When facebook first came out with their download option for pictures, fueled by fellow artist friends posting their outrage by what this would mean for visual artists (aka free art downloads), I joined in the "fight" by deleting all of my images from my fan page. This protest was big time stuff, I'm surprised CNN never covered it. I mean, along with the hundreds of images I had online already that could be easily right clicked and saved online, now there was a handy dandy "download" button which made it that much easier or at least more obvious to those who didn't know the right click trick. This meant that the numbers of people (surely in the billions) maniacally saving and reprinting my right clicked photos for their own fortune would be doubled and that was obviously a huge problem. (If you can't tell that I'm speaking sarcastically already, then get with the program my friend).
Ok. Scratch that. Back to reality.
A. Are people printing out my art on their home printers really a threat to my business? No.
B. What can anyone really do with photographs of artwork that are intended to be a visual example of the much-better-in-person-real-thing art I am trying to sell? Not much. Any sound business wants super high res pictures and that's not what you're going to get on my facebook fan page or anywhere else.
C. When people download my art and print it out or save it as a screensaver are they disrespecting me as an artist? No! They are showing their appreciation for what I do and want to see my creations in their day to day. Is that an insult? Heck no! It's a great compliment!
I guess it all comes down to the big picture really. I got weird for a second about being super protective about my images and who uses them and whatnot. I found someone on twitter that had one of my paintings as their avatar and I was thinking "who are you!?" knowing it wasn't a buyer or anyone I was familiar with. But really, what does it matter? It's kind of like, in the big picture of things, shouldn't it be a compliment? That's what I've come to. If I see someone blatantly profiting from my art, that would be one thing, but for someone to see and appreciate my work all on its own and to use it as an avatar or a screensaver or to even print it out on cheap printer paper and frame it - who cares? It's spreading the word!
SO... I want to know other artists perspectives. How do you feel about people having access to your art online? How do you feel about the whole right click, download, easy peasy world of sharing images? Is it a compliment to you when someone could print and frame your image for free (save for the framing, I worked in that industry for many years and it's definitely not free!). The ultimate question is this - are you okay with people taking advantage of the free aspects of sharing your art online? Share your thoughts in the comments. Oh, and while you're at it, "like" my art page on facebook where I will be sharing my art again available for downloading and all that jazz here - https://www.facebook.com/JessicaTorrant.