Copyright: Dealing with time wasters and liberty takers

Posted on by Mike Evans

The world of professional photography is larded with copyright pitfalls for the unwary. On the one hand, some internet scribes will grab and publish any photograph they find, irrespective of whether or not it happens to be someone else’s intellectual property. Conversely, photographers can come unstuck when they receive abusive demands from people inadvertantly included in a published picture.

This week I ran across two brilliant methods of dealing with both these perils. Michael Zang at PetaPixel has an effective dig at some newspapers’ “use first and ask/pay later policy”, this time in relation to the UK national, The Telegraph. In a brilliant letter to the picture editor, Matthew Fearn, Michael was able to turn the tables and make an analogy to “borrowing” the journalist’s car without permission and then offering  £50 for the privilege.

Just as much fun is John Macpherson’s retort to an aggrieved skier in a red suit who appeared as a dot in a ski-slope photograph taken by Macpherson: “On closer inspection I noted this individual is me, and no permission was sought nor given for this. I have consulted my solicitor and he has advised me to write to you to ask for payment.”

Macpherson did a quick calculation of Red Riding Hood’s skiing costs over 20 years and came up with a suggested payment of 0.000555 pence based on shutter speed. Here is the letter in full. He got no reply.

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