Intellectual property

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TonyTurley, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    I'm curious how you folks handle the issue of copyright and intellectual property. I have declined to enter several photo contests or submit to local magazines because they published statements similar to "All submissions become the property of XYZ Corp. Submitter grants XYZ Corp the right to publish the submitter's photo in derivative publications such as mailers, posters, or brochures, without royalty or any other form of compensation . . . " yada, yada. I realize I have never made a dime on any photo, yet I am proud of my work, and yes, I have considered trying to market some of my better photos. Some friends and family say I should just accept the waivers as a way of getting my name out there. I'm not so sure that giving away free photos to a publication is the best way to start a new venture. Comments?

    Tony
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    I tend to agree with you. I don't enter competitions for the reasons you stated. Well, that and the fact that I hate rejection and don't handle it well. ;)
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    I may be a heretic here, but I couldn't care less what anyone does with the images I post online. I have no delusions about ever making any money off of them, so... whatever. And I simply can't imagine what possible harm may come to me by someone using any of my banal landscapes for their nefarious purposes. :p

    Having said all that, I recognize that others may have a significant commercial and proprietary interest in maintaining some kind of control over their work. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions to offer other than splashing watermarks all over their images. But that certainly takes away from my enjoyment of them, for whatever that's worth.

    David
     
  4. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    I'm on the same page as WoodWorks here.

    If you do photography for fun and choose to publish them online, then anyone can steal and use them. (But as long as you limit the rights and the original can be traced back to you, you could theoretically sue for them).

    When it comes to competitions, the copyright waiver is more of a practical necessity for the publisher. They must be able to use the photos in their business without getting embroiled in litigation.

    Participating in the right competitions means a good chance to be discovered. I know amateur photographers who got assignments after their pictures were seen in competitions.

    Also, if you have several similar photos, then you will retain copyright of the ones not entered.

    But if you already make a living on photography, then you should guard your rights and only post small samples with watermarks.
     
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I'm an amateur and I don't intend to get money from my photography. I won't even try because I don't like to shatter my illusions of being a talented photographer. :)

    That said, I get mad every time someone steals my pictures. I have a lot of lens pics that are publicly visible and they are stolen for ads on a Dutch auction site every now and then. I often notice because I search the site frequently for Minolta stuff. If it happens, I tell the seller that it's not very decent to do that. If they don't react, I ask them to remove the picture. If they still don't react, I report them to the auction site administration. Last time it happened, the seller made his excuses and asked me if he could use my picture. I conceded with the remark that I want him to ask permission for each time he wants to use a picture of mine in his ad. I don't want to get competition using my pics when I'm selling a similar item! Bottom line: it's OK for someone to use my pictures if I am asked for permission.

    I know, this is purely emotional. It doesn't bring me one cent, it even costs me money to report them to the auction site because I have to submit a fax.

    I deleted my Facebook account when Facebook changed their terms so that they could use my pictures at their discretion or something along those lines. On the other hand, I might consider entering a competition with conditions like the OP mentioned. For me there's a difference between theft and terms I can accept or refuse.

    Let's face it, a lot of us don't earn serious money with their photography and I have the impression that the ones that do, must work hard to make a living out of it. If you want to really protect your intellectual property, you'd have to consider submitting pictures to a stock photography site and not just flaunt them on the internet like I do.
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Wise words. I'll take them to heart and see if I can manage to look at it this way.
     
  7. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Thanks, Ad. I've had a couple of similar experiences. Two different motorcycle parts vendors stole images that I had posted on a motorcycle forum, and I was peeved initially. But after thinking about it a little, I began to feel a little flattered. After all, they thought highly enough of my photographs to use them on their web sites.

    Of course, that didn't stop me from contacting them and offering to let them make it up to me by forking over a discount on their wares. One of them actually took me up on it, and I scored a nice little portable air pump/tire repair kit for a song. :D
     
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Good idea, that last one. I don't think I can bring myself to just let it go, I want the offender to know that I take offence.
     
  9. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Well, there is always the option of not posting any images online, if you want to be certain that nobody steals them. Vanity is indeed a very complicated concept.
     
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I don't want to give up posting images, it's part of the enjoyment of participating in a photography forum. For me it's not about vanity (I think), but because I feel it's unfair to just use an image without asking me.

    Maybe we're digressing a bit, the OP is wondering how to start making money from his photography. Frankly, I don't have a clue. :)
     
  11. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    I agree. I can tell you quite a bit about how photographys costs you money. But I have no idea about how it could make you money.
     
  12. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Back to the subject at hand: I've learned the hard way that giving away your work is never going to lead to a money-making job. If your potential customer starts off thinking your work has no value, it's going to remain that way.

    Of course, I can think of no better way to ruin the pleasure of photography for me than to turn it into a job. :p
     
  13. TonyTurley

    TonyTurley TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Apr 24, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Thanks for all of the comments . . . I got a pretty good laugh out of some of them. I actually do photography for fun, and I know anything I put online can be "borrowed". I accept that risk. I don't intend to try to make a living in photography, but I would like to be able to make a few extra $$$ to help with the cost, as Jaf mentioned. I'm not going to be shattered if that doesn't happen, though. I already have a daily activity that pays the bills - it just isn't nearly as satisfying as photography. In the meantime, I'll keep on clicking and keep on posting.

    Tony
     
  14. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Life is full of contradictions. I love reading books. But when I had to read books for school, I always hated it. Same thing with photography. I love taking photographs. But if I had to take photographs to pay my bills, I would probalbly hate it.

    I do post photos online. It's mainly to be able to keep them handy and to show them to friends and family. But if someone else likes them, I get happy. But if someone else likes them enough to use them, do I get mad? It's hard to explain...

    Anyway, I am happy that the internet exists because I get to see quality photography in high resolution every day and so far I haven't abused anyone else's work. Nor has mine been terribly abused, as far as I am aware.
     
  15. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    It happened to me recently...
    Thought I'm not a pro or anything, the "rival" VW Club here stole some of my photos (which were taken from our club show) and used them to advertise an event they were organising. So they were basically using 1) my photos without my permission and 2) using photos of cars that belong to our club/they were not member of their club and wouldn't be present in their event. I politely asked the administrator to remove the photos which he did. From then, I (unfortunately) choose to watermark my photos

    Also one time a few years ago, I bought a taillight vinyl from ebay. Installed it on my car and took some photos of it which I posted online (VW forum). Later, when I was browsing ebay I saw the seller had the photo of my car with the vinyl installed in his sell adv. I asked him to remove it or pay me for the photo. He didn't reply to my messages and when I told him I report him to ebay, the photo magically disappered
     
  16. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Nick, I understand that you took action against the rival VW-gang. But you could also see it as the best compliment that they have ever paid you. They obviously thought that your photos were better than anything they could come up with. As men tioned above, plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery.

    Also, I you have two VW-clubs, have you ever thought of joining forces? Basically, you should have the same interest and maybe twice tha fun?
     
  17. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Jaf, you have a point here (about "stealing" my photos could be received as a compliment) but its still stealing. And plus they were using false advertisement since none of the cars on my photos would be present to their event.
    They could have atleast asked for permission to use the photos (not that I would give it for this certain case)

    That's a whole different story and the reason the club splitted into 2 groups ;)
     
  18. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Well, I kinda guessed there would be a back story here, so I was baiting... but on a serious note, I think it's sad that there is so much division in the world, that not even people with the same interests can come together.

    In photography, there are the eternal brand wars, like the tired old Nikon v Canon snipes. It's silly how territorial some people get when it comes to equipment.
     
  19. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    It seems there's a trend here: it's not the breathtaking landscapes that are stolen, but utility/documentary pictures like those of David (Woodworks), Nick (NickCyprus) and me. The pictures are obviously considered useful so should be worth something, but getting paid for them is a different story.
     
  20. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    I don't want to defend the copyright thieves, but if you take a really good product shot, then most people will think of it as something generic. If you post it on your site, most people probably won't realise that you took it.

    Besides most manuafaturers today make available high quility product shots on their websites, which are free to use. So most pepople might not think of product shots as something copyrighted.

    If you compare it to a breathtaking landscape, most people will realise that someone has hiked a long way and got up early in the morning to catch that rising sun. Therefore they might be less inclined to use it as their own.