My name is Max Dubler, and I am a professional photographer who has been working full time in downhill skateboarding for the last several years. I am a well-known person within this little niche: I started an influential website with my friends, was on staff for the only downhill magazine since its first issue, have written extensively about downhill skate safety, and have been hired by almost every major downhill skate brand to shoot photos.
Lately, in an effort to get new riders excited about skating, I have departed from my usual policy of only releasing the most technically perfect pictures of sponsored riders and started posting all of my halfway decent photos from skate events on Skatehousemedia.com and its Facebook page. This is a lot more editing work, but as a skater myself I understand the excitement of seeing a good photo of myself from an event. It also helps drive traffic and engagement.
I don’t put huge watermarks in the middle of my photos or charge individual skaters to use them on social media because skaters are mostly broke teenagers, watermarks ruin the picture and don’t stop people from stealing your photos, and I make an okay living from freelance work and my steady gigs. The second-hand stoke is enough of a reward for me. I do charge for-profit companies a fee to use my photos because they are making money off my work. This is a pretty straightforward distinction.
A few days ago an established, successful small longboard brand downloaded one of my pictures from an event in Canada and posted it to their Instagram account.
FFS. The excuses this company gave for ripping off this guy’s photos are pathetic.
“We’re just a small business, we can’t afford it.” Dude. Man. Bro. Guy. Your company has worldwide distribution and I asked you for twenty five f**king dollars. You can afford it. Think of it as an intellectual-property parking ticket. Pay me.