Dear Adobe and Google: Please Come Up With a Better Way for Photographers to Protect Their Images

Dearest Adobe and Google;

This is a relatively open letter to you folks: the big corporations that try to foster the needs of photographers, videographers, content creators, designers, digital media specialists, etc, through a few key platforms you’ve created. Earlier this year, you, Google, showed off a way that many photographers can have their watermarks easily removed from photos. This is even further insult to the fact that many popular image sharing platforms have for years stripped out metadata and copyright information from images just so that a server could save some space.

So if this is the case, why can’t either of you come up with a way to protect the very lifeblood and community who, in some ways, fostered your growth?

Google, you state that you care about the web and so you developed a new image format that doesn’t sacrifice quality but instead makes a file smaller. And my commendations go out to you. Adobe, you’ve helped photographers license their images through Adobe stock and get more gigs through Behance. Thank you. Seriously, thank you. But as we continue to give both of you content and more ways to monetize, we need to ask you, the companies with the money and the technology to protect creators, for help. We live in a world where companies and individuals steal and find ways around copyrights. I mean, have you ever heard of Reddit? Or Petapixel? Unfortunately, humanity is not willing to always consider attribution and giving credit. And to that end, the people often stealing care nothing for it.

I’d like to say that, in some ways, the nature of the web reminds me of what someone I know likened to cultural appropriation. For the little guys, and the photographers who are still striving to reach those large followings, please consider this akin to being in college and getting a failing grade on a research paper that you put tons of work into–only then to see that someone else did the same exact thing and somehow or another got an A+. And I ask, is that right?

What I’m asking for is some sort of way for photographers to embed their copyright information into images and easily track them on the web. But in addition to that, I’d love for the same technology that you use to track copyrighted videos and songs uploaded to your services to be granted to photographers. If we, the creators, are providing your platforms with enrichment, then why aren’t we allowed to also enjoy the benefits of fair creation with protection in mind?

You’re probably going to blame humanity–the fact that surviving is what you have to do first and foremost. But theft doesn’t foster creativity–it fosters theft. It fosters the idea that we can simply recycle an idea over and over again because the masses love it.

So with your strong positions within the content creation community, I ask that you, Adobe and Google, please find ways to protect the rights of creators.