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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 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Marriage (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Spez (566714) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:15PM (#12844182)
    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
  • 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...)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Stipulations? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:24PM (#12844323)
    the stipulation is:

    People with no money probably can't afford a lawyer to sue you.

  • by bahwi (43111) <[incoming] [at] [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.
  • 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 Rowan_u (859287) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:27PM (#12844364)
    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 dime btw) we had three photographers, all amature. I did a compilation of photos for everybody afterwards and burned them to cheap CD's.

    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?
  • The basic problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo . c om> 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.

  • Re:Piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OhPlz (168413) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#12844401)
    I had something like that happen at a Quebec to Vermont border crossing. I was in my early 20's driving a brand new (gasp) SUV. The US BP agent was certain I couldn't own such a vehicle. She even hesitated to accept the temporary registration and title application as proof (I hadn't registered it yet).

    There's too many busy-bodies and not enough MYOB sense.

    Why would Martmart even be the victim of a lawsuit? They acted on a request of a customer, if the customer ordered a reprint of a copywritten work THEY should be the guilty party. Without an absolute way of verifying copyright status it's absurd to hold Martmart responsible.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:29PM (#12844410)
    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.

  • by Pitr (33016) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:30PM (#12844417)
    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 liable. Not the printer. Otherwise it's like suing maytag because someone washed your dry-clean only sweater.

    It seems legal battles are now just big finger pointing contests, and copyright is about who you can sue. I think the whole process needs a reality check, because the spirit of copyright and other laws has been completely lost.
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:32PM (#12844448) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • End of an era.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OreoCookie (814421) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:34PM (#12844476)
    If you can take nice photos, great, but don't expect to get rich doing it. When the technology was new and the expense of equipment and processing was prohibitive then very few people could afford to take nice pictures. With today's digital tools, even a hack like me can get some really nice shots. When you take 1000 digital pictures at zero cost then the law of averages means you'll get a few good ones, and even the not so good ones can be post processed to make acceptable prints.
  • 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 swestcott (44407) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:37PM (#12844513) Homepage
    In our case the photograher did not store the negatives properly (destroyed in huracane)and now we can not get copies even if we wanted to
  • by AndyChrist (161262) <andy_christ@ y a hoo.com> on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:40PM (#12844565) Homepage
    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 less durable.

    The only real benefit to a printer is convenience. Get your prints without having to take/send your files to the photo lab.

    For printing a large number of pictures, a trip to walmart (or in my case the local photo processing shop)can pay for itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:41PM (#12844570)
    Not saying there's something inherently evil about it, just that such a setup is becoming increasingly undesireable from the consumer's standpoint. I don't begrudge him his business model, but I wouldn't hire him.

    The photographer at my wedding actually refused to do prints. He likes the shooting, not the rest of the gig. What we bought from him was several rolls of undeveloped film with our wedding on them! We just took them to a decent local development shop (NOT Walmart!) and had them developed and some prints made.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:46PM (#12844664) Homepage Journal

    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 enough, you could bang out a valid EXIF header using nothing more than a hex editor.

    So no, I wouldn't consider EXIF data to be a reasonable source for corroborating "ownership" claims.

    Schwab

  • by dangerweasel (576874) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:46PM (#12844671)
    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 NOT guarantee a "professional" image) there is a minefield of places that things can go wrong.

    PS. Pro's are also getting there work printed at the discount places right along side you, and still trying to charge $10 or even $20 dollars for a 4x6 print they paid $0.29 for. They are well deserved to be in the list of over paid profession. Plus they have to be about the whiniest people I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

    I never said this. I was not here.

  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:49PM (#12844722) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but I can't disagree more. Genuine professional photographers do far, far, FAR more than point-and-click. True professionals will take lighting, position, angle, lens type, white balance, and a number of other factors into account before ever looking through the view finder. These are the professionals who look at the meaning behind the image that they're about to take and find out the best way to make that meaning come through the image.

    The only people that will be killed because of digital as you suggest are the wanna-be professionals who look at photography more as a hobby that can make money because the customers can (or won't) do it themselves. The people with a real eye for photography will be just fine. Yes, Photoshop is good, but I don't think that any graphical package will ever be able to make up for true talent.
  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:53PM (#12844792) Homepage Journal
    I disagree. Grandparent does not understand copyright, contract law, or business.

    It's not rocket science to workout that by making money off the prints, the photographer can charge less for taking the pictures. Or conversely, if he's not going to make money off the prints he'll have to charge more upfront.

  • Nnnnnnope! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpellino (202698) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:54PM (#12844794)
    A few months ago, the local Staples - their self-serve machines were all down - refused to copy a *tele-facsimile* of a *copy* of a property record of my house from our local town hall. "It's a legal document. We can't copy it." I had them produce their printed rules on this. While lots of other things were mentioned, "legal documents" were not blanket excluded. They still refused. Ditto the manager, and it was leave or they would call the police.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday June 17, 2005 @02:55PM (#12844811) Homepage Journal
    My only concerns is that since there is no encryption on DNG files, can you prevent people from turning JPGs into DNG files?

    Since DNG is just another file format, there's nothing to prevent you from transcoding from JPEG to DNG. However, it should be possible to immediately distinguish between a JPEG->DNG file and a "true" DNG file just by looking at them, because of the DCT artifacts.

    But your larger question is correct: Posession of a DNG file will prove exactly nothing.

    Schwab

  • by qwijibo (101731) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:03PM (#12844940)
    The lawyers don't even need to be incompetant. There is almost no way anyone could win such a case. However, it would cost the company thousands of dollars each time to have a lawyer go in and argue that the infringement was done by an individual who asserted that they had legal rights to copy the image. Even when you win a lawsuit, you're out the money it took to hire the lawyer to fight it. This is the expense they're trying to avoid.

    Corporate lawyers are supposed to protect the companies, and management is supposed to decide how to spend the company's money most effectively. The cost of implementing a retarded policy is very small. Management looks at the cost of paying a lawyer to fight something the company doesn't care about and the cost of the stupid policy and implements the stupid policy because it's more cost effective.

    There is no need to worry about if they can defend themselves legally because all of the actions are motivated purely by money. Any form of risk, no matter how small is bad because it can cost money. It's really that simple.
  • by Matts (1628) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:05PM (#12844968) Homepage
    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, but even with photoshop and hours of my own time I couldn't dream of matching up to some of the professional pictures I see posted to some of the photography forums I frequent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:08PM (#12845008)
    Access, yes, but copyright? You should ask.
  • by temojen (678985) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:12PM (#12845071) Journal
    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 professional would have used a fast, longish lens like an 80mm f1.4 or a 120mm f2.8. These would have given the correct perspective and small depth of field (to blur out the background).
  • by LetterJ (3524) <j@wynia.org> on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:16PM (#12845142) Homepage
    The problem people buying wedding photography don't usually get is that, for most photographers, there's only 1-2 weddings per week they can shoot. That's because almost everyone gets married on Saturday afternoon. That'd be OK, except that a wedding's worth of photos need to be gone through, touched up, organized, proofs or other comparison method made up, sent out, process the incoming order and otherwise take up much more time afterward, all tied to the wedding on Saturday. Not to mention spending time at bridal shows, meeting with potential customers that don't sign, working on marketing and the rest of the non-billable portions of running a business. Combine that with couples that want the photographer to shoot the rehersal dinner and rehersal itself the night before and want that included in the package and you're left having to charge an entire week's worth of labor and materials to a single customer.

    Then, as a self-employed person, they need to effectively double the money they want to pay themselves to cover their own payroll taxes, unemployment insurance (mandatory in my state), etc. you have to charge the equivalent of $40/hour, just to make $40,000. But, almost no one gets married in Nov-March, so you have to compress it further if you want to make your living doing just weddings. Throw in another couple of weeks here and there where the couple breaks up and cancels and you don't get another booking and you're left only able to get billable clients for about 26 weeks per year.

    The end result is that you'd have to charge $3200 a wedding just to break even on the LABOR and still only make $40,000/yr, working weekends in addition to weekdays, dealing with people on one of the most stressful days possible, working without a safety net (just waiting to get sued because you "ruined" their once-in-a-lifetime-day and caused them major emotional distress).

    I started down this road a couple of years ago and, after running the numbers and doing about 4 weddings, I decided that to be worth the hassle, the expense in redundant equipment (the bride doesn't want to hear that your *only* 135mm portrait lens cracked on HER SPECIAL DAY) and extra crap like multiple tuxedos in your closet because couples insist that the photographer wear one too, I'd have to charge well over $5000 a wedding to do it. And, since "anyone can take pictures" and "you're only working 3 hours a week", no one except the really high end clients wants to pay $5000-$7500 for a basic wedding photo package. If it were in that price range, work for hire would be fine.

    However, quote $5000-$7500 for a wedding on a work-for hire basis, and you'll hear the whole working for 2-6 hours thing and they'll quickly do their own math and say, "No one's worth $2500/hr".

    So, photographers have relied on print purchases to spread that cost around a big. After all, if the album's "worth" $1400, if the proofs are $400, if the digital photos on DVD are $250 etc. then the remaining money doesn't seem as bad.
  • by RFINN (18178) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:27PM (#12845308) Homepage
    I work in the photography field, so I might be able to offer a different perspective.

    Did you know that photographers who work for National Geogrpahic own their images, even if they appear in the magazine? They fought for that right in court and the Supreme Court sided with the little guy on this one - that being the photographer.

    Your contract as a programmer states explicitly that what you create on the job is owned by the company. But if you did not agree to that upfront, then anything you invented/created on the job would actually belong to you.

    You see - the NFL owns the game, but NBC owns the broadcast. You own the content of your wedding, but the photographer owns the images they created. Now, the NFL and NBC have certainly negociated something that is beneficial to both, otherwise the NFL takes its games to another network (which happens all the time). And likewise, you have the ability to negociate with your photographer over rights and find another one if the terms are not to your liking.

    What I do is offer prints as part of the package, and additional prints online at a reasonable charge, and at the same time the couple may purchase the "negatives" (a CD of the RAW images and full resolution processed JPEGs) along with the rights to do whatever. My charge for taking the photos + handing over the rights is still under the market price, however.

    Copyright law goes back decades protects the photographer to same way it protects freelance programmers and journalists. Organizations like AMPS and PPA have spent a lot of time, money, and effort defending the rights of photographers and other creators/inventors againsts the interests of large corporations. And if the average person could stick it to the photographer, then the large corporation can too as well as the creative programer.
  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:37PM (#12845430)
    if you feel that $20 a print (or whatever is being charged) is to steep, have your friend take the photos at your wedding. but remember that these are the pictures that will be on your wall in 50 years, when you celebrate your anniversary. Exactly...but the point of this article is that if those pictures your friend takes actually look decent, you won't be able to get the printed to hang on your wall at all because "surely, some pro photographer took them since they look good, so if you print them, you're ripping him off.
  • by Surt (22457) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:46PM (#12845538) Homepage Journal
    All of this seems to describe why you shouldn't build a business purely out of taking wedding pictures, rather than any sort of motivation actually to pay people foolish enough to try such large sums of money.
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:55PM (#12845656) Homepage Journal
    And once again I have to say that only the professional wanna-bes in these areas will be killed off. Those with true talent and are good at what they do will still be around for a long, long time.

    Printing photographs onto Tshirts, once a screen printing domain of professionals, now anybody can do that too.

    The average T-shirt making material is crap, that's why the general public can affort it. Ten sheets for $15 from an ink-jet? Yeah, that's real quality. (Not.) Silk-screening, embroidering, and so forth is still not in the realm of the normal consumer or hobbyist.

    You argument focuses too much on the mechanisms. That's not where the talent of professional photographers lies. I don't care how technology advances or how easy it is to do certain things. Technology will NEVER be able to replace the intuition and the talent that genuine photographers have. So the wanna-bes have two choices: find another line of work or improve themselves so that they're better than the average, at-home crowd. If they do niether, then my only response when they die off is "Good!"

    By your line of thinking, anyone with a PC and Maya will create an incredible, virtual world that will make everyone "ooh" and "aah"; anyone with a PC and a DVD authoring package will make Hollywood-quality DVDs; anyone with a PC and Cakewalk will be the next DJ phenom. None of these can ever be if the person doesn't have the talent, intuition, and desire to use those tools effectively. And, no, cropping and red-eye reduction do not qualify as "talent", "intuition", or "desire".
  • by iGN97 (83927) on Friday June 17, 2005 @03:58PM (#12845688) Homepage
    the flaw in your logic is easy to spot: obviously you create your own wedding, but you don't create the pictures.

    if your idea of good wedding pictures is something to "document" that something happened, might as well get anyone with a recent cellphone to do the job. "look, ma', i got married. here's me, here's the church."

    a good photographer doesn't just take photos, he makes photos.

    you'll see this the clearest during the formals. he'll take the happy couple to a place with a pleasant background. he'll make sure the sun isn't in their face, because he knows that sunlight isn't high quality light. he'll use a flash to lift facial shadows, often with a light modifier. he'll bring reflectors if needed to make sure there is enough light, possibly portable power with monoblocks, big ol' honkin' softboxes.

    and you probably won't end up with pictures where the happy couple is squinting, the sweat on there face pouring with overwhelming distracting backgrounds.

    a good photographer will do a lot to candids; chances are he knows how to spot them in a way people that don't care as much for photography as he does. maybe you won't be irritated that someone's arm is partially blocking a face. small stuff, but enough to make yourself go "that's a good picture".

    so first of all, your logic is flawed in that the photographs aren't the photographers creation.

    your developer analogy is valid. a developer goes into contract, just like you say. and so will most photographers, as this thread indicates. you can find photographers that will give you the copyright of the images. it all boils down to revenue model. everything has its price, and photography, like every other profession, has representatives that are overpriced.

    but you do not want a document on your mantlepiece, like the NBC-broadcast of that fourth touchdown. you want a piece of art. a creation, not a mere documentation.
  • 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

  • by wfeick (591200) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:10PM (#12845834)

    In the real world, who owns the rights to the pictures is a negotiation between you and your photographer, and that's all. It used to be that most professionals insisted that they maintain rights and you would have to pay them for any reprints. These days, most seem to give them to you if you want them, and they've probably increased their costs to offset the lost reprint income.

    Regardless, it's a negotiation. The price you pay for the service of having your event photographed is balanced against the rights each of you have to the images going forward. Either one of you can sign away your rights in consideration for the money that is paid for the service. The important thing is that both parties are clear up front on what they get in exchange for the money.

  • Re:Stipulations? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:12PM (#12845849)
    "Your forgetting the fact that its the photographers equipment. Time == Money."

    He did not forget this. You completely missed it when he wrote "any photography you commission is copyright by *you*"

    He is describing work for hire. You commission a work, it is a work for hire, therefore under current copyright law _you_ own it for 99 years. The photographer's time and equipment is reasonably compensated by the fee he negotiates for commission, otherwise he should not have accepted the commission.
  • Re:Stipulations? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:23PM (#12846002)
    How can you possibly think that the photographer does not own the copyright to work HE/SHE created?

    How can you possibly think that the buyer does not own the copyright to work HE/SHE paid for?

    You really need to learn what "work for hire" means.
  • by Joe Decker (3806) on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:46PM (#12846282) Homepage
    A real pro will shoot several shots for each one they keep, with slight variations in lighting, etc.

    That's true in my line of professional photography, but not for wedding photographers. Really good wedding photographers, like street or documentary photographers, do their best work by capturing a particular moment or emotion, those expressions are fleeting, and can't be replicated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @04:49PM (#12846308)
    To top it off, wedding photographers are ranked #10 on the list of most overpaid professions

    That's just some asshat's opinion. He even has the audacity to put airline captains on there. Yes, he has an argument, but I don't buy it. Jet airliners are usually safe, but when something goes wrong I want the most calm, collected person in the front seat and I think paying a little bit to get it is a problem. Senior administrative staff make more, yet an airline captain is actually that and he can operate a complex piece of machinery to boot.

    Witness the UAL232 incident, and on the flipside
    witness Roselawn and any of the numerous icing crashes caused by inexperienced or less than top notch pilots. It is a small price to pay for experience. He is just a stupid editorialist who can't get a real job and is bitter about it.

    He denigrates the quality of work of wedding photographers, but doesn't really back it up. I know many wedding photographers, and most of them have no problem with other people taking pictures. And you know why? Because they have never had any issue of others at the wedding exceeding the professional work.

    Sounds like this asswipe can't cope with the idea of a free market. If everyone could get Uncle Earl to do high quality wedding shots for free, they would. The wedding photography industry doesn't need to resort to any guild like pressure tactics, people willfully elect to use them (and some people choose not to, with mixed results). Another thing is that most reputable wedding photographers are extremely professional and very well equipped with redundancy because they know that not only is their reputation on the line, but there is the threat of legal action (which usually amounts to nothing, but it is a pain in the ass).
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Friday June 17, 2005 @05:10PM (#12846558) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Sillyness (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Friday June 17, 2005 @07:15PM (#12847562)
    Then think up a new term than "intellectual property," but the concept is solid.

    No it's not. It's just a way of forcing people to pay more for a service/product than they are willing to pay in a free market.

    Anything that requires substantial investment to develop and has value to people should have a system whereby that investment can be recouped.

    A lot of the crap being passed as "intellectual property" nowadays didn't require much of an investment - however, even if something DOES require a substantial investment to develop, the value of that "thing" is NOT set by the seller - it is set by what people are willing to pay to get it in a free market. If you can't get people to pay a certain amount to get something in a free market, then it isn't worth that amount.

    And I don't think it's a coincidence that the countries that allow invention to be rewarded in this manner are the ones that tend to do better.

    Really? You got some studies to back this up? All of the historical studies that I've read indicate that the U.S. became as economically successful as it is today by riding roughshod over European "intellectual property" concerns. China is getting rich & still growing during tough times by pretty much ignoring "intellectual property" laws (except for some lip service).

    It seems more like developed countries try to encumber competitor countries by getting to them to go along with "intellectual property" laws (either by bribing or threatening them). Developing countries which ignore those intellectual property laws often end up with economies which go like gangbusters (except for economy-destroying scenarios like massive corruption).

    So give me a few examples of countries that have benefited by passing laws which restrict the ability of their citizens to innovate (which is exactly what "intellectual property" laws do).

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