to experience in galleries or hardcover books. However, and with the amount of information that runs through our hands day after day, keeping up with our digital diplomacy is getting harder and something as simple as giving credit to the author turns out to be a challenge.
Whether you’re running a blog, a wide circulated magazine (I’m talking about you, Vogue and ELLE*) or you own an inspiration account on social media, the action of giving credit to the creator shows both your empathy and respect to its work, and the omission of it can result in problematic legal situations, embarrassing comments on your blog and, in the long run, the devaluation of small artist’s work, such as designers, writers, painters, photographers and big etcetera.
The irrational belief that everything we find online is free to use at our own will is a demonstration of how little prepared we were for the unimaginable amount of information and images we handle, and it’s also a showcase of the lack of digital education we still have 30 years after implementing the Internet as an everyday tool.
While it’s true that sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr are great platforms for people to achieve exposure to a large audience in an organic and costless way when they don’t own the economical resources to announce their work on magazines, it’s also true we have excessively exploited its use without giving proper credit. Because if it isn’t clear yet: what you find over the Internet is usually not free for you to use and, while no one will stop you from printing a Matisse painting and hang it on your wall, it would be pretty sad if you don’t know who’s the artist behind the piece that will decorate your house.
this photo –
How can I assure I’m giving proper credit to the creator?
It’s not enough anymore to look at the source on Pinterest because a lot of times it’s been reposted from a repost of a repost without including the original name, the year or even a website reference.
In situations like these where it seems the photograph or the painting has fallen from the sky as if it were magic, the Google image tool is the best one you can use as it allows you to do a search for similar images with the URL of the photo or uploading the image from your hard drive in order to find the best match.
Yes, it takes a bit of time but not as much as you’d imagine and it’s worth to think: if this piece were mine, would I insist that everyone took 5 minutes to search for my name and credit me? Of course you would.
Likewise, I want to credit the founder of Noa Vee for creating the #CreditTheCreator campaign which has inspired this post and has resonated with me in many ways. I’m certain it will also resonate with a lot of you who work in the creative area.
Let’s start crediting the creators today and boost individualism for a brighter creative future for all of us.
*Traditional magazines that evolved or included digital media within their arsenal, such as ELLE or Vogue, express little to no interest in crediting small creators and, in many cases, only credit the author when it’s a celebrity or a recognised artist. My question is, do they lack the knowledge to research the source or are they lacking interest to show the minimum courtesy in the digital world?