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Guess who’s paying to give away photos?

WHO IS paying to generate photos to give away? The Register's report on WikiPedia's seasonal fundraising drive notes in passing that:

Wikimedia Germany approved a €18,000 allocation called Festivalsommer 2013 to send Wikimedians to pop concerts in Germany as "accredited photographers". Nice work if you can get it. The budget includes travel to and from the gigs for the budding snappers.

The photos would then be posted on the WikiMedia website for anyone to use - including those who might have engaged a professional photographer to take pictures of the people and events.

The short answer to the "Who's paying?" question, meanwhile is: in significant part, Google. The search engine gave WikiPedia $2 million in the last year for which figures have been dug out. Other donors include the Ford Foundation ($3m); the Stanton Foundation ($3.6m), in memory of the late president of CBS TV; and the Omidyar Network ($2.5m), a "philanthropic investment firm". But it's Google that has an active policy of undermining the right of creators- including photographers - to be paid.

A colleague in Germany, Rüdiger Lühr , comments: "Wikipedia, Google, Facebook and others are promoting Creative Commons - that's the basis of their business. So now we have a big and growing 'market' of photos published for free. The market for our freelance photographers goes narrow and I'm in fear there is no stop and no return."

Unsurprisingly, many of the photos from the project so far are, in the view of this part-time freelance picture editor, dire. Worth every pfennig to the user, in other words.

Last modified: 06 Jan 2013 - © 2013 contributors
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