By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: ‘There’s gonna be a joke comin’ up.’ There’s no fuckin’ joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself…borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something…rid the world of your evil fuckin’ presence.
Bill Hick’s stance may have been extreme, however sometimes I do look at some marketing and advertising trends and feel this way. After a flurry of news articles this week I do feel as if there is a new trend in marketing and advertising that I will call “Crowdsourcing Image Rights”. I first felt this when I was contacted by Lego about wanting to use one of my images on their site.
It felt great when Lego contacted me on Instagram. The message was friendly and upbeat, of course I knew it was a copy and pasted message. Just saying yes would have been so easy and I would have said yes, if I hadn’t clicked the Link.
I am not a Lawyer or a Legal expert, I do however believe I have a quite a good grasp of the english language. The main part of the license is this;
You grant LEGO® a non-exclusive and non-revocable commercial right to reproduce the image in any form (including, but not limited to, video, internet posting, reproduction, display, email, publication, and distribution), either through our own services or services provided by third parties, throughout the world in any medium now known or later developed and without restriction or limitation. You agree that your image may be used by LEGO either alone or in conjunction with sketches, cartoons, captions, films, art work, textural matter or other photographs. While LEGO will make commercially reasonable efforts to give you credit for your photo and provide a link back to your Instagram account, you agree that such credit is not mandatory and your permission for us to use your image is not contingent upon such credit being given……..
You waive any right to inspect and/or approve the finished work incorporating the image or the advertising copy……….Further, you waive any claims to royalties with regards to your image or our finished work.
I.E. we can take your image and do what we like to it, even copy, re-edit or use it to make our own 3d replica images for our boxes. We will try (our hardest) but cannot guarantee that credit will be given to you.
I got 5 such requests over a period of days. I emailed the social media address and got no response, I responded to the messages on Instagram and got no response. Finally I went to twitter and got a response to my email.
Nikki Guardascione & Miller Lite
I am for one to let things be and with lego I have said my piece to them. It was interesting that this week there was an article telling a very similar story to mine.
Nikki Guardascione was contacted on Facebook my Miller Lite (a beer company), they wanted to use one of her wedding photos of the bride surrounded by the groomsmen drinking beer.
Miller posted a friendly comment; “Great Pic! Mind sending a private message so we can chat more?”.
Nikki did and Miller asked if they could share her picture with the WORLD, without compensation except for the pride that the work would be displayed to their fans. Nikki informed Miller she had more shots similar to this and it would be ok for the pictures to be used also long as there was a shout out to her social media accounts to get some new followers.
Here the tale goes down the rabbit hole as Miller wanted the picture to be used on a TV commercial not social media as the request seemed to imply. To this Nikki said no and questioned the way Miller had approached her.
Tony was contacted on Instagram by Samsung UK. They asked to use one of his photos to demonstrate the product ( Samsung Galaxy S3). The request though looks eerily similar to what lego sent me;
We love your picture agfapan (Tony’s name on instagram). Could we and our retailers use it to show what our products look like? Please Reply #yes to agree out terms _____Link.
The terms boiled down to the same as Lego although much longer; Guaranteeing he had the rights to the photo with a license given to Samsung to do what they want plus the ability to transfer the rights to a third party.
Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark
I don’t wish to be cynical, three different people (including me), contacted by three different companies via social media, all wanting to use a picture featuring or created by that company’s product and wanting a royalty free license with no guarantee and in one case absolutely no guarantee of credit being given; something is very wrong here.
To me it feels like all these companies have been to a marketing conference where they have been told, “if you want images for advertising campaigns on social media you no longer have to create them yourself. No longer do you have to go out and hire a photographer, model, makeup artist, create a set or find a location. All of this can be done by your “Fans” and “Customers”, they are your royalty free stock library, where you can sweep in and grab images that you can use over and over as well as edit and transform into what you want; for free of course. Go forth friends and harvest the crop that you will find on social media, just search your firm’s name with a hashtag.”
This is where we can argue that you shouldn’t post things to social media. This is a straw man argument because social media is the modern day Yellow Pages, the adverts in local newspapers and posters on the street. A social media presence is needed if you want eyes on your work.
For me this is systemic of a problem of photography being seen as more disposable and has less worth than it once did. I agree that sometimes working for trade or even for free can be beneficial but handing over a royalty free license to a big corporation, in my mind is crazy. Samsung will not give you a phone for the possibility of you showing your friends, so why should you give your pictures to them.
As I said to Lego;
I feel Lego is taking advantage of its fans, whose work is interpreted in the t&c’s as worth nothing and valuing their pictures as worthless. Such wide t&c’s in an initiative to inspire others, looks more like an initiative to crowdsource images and then use your fans creativity as a basis for future lego projects.
The Five Pictures Lego Was Interested In
This Maybe the Future but it isn’t New
Crowdsourcing for image rights is something that has been around for a while, especially with free competitions and is even more prevalent in news media with user generated content. Some big guns have been involved and still involve themselves with this activity including the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/faq.shtml.
The facts are simple, people like seeing their pictures in newspapers and on websites, it gives them bragging rights. News media and corporations want cheap content and if they can get this from their viewers and customers great, because they can spend less on photographers; pushing down the price of photography, cutting trained photographers loose and diluting the value of what is an expensive hobby and profession.
I can understand that some companies want a real world feel to their product images because of the suspicion that everything is photoshopped (even the pictures in the Ikea Catalogue are 3d rendered), at least offer a fair deal for the work somebody has put into their picture.
I would be really interested in hearing your opinion on this issue, you can do so by using the comment box below.
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If you wish to get notifications when I post on my blog, you can follow me on Twitter@apertureF64, on Facebook.com/aperturesixtyfour or alternatively be emailed by subscribing below. All images are the Copyright of Benjamin Rowe , ALL RIGHTS Reserved unless credited to another photographer. For more information please read my Copyright Statement