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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Annette Leibovitz
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/31/2005
 

Copyright ...people printing photos not bought


Yesterday I went to a party. At the party a women had a Walgreens envelope. I said I was the photographer that took the photos of the couple at the event. My photos were in frames all over the room. The women had my photos in her Walgreens envelope. I was very surprised and shocked. I never sold her a photo. She said she sent a thmnail version to the Walgreens lab and they printed it for her. She was very sorry and did not think she did anything wrong. I really thought my thumnail was too small to print to a 4x6. What would you have done in this situation? It was VERY akward!

11/2/2008 6:30:38 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Most likely your problem(s) lie in either aweak contract language, especially about copyright protections, or lack of an enforceable written contract. A secondary issue is probably inadequate copyright notice placed on your proofs. It seems that now you're basically faced with a "cease and desist" situation for violating your copyright. Whether you choose to enforce that is strictly up to you of course.

So, right now, I'd recommend that you go out a score a book or two on business practices for professional photographers AFTER you decide to run your business as a business rather than an extension of a hobby. In other words, read and heed the fundamental rules that apply to what you're doing and know how to enforce your rights. That would include notification and registration of your copyright.

As to how you should approach this, aside from the above, Iif you decide NOT to pursue this with your client, which I think would include some form of compensation to you for what they did IF you explained your copyright to them, then enforce it.

If you didn't, then you're faced with another set of problems: overcoming a small town reputation as being one who just shoots and allows people to do what they will with the proofs or images you give them without deference or regard to your rights as a "professional".
Take it light ;>)
Mark
Sometimes also known as W. Eugene Smith.

11/2/2008 10:14:09 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Case study, Walgreens v. Leibovitz

11/2/2008 1:11:30 PM

 
Annette Leibovitz
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/31/2005
  "If you didn't, then you're faced with another set of problems: overcoming a small town reputation as being one who just shoots and allows people to do what they will with the proofs or images you give them without deference or regard to your rights as a "professional"." I would like to respond to this. I have contracts that have been looked at by a laywer. I have NEVER had this problem before. I never give photos away on CD. I have a well run business with lots of repeat clients. The problem was that I took engagement photos for someone that is a closer family friend. She asked for a photo to use on her computer to view the pictures at work... NOT to send out to others. I sized a photo down to view on the screen. I really did not think the photos were big enough to print. I sent her 3 photos (not the whole shoot). I just need to: A. Put my copyright on the photo. B. Size them smaller so they are not printable. I think this was just a moment I was not prepared for. Walgreens would have no way to know they were my photo unless they looked in the camera info? I think a lot of this was a big misunderstanding.

11/2/2008 1:34:50 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  There's a semi recent thread about stolen/unauthorized printed photos that somebody said you can save as pdf files and with the full version of one of the adobe reader programs, you can make the files not be able to be printed.
You ought to look around for it.
If you look through pdf files, you'll see the page and check box that indicates making it so a printer won't print it. But there's something that this full version has that's needed to make the file unprintable.

11/2/2008 2:19:18 PM

 
Leslie J. Morris
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Leslie
Leslie's Gallery
morrisphotoimages.com

member since: 4/30/2007
  I had Walgreens refuse to print some photos that I took because they said they looked like a "professional" took them. While flattered to be called a professional, I was very angry that they refuesed to print my images. Guess I will have to bring in my chip from now on and not a CD, but then again, I don't print at Walgreens anymore!

Very sorry that you had that problem Annette, guess you will have to implement tou step A and B. Very frustrating! To bad all Walgreens don't enforce copyright issues.

11/2/2008 5:32:57 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Maybe instead of having your contracts looked over by a lawyer you now need to have them read and signed by your clients, particularly the paragraph about ownership and usage and copyright. That paragraph or contract language applies to everyone equally. If you choose not to, then this is what you get. It's pretty straightforward. I guess you need to stop giving your work away to friends without explaining what you expect of them and your recourse at this point, I think, based on your own explanation is absolutely nothing.

In other words Anne, you set the stage apparently, your friend acted on it by not being clear when you gave her the thumbnail. What's the problem? Pretty predictable results I'd say.

Mark

11/3/2008 12:08:17 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I wouldn't blame Walgreens. That's a common policy that labs have. If it's not marked with copyright symbols or a name, then they'll make a judgement by if it looks like it's done by a professional.
Otherwise, they would have to refuse somebody dropping off something for a friend.

11/3/2008 12:27:21 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  What happened here is obvious; your 'close family friend' took advantage of you.

I'd have a word with that 'close family friend' and explained how what she did was wrong. She owes you an apology, because she lied to you. I'd also make a point of NEVER sending out a digital image without putting some sort of watermark with a copyright notice on it, like in the lower right-hand corner. That's unobtrusive for a computer screen, but very obvious in a print... and that would have stopped Wal-Mart in their tracks.

11/20/2008 8:54:01 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  Oh... what would I have done in that situation? I would have informed the woman that she had unlawfully copied copyrighted material, and that you expected her to hand over all of the copies to you and to refrain from re-copying the images, especially since she now knows she has no right to copy them.

Was your friend there, by any chance? If so, I would have embarassed her, in public, by pointing out in front of the other woman how you had made it clear to your friend that the images you provided were SOLELY for her private use and were not to be re-distributed.

11/20/2008 8:57:07 PM

 
Annette Leibovitz
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/31/2005
  I would never embarrass someone at their own event (or the guest). I am now putting watermarks on photos. I will think twice about sending or giving digital files again. Thanks for all of the input.

11/20/2008 9:10:59 PM

 

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