Portions of this column were originally written for the September 2008 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
September 2008, Volume 72
By Mark Loundy
"Your neighbor's vision is as true for him as your own vision is true for you."
I was looking for my kids the other day and found them at Tom's, my neighbor across the street. Tom is a bit like Wilson from the old Home Improvement show. He rides a recumbent bicycle and knows about nearly everything. As soon as I walked in, Tom handed me a bowl of homemade vanilla-almond ice cream.
A few days earlier Copyright Action posted a breathless article about how Photoshop Express, Adobe's online image editing and storage application, makes images that you upload to the service freely available to all of the other individuals and businesses who have registered with the site.
When Tom handed me the ice cream, he was not taking business away from Baskin and Robbins. Neither is the Photoshop Express sharing feature taking sales away from professional photographers.
What Tom and the users of Photoshop Express have in common is that they are sharing with their neighbors.
The fact is that people want to share images with both their real-world and virtual friends and neighbors. People communicate and use images in their personal lives in ways that they could not do before the Internet. This sharing is almost entirely outside of the photo licensing industry. It is not a lost market, because there is nearly zero dollar value to such use.
The Photoshop Express terms of service are far from ideal. But the service is clearly not intended for professional photographers. The image tools are aimed at consumers and there are far-better online image storage and management sites out there.
Oh yeah, my neighbor Tom also makes boomerangs.
Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.Leftovers
"1. Register all your images with the LOC in a timely and consistent manner. http://www.asmp.org/commerce/legal/copyright/index.php
2. Have your contract reviewed by a copyright lawyer to address the loopholes. (Expressly prohibit use by anyone other than party named on your agreement. Expressly exclude co-op ads, marketing & promotions- etc.)
3. Be prepared to respond in a professional manner and hold accountable every party using your property without authorization. This includes:Establishing in advance business policies on how to manage each occurrence. Not waiting for infringement to occur to establish a relationship with a Copyright attorney.
Using only an attorney who specializes in copyright law.
Accepting this process as a standard business policy, like collecting State taxes."
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