A friend of mine asked me to confirm something on Thursday. He said a local camera store here in London, Ontario called Stan C Reade, used one of his Flickr images shot last year of the Stan C Reade Photo Day at the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate to illustrate a newsletter showcasing this month's upcoming event now called Digital Discovery Day. I compared the shot in the newsletter, to his on Flickr and they were the same. Initially I thought perhaps the shot of a model by a car could have been done by someone else at near similar angle (it's a feeding frenzy by GWCs at the photo day usually when it comes to models), but his post work was fairly unique and the odds of someone else doing the exact same thing on the same shot was low.
I suggested he contact Stan C Reade and see what they had to say. The store emailed back and said that they apologized for not having included his name on the newsletter as it was their policy for photographers to be "credited and or notified" when images are used on their site and newsletters. It was blamed on the person doing the final artwork. No mention of posted disclaimers about any photos taken on site could be used in the future by the store for promotional purposes or something similar.
One small bonus in terms of damage control was that once notified, the store updated the newsletter in print available in store, and on their site crediting a couple of the photographers listed. My friend was also given a small store credit for his troubles... But to this point, no public note from the editor indicating the omission on the revised newsletter or the site.
"Credited and or notified"? The cherry picked image was All Rights Reserved, not even Creative Commons. I would have liked to assume that a photography store that has been in business for over 50 years would understand that seeking permission prior to using a photographer's image and waiting for that approval is the way it's done. Not doing one or the other - or neither as was this case this time.
Ok. So blame the intern. Maybe permission was not sought out at the time. But doesn't the newsletter have an editor that proofs it before sending it out? As this was a one off, I decided out of curiosity to review the last four years of newsletters which are available on their site. With the odd exception - such as photo contest winners and some other images here and there- very, very few images are credited at all to any photographers.
Some photos are from rather impressive locations such as the Grand Canyon and in the Southwest of the US, locations around Ontario, and from other Stan C Reade photo days they hosted. To say that it's "always the practice" to credit the photographers is absolutely not true. They just got caught with their pants down this time.
Stan C Reade, your policy or lack there of in this matter, and the way you tried to handle it, while perhaps OK to the photographer who was slighted, is not good enough. Industry triple fee compensation and a public apology might have been a good start...
I will never go near your store, recommend it, or attend any event you host again. And given four years worth of newsletter evidence to date, anyone who goes to a Stan C Reade event better make sure they are aware that their images are fair game for them to use without permission, and you won't likely be credited for your time, work, or vision.
Anyone considering a purchase, or thinking of doing business with them should consider twice before signing on the dotted line. There are lots of other stores out there that understand copyright, and respect photographers for the hard work they do.
We are your bread and butter. Why you would take advantage like that, when it is so easy to rectify, is beyond me.
Mike Wood Photography