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Photographer writes excellent letter to the band Garbage about unpaid photo use

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
I get my photos ripped off all the time but what really fucking pisses me off is when some big company asks to use my work for their own commercial purposes while telling me that they have "no budget."

It's not unusual for companies to assume that artists/photographers/musicians should be the only unpaid people in their commercial projects. And they can get the fuck off.
I don't think anyone's defending that, though. And he's right to be pissed off that they used an image without permission on an album. Presumably he will have followed that up with a letter and received a cheque. He should have done.

But if someone writes to you like this, don't you first write back stating your fee for the proposed use?
 

editor

hiraethified
I don't think anyone's defending that, though. And he's right to be pissed off that they used an image without permission on an album. Presumably he will have followed that up with a letter and received a cheque. He should have done.

But if someone writes to you like this, don't you first write back stating your fee for the proposed use?
Not if they already have history for using my work for commercial projects without permission, payment or credit.
 

Orang Utan

knows how to use the three shells
I don't think anyone's defending that, though. And he's right to be pissed off that they used an image without permission on an album. Presumably he will have followed that up with a letter and received a cheque. He should have done.

But if someone writes to you like this, don't you first write back stating your fee for the proposed use?
why bother if they're not going to pay you? they've already stated they wouldn't. why do you care that he's been a bit bolshy about it? he's exposed Garbage as a bunch of chancers. Good on him.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
why bother if they're not going to pay you? they've already stated they wouldn't. why do you care that he's been a bit bolshy about it? he's exposed Garbage as a bunch of chancers. Good on him.
Setting aside rights and wrongs, sometimes if you don't ask you don't get. I'm sure he knows that very well. And again, setting aside rights and wrongs, that works both ways.

His own website is itself testament to that. He will need model release forms from the likes of Bowie etc to use their images on his website. I presume he asked them for this - 'do you mind if I put this photo on my website?' - and they said yes.
 

editor

hiraethified
His own website is itself testament to that. He will need model release forms from the likes of Bowie etc to use their images on his website. I presume he asked them for this - 'do you mind if I put this photo on my website?' - and they said yes.
Desperate argument is desperate.
 

Chilli.s

mingling jets and statuettes
IMHO a bit lame not to pay some sort of amount, even if just a token payment. Without some detail of initial contract, hard to judge.
 

Spymaster

Cockney Wanker
Fuck off, Spymaster. It's someone rightly complaining about a bunch of millionaires trying to rip him off. Many of my friends work as designers and illustrators and are always getting asked to work for free, or ripped off, or paid late, not by small businesses, but massive moneybags organisations. Fuck these chancers. They deserve to be exposed. Most people who get ripped off by them have no clout to complain about it.
Childish.

Sounds like your friends learned their business skills from the same cornflake packet that Mr Pope did. Most of mine very rarely get ripped off, are able to negotiate without spitting their dummies, and usually get paid within their contract terms.
 
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weltweit

Well-Known Member
I think the photographer was right not to offer his image for free, he also has to make a living and paying for a photo-shoot does not usually confer all image rights in perpetuity. I am less certain about his taking it public, it could backfire on him rather like someone taking an employer to court can.
 

bi0boy

Power User
They said the book wouldn't make much money from sales. So why not offer every contributor a share of the profits, a royalty payment?

Then this photographer will see how just many people are willing to fork out for his oh-so-amazing pictars. If he's right and they're worth something he should make a bomb.
 

bi0boy

Power User
Just because you spend time doing something doesn't mean you're entitled to earn a living out of it.
 

Cheesypoof

Fuck off Noddy
Banned
i think the photographer is within his rights to refuse, and you know, 'out' Garbage. It is annoying if they are millionares not to want to pay him, but they probably thought they'd chance their arm...
 

bi0boy

Power User
Unless you're a professional photographer of course. Then it's your job and you have every right to expect to be paid if your work is used in commercial projects.
But it wasn't though. They asked him if they could use it and he refused, because he thought it was worth more than they were prepared to pay. I wonder if anyone else will pay for it now.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
Just because you spend time doing something doesn't mean you're entitled to earn a living out of it.
No, you're entitled to control over how your work is used, though. In the case of photos, you're entitled to say when they can and cannot be used, unless you've sold that right to someone else or otherwise foresworn it by releasing the work on a free licence of some kind.

But I think you're also entitled to ask politely for the use of work without necessarily offering payment. Anyone who's self-published knows how expensive it is and how difficult it is to make money out of it. I don't think Garbage are necessarily lying when they say that they don't expect this book to make them much, if any, money.

Then it's up to the person in question to either refuse permission or to ask for some arrangement, whether an upfront payment or something else.
 

bi0boy

Power User
No, you're entitled to control over how your work is used, though. In the case of photos, you're entitled to say when they can and cannot be used, unless you've sold that right to someone else or otherwise foresworn it by releasing the work on a free licence of some kind.
The photographer exercised that right here - I don't see the problem. He is whingeing not because they used it for free in their book, but because they didn't think it worth paying him for. Maybe his photos are shit.
 

Cheesypoof

Fuck off Noddy
Banned
agree - while i think asking for the pics for free was shabby, at least the band asked first. I am surprised that they claim to not be in a financial position to pay though....
 

Spymaster

Cockney Wanker
There's nothing shabby about trying to negotiate the best deal possible. Shabby would have been using the work without asking.

Shabby is also plastering a rant on Facebook without giving the other chap a chance pay a fee.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
There's nothing shabby about trying to negotiate the best deal possible. Shabby would have been using the work without asking.
I don't completely agree. If they are doing something that they hope will make them a lot of money, then it is shabby not to offer payment. I don't think it's ok to underpay people just because you can.

But as someone who has self-published, I can well believe that they won't make anything out of this book. It will cost a lot to print, and they won't get good deals from bookshops/Amazon. You don't generally self-publish to make money. You do it to get something you think is worthwhile out into the world.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
Setting aside rights and wrongs, sometimes if you don't ask you don't get. I'm sure he knows that very well. And again, setting aside rights and wrongs, that works both ways.

His own website is itself testament to that. He will need model release forms from the likes of Bowie etc to use their images on his website. I presume he asked them for this - 'do you mind if I put this photo on my website?' - and they said yes.
TBF, you need to ponder the difference between the electronic and the physical reproduction of the picture. Generally the latter is reproduction as an artefact or in an artefact for sale while the former generates no money. It's also likely that his contracts are written to solicit limited use rights (i.e. on his website) from his clients.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
I think the photographer was right not to offer his image for free, he also has to make a living and paying for a photo-shoot does not usually confer all image rights in perpetuity. I am less certain about his taking it public, it could backfire on him rather like someone taking an employer to court can.
The problem with allowing free use to individuals or organisations that appear to have the ability to pay, is that allowing free use will perpetuate this blagging, and even cause more people to try it on. I'm glad he went public. Not on the basis that I think he's either wrong or right in this instance, but because business needs to learn not to blag.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
They said the book wouldn't make much money from sales. So why not offer every contributor a share of the profits, a royalty payment?

Then this photographer will see how just many people are willing to fork out for his oh-so-amazing pictars. If he's right and they're worth something he should make a bomb.
I suspect that, given Garbage's output and Ms Manson's pretensions, this book is going to be of the coffee table/art-book type, which would explain the "there's not much money in it" claim - high-quality repro is expensive.
Even so, as you say, promising contributors a smidgen of a percent on sales would be a good way of paying something for the use of contributions, and needn't be expensive, especially if you acknowledge those contributors in a dedication at the front of the book.
 
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