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Your Digital Photos Are Too Professional 739

Posted by Zonk
from the suck-more dept.
ScentCone writes "AP's technology writer Brian Bergstein reports that your 8 megapixel camera, and lukewarm+ lens/Photoshop skills may keep you from getting over the counter image printing services. Professional photographers have successfully sued processors (like Wal-Mart) for reproducing their digital works without permission. Clerks are now being told to deny print orders for some work that looks too good. Talented amateurs are having to jump through hoops, present documents, and otherwise cajole teenage cashiers into taking their orders. No doubt one successful suit costs more than a thousand denied amateurs' orders, but sheesh. On the other hand, pro wedding photographers depend mightily on the income derived from reproducing their work, and it will take time for things to evolve to the point where clients are willing to pay a lot more up front in exchange for wider image rights after the fact. There's no well-supported digital equivalent to a negative (as reasonable proof of ownership), so retailers are defensively resorting to near paranoia to stay out of court."
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Your Digital Photos Are Too Professional

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  • by yagu (721525) <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:10PM (#12844116) Journal

    I don't know what all of the fuss is about.... I've been having my pictures printed at WalMart for years, and never had any problems....

    That leads to some awkward moments at photo desks when customers' images get barred for essentially looking too good.

    ..., ahem, ...., uh, ...., never mind.

    • by noidentity (188756) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:22PM (#12844297)
      Luck you! I had them rejecting freakin' accidental shots of the wall, claiming I must be trying to reproduce some expensive abstract modern art.
    • ...And in the land of foolish people, the King decried that ideas and virtual objects could be owned and controlled even though they never "really" existed in the first place. All sorts of confusion over this silly law broke out through the land, till the King of all idiots decided that no one but he should rule all things not physical.
    • A friend of mine had some trouble with Walmart censoring his personal photos. He and some friend took some funny pics with a hot dog and it looked like...well...a 'real' weiner. They refused to give my friend his pics, so he stood by the desk and harassed the customers for a half hour before they finally agreed to give him the pics if he'd just go away.
    • All you open source people out there should be refusing to buy non-"open source" photography. Seriously why would you buy a photograph if the photographer will not sell you the right to reprint it. I don't mean art for your wall, but the fact is as far as I'm concerned if I pay someone to create a 'portrait' of my or take pictures at my wedding that is precisely a 'work for hire' and ___I___ should have the copy write to that work. When I had my wedding done I insisted on it. btw my wife is a professiona
  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:11PM (#12844124) Homepage
    On the other hand, pro wedding photographers depend mightily on the income derived from reproducing their work

    I always cringe when I read something like this. To anyone who is planning a wedding out there: Don't be fooled into this!

    It's a little off-topic, but I want to point out that this practice - once "just the way it was" when it came to wedding photography - is becoming less and less common. When we got married (a year ago next Sunday), the #1 thing we looked for was a photographer who wouldn't insist on maintaining the copyrights to the photos.

    This turned out not to be a problem; the few photographers we looked at who still wanted to maintain copyrights were all old-school (in a negative sense) in other ways, too. One guy even wanted to tell us that our relatives wouldn't be allowed to take pictures at our own fucking wedding! I can't imagine how someone would hire this guy; what kind of asshole is actually going to tell their guests they can't take pictures?

    Anyhow, the photographer we ended up with used film rather than digital. I actually looked for this; it added a little bit of work on our part on the back end of the wedding, but as a hobbyist myself I feel there's a real advantage to film specifically in terms of the quality of black and white photos. She did a great job, too.

    Once the pictures were developed, we got all the negatives. We scanned the pictures using a kick-ass negative scanner from Nikon that we bought refurbed (and then sold on eBay for a profit) and stuck the pictures out on Ofoto so our friends and relatives could order right from there. Compare this to my Best Man's wedding a year earlier where he went with a "traditional" photog who kept the copyrights from the photos and wanted to charge us $20 per shot... Well, let's just say I don't have any of the pro shots from that wedding.

    Now, back on topic: If your photos look too good, why hassle with the local Walmart just to get yourself what's going to be, at best, an 'okay' print? Unless you need the prints Right Now, go online! When I'm trying to get my own "good" photos printed, I've had great luck with Adorama's printing service. Plus, they're used to seeing shots that are far better than what I can produce. Ofoto (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) generally kicks out satisfactory results as well.

    • We scanned the pictures using a kick-ass negative scanner from Nikon that we bought refurbed (and then sold on eBay for a profit)

      OT I know but, Quick question. Which model did you buy. I am looking for one for scanning in a whole bunch of old family photos and need a fairly good one.
    • by lupine (100665) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:26PM (#12844346) Journal
      I went digital for my wedding, but the agreement with the photographer stipulated that I was the copyright holder and that the digital copies would be turned over to me. He was allowed to keep & make copies to promote his business, but he was not allowed to sell them.

      I agree absolutely there is no reason to give up control of copyright to the pictures of your own wedding. We were able to turn around and make good quality prints for friends and relatives for pennies. Our total printing costs came to just over a hunderd dollars and we were able to send out prints along with every thank-you card.

      Photographers deserve to be paid as a professional at a fair wage for their time and effort, but they dont deserve to 0wnZ3r your wedding.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:26PM (#12844350)
      My sister ran into a similar problem getting reproductions of old photos of us as kids.

      You go to a professional photographer, and the studio claims to own the copyright, cause you just paid them to shoot the photos (a service) -- prints are extra and they still own the image.

      Now, if you're a photographer working at the studio, you shoot the photos, but the studio owns the copyright, cause it's "work-for-hire".

      Seems to me a contradiction, unless you realize that the actual rule is "It's always owned by the Man." Then it all makes sense.

      To add insult to injury, some of the studios that shot the old photos don't even exist anymore to provide prints or permission.

    • From what I've learned about weddings (from working as a holiday inn Chef) they seem be a the eternal hotbed of scams. Everything from when they sell you a small rock for thousands of dollars on down to the throwing of bouquet is a scam of some sort and everybody wants a piece of the pie. Ernest young lovers ready to through as much of their parents money away as possible are hard to resist. But keeping the copyright to the wedding photos? That is truly ridiculous. At our wedding (which didn't cost a d
      • My question is this; who is printing their digital photos at Walmart anyhow? With ink jet printers being the cheapest they've ever been (and with the average consumer knowing little about fading inks and the like)wouldn't a printer purchase quickly pay for itself?

        No, they won't. Unless you're buying in bulk (and even then prints at a shop often go down in price as the quantity goes up), you're still probably paying 1 1/2 times as much to print at home. And that's before you find out that the print is le
      • In reference to your printer comment, wasn;t there an article just the other day about rising ink prices? I don't think they will ever pay for themselves...

        I work in a professional photo lab and we saw this print your own trend in our professional clients. They would go out and buy some fancy-ass Epson printer and try to print their own work, only to discover what a righteous pain in the ass it can be. From color issues to problems with the original image (going to a "professional" photographer does

    • My roommate hired one of his co-workers( a photo art student at a major college) That guys camera was an 8 megapixel, My roommates was a 6 megapixel. After words they created a DVD of all the photos, and then they printed out a thumbnail of everything to help them sort. 500 pictures printed on an 18"x60" piece of paper.

      my roommate and his wife went through the whole list selected about 300 images and made 3x5's for the close family members, and for every thank you card they included a picture of the pers
    • by csimpkin (808625) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:44PM (#12844640)
      I had the same experience. I started by going to the "best" wedding photographer in town. He maintained full ownership of the photos and no one else could take pictures. I told my wife, "I don't think so."

      I found another photographer that only charged 50 dollars extra for me to keep complete rights to the photos if I didn't buy one of his wedding packages and anybody could take pictures. If I bought one of his wedding packages then the rights were included.

      One of the best things that we did is put little disposable cameras on the tables at the reception. We collected them at the end of the night and had them developed. There were some great shots (and a few disturbing ones) on the disposables that the pro missed.

      One thing that I worry about with a pro that keeps the rights is they may only give you the photos that they liked. If any were really bad you will never see them. We had a few photos that were not very good, but captured a particularly important event.

    • by anaesthetica (596507) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:09PM (#12845030) Homepage Journal
      One guy even wanted to tell us that our relatives wouldn't be allowed to take pictures at our own fucking wedding! I can't imagine how someone would hire this guy; what kind of asshole is actually going to tell their guests they can't take pictures?

      Well, I'm not a professional photographer, but I have been the official wedding photographer twice now for family friends. My experience with "rival" photographers is uniformly negative. Since I myself am an amateur photographer, I don't really have any problem with random people taking their own pictures. But certain family members can really make your job impossible.

      For instance, the first wedding I shot, the groom's step-mother came with a camera of her own, and acted as if she were the wedding photographer. Nevermind that the family had paid for me to shoot all the official photos of the wedding and celebration. She was constantly getting in my shots, getting in between me and bride during procession, etc. Infuriating. When taking group photos, I would give directions (stand closer, turn this way, etc), and she would start giving her own directions. Unbelievable.

      If I were a professional photographer, I would certainly have a clause in my contract saying something very similar. If you hire me to be the photographer for the wedding, make sure that I am the photographer for the wedding. Having to deal with obnoxious relatives on a regular basis would be impossible.

      • That's not a reason to disallow photographing by others altogether, though. Rather, it's a reason to talk to whoever is responsible for the administrative issues surrounding the organization of the event and ask them to ask the interferer to, well, stop interfering with your work, pointing out that *you* are the one who's the official and paid photographer.

        In other words, you certainly can expect people to play along nicely, but I don't see why you'd expect to be the only player in the field.
    • I did the linked portrait session [fotki.com] at home with some alien bee [alienbees.com] strobes & a collapsable background.

      I imported them into iPhoto, and used their photo service to order 4x6s, 5x7s, and 8x10s.

      I got a nice email about how it looked like I was reproducing a pro's prints, to which I was amused because I thought they didn't look that amazing but I digress.

      I had to sign a simple release form, fax it in, and I got my prints.
  • by TPIRman (142895) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:11PM (#12844126)
    Adding insult to injury, the photofinishers refuse to give explicit guidelines as to what qualifies as "professional-looking" (in all likelihood there are no guidelines, of course). But an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on this topic shows one customer's example of a photo rejected by Wal-Mart [signonsandiego.com], alongside an equally good-looking photo that Wal-Mart, in its infinite wisdom, deemed amateurish enough to print.
    • Hate to break this to you: I'd have guessed the black-and-white was professional too.
      • Hate to break this to you: I'd have guessed the black-and-white was professional too.

        Don't worry, my feelings are unhurt, and I agree that the B&W one looks "pro" (although the color photo looks quite good as well).

        That's not the point, though. One of the critical problems here is that the photo labs aren't being forthright in how they make their judgment calls. If they want to come right out and say "no monochrome prints because they are too likely to be professional," fine. It's still a frustrating
    • It's simple really. Monochrome = professional; two berries = professional -- these are things that an amateur would consider to be professional-looking.
    • The colour photo is slightly out of focus, the light is too much stronger on the left side, and slightly different colour in the shadows. The bottom was shot fully open with a faster lens than most amateurs would own, the focus point is correct (on his eyes), and the light is well balanced.

      The tip off that it's actually amateur should have been that it's a portrait shot with a wide-angle lens (I'm guessing equivalent to 28mm on a 35mm SLR). This makes the nose look bulbous and the ears look tiny. A profe
  • by cens0r (655208) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:12PM (#12844146) Homepage
    If the wedding photographer is giving out the 8 megapixel versions of the images on CD, then they're just stupid. If a person has a CD that has 8 megapixel pictures on it, chances are good that they took them themselves.
    • That is a very good point. If you want to deny someone reproduction rights you will not give them an 8 MB image. Of course they could have scanned a photo...
    • Not hard to make an 8 megapixel scan from an 8x10 print though.

      I admit, I scan my kids' portraits and team photos into my personal digital photo library.

    • If a person has a CD that has 8 megapixel pictures on it, chances are good that they took them themselves.

      How would they know it's not an unauthorized 8 Mpixel scan of a copyrighted photo? Let's see... (touches buttons on wristwatch calculator) a scan of a 4x6 print at 600 dpi will be about 8 Mpixels.

  • I Know (Score:5, Funny)

    by sammykrupa (828537) <sam@theplaceforitall.com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:12PM (#12844148) Homepage Journal
    "Your Digital Photos Are Too Professional"

    Yes, I know. Thank you.
  • Paiin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by COMON$ (806135) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:13PM (#12844157) Journal
    My dad takes photos for Seniors in High school who cannot afford a professional photographer. He started getting better than the Professionals and when he went to get his photos developed he had to jump through a lot of hoops convincing the store clerks that he was legit.

    So are we trying to squash small business here or what? if you are a professional and dont digitally sign your photos then that is your fault.

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by axonal (732578) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:14PM (#12844163)
    All the Walmarts I've been to denied the pictures from my honeymoon. I guess they must be some really good professional pictures.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They said it might be a trap.
  • safety. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:14PM (#12844171) Homepage
    ..and yet you can still buy knives, hammers, pillows and other dangerous object that could be used to KILL someone. I guess full and complete protection of 'intellectual property' is more important than full and complete protection of human life.

    Or maybe, just maybe we dont need everything to be protected?
    • Re:safety. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nogami_Saeko (466595)
      Ah, but you see - after a knife, hammer, pillow, or other dangerous objects are utilized, there are less people around to file lawsuits.

      Which means it's OK!

      N.
  • by bwalling (195998) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:15PM (#12844180) Homepage
    If I sign something claiming ownership of the image, why are they liable? They have no way of actually knowing, and couldn't reasonbly be expected to do so. To expect the printer to be the enforcer is only creating a point of friction between the printer and their customers. This just seems so black and white obvious to me.
    • by donutello (88309) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:22PM (#12844281) Homepage
      Because the current US tort system allows you to sue the person with the biggest pockets regardless of who holds the biggest responsibility for damages. Homeowner shoots burglar? Sue the gun company.
    • If you're walmart, they may not even care if the lawsuit being brought against them has any merit or not. Swatting flies in the courts costs them the time of corporate lawyers who make $200/hour.

      When you're looking to sue someone, you go for the deepest pockets that you can even somewhat plausibly go after. That's walmart. I think that the legal protections for them may either be shaky or incomplete...I mean, at kinkos they won't let you copy protected material if they can stop you, and they certainly w
      • What's right and what's fair isn't what we're discussing - this is strictly an issue of practicality in modern courts. Obviously someone at Walmart thinks that putting these restrictions in place is a lot cheaper in the long run than the alternative.

        I keep forgetting that capitalism was redefined to mean screw people over to get their money.
      • Unfortunately, that's the trend that's applying to more and more aspects of our lives. Fear of being sued is the driver for this behavior. As a result, we have people who are being paid barely over minimum wage being asked to use their judgement. What's worse is that there is no penalty for errantly refusing to provide the service. This is the inevitable result of focusing on money and forgetting about the customer.
    • by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:00PM (#12844897)
      If I sign something claiming ownership of the image, why are they liable?

      Because that's what the copyright code says.

      It's strict liability. As long as you are copying copyrighted material, Congress doesn't care whether you knew it was copyrighted or not.

      Maybe this will spur Congress to reform the copyright code... NOT!
  • Marriage (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spez (566714)
    I'm getting married in 2 month, and the professional Photographer I've hired uses a digital camera and photoshop to accentuate colors and things like that.

    The only difference is that a professionnal photographer, unlike me, knows how to take good poses, good angles, and knows what to do in photoshop to make the picture a lifetime souvenir
  • Include a hash or digital signature in the image file, something not readily detechtable to the naked eye but machine decernable (like a flipped bit or pixel every 100 pixels). Not completely foolproof, but could serve as a way verify origin of the photo.
  • Any photographer worth his salt would have long since brought control back into his hands by obtaining a good quality photo printer.

    What are they, $200 nowadays?

    Sheesh.

    D
  • by lthown (737539)
    My brother does wedding photos http://www.bairphoto.com/ [bairphoto.com] and gives the "digital negatives" to the people - he just charges for time. He sent me this link yesterday, he said now he knows why more and more of his clients are asking for print release forms. He is starting to include a stack with the CD when he gives it to people.
  • by neonfrog (442362) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:17PM (#12844213)
    ... to the invention of the photocopier.

    Remember when you went to a Staples or Kinkos and they wouldn't let you photocopy lots of things because they *might* be copyrighted works? Remember when you had to jump through hoops to prove that you were photocopying a book segment for a school book report?

    Fast forward to today. No problem anymore. They just refer you to the Self Serve copiers with the "Don't Copy Illegally" signs and look the other way while you make your own Oxford Englsh Dictionary at 5 cents a page.

    This will be a ridiculously short-lived phenomenon for two single word reasons:

    * Kiosks

    * O-foto (that's not really a word...)

  • Proof of Ownership (Score:3, Informative)

    by dos4who (564592) <top_mcse AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:17PM (#12844218)
    RE:"There's no well-supported digital equivalent to a negative"

    While it's not absolute proof of ownership, most digital formats these days include a specification called EXIF. (Google for "EXIF" or see http://www.exif.org/ [exif.org] for more info).
    The extraneous information in a digital photo containg EXIF data includes such information as Make & model of camera, etc. While such information is not absolute, it can, in a pinch, providde reasonable proof of ownership, as long as you can show you own the equipment specified, and that all the images point to your equipment.
    • by ewhac (5844)

      You do realize there are tools out there that can completely replace the EXIF block, yes? (Granted, most people wouldn't know how to drive them, but still...)

      I wrote an EXIF thumbnail extractor about a year ago. EXIF is just a TIFF-formatted collection of data used to describe the photo. As you might imagine, some cameras get the EXIF data wrong, or leave out bits people consider important, so there are tools available to modify it. There's nothing special about it; if you know TIFF format well enoug

  • DRM (Score:3, Funny)

    by RickPartin (892479) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:18PM (#12844233) Homepage
    I can't wait till they start DRM'ing film. You have developed this film more than one time. Please call this activation hotline you god damn pirate. Thank you
  • Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:19PM (#12844250) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's time to start up a photo business that doesn't care about copyrights.

    Honestly, why would a photographer want copyrights on Ma & Pa Kettle's wedding photos? Is there a release form the couple has to sign off to the photographer for all images of THEM?

    Maybe the photographer should be paying them for modeling, with a clause that they(wedding couple) get a copy for framing.

    Or pony up the $ and just do it all yourself, have a neighbor kid take the photos and pay them an agreed-upon fee.
    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jfengel (409917)
      The photographer doesn't want the copyrights per se. He just wants to be the guy to print them, and charge for the printing. He makes money, and he (or she, of course) guarantees that the prints are to his specifications. He'd hate to have his rep ruined by a bad print job.

      There really is a difference in quality between a pro photographer and the neighbor kid with a camera. Maybe the kid's a photo nut who knows the right lenses to use, the right lighting (especially for formals rather than candids), how
  • Professional photographers are gonna have to face reality on this one. I remember interviewing a bunch for my wedding. I was shocked to learn that they would be retaining the negatives so that if ever in my life I wanted more pictures, I would be paying them an astronomical markup to print them for me. Almost every one of them had this policy. Sorta like razors and razor blades, except the razor itself cost $1000+.

    Fast forward a decade. The means for reproduction are in our hands. They will have to change
  • by Boing (111813) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:22PM (#12844283)
    I'm afraid I can no longer purchase movies or cds from Wal-mart, because for all I know they're just well done bootlegs. I've got to "err on the side of protecting copyrights", after all.

    Same thing with other Wal-mart products, I'm afraid... I can't be sure that they're not violating the trademark protections of Coca-cola by packaging a knockoff as The Real Thing (tm).

  • There are several out there.
  • Steve Noble, who oversees regulatory affairs at the Photo Marketers Association, believes the situation will remain hazy unless copyright laws that were written in a different technological era are altered to reflect the possibilities of digital dissemination.

    Great, a call for more copyright laws! :(

    They'll probably want to mandate an expensive DRM scheme by which you can prove an image came from your camera. Or maybe they'll require that you be a card-carrying member of a photo association in order to p
  • by bahwi (43111) <incoming.josephguhlin@com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:25PM (#12844340) Homepage
    Except in extreme circumstances, digital is going to kill off a lot of "professional" picture takers.

    With more and more megapixels, you can take bad pictures, incredibly off-center, etc.. crop, and voila, the subject is now perfect center(you can even measure it with photoshop to be sure!).

    Sure, there'll always be call for professionals, but it's getting to where you can have just about anyone with a 45-minute course and a big-megapixel camera can do some pretty good shots.

    My favorite is my cheap kodak digital can take pictures from far away, with its little bit of zoom, and I can get home, zoom in on the picture in photoshop(reduces maximize size of final print though, not that I really print much) and it looks like I either had a very professional camera with a huge zoom, or I was much closer when I took my picture, even if that isn't a possibility.
    • As an amateur (but keen) photographer I think you're totally off base. Taking good pictures is most definitely a skill, and one that cannot be fixed in photoshop. I may even go as far to say that it's an art, and one that most people will simply never master in their lifetime.

      You may think your edited picture looks like a pro's picture, but believe me it won't look like it to anyone with a critical eye.

      I spend a lot on equipment, and I'm very proud of the kit I own, and the results I've created so far, bu
      • I think you're missing the point. The resulting photos don't *have* to be as good a professional photos.

        The person taking and editing the photo has to *think* that they are just as good (or close enough that it isn't worth the money to hire the pro). And the vast majority of people are fucking arrogant and have no taste.

        It remains to be seen whether professionals can survive on income only from that tiny minority of people that actually *have* taste.

  • Dear Wal*Mart (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IvyMike (178408) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:25PM (#12844341)
    You're a behemoth corporation with more money than I can imagine. Why don't you throw some of that weight and money around and take a stand against these bullshit laws? Fight the lawsuits in court to establsh a set of sane legal precidents, and promote a new "common-carrier printer status" law.

    Not only because it's the right thing to do, but because by being sissies, you're undercutting your future sales.

    Signed,
    Everybody
  • If the photo looks too professional, they should ask the client to give some ID, so if the owner then claims copyright violations, we know who to blame.

    Ta-da, problem solved.
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Informative)

    by AndyMan! (31066)
    Seriously!

    I'm an "semi-profesional" photographer in my part time, and I bounce back and forth between printing my own on my home printer and using a service like Shutterfly [shutterfly.com].

    I can't imagine ever using a retail service like Walmart. Good quality photo printers are just too innexpensive to justify using a retail service. This is hardly limited to "profesionals" either.

    Print your prints at home! Everyone! Yes, I mean you!

    Geeks have a great opportunity to take ownership of thier prints by printing themse
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Informative)

      Good quality photo printers are just too innexpensive to justify using a retail service.

      Um, Walmart's photo printing service uses Dye-Sub printers - and a 4x6 print only costs $.19. I'm sorry, but the quality is excellent and the price is far cheapers than a "consumer" dye-sub's (Kodak, Hi-Ti, et al) cost-per-print.

  • The basic problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@@@yahoo...com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:28PM (#12844385) Journal
    Professional photographers have successfully sued processors (like Wal-Mart) for reproducing their digital works without permission.

    That's a bad precedent. Service vendors should not be put in the position of monitoring content or judging it, any more than an ISP should monitor its customers' activity (except in a general way). Whether a customer has copyright or permission on a file or photo is not their call, unless they see something obviously illegal happening.

    This isn't Big Brother, really, it's worse: enforced imitation bureaucracy.

  • So photographers now have to make money off their service rather than their image bank.

    Is anyone here crying them a river?

    If Wal-mart decides to be assholes about this, we could go the legal route (sue them), or make a big fuss at the counter. We could also go to shops that have more reasonnable rules.
  • by Pitr (33016)
    Ok, I have a metric assload of problems with this whole concept.

    First and foremost, photographers are paid to take really good pictures, and maybe do some prints. I still think the digital version belongs to the person who's wedding/whatever it is. Yes, the photographer needs to be paid, but he gets paid. And quite well too. What is it, a grand or two for a days work?

    Second, if there are legitimately copywrited photos printed by someone who doesn't own them, it's the person who had them printed who is
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:35PM (#12844486) Homepage
    I know this is not exactly on topic, but I have attended events where cameras were permitted but not "professional" cameras. I've got an Olympus C-730. Not a "cheap" camera, but not what I'd call professional either. In any case, I have had to talk people into allowing me to bring my camera. Ridiculous.

    Okay, so technology in the hands of the average/casual user is getting better and better. The results from these devices are better and better. That's what people want. Now we can't use them for fear of being sued? It's getting ridiculous.

    I haven't run into that problem yet but then again, I don't see the point in getting pictures printed anyway... and if I did, it would give me the perfect reason to go out and buy me that awesome dyesub printer or really nice color laser printer. (Inkjet just sucks and as often as I print color things, I'm lucky to get a few pages printed before the ink goes bad.)

    I recall a run-in I had with a wedding photographer... he did everything he could to get in my way. Those attitudes are definitely out of control as well. It was good to read that these professionals are gradually shifting to getting paid by the time spent taking the pictures rather than by the print.

    And finally, this "PPA" group? I think they need an extra "A" in there to be the PPAA. Then it'd fit in nicely with all the other **AA groups that we can collectively hate for stifling our freedoms.
  • by loggia (309962) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:35PM (#12844490)
    You have to remember: these rules like so many exist to somehow make people feel like the problem is being addressed without actually addressing it.

    The employees have been told they need a copyright release form, but obviously wouldn't know a legitimate release from their own ass.

    If they're your photos, find out what a copyright release form looks like, make one and sign it. Make sure it is signed and printed with a different name from your own as that is probably the spectacularly brilliant method of determining legitimacy. So make up a pseudonym for your photo work and make your own release form.

    Remember - these are your photos, you are doing nothing wrong. You are just giving retail employees what they want.
  • by urlgrey (798089) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:40PM (#12844554) Homepage
    No, really, I'm not joking.

    All this can be avoided with these three sentences:

    By using our processing service, you agree that all photographs are images being processed and/or printed are your own or that you have all legal rights to process and/or print the images.

    If you are not certain you do, you may be held legally liable for fines up to $100,000 for copyright infringement.

    By using our services you agree to be bound by these terms and to assume all risk.

    DONE! That's it. DONE. But instead bureaucracy gets in the way of good judgement. Again.
  • by Giant Killer (33130) <[moc.ydnagevad] [ta] [evad]> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:41PM (#12844586) Homepage

    My brother-in-law had this very problem recently at Costco. After arguing with the person, he eventually had to fill out all sorts of silly paperwork to get them to let him print his own damn work. Just because he's got a good eye and a decent camera (Digital Rebel rocks with the kit lens, folks) they told him the images must have been done by a professional. A compliment of sorts, but quite an annoying one.

    Like others have said, PRINT ONLINE. There are some great services out there, and if you know exactly what you're looking for you can get a good deal. My favorite for amateur photos is currently Mpix.com [mpix.com]. They have a great turnaround time, but more importantly, they have metallic paper [mpix.com]. If any of you have noticed those crazy cool silver gelatin prints in museums, this gives that same sort of effect. Looks great for black and whites, but especially amazing with reds, blues, and yellows. They also have this cool continuous tone black and white paper [mpix.com] (regular digital prints won't give this). Their prices are good, too.

    If you're looking to do real work somewhere in the semi-pro realm, there's really only one choice: White House Custom Color [whcc.com]. This place is for real. You don't just open up an account and upload photos. This place has you fill out a client questionnaire and then they send you samples of their stuff. The coolest thing they have, which I've not seen anywhere else, is linen textured paper [whcc.com] (you'll have to read through one of the PDF's).

    If you need something local and same day, Walgreens is great. They almost always have some sort of a special each week, and I ended up paying $.19 for each 4x6 the last time I was there. The color might not be spot on, but it is same day service. Shipping and tax end up balancing out in the end. Not bad at all.

  • by apathyruiner (222745) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:47PM (#12844685)
    We have plenty of pro photographers use our services for both proofs and a few for their final products. Others just get us to make a CD from their film. We also have a number of amateurs that use us. (and for those of you snickering at the idea of pros using Wally World, we have Fuji Frontiers, look them up, and I at least know how to use it)
    All I have to do to determine the authenticity is have a look at their source. After a little practice you can determine most scanned images from an original digital file. There's also EXIF in the originals. Most pros and amateurs just bring in their CF card and most of the happy snappy crowd doesn't know how to use a card reader. And if you are a pro and give your customers non-watermarked hi-res CDs I take that to mean you give them full release. Many photographers do just that.

    Sorry for the rather disjointed comment, I'm home on lunch and time is limited! ;)

    If you're in Taylors SC and need inexpensive quality prints, just come see William. :)
  • by neile (139369) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:38PM (#12845442)

    Costco is more than happy to take your semi-pro or pro shots and print them. In fact, they specifically do things to cater to pro-sumers and independent professional photographers: each and every one of Costco's digital printers are profiled every six months. The profiles are made available on the web at Dry Creek Photo [drycreekphoto.com] so you can have a completely colour-managed workflow.

    The best part is the price :) Costco's largest size, 12"x18", is only $2.99 a copy, and they look stunning. I have six hanging in my office right now and people are shocked when I tell them where they were printed.

    Neil

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:01PM (#12845730)
    I was visiting an art class where the kids and teachers were actually honestly worried about tracing pictures out of books because of copyright laws.

    I put as solid an end to that nonsense as I could, saying, "Tracing pictures is a great way to learn how to draw, so do it whenever you feel like it and don't worry about it. Nobody with a clean brain is going to care if you hang a drawing of Sponge Bob on your fridge, and if they do, it's their problem. Geez."

    Then I gave a speech about how fear and over-control are the death of creativity, and that the world is currently insane, and not to fall for other people's psychological issues. Draw whatever you want. Sheesh.

    The thing that really stood out was how the moronic laws and idiot debates are actually taken to heart by children and burned into their brains as Right and Wrong in the same way that "Looking Both Ways Before You Cross The Street" is burned in. Or, "Obey Authority Even If It's Totally, Obviously Insane".

    Bavarian Fire Drills are for chumps.


    -FL

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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