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copyright laws

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  #11  
Old 06-12-2003, 08:57 PM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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Jak - great info...straight from the source no less! (...don't worry, I won't avoid you...I'm just a bit suspect of their labor practices...but that's an issue for another thread)

The reasoning behind the policy seems to make a lot of sense, but it's unfortunate that it's not flexible enough to adapt to situations like this one. How on earth is she supposed to find and obtain a release for a photo made in 1932? ...the policy does make a great deal of sense though and I run into these sorts of situations from time to time in my own job. I'm a graphic artist and production manager for a sign company and I occasionally have people bring in magazine photos that they want scanned and placed on their sign or displays. It takes some real patience to explain the concept of copyright, so I do not envy your position where you must run into it on an almost daily basis!
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  #12  
Old 06-12-2003, 09:14 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Quote:
The reasoning behind the policy seems to make a lot of sense, but it's unfortunate that it's not flexible enough to adapt to situations like this one.
I completely agree, Greg. I too am a victim of our own policies at times. But, because it is the law and as such is inflexable, we must be just as inflexable. It's a "rock and a hard place" situation...
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2003, 09:46 PM
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I almost forgot...

Yes, Cinderella, the photos you took in front of your drapes are indeed copyrighted and you are the copyright holder. In fact, every photograph anyone takes is technically copyrighted, although most people do not concern themselves with copyright issues on what are obviously family snapshots...


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  #14  
Old 06-12-2003, 10:13 PM
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We have a sign up that states simply "Copyright is a matter of livelihood".

No one is AGAINST copying - what we should all be against is theft! If you want the right to reproduce someone else's work, pay the creator for that use. Again, a release from the present owner should suffice and, if you have a record of paying for use rights rather than just taking them, no lawyer is going to cause you any problems.

I'll agree with Ed, its a matter of the ethics that your business operates under - and the legal system will only go after you if you are a consistent big time violator. Unfortunately some of the major chains were (past tense) in that league - so things have changed, and, in my opinion, all for the better.

For one that has been hurt on the other side of this Jak - I'm glad to see that your policy is total inflexibility. It should be because if it wasn't , Walmart could openly advertise and put thousands of photographers out of business. I actually had that happen in Burns Oregon a number of years ago. The day we sent out our Senior Proofs, a major grocery chain store there advertised that they would copy "Senior Proofs" and print them at one tenth the "standard cost" . It was a real heart breaker and a financial loss for us at the time that almost put us out of business,. Now, many many years later I'm reaping the benefits of laws that are actually a lot easier to enforce and very few will risk copying a Bruno photo without permission. Yes, it's a studio founded in 1905 so we do get complaints like "why should we have to pay you anything?" from a few but in my experience, most people truly understand the justification for the law and see nothing unreasonable about it.

Jim Conway
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  #15  
Old 06-13-2003, 12:04 AM
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chiquitita chiquitita is offline
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I am not sure if I don't clearly understand this or what, but I have never seen the point in making a huge issue of someone making copies of a portrait. I can see it if you take art photos or landscape photos for artwork purposes which you sell at an art show or in a gallery. If you are taking a shot of a person - charge them for the service what you wish - and then they should have the right to reproduce that photo that THEY have purchased for their own personal use. Even with a CD you are technically allowed one copy for your own use. To me, when a photographer hangs on to the negs of a portrait they have taken just so they can overcharge for reprints, it is a rape of the customer and I happen to think it is disgusting. Why not just charge for the service of taking/framing the shot and let the customer go on their merry way instead of screwing them every time they want a copy? You then force them to come back to you and pay huge prices. I think this is going to be a dying practice anyway in the future and I will be very happy to see it go. Anyone who is getting married or needs a portrait taken should deal with someone who is willing to give them what they need to make prints in the future.

Just my opinion. flame away if you must.
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  #16  
Old 06-13-2003, 02:08 AM
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No flames from here - but an attempt at clarity if you truly do not understand what this involves.

Another way of looking at is that it involves selling only certain well established "rights". A photographer, musician or any other artist depends on reprints and/ or reproduction sales and seldom releases that right. That is why we OWN and keep our negatives! Why do you assume "overcharge" and "screwing" without knowing what the photographer would have charged for the reprint or what his or her cost of doing business involves?

It's a given that you can make a copy cheaper if you do not have to support the creation of originals, however in turn, you also end the incentive for anyone going to the expense of making an original of any kind. In the extreme, even without lawsuits, sooner or later the copy houses would get beat by the game because no one will climb the mountain to get the picture you want to own without going out of the house.

To consider "portraits" undeserving of that protection is to prejudge the merit of a specific photo and declare it somehow worth less than any other photograph taken by a professional. Sorry but that isn't your call, that is why there are specific decisions in the law on who owns what rights. The case in point, the reproduction rights BELONG to the photographer unless he or she specificly releases them.

No one would argue that any customer who did indeed buy and pay for ALL rights to reproduction including the negatives should and would have all the privileges you want them to have.

The copyright laws are being strengthened again this year so going in an opposite direction from what you indicate you would like to see I'm afraid - ask Napster!

I don't know if this helps in any general understanding or not - in any event it's probably more than enough said by me! I rest my case! :-)

Jim Conway
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  #17  
Old 06-13-2003, 03:24 AM
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Jim Conway [/B][/QUOTE]
Quote:
Another way of looking at is that it involves selling only certain well established "rights". A photographer, musician or any other artist depends on reprints and/ or reproduction sales and seldom releases that right. That is why we OWN and keep our negatives! Why do you assume "overcharge" and "screwing" without knowing what the photographer would have charged for the reprint or what his or her cost of doing business involves?
I don't assume overcharging - I see it. If you would include the necessary cost in taking the photo, then you wouldn't have to cling on to the negatives and force the person to return to you for copies. The cost for you to make a copy of a photo is not what is charged by these photographers (the ones who participate in this practice).

Quote:
To consider "portraits" undeserving of that protection is to prejudge the merit of a specific photo and declare it somehow worth less than any other photograph taken by a professional. Sorry but that isn't your call, that is why there are specific decisions in the law on who owns what rights. The case in point, the reproduction rights BELONG to the photographer unless he or she specificly releases them.
If I pay someone to take a photo of me, I consider it mine, unless I am doing it as a model for them. It is my image in the photo, and I paid for the service so why shouldn't it be mine? It isn't a matter of being undeserving as much as it is a matter of being different than other types of art. If someone purchases a restoration from me, I don't hold on to their original file, forcing them to come back to me for reprints - they bought the service - they should be able to have the photo so they can have it for their archive long after I am gone.

Quote:
The copyright laws are being strengthened again this year so going in an opposite direction from what you indicate you would like to see I'm afraid - ask Napster!
Well the law might say that the photographer owns the copyright - but what I am saying is that I see more and more photographers who are willing to give the clients everything related to their order (negatives, etc.) and also people who are looking for that willingness in a photographer.


Quote:
I don't know if this helps in any general understanding or not - in any event it's probably more than enough said by me! I rest my case! :-)
Well actually I understand very well being an artist, however I just find this practice to be rediculous when it comes to portraits taken of families, weddings, etc. I don't like having a stranglehold on my clients.
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  #18  
Old 06-13-2003, 09:08 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Here are a few points to consider regarding the sale of the rights vs. the sale of individual copies of the image:

1. Photographers have overhead - education, equipment, building rent/mortgage, insurance, equipment maintenance, depreciation & upgrades, lab/printing fees, payroll, etc. All of this is figured into the cost of the product. I don't know of any business that sells their product at cost - there'd be no point in that.

2. If the photographer charged for rights instead of individual copies of prints, they would have to figure in what potential future sales might have been. The cost of the rights might be figured at, just as an example, say $500. In order to do as you say, the sitting fee and a package of prints would cost $500 as opposed to buying whatever quantity of prints you wanted ala carte for much less per print.

3. I think most photographers would be willing to consider selling the rights to an image for a cost equivalent to the potential future sales, based on the average sales per image of their work. Most people don't want to pay that kind of money. Would you be more willing to go to a photographer who charged $500 up front for everything and you get the negatives, or would you rather go to a photographer who charged a $50 sitting fee plus the cost of whatever prints you want?

4. Copies of prints are not standardized in quality. One place may do a fantastic job of copying while another's copy looks atrocious. A photographer's prints are also an advertisement for their business. If you have a horrible copy made, or even just one that doesn't live up to that photographer's standards, and then you show it to your friends and family, you have taken the ability to control the quality of their product away from the photographer. If your family and friends feel that it is an awful print, they will likely not consider that it was a horrible copy, they will more likely believe instead that the photographer was a horrible photographer.

5. Copyright laws exist to protect the ability of the photographer or artist to make a living. They exist because of the type of thinking you mention, which is a fairly common way of thinking among people in general. When you purchase a photograph, you have purchased a copy of the product of someone's hard work, talent and expense, not an unlimited supply of copies that they will receive no compensation for. What if we were talking about a furniture factory instead of a photographer? Would the purchase of a single unique piece of furniture entitle you to as many exact copies of that piece of furniture as you wanted at no additional cost?

6. It may not be popular, or even well understood, but copyright protection is the law. The unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted material is theft.

Quote:
I can see it if you take art photos or landscape photos for artwork purposes which you sell at an art show or in a gallery. If you are taking a shot of a person - charge them for the service what you wish - and then they should have the right to reproduce that photo that THEY have purchased for their own personal use.
Didn't they purchase the art/landscape photo for their personal use as well? Shouldn't they have the right to reproduce the print THEY have purchased? What makes the artist's work more valuable and worthy of protection than the portrait photographer's?

Last edited by Jakaleena; 06-13-2003 at 09:16 AM.
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  #19  
Old 06-13-2003, 11:24 AM
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" then you wouldn't have to cling on to the negatives and force the person to return to you for copies."

Wow does that ever conjure up a cruel and unusual punishment image! Really, most of us that copyright our work are not vultures, we just like to be among the survivors. We spend good money to preserve our negatives and seldom "force" anyone to buy from us.

Getting down to technicalities, do you know the artist has the right to tell you how you can or cannot display their work? Now there is a real stopper!

There is another thread you might like to look into on this topic. In it I covered a lawsuit that I was involved in (13 portraits used by a shopping center for their own promotion) and also the fact that copying old family photos is not likely to get you in trouble simply because of the costs involved in taking up any legal action.

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/sho...&threadid=2052

So I guess it's your call to copy what ever you want to copy but regardless of your opinion on fair or unfair, if someone does decide to go after you for a violation, be prepared to pay an attorney upwards of $7K to defend you and upwards of $30K if you lose.

Jim Conway
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  #20  
Old 06-13-2003, 12:10 PM
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May I add a few comments from the viewpoint of a portrait studio owner?

Some time ago (long before I entered the profession) the business model for portrait studios was to charge a low sitting fee, coupled with a high charge for the prints. If customers did not buy a good number of prints, then the studio lost money on the deal. That became the norm and anyone who tried to change it was soon out of business as customers would not pay a high sitting fee if the other studio down the street charged a low sitting fee.

It was not a good way to do business, and did not make a lot of sense to most photographers. After all the work and skills are in doing the sitting, and that is what the photographer should be charging for and the customer paying for. Spending $50.00 for 2 or 3 hours of time and equipment usage is quite a bargin for the customer. But paying $50.00 or more for an 8x10 print is equally wrong in the other direction.

We were really looking at this when the digital stuff hit us. At my studio we implimented a complete change over of our business model when we changed from film to digital. We now charge up to several hundred $'s for the sitting fee, but our 8x10's are $15.00. Our idea is that the customer should pay for the work we do. If they want a long session, they can buy it, if they want a lot of computer enhancment, they can buy it, so when we get done with all that and they only want 1-8x10 print of all that time and work, they can buy it. When we get done I have been fairly compensated for my time and skills, and the customer has in their hand what they want.

But there are some problems with all this. Jakaleena's paragraph #4 explains quite well what I consider the worst problem. We have already had this happen to us and we really do not have any kind of practical answer other than going the copyright route and limiting the customers to only buying reprints from us. And if you think the quaility varies at commercial places, wait to you see what customers can do with a cheap scanner and injet printer in their home

Anyway, I hope that this adds to the thread, and I would invite anyone else to post their comments....

Mike
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