Article by Tim Anderson of Red Dogs News (reprinted with permission)
Just when you thought you might be safe, along comes another story to
shoot holes in your confidence. What am I talking about? I am talking
about reputable(?) newspapers. Wait! Does that term really mean
anything? Can newspapers be trusted with your images?
In the February 10, 2012 issue of the British Journal of Photography, there was a feature story in The Daily Telegraph’s online edition, Mail Online, about copyright infringement by that publication.
“Photographer Jonathan Kent first contacted BJP on Wednesday
08 February when he found that his image of Mary-Ann Ochota, a Channel 4
broadcaster, had been used by Mail Online without permission. After
being alerted of the copyright infringement by its picture desk, a
senior figure at the Mail swiftly moved to compensate Kent.”
It seems, however, that the same image was used again, without the required permission. The Telegraph
came back with the response that, “…picture desks around the country
are not always required to seek permission before publishing images.”
Needless to say this is a very sticky situation that needs to be
addressed professional, and actually quite simply: metadata. Compensation recovery and satisfaction is still ongoing in this case.
With most photo-editing software there is an ability to label your
image with metadata. You can input a wide variety of information that
will solidify your ability to protect your images. You can see from the
Photoshop CS5 “File Info” example (below) how easy and efficient it
The Telegraph maintained that the photographer had no
copyright data attached to the image that was used, therefore, they
“felt” that the image may well have dropped into the public domain.
Many site providers also allow for inputting data to be attached to
images. My provider, PhotoShelter, offers a well laid out, almost
all-inclusive metadata section for each image on my site, and you can
also fill in certain parts and that data will be automatically inserted
into each image’s data form. Along with each picture, you can insert a
wealth of data that will enable your image to be identified, and
(hopefully) deter would-be thieves. With a Photoshelter site (below) you
can also allow/disallow right click copying, add watermarks, etc.
In a book I recently received, “Get Your Photography on the Web,”
author RC Concepcion writes, ” I know metadata doesn’t sound like a very
sexy thing to talk about, but it’s absolutely essential when you are
posting your images online. More and more, companies are taking to the
Internet to find the images that they need instead of going to the big
stock houses. Taking a couple of seconds to put some vital information
in there will make all the difference in getting you paid, should
someone want to use your images.”
So, how do you handle your info? Do you at least place the basic
contact/copyright information? I know I am as guilty as most of you in
not doing this properly. After I decided to write this post, however, I
have placed metadata info in one of my galleries on my personal
Photoshelter site, www.timothybanderson.com.
You can also subscribe to Tim's weekly issue of Red Dog news by signing up for it at his blog.
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