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

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
Pope replies to various critics - wishing he had sent the letter to one of the other hundreds of bands who ask the same thing - http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/pat-pope/garbage-final-word_b_7015976.html
I think his summary of the general issue is pretty good, and is true in a lot of different areas too.
1. People think this is a one off request for special dispensation from one particular group of artists just trying to make one specific project happen. It isn't. I receive hundreds of these requests a year, as does every other photographer I know. This is the new normal - writing down a budget in which you'll get the photographic content for free by making the photographer give it to you. How will you make them give it to you? By quietly abusing the power relationship.

2. The Power Relationship. Garbage stated in their response on Facebook that they "humbly requested" the use of my work for an "artistic collaboration". To be clear, Garbage didn't contact me at all. Garbage paid someone at their management company to send me a pro-forma request for free usage of my work. When you receive a request like that, the power relationship is that a gigantic branded entity with huge reach and backing is asking a lone freelancer to accept that the value of their work is zero. Your two choices are to give them the permission, valuing your work at zero, or to refuse permission, in which case they will quietly remove you from the list of freelancers they work with so you won't get any future work. This has happened to me time and again when refusing or granting permission. If Garbage don't understand that this is the nature of these requests then they need to spend less time reading Amanda Palmer and slightly more time investigating how power and control work.
 

editor

hiraethified
Here's the response from US Today:

Thank you so much for the speedy response! I¹m working on rounding up the
photos of the Top 10 US Cities to See Buskers for the writer not the
publication directly (I do PR for the other cities/properties included in
the round-up so am trying to remove all barriers to get the article
placed) so unfortunately I have no photography budget.

Are you the photographer of the images? And if so, do you have any
interest in sharing the photos with USAToday.com for the photo credit to
get your name or website name in a national media outlet? I completely
understand if not, but I just wanted to ask as they¹re really beautiful
images.
I wrote back and asked her is she was being paid for her job and why she thinks I shouldn't be paid for mine.

(Her mega PR company has some of the biggest global brands on their books, by the way)
 

Cid

嗯嗯
Where there isn't a picture budget. Very often it will be commercial organisations I'm asking. When it's an individual, I offer to send them a copy of the book. If I can, I will offer a small payment of, say, £30, but even that's not always possible. Generally these are low-circulation school and library books. Most people are surprised when I tell them how small our budgets are to make them.

It's either that or the book doesn't get made. It's very well being high and mighty about this, but I'm not the one slashing budgets. I'm just trying to deal with the result of the slashed budget.
The Garbage book is probably a vanity project coffee table thumper. You pay for vanity projects.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
The Garbage book is probably a vanity project coffee table thumper. You pay for vanity projects.
I've helped many people out on 'vanity' projects (loathe that term - condescending in the extreme). Always did it for nothing as I know how hard it is to avoid losing money, let alone make any.

It's a question of taking a view on whether or not what they're doing is a good thing - helping out, if you think 'yes'; not helping or charging for your services if you think 'no'.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
Here's the response from US Today:


I wrote back and asked her is she was being paid for her job and why she thinks I shouldn't be paid for mine.

(Her mega PR company has some of the biggest global brands on their books, by the way)
but answer came there none?
 

Cid

嗯嗯
I've helped many people out on 'vanity' projects (loathe that term - condescending in the extreme). Always did it for nothing as I know how hard it is to avoid losing money, let alone make any.
Possibly when used as a blanket term to describe any form of self publishing, less so when used to describe people who publish things about themselves.
 

equationgirl

Respect my existence or expect my resistance
He's got a valid argument but doesn't make it very well.

If correct, they have appropriated his IP before without permission or compensation - a point that he should have lead with rather than make as a postscript.

This means they have form and frames the request in a rather different light.

If someone has nicked your property of any kind before and then "politely" asks to abscond with some more, I think you have every right to take them to task, all the more so in the current context which seems to disdain copyright altogether for lazy personal convenience masked by "ideological" bullshit.

In any event, they should have made sure that they were assigned the copyright if they wanted to use it again and paid the photographer some more in the first place.
His argument is made in terms everyone can understand, nothing wrong with that.

Some moral rights such as the right to be identified as the creator of a work (right of paternity) exist for the whole of the copyright term in any case and will survive an assignment of copyright.
 

Diamond

The Red Baron
His argument is made in terms everyone can understand, nothing wrong with that.

Some moral rights such as the right to be identified as the creator of a work (right of paternity) exist for the whole of the copyright term in any case and will survive an assignment of copyright.
Of course they'd survive an assignment of the copyright - they're separate but related rights and it would be impossible to assign the moral right in any event.

It would be also a very strange situation in which you wouldn't want the moral right to attach to the work - if you had paid a lot of money for a piece of work, you'd probably want to attribute it to the author

Nonetheless, moral rights, like most property rights can be explicitly waived. It's easy to imagine a legal scenario in which you would pair an assignment of copyright with a waiver of the attached moral rights - that would be very easy to draft - however I'm not sure why the assignee would want that.

I struggle to imagine such a situation, although I suppose it does happen...
 

laptop

Freudenschade
Nonetheless, moral rights, like most property rights can be explicitly waived. It's easy to imagine a legal scenario in which you would pair an assignment of copyright with a waiver of the attached moral rights - that would be very easy to draft - however I'm not sure why the assignee would want that.

I struggle to imagine such a situation, although I suppose it does happen...
Moral rights aren't strictly a property right...

Anyways, far too many commercial clients demand that everyone waives their moral rights. Even when they don't exist in the first place (e.g. work "for the purpose of reporting news and current affairs".)

Why?

Because they can demand it.
 

Diamond

The Red Baron
Moral rights aren't strictly a property right...

Anyways, far too many commercial clients demand that everyone waives their moral rights. Even when they don't exist in the first place (e.g. work "for the purpose of reporting news and current affairs".)

Why?

Because they can demand it.
I see your point but I'd disagree, they are proprietorial in the sense that they rely on an underlying proprietorial IP right.

Although they can't be exchanged, they must be waived if they are not to attach to the copyright. So, yes, a bit of an odd one.

Or to put it another way - you can't buy them but you can give them up, as far as I understand.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I imagine it is getting harder to get paid for images these days with the massive increase of amateur photographers and now vast amounts of digital images online in places like Flickr.
 

Stanley Edwards

1967 Maserati Mistral.
R.I.P.
I imagine it is getting harder to get paid for images these days with the massive increase of amateur photographers and now vast amounts of digital images online in places like Flickr.
Only just caught up with this thread. You're right of course, but very importantly, the photographs talked about in the OP were as important to the success of Carbage as any video. If you want photographs to do proper business, you fucking well have to pay the photographer for their skills and experience as much as you expect fans to pay for your book.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
Garbage just look like Cunt's now. Trying to intellectualise the theft of IP is always a bad idea.
No it's not. Ip can be and is abused by very rich and powerful people too. Sometimes stealing ip is the right thing to do. Not in this case (although they didn't steal it), but your generalised statement isn't true at all.
 

starfish2000

Well-Known Member
Generalised statement? Name examples of ip theft & their benefit to mankind. With a pie chart please.

Then give me your house.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
Capitalism throws up all
kinds of examples of abuses of ip by the rich and powerful. Gm crops, lifesaving drugs. That kind of thing. Often based on massively dubious assertions whereby accummulated social knowledge goes totally unpaid - 'stolen'by the companies.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
And for an example purely from the narrow field of the arts i give you Disney. They are cunts. Good luck to anyone who 'steals' from them.
 

Voley

Sign On You Crazy Diamond
Reminds me of the David Thorne piece about the bloke wanting the graphs done for free (minus the humour)

I love that. This is the highlight for me:

----------------------------------
What the fuck is your point? Are you going to do the logo and charts for me or not?
From: David Thorne
Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 5.02pm
To: Simon Edhouse
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design


------------------------------------
 

Sasaferrato

Grateful for what I have.
I once had one of my photographs published on the front page of a national newspaper, without either payment or credit. However, the circumstances which engendered the use of the photo were absolutely dreadful for the family concerned. It was a picture of their son in his kart, (he had been Scottish Junior Champion) and sadly he died from a heroin overdose. Had I been asked I would have agreed, even to relinquishing the copyright.

It was ironic though, it was probably the only photo I'll ever have published. I don't take photos for a living though, and that is the difference.
 
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Sasaferrato

Grateful for what I have.
Not if he's not getting paid for it, it's not. And that's the problem: if you give your photos away for free you devalue yourself.
Depends how you look at it. I'm an amateur photographer with a little skill. If someone wants to use any of my photos for any purpose, they are welcome to do so, provided they ask of course. There is one website that uses four of my pictures, and I'm chuffed that they chose my photos. The emphasis is amateur of course, my pictures have no commercial value, because I do it as a hobby.
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
Depends how you look at it. I'm an amateur photographer with a little skill. If someone wants to use any of my photos for any purpose, they are welcome to do so, provided they ask of course. There is one website that uses four of my pictures, and I'm chuffed that they chose my photos. The emphasis is amateur of course, my pictures have no commercial value, because I do it as a hobby.
because you set no value on them: you should do, other people will.
 
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