Individual Property Ownership And The Future Of Creativity

Posted on 10/4/2010 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

In his biography, The Age of Turbulence, Alan Greenspan said, “The presumption of individual property ownership and the legality of its transfer must be deeply embedded in the culture of a society (emphasis mine) for free market economies to function effectively. In the West, the moral validity of property rights is accepted, or at least acquiesced in, by virtually the whole of the population.” I was struck by how this relates to the photography business today. The concept of individual property ownership is no longer deeply embedded in the culture of our society. A large segment of the population believes that certain property should be free to all and that the creators have no rights once the property is shown to anyone. Using the creative works of others without permission or compensation is becoming the morally accepted standard.

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Copyright © 2010 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Sarah Saunders Posted Oct 4, 2010
    Hi Jim, I agree with your analyis. It would appear that the younger generation justifies free downloads of music for example by saying it's the fault of the studios, that artists are done over anyway. There may be truth in it, it's not my area of knowledge. But interestingly they seem prepared to spend money to support musicians they support, and interestingly enough in the case of one young man I know, he buys vynyls. It would appear that the revenue streams, if there are any, are simply different from before. Generally, it may be that services rather than content are what can be charged for, just as musicians apparently have to do live gigs to survive. Interesting to see how this pans out in our neck of the woods. Think of Gerry Kennelly and his new design based services working on the back on content.
    Sarah Saunders

  • Richard Cullwick Posted Oct 4, 2010
    Although I continue to have a pretty good business photographing families the perceived value of images continues to decline. When internet stock images first came about I was constantly asked to photograph something just like this as we were cheaper than the Rights Managed image- the major reason I stopped doing commercial photography. Now microstock is here they are cheaper than us. Families all have friends with cameras - which means that we have to be different. Younger people used to images from cell phone aren't so worried about the quality. The future of the industry- concerning. The future of music - concerning. The very reason I am looking at changing career.

  • John Harris Posted Oct 5, 2010
    I can't forget Greenspan's admission of the overall irrationality of the market after the recent crash: "I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organisations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," said Greenspan "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest.... to protect shareholders' equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief." John Harris

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