#96 Copyright revisited

I had two slightly disturbing comments in response to my post (#94) on copyright. They both came from the same ‘anonymous‘ person – no name was attached & only a ‘fake e-mail’ was given. They demanded that I “Delete this post (#94)”!

My best guess from the mystery person’s angry responses was, perhaps, they hired a wedding photographer and there was a misunderstanding as to who had what rights to the photos and files. That’s a tough scenario and illustrates a good reason to have a written agreement clearly outlining details of the service.

There are two common wedding scenarios:

  • The traditional wedding photographer usually offers coverage of the wedding for a set fee and then sells packages of photographs to the couple.
  • Sometimes, a photographer will offer an inclusive package (for a higher price!) including the negatives or digital files and the rights to reprint the photos as they wish.
  • It is important to know what you are paying for! Either way, the photographer generally retains copyright.

Some comments from the Mystery Person:

  1. … why should the consumer be jerked around…
  2. This law was designed to be as anti-consumer as possible.”
  3. you (photographer) should be allowed to use the photos you sell by default for non-profit/ personal use.
  4. … shouldn’t be allowed to turn around and use photos from my wedding and sell them to a stock photo company.
  5. if it was as bad as you say, how have people lived so long in your business?

Some responses to the angry person’s comments:

#s 1&2. Sounds like something went terribly wrong in their experience. That’s a shame!

3. … you should be allowed to use the photos you sell by default for non-profit/personal use.

Working photographers run photography businesses with the goal of earning a profit that supports a person or family. Selling only for “for non-profit/personal use” does not pay the bills!

4.… shouldn’t be allowed to turn around and use photos from my wedding and sell them to a stock photo company.

The mystery person is onto something here. As I understand it, a wedding photographer cannot license wedding imagery of recognizable people or private property without a proper agreement from the people or property owners. For exact specifics consult a lawyer!

5. … if it was as bad as you say, how have people lived so long in your business?

Running any small business is tough and hard work. Long hours, few certainties, changing markets and angry, anonymous messages add to the challenges. The business of photography has grown more demanding over the last twenty years. Some photographers have survived using good business practises, adapting to market changes and educating themselves on important issues like copyright!

Normally, I will not acknowledge angry, anonymous, impolite rants. But I hope this helps the Mystery Person and anyone else out there!

Interested in learning more about a creative business project? – consider my Creative Business Seminar in November, 2008.

Take care out there,

Harry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *