Might takes rights

We stagger out of bed each morning to another news item concerning the concentration of rapacious power in the stock-photo industry. (Previous coverage: “Photography: Worth a thousand?”; “An Unnatural Duopoly.”)

Corbis, one of the leading duopolists, bought Sygma in 1999, and now attempts to steal the copyrights and the past works of its photographers. As always happens, the best shooters are not taking this lying down, while the new kids, raised in a world where copyright has no meaning whatsoever, are happy to sign up.

In so many ways, it is a lousy time to be a “content creator.” We keep doing it out of love. In a generation or two, that will be the only reason to do it: It will be impossible to make a living, and you won’t own anything you create if you let anyone else publish it.

Posted on 2000-10-18