Originally I made this blog to out sham photographers who are beefing up their portfolios with work that is not their own to draw in clients who are none the wiser until far after the money has exchanged hands and the wedding/event has taken place.
Today I’m making an exception to this rule (we shall see if it’s a forever exception or not) because frankly I’m pissed off by the amount of businesses that have been stealing photographs lately. First it was DKNY and now, the tipping point for me, Hot 89.9. Perhaps the tipping point for me is the final email that they sent to the photographer when confronted with the theft. I found out about this via Facebook today and I’m seething.
Barbara Ann Studios, based in Ottawa, Canada happened across a pamphlet by Hot 89.9 in which they were seeking partners for their “Get Me to the Altar” contest. She happened to see that one of her images was being used on the last page and was shocked as she had never been asked for permission, nor given the file over for use.
The page of the document in question by Hot 89.9.
The image from Barbara Ann Studios blog.
Barbara emailed the company and asked how this image came to be used and why it was being used without permission. They replied stating that they used Google Image Search for images at a venue that is a sponsor and it was only used for 10 or less clients and they were sorry. Barbara replied that it doesn’t matter how many people saw it, it is the fact that it was used without permission and gave them a rate in which she typically charges for commercial use of an image. Hot 89.9 replied and scoffed at her price stating that typically they pay $40-$100 for that type of image use. Barbara replied that fee may have been okay had it of been a negotiated rate with a different photographer prior to going live with the document but after the event it is a different matter, that was not her fee for commercial use and she was hoping to settle this without having to go further.
This is the final email from Scott Broderick, which sent me over the edge.
“Barb you were kind enough to provide us with a few definitions. Here is one I just looked up:
The practice of obtaining something, esp. money through force or threats
You are obviously a very talented photographer, I would stick with that. Extortion is not your thing.
Dear corporations and businesses,
I can’t say it better than Harlan Ellison – Pay the Writer.
Everyone else may be an asshole but I’m not.
PS: Google Image Search is a tool to find photographs, not a free image database for stock images.
Yesterday Hot 89.9 posted their entire email exchange on Facebook which resulted in over 1,000 comments, many attacking Barbara personally. Finally after a day they have removed the post and posted its staying private, which is ironic. People are still slinging mud and many questionable Facebook accounts are participating (sorry if it was created in the past day I’m going to question it’s validity).