Royalty Free or Royalty Expensive?

Posted December 11th, 2006 by
Categories: Copyright, Photo Business, Stock Photography

So that Royalty Free photo that you got way back when and not sure where… you’ve used for this and that without much thought, because after all, you were smart and purchased Royalty Free.

But are your Royalty Free photos really free to use for anything, anywhere? Probably Not. Did you know that your Royalty Free photo actually came with a license? Probably Not. Do you know any of the actual limitations on use you got with that Royalty Free photo? Probably Not. Did you really understand that much about copyright and licenses when you purchased your Royalty Free Photo? Probably Not. Did you actually read the End User License Agreement (EULA)? Probably Not. Are you surprised when an 800 lb Gorilla comes pounding on your door demanding payment for unathorized use? Probably.

That’s just what’s happening these days, so if you’ve used Royalty Free photos in the past, you better check to make sure that your using them in an authorized and correct manner. Why? Because the 800 lb Gorilla knocking on your door has a name: Getty.

Again with thanks to someone on one of my professional newsgroups, I bring you the tirade of the angry masses; people that have received demand letters from Getty for using their RF images improperly, or without authorization via payment and license. This is a forum thread on SitePoint, and it’s a very long forum thread. As of this posting, it’s over 14 pages long, with 350 posts to date. I suggest just taking a read over the last page (14)

After reading, I couldn’t help but think of how many people would have saved themselves hours of angst and frustration, not to mention the threat of possible collections or lawsuits, if they had just licensed only the uses they actually needed. No Fuss, No Muss, No 800 lb Gorilla.

Photo: Taking Flight in a Balloon over the Napa Valley

Posted December 9th, 2006 by
Categories: Aviation, California, Clouds and Sky, Outdoors, Photos, Sunrise, Travel, vineyards

Picture: Hot Air Ballon and storm clouds at sunrise over vineyard near Oakville, Napa Valley, California.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve just completed an overdue update to my website, including a number of new online photo galleries. The first gallery I’d like to introduce is the Napa Valley Vineyards and Wine Country. This image seems like it’s an appropriate metaphor regarding the launch of these new galleries.

In this photo, I happened to be shooting this vineyard at sunrise. I was so focused on what I was doing, that for quite awhile, I hadn’t noticed that less than a 1/4 mile away, a balloon had started to inflate in the vineyard behind me. In the still morning air, it wasn’t long before the balloon lifted and floated past where I was standing. I took several shots, but this is the best one because this has the flame under the balloon. FWIW – this isn’t one of the larger “tourist” balloon flights offered elsewhere in the valley. Rather, this had only 4 people; a great intimate way to see the valley.

Just replaced

Posted December 7th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

I’ve just gotten through an update of my web site, the full details of which will come in another post (for those who haven’t received my newsletter). Probably the most important change is that I finally replaced that decade plus year-old photo of me on the About Me page. The new photo (in B&W) is a mere one year old. I guess this one should carry me through the next decade. (F in ge rscr os se d)
I’ve also added a couple updated tidbits and a few cosmetic touches to the page.

New Photo of the Month; Dec. 2006

Posted December 5th, 2006 by
Categories: Animals, California, Mountains, National Parks, Photos, Travel, Winter

Picture: Native Spirit” – Raven flying by El Capitan at sunrise, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California.

“Native Spirit” is an image of fortunate circumstance and fleeting moments combined. I shot this image last year in Yosemite Valley. A cold snow storm had swept through the previous evening, and the clouds started to part right around sunrise. I stopped to photograph this scene, sans raven, and was busy checking all of my settings when I looked up. At that moment, I saw the bird flying toward me, and I only had enough time to check my shutter speed, spin open the apeture, and click. One frame. One Frame Only.

The title refers to something I have often thought of as I watch these ravens soaring past these huge granite cliffs, and through such a paradise. In those moments, I think back to the Native Americans that lived in this valley, and their reverence for nature.

BTW – It’s not very often that I actually title an image. I often find that too many photographers toss out earth-mother-speak titles to their images like they’re tossing out bad cheese. But in a few rare cases, a title speaks out to me, and I usually choose to listen to that little voice in my head. In fact, I can only think of a couple times this as happened. So be fair-warned that this doesn’t mark the start of artsy-speak spilling out of all corners of my site.

This is a very special image for me to offer as a Photo of the Month. It will probably be the only time it is offered as an opportunity to acquire a Limited Edition Print or Mural at 50% off the standard prices.

Journalist teaches that stealing is OK – especially from schools.

Posted December 5th, 2006 by
Categories: Copyright, Newsworthy, Rants and Raves

Geez! I was gonna post a photo, but this is much more important. It’s been out for the last few weeks that a journalist named Stacey Bradford wrote an article for SmartMoney.com where (s)he lists the Top 5 annoying school costs. (S)he then suggests some money saving tips for each offending cost. Apparently it’s Ok to teach your readers, parents, and children alike that stealing is OK.
To top the offending list, read the following excerpt from her aticle, snd note especially the last line. Following that is a copy of an email I sent to Stacey Bradford.

Read the rest of this post »

Photos that cross the line

Posted December 4th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy, Photo Business, Photographers, Photos

This one is for the grown-ups:

In the news this last week, CNET reported on a a case where certain types of pictures of kids may help reform and redefine federal child pornography laws. This link came to me via a posting in a professional photographers newsgroup. On the CNET page, there is a link where you can see examples of some of the photos in questions through the Google Archive WAYBACK machine. Forgive me for not posting this link directly, but some people may find these photos distrubing. What makes this all so unusual, there is no nudity, and no overt sexual contact in these photos. However, the images do seem to place young girls in ‘suggestive’ poses. The photographer had signed model releases from the parents, but now he faces jail time.

This is one of those classic, “I can’t explain it but I know it when I see it” – but remember, we all may have different interpretations of whether it is or isn’t. I don’t want this to be debated here, but would rather you take a look, and just see what you think. Personally, I think these images are disturbing, and at the very least, show some possibly poor judgement on the part of the photographer, parents, and child. (although kids are allowed to have poor judgement). Is it child porn? Should it be considered child porn? I suppose part of that answer should be dependant on whatever reason the images were originally created and intended for. For myself, I’ll say at find it at least as distrubing as seeing some of the stuff that happens with those little girl beauty pagents that are now marked in our collective memory by the face of JonBenet Ramsey.

Those pesky blank pages

Posted December 4th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

Anyone who tried to visit the site in the last four – five days seems to have stood a pretty good chance of seeing a blank white page. If that has happened to you, or does happen when you visit, please be aware that this has been a bit of an issue with the mysql server at my web host. Please accept my apology (on behalf of my web hosting company) for any inconvenience. I greatly appreciate the several of you who have emailed me to let me know when this happened. Getting a trouble ticket in to the support desk always gets right to the front burner. Unfortunately these problems tend to come in spurts. And to be honest, when things run good for a while, I tend to spend less time checking to see if things are running well. And just like cars, that’s usually when the trouble sets in.

Winds of Change, make that a Hurricane…

Posted November 27th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

First, I hope everyone here in the US, and Americans abroad had a nice Thanksgiving Holiday. I enjoyed a week off with my family.

The Stock Asylum has posted the text of a speech given by Roger Ressmeyer, President of the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) called, “The Storm before the Calm“.

This is a worthy read, as he discusses some of the recent changes in our industry, and outlines how, by cooperating with each other, the industry could be on the brink of stabilization. Without mutual cooperation and frank talk about industry imperitives, the industry might fracture beyond hope of repair.

I personally agree with the thrust of his speech, especially on the support for the PLUS initiative. The only odd taste in my mouth is that it comes from a photographer whose work I admired above many others, yet sold his entire collection to one of the Big Two.

I’m Like, … so upset.

Posted November 20th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

Major stock photo player, Getty Images, has announced a new plan allowing photographers to place images on their site for two years. It’s a basic pay-to-play arrangement. But I’m not upset about this. I’m not even the one who is upset.

After the announcement by Getty about their new program, many industry newsgroups had a flurry of actvity about this subject. On one list that I subscribe to, a photographer who sells his images through microstock was expressing his outrage about the thought of being charged to place images in Getty’s files.

It’s not too often I reply to posts on this one particular list, but in this instance I felt compelled. My basic reply was along the lines of:

Read the rest of this post »

Bummer in ‘bama

Posted November 15th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy, Trademark

The New York Times has reported on the troubles of a sports artist down ‘bama way. (That’s Alabama, btw.) It seems our esteemed artist has made a bit of a career painting scenes of “The Crimson Tide” university football team. He’s an alumni, he has several kids that attend the school, and now he can’t even attend the games anymore. So what’s the problem? His paintings are certainly good. But the school is claiming trademark infringement because he includes the football players in uniform playing the game, and that the crimson and white uniform is “off-limits”.

You may need to login to an account at the NYT site, but it’s free to set up an account to access reports. The story page also contains an A/V version that includes some of the art in question.

While the University addresses trademark issues with him, I must admit my first thought was that the paintings seem so realistic, that they must have been copied from photos. I can only hope (or trust) that they were his photos – if made from some other reference than pure memory and imagination. I’d hate to see him slapped with a copyright action from another third party while fighting a trademark action against the school.