I would like credit, please.
March 16, 2010 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm a photographer and one of my photos was used without my permission on a television show. Is there anything I can do about it?

I regularly go to concerts in the Toronto area and take photos. I just saw a clip of a talk show called Rogers Daytime Mississauga and they used a photo of mine multiple times without credit. What makes it even stranger is that they said it was a different band than is in the photo.

All of my photos are licensed under a Creative Commons license called Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike, where my photos can be used for non-commercial purposes as long as they credit me.

I'm going to contact Rogers, but I'm wondering what kind of hopes I should have here. Anyone have any experience (first or second hand) with this type of thing?
posted by tomcochrane to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What do you want to get out of it? Just that they should credit you? That doesn't seem like a stretch. They can mention it on an upcoming show.
posted by alms at 9:25 PM on March 16, 2010

alms' question is key.

If the initial response to your friendly (be friendly!) shout-out is shit, you might think about sending a letter from a lawyer or solicitor. Don't expect money, expect showing up in the credits briefly or something equivalent.

What might be better for you is to go non-adversarial. Say they used your work, but are actually legally required to credit you, but maybe they could give your business a shout-out on the next episode? Btw, here are some other photos of the band you might like.

You may be surprised how far friendliness and openness to being promoted will take you. Shows like this have lots of time to put filler on air, but they need to get content out fast. If they think ten second's plug will get you off their backs, they'll probably do it. It's not the most convenient creative commons' route, but a plug will get you more work than a line in the credits.
posted by smoke at 9:48 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

A similar situation to yours occurred in 2008 in Virginia, although the image was used on a blog, not on a tv show, and wasn't even posted by the site's owner. Here's an article on the matter that might be insightful (the original blog discussion about it no longer exists). This links to a discussion about the situation from various photographers' points of view.
posted by trampoliningisfun at 10:02 PM on March 16, 2010

Rogers Daytime Mississauga - what is that, a local talk show? Come on. They probably lift content without permission or credit all the time. Fair use exemption as it relates to news and commentary. That's probably their thought on the subject anyway.

My understanding of fair use though is that, in your case, the commentary or news has to be related to the photograph itself, and not the subject being photographed. Which it is not. So you do have a point. They should be crediting you, you should inquire as to why this happened and ask for a correction on a future show.

If I were you, I would contact the producer of the show. It's ultimately her responsibility to handle rights clearance. She should be helpful, and if she totally disses you, you can probably get her in some big trouble if you wanted to do that.

Try to keep it sweet and friendly though, think maybe they might really like your photographs or something, and you can convince them with your charm to use more of them in the future. Tell her about how you go to concerts around Toronto. Maybe if they need certain gigs covered you can send her a couple of your best shots.
posted by phaedon at 11:03 PM on March 16, 2010

Tomcochrane wants credit for non-commercial projects.
I'm assuming the show is commercial. Maybe tomcochrane should threaten a suit if the show doesn't pay him/her the going rate. (Of course, ask nicely first.)
posted by mixer at 11:04 PM on March 16, 2010

To start the interaction, perhaps you could point out that the band in the picture is not the band noted. Foot in the door, then you could mention how likely you are to have shots of local performances - and to know who the performers are.
posted by Cranberry at 11:17 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they think ten second's plug will get you off their backs, they'll probably do it. It's not the most convenient creative commons' route, but a plug will get you more work than a line in the credits.

A credit won't get you any work. Sending them an invoice for the use of your photo will at least get you one check. If you're nice and play it right you could even turn them into a regular client, but just straight up letting them infringe your rights and then asking for just a credit in turn will let them know where to go when they need free images.
posted by bradbane at 11:35 PM on March 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

Reminds me of the story of a kid who posted a youtube video of a clip of himself on MTV, along with some commentary.

- MTV showed the youtube clip, complete with his commentary
- MTV then sued him for posting MTV content to youtube
- The kid then made a media spectacle out of the fact that MTV showed his content on air without permission

I can't find a reference for this (you try googling for something whose only keywords are "mtv" "youtube" "lawsuit" and see how accurate your results are).

More recently, NBC was sued because a font that's was all over their commercials was sold to them with a single-computer license. The company that made the font decided to sue when they found out that not only did NBC employees share it internally, they shared it with outside vendors as well. NBC, remember, used an army of lawyers to get rid of every single NBC video on youtube so they could launch their own online streaming service.

People - whether they work for the media or not - have a very sloppy attitude with intellectual property, even if the company they work for has an army of lawyers who will sue at the slightest hint of copyright infringement.

I wouldn't expect much - write them a polite letter & ask for a shout out on a later show.

Also, giving "credit" often happens in that quick flash of text that appears at the end of a TV show... what do they call those things again? Oh yes, the credits. Did you read those closely, or were you expecting an on-air shout out?

Also, this statement is patently [1] wrong "I'm a photographer and one of my photos was used without my permission on a television show." You implicitly gave permission when you released your work under creative commons.

If I had to guess, an intern was told to go to Flickr to find a picture of the band & told to use the advanced search to find things with a Creative Commons license. They just failed to inform the intern to also check whether attribution was required or not.

Sorry if I sound like a jerk - I get where you're coming from, I just want to be sure you have a better sense of the overall picture before you do something like send a nasty letter, which you may late regret.

[1] a little intellectual property humor there.
posted by MesoFilter at 7:51 AM on March 17, 2010

MesoFilter: Surely this is not a "non commercial" use of the photo, though.
posted by odinsdream at 8:48 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

odinsdream - its a tough call, especially without more information. Here's the description of the show:
Join us on daytime, an entertaining lifestyle show that highlights the people, events, and topics in and around the Peel Region. Guests will help reveal the richness and diversity of our community, while professionals will offer their expert advice. daytime is “local talk” about “life matters” including topics such as fashion, fitness, cooking, lifestyles, and more.

daytime....a window into your community.
According to their website, their sponsor is LearnSpeakLive, which appears to be a government funded campaign to help people improve their employment prospects by learning English. The show itself may not be a "commercial" TV show.

Also the post says "I just saw a clip of a talk show called Rogers Daytime Mississauga and they used a photo of mine multiple times without credit." Well, if he just saw a clip, how does he know they didn't put him in the credits?
posted by MesoFilter at 12:59 PM on March 17, 2010

I had a similar experience with the "Your Voices" section of our local newspaper (bloggers they host).

I had my lawyer send 'em a letter or two. The story is here. Short version - I got some money, but it cost me more in legal fees than I recovered. But they did clarify their position and send me a check.
posted by DaveP at 3:43 PM on March 17, 2010

odinsdream - its a tough call, especially without more information.

No it's not, it's infringement. It doesn't matter if it's non-profit or government funded or whatever. This would be fair use if they were editorializing about the photo, but they were not.
posted by bradbane at 1:37 PM on March 18, 2010

Thanks all. I'm going to try getting a hold of the show's producer this week.
posted by tomcochrane at 4:48 PM on March 21, 2010

« Older We're looking for a cheap spot to hold a winter...   |   Last (wo)man standing Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.