Tag Archives: rights

Who Owns A Photo?

The Copyright Of A Photograph

Copyright Symbol Textured

The folks at Clifton Cameras have put together a very neat graphic explaining much about ownership of the image.

The only thing I would add is that adding a watermark (use Marksta on an iPhone or software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop on your Mac or PC) is essential when you post images online on services like FaceBook and Instagram which as their T&Cs state, have full rights to use the posted images as they see fit. You need to protect not only your copyright but also the subjects in your images from having their likeness used to promote services they wouldn’t be happy with. Watermarking also protects you against companies which may steal your image for commercial gain, try and Photoshop out your watermark and then plead ignorance. Image forensics can easily show tampering and with this you prove intent, followed by a nice payout.

When hosting your own website of photography, it’s wise not to post images full size; these are easily stolen and can be used in a variety of ways as the size allows printing and so on. Using the services of Pixelrights as your host means that you benefit from all the various anti-theft features they have as well as future plans for their new partnership with ImageRights. Highly recommended.

Shaun Curry, Co-founder & CEO of Pixelrights adds; “ImageRights International is honored to announce a new and exciting partnership with Pixelrights. This groundbreaking partnership will provide post infringement, image tracking & USCO registration included in the price of your Pixelrights subscription.
Pixelrights are the only portfolio service focused on championing copyright awareness by use of their patent pending ‘Smart Frame’ image technology
This new image format provides their members with substantial customisable technical protection, blocking illicit web-bots, stopping unwanted hot linking, disabling right click , blocking some screen grab attempts, save-as, and eliminating the image from the source file and web page.
With ImageRights technology included if anyone removes any technical protection measures from your Pixelrights site and publishes it on the web, ImageRights will track your image down, and provide a global network of IP
lawyers to take action on your behalf. Never before has a portfolio website been so safe yet so easy to use!”.

Remember, copyright is your right. You are the author and the image is yours. When getting commissioned to take pictures, you aren’t being paid for the copyright, but are being commissioned to make the photograph and granting the client a right to use the image; you’re licensing them image usage. Without your copyright you can’t even legally post your picture on your website, enter it in a competition or have a print in your portfolio. You will lose all sales and recognition as the image becomes of historical value in the future. Don’t be bullied; don’t let multi-million pound companies take advantage of your work and force you into signing away your rights.

Click to enlarge the graphic:

Who Owns A Photo

What’s Wrong With The Newspaper Industry

Press Photography & The Papers

A press card and a selection of media accreditation from over the years. June 12, 2012. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The problems with the industry (normally and not just during this recession) are multiple; some do lay with the accountants who run most things (being qualified with arithmetic and spread sheet skills, or the understanding of formulas, in my mind does not give someone aesthetic understanding or the ability to have a news sense), weak picture editors, bad editors, visually less capable mass audience and the pandering of the papers to the weakest common denominator as opposed to trying to visually educate the readership a little. Not too long ago we had newspapers that ran the most amazing photography; informative, accurate, ethical, creative and mind blowingly powerful – and no, I’m not just talking about the broadsheets (as they were then) but a few tabloid papers too.

Another huge issue is the switch to digital and the ‘everyone’s a photographer’ syndrome; backed by accountants who see a picture as something that has four sides to it but have no ability to comprehend it’s content, importance or power. This also lead to the birth of the mass paparazzi – the most money paid for photography is for this type of content and the publications who print this material, sell the most, so have the biggest budgets.

The ‘new’ technology, called the internet also has had a detrimental effect to the traditional model of newspapers. A day late, even with great analysis and checked, journalistically correct information, is sometimes too late for readers. I saw new in quotes as anyone looking at most newspaper websites would thing the internet came to being a couple of months ago. It’s been with us long enough, yet few papers have learnt to design good, usable websites that harness the power of the web and deliver amazing content. The business model has to change too; good content needs to be paid for properly. Content is king; no good content means lower visitor hits, equalling less advertising revenue. It’s not rocket science! It is however beyond doubt the future (including mobile devices using the internet for delivery of content).

Let’s not forget though, as photographers we have our share of the blame. Some of this ignorance comes from the educational sector who are happy to teach Susan Sontag and theory, but when it comes to actual skills needed by photographers to survive, like knowing one’s rights and the law of copyright, they teach nothing. The rest of the blame is purely with us for not finding out.

We are signing away our copyright and future rights to our work, even though the law states that it’s ours. This is shortsighted and every time such a contract is signed, another nail is hammered into our collective coffin. There is no going back from this. Sooner than you know, we will retire and have no picture library of our own to fall back on; so, no books, no print sales and no exhibitions. My thoughts are that the bigger picture needs to be looked at; after all, this is a career and so, is long term.

We are killing our own industry too.


The cost of equipment rises daily and at the same alarming rate, our profession is devalued

I’ve been a professional photographer for almost 21 years; it’s a job which I love and an industry which I fell in love with instantly. Photojournalism has always been my passion; never well paid but satisfying morally with an income that would help one get by.

In all this time, I have never seen a photograph be as devalued as it is now. Most companies believe it is a right for them to steal pictures and use them for free. They even set up dodgy ‘rights grab’ competitions which thousands enter into, signing away their copyright or at best giving away rights of usage to the organisers. Young freelance photographers straight out of college easily sign away their copyrights to the papers, being made to believe that is the norm.

The companies who do want to pay, make up fictitious small budgets as a way to say that they cannot afford to pay more than a certain amount and try to bully the photographer into submission. The same people would never dream of trying that on in a shop, but for some reason, photographers are fair game.

My thoughts are that we need to stick to our principles; pictures have a value; our copyright and the rights to our images need to be cherished. Have your rate card and stick to it. Turn away a client who is trying to take advantage. If we don’t do this, our work will continue to loose value and the equipment which now days cost twice what it did a few weeks ago will be well and truly out of our reach. Even worst and most importantly, the power and respect that a photograph has will be lost.

This short video makes the point very nicely; thanks to Keith Meatheringham for bringing to my attention. Definitely worth watching: