When I’m homeless, spare me a thought

I like print. I like seeing my photos in print. People that know me know that I shoot Derby for fun. I may make a few quid here or there on the odd bit of editorial work but there is a huge disparity in my outlay and money coming in. For anyone who is interested I can provide a breakdown accompanied with a picture of my bank manager sporting a rather grumpy face and my local camera dealer with a much happier one.

Sometimes however I don’t like seeing my images in print. Especially when I may be looking at the wrong end of legal action. This may be a long way off, but excuse me for being a one unhappy bunny today.

It may never come to that, but I am slightly miffed that a skate manufacturer feels that it is okay to use one of my images (I have no idea where they got it from, but I’m assuming they thought they could use a low-res copy from Facebook) in an advert without my permission.

Okay, they have broken copyright, that’s one thing, and to be honest I’m not in this thing for money so it doesn’t really bother me. However the image features a skater who may or may not endorse their product. I have not secured a release form from them to use it in commercial work (for those that are interested there are numerous articles on the web regarding what is considered as editorial, where you don’t need permission to print and commercial work where you do. If in doubt talk to a lawyer).
Which puts me in a sticky situation.

In a previous post I blogged about photographers needing to be more professional. I try to act that way around the track and also in my use of images afterwards.

So after imploring photographers to be more professional I now feel I have to ask the marketing departments of skate manufacturers to do likewise. One, you don’t want to be on the wrong end of legal action from photographers, but also, if we are being sued by skaters for your wrong doings the supply of good quality images will dry up.

I have no idea how this sort of scenario would play out. I’m assuming a skater would sue me and I’d then have to sue the company for copyright infringement.  I don’t have either the time or the money to do so.

Also a tip, if you are nicking images, use those where it could be ambiguous of who took it so the photographers are in doubt if it is really there’s, so less likely to take action. That’s not meant to be taken seriously, copyright theft is copyright theft.

So while I may be being a bit over dramatic this morning, it is an issue that will only get worse with time as the sport gets bigger and more is at stake.

By the way, if you see me homeless, buy me a cuppa, black no sugar.


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