Copyright 102 – A Photographer’s Ability to Make a Living

** Text and Images Courtesy of Getty Images **

Transcript:

Getty Copyright 102 video

Hello, I’m Lisa Wilmer; Corporate Counsel at Getty Images. The worlds’ leading provider of, imagery and other digital content to business and media. I am an attorney who helps insure photographers copyright images are only used with proper permission. At Getty Images that permission is always on the form of a license and payment of license fee. We are not trying to dig into all the details of copyright in this short conversation but at the end of the sessions we will point you to resolve more information.

Our discussion is focused on how photographer’s ability to make a living and continue to great images is effect when anyone uses their image without out permission. We are speaking with two photographers who work is represented by Getty images. Catherine Ledner is professional photographer based in the United States. Who has been in photography since 1994. Catherine has a degree in film from NYU, and a degree in photography from the Art Center of College Design in Pasadena California. She has more than 700 images available for licensing on Getty Images.Com and two books on her photography available on Amazon.Com.

Garron Nichols lives in London in the United Kingdom and started working with Getty Images as a member of Flicker. Getty Images and Flicker have partnership where Flicker members can license their images through Getty Images.Com. Garron has lived and worked in several different countries across four continents, and joined Flicker in 2005, where he subsequently developed his photography skills. Garron imagery has been available for commercial licensing at Getty Images, Since Getty and Flicker pilot program began in 2008. He has more than 200 images on GettyImages.com.

Lisa: Welcome Catherine and Garron. Thanks for joining me in talking about how you expect you’re copyright to be honored. By those who wish to use your images and how you expect Getty Images to protect the value of your image, if we find they are used without a license.

Lisa: Catherine, can you explain how you earn money through the images you license through Getty images.

Catherine: Sure, I will set up a shoot then go through a pretty detailed editing process and prepare images for upload and to sell. I received a royalty from Getty and it is a very important part of my general income and it also encourages me to shoot more.

Lisa: And what kind of cost might people be surprised to learn are incurred in producing images such as these.

Catherine: each model is paid a fee; location fee is paid, assistants are paid. There is equipment rental fee, feeding my crew and then afterward their time editing and my assistant time retouching many images all of which end up on Getty Images. So there is a good amount of financial out lay originally on my part.

Lisa: So let’s talk a little about some of the animal photos you have. Can you talk about some of the unusual cost that might associate in sitting up as shoot like that involves exotic animals.

Catherine: Yeah for instant you may pay $750 to the owner of the hedgehog. You also pay the trainer $300-$350 plus transportation fee. Same goes for the alligator and the deer. The trainer for the deer felt like the deer need to come on set a day ahead of time, so it felt comfortable being there. I incurred all same cost as the next day so he could be on set and perform. It can be quite an expensive project on my end but glad I did it.

Lisa: Garron, you images are very different then Catherine’s, In terms of their focus and subject. Can you talk a little bit about how you develop your ideas, set up your shoots and ultimately bring to shoot?

Garron: For me to photograph, I have to do some kind of research before to see what been done before and how I can take a unique take on it or actually understand how it works on that particular subject. I often find that I’m sitting around waiting and waiting for a moment to happen and have the right light and not have people inside my shot I’m trying to take or trying to figure how you can take that best image. For example, I’ve been in Malaysia, they are have some fantastic lighting storms going on, so I left the party and the people I was with and took my equipment and took some photographs on the beach. Cameras are not cheap and I’m upgrading them to improve my photography. Lens, filters, tripods or the rest of the equipment I take for the effort and time I spend in what I’m doing. It would be nice to go somewhere and have a drink but more often than not you spend your time trying to take photographs and addition to get a pose perfect which can take at least as long as your devoted photograph. I love doing it or I would not be doing it. People should understand there time, money, and patience involved in taking photograph.

Lisa: After all the work, time energy, and cost you put into your imagery must be madding seeing your images use somewhere else then fining out that they weren’t licensed, and you weren’t getting paid for the uses. How worried are the both of you about security of your images?

Garron: I am very worried. The images I sell through Getty I’m trying to make a profit to invest back in my photography. If images are being used without licensing taken place that’s going to affect my future sales greatly.

Catherine: I’m worried as well. Mostly because it effects integrity of the image if someone is using the image improperly and another client comes along and wants to use the image properly but has seen it being improperly by someone else they think on this image of a boy in the park is already being used by so and so we better not use it. Well if so and so is using the image without paying licensing fees not only have I been hurt its illegal use if an image but I also lost a sale. This devalues the image for a legitimate sale.

Lisa: one of the important options available for our customers is to be able to license image exclusively and that does require us to know and be able to assert to the customer that the image hasn’t been used by other customer and that customer not using the image without authorization.

Garron: To give an example how that affects me commercially. I did take a photograph from Venice that I subsequently found a Travel booking website stole and stuck on their website to sell their products.

Catherine: I seen a person in England take my hedgehog and pull him out of the shot and use a filter over him to make him look slightly different. But it the same hedgehog, same pose, same everything. It’s obviously the same image, it’s just been altered. Then they printed greeting cards. A friend saw it and alerted me to it and I alerted Getty to it. I did get an apology from the user themselves.

Lisa: unfortunately, we are seeing increase in unauthorized use. Largely because professionally produced imagery use to be accessible to design and publish. Professionals who understand the ins and outs of the copyright and licensing for commercial use but new technology is making images on our website more able to new people who are not familiar with how the business works.

Garron: yes, I agree people need to understand the content are not produced free and have been paid for in some area.

Lisa: Catherine if someone uses your image without permission or other photographer’s images without permission how does it affect photographer ability to earn a living from imagery.

Catherine: incomes generated by royalties help me to create more images. So if a company using my image and not paying for it then I feel like I’m being robbed and then I’m being discourage for shooting more and putting more up in fear of being taken. Without said I love taking pictures and I will not stop.

Lisa: So how aggressive do you expect Getty Images to be in pursue people who use your imagery without permission?

Catherine: I expect Getty images to be very aggressive because it is in both our interest.

Garron: if people are using our images to make money well frankly that not right but I was Getty to strongly go after them. It might be far less expensive if people license these images in off sit then pay then penalty.

Lisa: so I wanted to thank you both for helping in understanding how copyright foundation of your business. how important it is for people to understand copyright issues around photography. Once the one thing you want folks to think about before using your imagery?

Catherine: Much much more goes into making photography then they might think. This is an after all our lively hood. When people use our images correctly then that gives us more incentive to create more images.

Garron: I have to say licensing is easy and can be very inexpensive.
Catherine: I would have to agree much better to do the right thing up front then to do the wrong thing and have to pay for it in spades later.

Lisa: Just because you download an image doesn’t mean you’re can use it legally for any commercial or editorial use licensing is key.

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