|(Illustration courtesy of Wang Tao)|
Speaking of the front page, you've probably noticed by now that this blog is just teeming with art -- illustrations, graphics, you name it. There's nary a professional photograph in sight. The reason is that Getty Images and the Associated Press -- who produce the vast majority of the sports photos you see on TV and online -- charge out the ass for proper usage of their stuff. Which is why I'm doing what a lot of other sites do: resort to using custom artwork and public domain photos. Only, I've decided to go full monty on using art since public domain sports photos, to me, aren't all that neat to look at. Plus art just looks cooler.
Now, here's the thing: I could probably find relevant Getty pictures through a Google image search, put them on Reetae and get away with it -- if I wanted to. A million years ago, when I first started blogging, that's what I did without even considering the legal ramifications. And true enough, if you're the proprietor of a dinky little blog, like I was/am, it's highly unlikely that Getty Images would even be able to find you, let alone care enough to sue the crap out of you. (I say that, although there are horror stories to the countrary.)
Still, the fact that I could be sued because I'd be violating copyright laws is enough to scare the hell out of me. Plus, I have a slew of OCD tendencies, and I know that if this blog ever did become relevant, I'd have to go back and remove all of the improperly-acquired images, because at that point, there actually would be a decent chance of Getty or AP reps getting in contact with me. Which would be a massive pain in the keister. So it's better to avoid any longterm issues, even though the existence of those issues would likely coincide with this blog being popular, which would be awesome.
By the way, did I mention how expensive professional sports photos are? I guess I did, but hey, it bares repeating: those shiny photos that you see on the front page of ESPN.com cost a fortune. I never knew how expensive they were until I started writing for SB Nation. I was going to do a piece on a 1986 basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and Seattle Sonics, a game that had to be picked up a day later because rain was leaking through the roof and onto the court; it's the only time in NBA history that a game has been suspended and finished at a later time.
Anyway, a very cool photo was used in a Seattle Times piece not long after that: it showed a few of the players looking up at the ceiling as water dripped onto the court. I figured this would be an awesome image to use in my article. I asked the photographer who took the picture -- he said he'd be fine if I used it. I asked the Seattle Times people if I could use it -- they said sure. The problem was that in order to get the high quality, legal version of the photo from the Seattle Times, I would have had to give them $250 -- and that was only for a two-year license. So, needless to say, I abandoned the idea right away.
Outlets like Getty and AP are equally pricey. In all honesty, I don't begrudge high-end photo stores for being super-expensive, since they mostly cater to massive organizations like ESPN and Fox, to whom a $250 charge is just a drop in the bucket. It kinda sucks for cheapo amateur bloggers who can't possibly afford such photos, but hey, when does it ever pay to be a cheapo amateur blogger? NEVER.
All this is to say that using art is as much a necessity on this blog as it is a style decision. Thankfully, a lot of graphic designers and illustrators were cool enough to let me to use their stuff on here, which means I don't have to resort to using public domain clipart, or stock footage of a field, every time I write something. I figure even if people disagree with my opinions or are disinterested in what I write about, if nothing else, this blog holds value in being maybe the only place on the internet -- where writing exists -- where you can see work from artists like Wang Tao and Fresh Doodle and Maddison Bond and Matt Dupuis and Patrick Truby and Stephen Calvillo. The prices of those photo outlets are in a roundabout way awesome for this site, because it made me request to use art that I should have been requesting to use in the first place.
Well, that's all I have to say at the moment. This update went relatively long, but hey, no biggy.