Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Did Someone Steal Your Photo?

Recently saw an article about DKNY using photos without permission. Perhaps it was an honest mistake; who knows? They offered a street photographer $15,000 for use of 300 photos. The offer was turned down in hopes for more money. 

However, DKNY had been using the photos internally "for inspiration". A few leaked out and wound up in a display at a store in Bangkok. DKNY made a public statement and pledged $25,000 to the YMCA. A noble gesture. However, if they would have offered the photographer a more reasonable price for the photos in the first place, this never would have happened!

On my Facebook Groovy Reflections page some time ago, we posted a picture of teen girls at a high school gym class in the early 1960's. This photo brought a lot of discussion because of the uniforms the girls wore. So much so, that several months later, we decided to post the photo again. 

We used a viewer, Jeffrey’s Exif, to check the copyright of the photo before using it. There was none. However, this time when the photo was posted we heard from the photographer and he was not happy! He told us that he does put a copyright in the photo information. And yes, it’s possible to strip that information from a photo. We provided our source to him so that he could inform them of the misuse. 

About a year ago, I was contacted by Huffington Post; they wanted to use one of my photos showing advertising on a banana that they found in a blog I wrote. 

They ultimately decided not to use the photo; however, I was happy to grant them permission. I had used that photo for an article about finding advertising in odd places.

For the record, I rarely use photos I find on the web and if I do, I credit them if there is any manner of copyright, though it’s unlikely I would use them at all in that case. 

My photo library of original material has thousands of photos in it and there’s no issues there. Most of the time, I put a watermark on them; it’s highly unlikely that someone will crop it or remove it.

From time to time I take photos of pictures that are in out of print books. A favorite is a Vogue 1960’s coffee table book. Besides my watermark I add the source of the photo; just to play it safe! Likewise with catalogs; I own several vintage Sears catalogs. You know, the "bricks" with hundreds of pages that shows how we lived in the Sixties, what we wore, what our appliance looked like, and the furniture in our homes. 

Interestingly enough, Sears started following the Groovy Reflections Pinterest board on Sears fashions! If I'm misusing those photos in any way Sears, let me know, okay? I certainly hope you feel that this is a positive extension to your brand!

In closing, take caution when using photos. As you read in my personal example, it’s easy to make a mistake! And to the corporations: Give the photographer what he or she deserves! Photography is an art and capturing that moment in the highest quality and at the best angle involves hard work and talent! 

The Clash had a successful cover version of a reggae tune back in the late 70's that spoke of authority and those who steal (see below). Don't get robbed by an "expert" marketer; for honest, experienced marketing visit our website, or stop by on TwitterFacebook, or Google+  


Shannon Grissom said...

I'm now watermarking all my photos too. Amazing where the land without attribution... Great music tie in too!

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