Collaboration is the act of working jointly. A collaboration may happen between two people or a group. In either case, it is important that each member of the collaboration brings something to the process that the other does not have, however the contributions do not have to be balanced or equal. It is vital to respect others’ contributions.
In certain political contexts (such as a state of war) the term “collaboration” (ism) or “collaborator” may refer (pejoratively) to individuals who are claimed to have been working with an outside entity, such as an occupying hostile power, against their own societies (as during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II).
It is in this context that some believe that the commercial art buying public is waging a war against photographers. If that is so, commercial photographers who are not following industry accepted business practices may be considered as collaborating with the enemy.
I agree that education of artists and buyers around copyright and intellectual property protection is very important. However it can be no less important than growing your product, marketing and sales. I believe that successful creators understand the concept of business relationships. It is difficult to build them if you see the other as the enemy.
Many commercial artists call themselves good collaborators; just look at commercial photographers’ claims on their websites. But, if you are wearing a sword at every client or prospect contact point, you will not be thought of as a serious potential collaborator.
Collaboration requires shared objectives, a sense of urgency and commitment, a dynamic deliberate process, a sense of belonging, open communication, mutual trust and respect, diverse skills, knowledge, and intellectual agility.
All parties work together and build consensus to reach a decision or create a product, the result of which benefits all parties. Competition is a possibly insurmountable roadblock to collaboration, and the relationship among parties must continue beyond the accomplishment of the task in order to assure its viability. The goal is dynamic. (pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful; energetic)