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Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs
  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


As many of you know, i photograph a lot of ballet. One of the dancers with Ballet Chicago the past few years was riding his bike this summer and run over by a hit-and-run driver. He was lucky to have lived through it, had his clavicle broken in three spots, had a fracture in his skull and brain contusions. In his rehabilitation, he had to start with walking and he worked hard at it, and performed with the Providence Ballet this weekend.

The local news had covered his story, and thus did a story about his performing this weekend. His Go Fund Me and the news story used pictures that I'd take of him while he was with Ballet Chicago.

The news story didn't give me credit for my picture, and it actually used my picture as s standalone pic on their website where they provided the video to his story. When you click to expand the pic, you can see that it was cropped just below his feet, cutting off most of my watermark.

I know. Some of you are up in arms right now. How dare they?! But the truth is, the story is not about my pictures, but my picture helps show how talented this dancer was when he was last performing before the accident. It's an absolutely necessary element to the story. But the story isn't about my dance photography. And I'm perfectly good with them using my picture without asking my permission or giving me credit. In fact, I bet they intentionally chose not to contact me and ask for my permission because there probably have been some photographers who thought this would be a good time to ask for a lot of compensation for them using the image.

It's really not a slam-dunk decision for me not to be bothered by it. That news station makes money, and my image in some small way helped them. But even worse, they didn't have my permission to use the image, whether they would pay me or not. Again, my money says dealing with photographers has sometimes proven to be difficult for them.

I know the dancer well, in terms of the photographer/dancer relationship. He was always very nice to me and was such an elegant ballet dancer.

I decided to share this because there is a lot of gray area between what is right or wrong in terms of the news program using my picture. I'm pretty sure Jordan got this picture by downloading it, or screenshotting it, when I posted it on my RMP Facebook page. And to be honest, when I post this to Facebook or anywhere online, I expect dancers to screenshot these images and post them on their IG and FB pages. If I got upset every time a dancer screenshot one of my pictures of them, I'd be a raving, ranting lunatic, running wild in the streets of Chicago.

So what are your thoughts on this? How would you have handled it?

Down below is a screenshot (that's fair play, right?) of them using my image, plus my actual image of Jordan and a couple other shots of him that I like.

By the way, forgive me for not participating in the discussion tomorrow (Saturday) as I have shoots all day long. I'll check in on Saturday evening.

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Edited on Oct 22, 2017 at 01:05 AM · View previous versions



Oct 21, 2017 at 05:31 AM
Jonathan Brady
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


To me, it's simply wrong. And I think it's great that you're willing to allow use of the image for this particular occasion. But, you're not wondering where your next meal is coming from whereas in the future (and likely in the past), some photographer from whom they stole an image will, and the use of their image by this news agency could have made a difference.

I'm guessing there's one of two scenarios going on.... 1) Jordan provided the image to them and so for whatever reason, they feel like that provides them with the license to use it (and they'd obviously be wrong) or 2) they knew they didn't have the right to use it and simply didn't care as they reasoned they'd never get caught or they're the type of organization to ask not for permission, but for forgiveness - which is a HORRIBLE way to run a business.

As for payment and them having bad experiences... so what? I guarantee that they'd be up in arms if their news channel was hacked by a local company and that local company ran an ad over the air and on their website advertising their products in a spot where another advertiser had paid to have their product placed.

Personally, I'd ask for a public apology and here's why... it would put the focus back on Jordan a second time. Ask them to bring it up on the air that they MISTAKENLY used the image without permission, but that the photographer was okay with it, and in the future they'll ensure that the copyright owners are contacted for all images/video and have them throw a link up to Jordan's GoFundMe page while they're at it. This, IMO, benefits everyone involved. The news company gets to save face AND talk about the positive side of a story with an update on Jordan, you get mentioned, future content creators will get paid (and if not, there's a precedent set which would look REALLY bad in court), and Jordan may get some additional money out of it for his recovery. Win-win-win-win!

Just something to think about :-)

Stunning images, as always! And I'm happy to hear that Jordan is doing so well!



Oct 21, 2017 at 10:21 AM
markperez
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Think the news would argue fair use act. People with a lot more attorneys than I have argued this and lost.


Oct 21, 2017 at 12:25 PM
Jonathan Brady
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


I don't know anything about it but I'm not sure the fair use act would apply based on me spending 30 seconds on Wikipedia. Here is the intention of the fair use act, at least according to Wikipedia...
"promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes."
I also searched the page for the word "photo" and got zero returns.
I don't see how using a photograph produced, likely, under contract between two people constitutes fair use.



Oct 21, 2017 at 12:32 PM
mikekeating
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Time to update your website as “The official photographer of ABC6 news” and up your rates 10%.




Oct 21, 2017 at 08:30 PM
GoodEgg
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Bad form on the station's part. Good to take the high road, Ron. But I think the station needs you to send a letter requesting they pull your material off their website, and off any website they feed, and issue an apology, and make a correction on the next newscast, as Mr. Brady intimates.


Oct 21, 2017 at 09:43 PM
gschlact
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Ron,
I'll weigh in on this... First you have a typo, the story is Not about your photograph, it is about the dancer. This also distinguishes that it can not be argues as fair use.

Media companies should know better as their own content is copyrighted. It is up to the user to research their usage rights prior to using copyrighted content, no matter how they obtained the photograph(s). Before I go on, we must establish whether here was any legal way for them to obtain usage rights without an Agreement with you? For example, you provided to Jordan unrestricted usage (which includes unrestricted distribution and commercial use ) unless you specifically listed his usage rights to exclude distribution , who inturn provided rights to the news station.

Assuming none of your previous Agreements provided legal means for the News channel to obtain the photo, IMHO, as a Professional Photographer, you need to represent your profession and insist that not only the Station pay you, but at least double your fees due to their willful intent to remove your copyright mark. What you do with the funds is up to you. Willful intent is in he copyright law as 2x damages. However, if you have actually previously registered these Images with the USPTO office, I believe minimal damages awarded is something like $25,000.

I suggest you screen shot all uses of your images for documentation.
Send them an invoice and include payment demand, along with 2x usage charges for all their channels (air, website, etc), demand for public apology, along with some of the above ideas that they also rebroadcast the GoFundMe address. Also,state you intentions of whether you will donate a portion of the funds you receive to Jordan. Send it to their CFO with 1 week demand. Also state that if conditions are not met, provide reference to the mandatory willful copyright violations in excess of $25,00 plus your attorney costs. (They don't need to know whether you actually registered them).

THen feel proud that you did your share to maintain the Photography Professiinand continued to help Jordan as well.

Guy



Oct 21, 2017 at 10:10 PM
Herb
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


I think I would be happy with a conversation with the station manager about their usage and how disappointed I am that they removed my watermark when they presented on TV. I would then ask him what he thought was a reasonable remedy for this willful usage of a photo that they didnt own the rights to....then I would be absolutely quiet...let the silence in the room get to him....by the way, I would record the conversation so that what ever he says you will have a recording of it. He will speak as long as you sit there quietly.

People do not like silence and as such he will over something. If he offers something that you think is in appropriate...stay quiet....I have watched this technique work time and time again. My son has used it in his professional career and it works for him. I had a sales manager that worked for me and he was the one that taught me....wonderful technique.

At any rate, I would let him suggest.....because right off the bat you can see what he is willing to do and that will give you a place to go from.....I dont think playing hardball will necessarily work so you might want to go this approach or other...



Oct 22, 2017 at 12:10 AM
gheller
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Allowing them to use it free *seems* like a good deed, but it hampers all others in the industry who (rightly so) should be credited and / or paid for the use of their image.

greg



Oct 22, 2017 at 12:21 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


mikekeating wrote:
Time to update your website as “The official photographer of ABC6 news” and up your rates 10%.



haha! They're in Rhode Island, I'm in Chicago! I think it gives me credibility when I"m the official photographer for a TV station so far away!



Oct 22, 2017 at 01:03 AM
 

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friscoron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


gschlact wrote:
First you have a typo, the story is Not about your photograph, it is about the dancer. This also distinguishes that it can not be argues as fair use.


Thanks for catching that. I've just corrected it.



Oct 22, 2017 at 01:06 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs



It seems that everyone is on the same page here, so no need for me to respond to anyone individually.

To clarify for Guy, in my OP I said that I believe Jordan pulled this image from a Facebook post of mine. He never purchased an image from me. I get plenty of sales from dancers and their parents, so when I post images on FB or IG, I expect the dancers to pull those images and post them on their own social media outlets. Whether others agree with how I do things or not, it doesn't really matter. Once you put your images on the web, they're going to be taken and used. I've made it clear to the dancers that they can do that. They're just web-sized images, they can't really do anything with them beyond using them on social media.

Here's the way that I look at this. TV station is doing a story on Jordan, and Jordan obviously wants them to do it. They ask him if he has any pictures of him performing that they can use in the report, and he provides them with this little social media image. It clearly has my watermark on it and they can google me and easily find me to request or purchase the rights or use this on the story being aired, and on their website. But they didn't.

I get that some people feel that I owe it to the industry to speak up. I get it that some people think that I should be paid for usage rights. I think the first question I ask in a situation like this is what would they have paid for the rights to use this image. I'm pretty confident the answer is nothing. I think if they had to pay to use the image, they wouldn't have used it. The story really helps Jordan more than the station, or anything else. So if they had asked, I probably would have let them use it for free. I had nothing to gain.

But again, they didn't ask. And now, many of you are encouraging me to pursue some sort of compensation. Honestly, if they were sued every time they used a picture that they didn't get the rights to use, they'd probably stop using pictures altogether. And for me, it's not about the money, it's not about the rights unless they used my image in a way to truly bring profit (derived from my specific image's usage), it's about the story. I guess I should say that I worked in journalism for a lot of years. I wrote a lot of stories, and took a lot of pictures to support the story, or used pictures from photographers (our own, and the public).

I would have liked for them to request permission to use the pic. But even if they didn't, I'm not going to pursue compensation. I just don't see the value of it in a little story like this. Even if I was awarded $25k, I would not feel right about accepting it. Not even $1 of it. That's just the way I feel. By the way, this is not even close to the first time my pictures have been used by TV news. Like it or not, I'm okay with that.



Oct 22, 2017 at 01:37 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Hi Ron,

WELL DONE....

In my opinion they should have given you credit. I did some stuff with Betty White a few years back and my photos were on WGN here I got credit.

I do agree with not excepting money for it.



Oct 22, 2017 at 01:40 AM
gschlact
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


You could always give / donate the money to Jordan for his rehab. But most don't agree on letting them get away with stolen / free / willful infringement of copyright. Let then choose the no image route or find a try free image, but don't keep encouraging theft from the profession.

As far as profit, feel good stories are the kind of stories a news station tease an audience with and save it to ensure you watch until the end of their broadcast to air the story, thus more viewers, and higher advertising rates and collected revenue.



Oct 22, 2017 at 05:15 AM
markperez
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Jonathan Brady wrote:
I don't know anything about it but I'm not sure the fair use act would apply based on me spending 30 seconds on Wikipedia. Here is the intention of the fair use act, at least according to Wikipedia...
"promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes."
I also searched the page for the word "photo" and got zero returns.
I don't see how using a photograph produced, likely, under contract between two people constitutes fair use.


yeah cause Wikipedia is known as the foremost guide to law



Oct 22, 2017 at 01:55 PM
unclechuck
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Ron

Station management knows the rules, and even if they didn't whoever processed your image knew enough to crop your watermark. Most solicit submissions from viewers in hopes of not having to pay stringers. No "who knew?" claims.

Here's a suggestion:

Set a value on your image and contact the station as if it were a misunderstanding you're sure they will want to make right ---

present your normal cost and ask for the station to correct the omission by

1. giving you credit as often (and at the same times) as the 'cropped' image ran

2. the station donating the equivalent money to the mans recovery fund with a note that you asked the image proceeds go to the dancers benefit.

3. Consider Publicly Thanking Station Management and Reporters for doing their part in maintaining high ethical standards via a letter to the station and a web page Thank You on your site.

Hope something here is useful to one of FM's finest.

Charles




Oct 22, 2017 at 03:05 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


Here's the situation guys. The client probably submitted the photographs on a job Ron was already paid on. They should have contacted him but they didn't so should he make a deal of something he already said he was not inclined to do and maybe causing a thing that ultimately involves the client and a good STEADY client. I would let it go to. He'll by far make up any loss in the future because it is a good steady client. The ballet (client) not the TV station.


Oct 22, 2017 at 03:54 PM
unclechuck
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


airfrogusmc wrote:
Here's the situation guys. The client probably submitted the photographs on a job Ron was already paid on. They should have contacted him but they didn't so should he make a deal of something he already said he was not inclined to do and maybe causing a thing that ultimately involves the client and a good STEADY client. I would let it go to. He'll by far make up any loss in the future because it is a good steady client. The ballet (client) not the TV station.


Good point, well stated

Charles



Oct 22, 2017 at 04:09 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs



Charles, the value I would place on their usage of this image is zero dollars and zero cents. I would have wanted them to use the image to support Jordan's story. In this story (I don't remember from the previous), but this might be the only image or video showing Jordan's dancing before the accident. So with all that in mind, the only issue is credit.

So here's the next truth. i don't watermark my images anymore. I prefer for my images to be seen without a watermark, and I'm well-known enough in the Chicago area (where most of my clients are) that I don't need a watermark. So having said that, I actually don't need the credit. And for them to take time in the story to say, "Hey, this pic is by Ron McKinney", would take time away from what the story's focus should be on, which is Jordan's amazing recovery.

Rememeber that news station is in Rhode Island. I'm in Chicago. (Not that that makes much difference, as I would feel the same if it were a Chicago TV station.)

So I'm with Allen on this, or rather I agree with his agreement with me. I'm doing fine.

I've really enjoyed this discussion, and hearing the different points of view from each of you. I was really curious how others would feel about this. Thanks for being a part of this.



Oct 22, 2017 at 05:34 PM
drewmey
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Getting credit -- or not! -- for pics on TV news programs


To me (based on your description) this has nothing to do with appropriate compensation for the images, as you said there would be none whether they asked or not. That however, does not negate the issue of right and wrong. I still don't see the harm in bringing it up with the broadcasting firm and reminding them that it is not an acceptable practice (management may not even have any idea it is happening). Simply tell them that no compensation is required (and would not have been if they asked prior to using the photo). But warn them that in the future someone could come along (and may have every right by law) to request some fairly large compensations. If you don't feel that you even need to be recognized with a "story update", that is fine. But there is a chance that you could be protecting future photographers from having this sort of thing happen by simply bringing it to their attention. Not saying it is your "responsibility" to let them know, but would be nice practice.


Oct 24, 2017 at 04:01 PM
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