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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Photo used on Network TV without permission
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07/05/2017 10:29:00 PM · #1
I haven't been here in a very long time, but perhaps someone here can help me.

Tonight I taped the performance of someone I know featured on network tv prime time. When I saw the recording, I realized the show used one of my photos taken many years ago if this performer as one of several super-sized portrait backdrop pieces onstage.

Obviously, I had no idea they were going to use this. Do I have any financial recourse? How much would a photographer normally charge for a large (I'd guess 8'x5') commercial usage for television media?

Any input would be appreciated. I don't want the performer to have to pay anything but I feel like maybe the show should?
07/06/2017 10:38:12 AM · #2
Was the photo ever shared on social media, and if so where? Was the piece created in the US or abroad? Did you ever give the performer permission to use the image? What I'm getting at is that there may be some "fair use" loop hole that this fell through. That said there are likely others here who can shed some light on what recourse you might have.
07/06/2017 11:26:02 AM · #3
One question that comes to mind is, how did they get the image? If it was blown up to such large proportions, they must have had access to something in a pretty high resolution, I would think.
07/06/2017 11:30:12 AM · #4
Just as a side note, one of my photos was used as a backdrop for a showcase on The Price is Right a few years back... without my knowledge or permission. But my response was: "COOL!" :)

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_764759.jpg
07/06/2017 11:46:16 AM · #5
You know the performer. Did you send a file of any size to him or her? Could that be where they got it? I can actually see the subject of a photo feeling that the photo itself "belonged" to him or her and giving permission for its use.
07/06/2017 04:38:00 PM · #6
The photo was taken 38 years ago with a point and shoot! I became reacquainted with the performer on Facebook a few years ago and scanned and shared with him the old photos only on that site. He did not have hard copies or higher res images. The show asked him to submit some old photos and he included this one. I would not expect him to think about permission or issues like that, but I WOULD expect the show to have that consideration in mind.

It was VERY cool to see and I was quite surprised! But I am curious to know if, financially I was due any compensation. I am no longer sure how to post photos here but I will try.

Show stage

Original

07/06/2017 04:45:00 PM · #7
38 years ago! ah well, he will have changed. alas.
07/06/2017 05:07:40 PM · #8
If the show asked the participant/guest/etc. to provide photos, it would likely have been with the proviso that they must be ones that said participant owns the rights to and the participant will have signed off to that effect. And rightly so, IMO, as you agreed that you wouldn't expect him to think about permission from you.

Just be happy that a low-res copy of a 38 year old photo that you took, flashed on the television screen momentarily and you also had the good fortune to tape the show and capture that moment for the purposes of sharing with your friends.

...or as evidence you may be able to use to sue the sh*t out of those Hollywood photo-thieving bastards.

Life is full of choices. ;-)
07/06/2017 05:29:05 PM · #9
Originally posted by jpochard:

But I am curious to know if, financially I was due any compensation.

Yes, you are, but whether collecting it is worth it is another question. Unless you previously registered the image with the Copyright Office, you could only claim actual damages, which would probably be the standard rate for licensed usage of a stock photo in similar circumstances. For something on network TV in prime time that would probably be in the hundreds or maybe four figures -- not enough to pay an IP lawyer to pursue, even though it probably provided a rare historical view unavailable anywhere else.

If you know the performer personally, consider writing directly and ask something along the line of "Hey, great show! Any way you can get me a few bucks from them for using my picture?"
07/06/2017 06:07:06 PM · #10
pretty much grin and forget about it. and that's pretty much true for any photo you have ever taken and posted anywhere, unless, as paul noted, you have registered it with the US Copyright Office. otherwise, most likely the damages will be paltry and the time, effort, and expense of collecting will far outweigh the possible gain.

yes, you would think media companies "know" better, but, no. even with law on your side, it's really hard to manage your rights after the fact, especially on an image that you have shared with no explicit licensing directives.

going forward, though, you can be proactive with your images (whether taken digitally or scanned):
* embed contact info, copyright, and usage rights into the metadata of ALL your images
* put a some kind of watermark on them
* put explicit disclaimers where you post/share them that the image is not intended for publication or commercial use
* let your recipients know what they can and can't do with what you send them
* and, most importantly, REGISTER YOUR IMAGES with the USCO.

if you don't lock your doors, have an alarm system, and leave your silver service sitting on a table by a window easily seen from the street, the police can only do so much when the expected occurs...

at least you have a nice screen grab ;-)

[as an aside, your image was digitally projected as opposed to printed. it doesn't take much resolution for an image to show up well. a glossy magazine cover would be a stretch, though.]
07/06/2017 06:46:56 PM · #11
im doing a six week solo road trip this fall that I'm currently budgeting for, which honestly is the only reason compensation even crossed my mind. I'm not going to pursue anything. It was fun to see - and who would've thought that a photo taken when I was a high school senior with my very first 35 mm point and shoot would show up on national TV when I was a grandma!
07/06/2017 06:49:07 PM · #12
Originally posted by jpochard:

... who would've thought that a photo taken when I was a high school senior with my very first 35 mm point and shoot would show up on national TV when I was a grandma!

Why don't you write that up as a human-interest story and see if you can get some publicity out of it?
07/07/2017 06:54:33 AM · #13
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by jpochard:

... who would've thought that a photo taken when I was a high school senior with my very first 35 mm point and shoot would show up on national TV when I was a grandma!

Why don't you write that up as a human-interest story and see if you can get some publicity out of it?


This is such a good idea. Please give it your serious consideration.
07/07/2017 08:08:55 AM · #14
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by jpochard:

... who would've thought that a photo taken when I was a high school senior with my very first 35 mm point and shoot would show up on national TV when I was a grandma!

Why don't you write that up as a human-interest story and see if you can get some publicity out of it?


Agreed, particularly given that it's probably not a photo that benefited from a world of internet search engines and photo sharing. You haven't said where it may have been shared (Did you scan it and post it to a fan forum or social media group? Was it mailed into a fanzine back in the day?), but if it wasn't widely shared or available then it could center around the idea that, "This was really cool, but how in the world did they get my picture?"
07/07/2017 11:01:11 AM · #15
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by jpochard:

... who would've thought that a photo taken when I was a high school senior with my very first 35 mm point and shoot would show up on national TV when I was a grandma!

Why don't you write that up as a human-interest story and see if you can get some publicity out of it?


I will!
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