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BBC Natural History Request


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#1 andy_deitsch

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

Hi,

 

I received an email today (via Flickr) from someone at the BBC Natural History Unit.  They are asking if they can use one of my images to promote a new series.  There is no mention of any compensation in the request.  How would you respond to this request and how much would you ask for?  Would appreciate the help. 

 

Here is the message I received.

 

Dear Andy

 

I am the development producer at the BBC Natural History Unit on a new project called Ocean. Our ambition is to create a series that through new science, new technology and new behaviours, engages a global audience with our Ocean in a new way, reconnecting us all to our seas and making us care about their future, which ultimately affects all of ours. We’re gearing up to go into production next year.

I wanted to ask you most graciously to allow us to use your incredible photo "Lionfish on Willaurie Wreck" in our materials that will encourage a global distribution of this series. It represents brilliantly one of the stories that we would like to cover in the series – the hidden treasures of shipwrecks and the ecosystems that spring up around them. And through stories like this, we want to reconnect the audience to oceans and spark a global discussion about their – and our – future.

Please would you let me know if you would be happy to grant us permission to use this image? We would be using it in printed documents and powerpoint presentations at television distribution events and to raise interest in the series among potential production partners.

 

With very kind regards

 


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#2 decosnapper

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 01:03 PM

Well they early value your image. They want to use it for advertising, to sell the production, to a wide audience and in different media.

Such use should command a high fee.

By using your image the production team are seeking to secure their long term futures. I think it a reasonable assumption that the producer is an employee and will have a salary...yet wish to exploit creative endeavours without so much as a hint of sharing any of the financial spoils. I think it fair to say they have their own futures at heart...but them again I am naturally cynical. I also think they do have money, they just don't want give any to a photographer, but I could be proved wrong.

There is also no mention of a credit. When used, no one will know who took it. There is not even a chance of verified bragging rights.

But having said that, it's not my image. However, had it arrived in my inbox my reply would have named a decent fee, asserted my moral rights and have expected to have never heard from them again - until they needed another freebie.

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#3 TomUK

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 01:45 PM

I would respond thanking them for their interest, and saying that you will be happy to sell them the image. Credit is worth nothing, depends if you want paying or not. They should pay, but will try not to, and if you suggest you want payment, they may go to the next person.

 

After all, they are making money from the series, and if your image is being used for publicity, you should get paid as well.


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#4 MikeVeitch

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:17 PM

definitely don't accept Credit only..  should be a very good fee for this usage. 

I put an image into the Alamy calculator for "Advertising on Television" and came up with a fee of $1870

 

You might want to try "buying" and image on Alamy.com to see what price it spits up for use, just plug in the terms they want to use it for and the calculator will create a price for buyers.


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#5 decosnapper

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 11:36 PM

Having thought about it, I will tweak my advice.

Don't name a high fee - ask them what their budget is.

If the answer is better/worse than you hoped for, you can always negotiate for a bit more...and if its zero walk away.

Mike's Alamy figure is in the right sort of ball park. But like all good negotiators, be prepared to walk from a deal that is not to your favour. Or ask for more if the work is really what the client wants/needs.

Edited by decosnapper, 10 December 2013 - 11:39 PM.

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#6 jonny shaw

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:06 AM

They will probably say they don't have budget but they do, get money for it and if it is being used for advertising I would get good money for it. They get paid so should you a credit doesn't pay bills, buy computers, camera blah blah


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#7 Drew

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 07:14 AM

I agree with all.  BBC NHU have the money.  They are also great poker players so don't relent.  I know a few people who have given their stuff for free because they don't need the money but want the credit.  Ultimately it's your pic but in principle, they will try to get it for free if they can.  Apple tries it all the time with their desktop pics but they've also paid 5 figures for a desktop pic or 2. :)


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#8 EspenRekdal

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 11:54 AM

I had a similar experience with the BBC not that long ago. They wanted to use my image as a "archival shot" but had no budget for paying me for use or any means of making it known who had taken the image, as they were a public broadcaster and that would be commercializing it..!

 

Here is my reply after they had explained everything to me:

 

Hi XXXXX,

 

Thanks for explaining everything to me.

I'm sorry you don't have a budget for archive shots. I read that to mean that that the "money people" are getting photographers to donate their hard earned imagery for free and that there is no need for such a budget. I'm sad it is the case  for my self and my profession and a bit disappointed from the BBC to be frank. (because we both know its a minor expenditure)

I do more and more documentary film work and less and less photography for this very reason, but that does not mean I'm willing to further undercut my own business by giving it away for free and further escalate the situation. I hope you can communicate that up to the "money people", that it is not ok not to pay value for imagery for which your productions would be poorer without.

 

I recently gave Discovery channel the rights to publish my images in an upcoming short story about a critter whereby they depicted myself and my work together. This has commercial value to me as it is seen potentially by millions. Such exposure can only be substituted for payment if the photographers name is mentioned in the segment. 

 

If you happen to change any of these conditions in the future I would be honored to work with you to provide award winning photography and film to your viewers.

 

Best regards,

Espen.


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#9 Paul Kay

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:59 AM

You could try asking them to 'swap' it for a piece of 'similar quality' footage and request the same rights over it. I'll bet they don't go for it though......


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#10 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 12:41 PM

First of all, I agree entirely with everything everyone has said re not giving the image away for free

 

However I think some of the valuations are a bit out! The text of the email reads to me that they want to use the image in publications and presentations to potential production partners, broadcasters and distributors for the new project. So, in real terms, a very limited audience from a very select set of people.

 

Could be wrong of course, but as this series hasn't even been filmed yet, it's unlikely that they'd be asking for images for the general public...


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#11 decosnapper

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:13 AM

Its a wide ranging license Stu...from what we know its printed media and presentation to others...and its used to advertise their skills/wares...both of which are premium value.


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#12 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 03:42 AM

Its a wide ranging license Stu...from what we know its printed media and presentation to others...and its used to advertise their skills/wares...both of which are premium value.

Yep, understood.... however it';s definitely not "Advertising on Television". It sounds more as though they want to use it in a treatment or similar (i.e. a mutlipage doco and presentation with lots of words and a selection of photos), to try and gain interest from distributors.

 

Take out the client name, and ignore any mention of TV series, how much would you charge for a license to use one your photos in a corporate document and presentation intended to raise awareness and interest in a potential product to a companies distributors (i.e not public facing)


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#13 Paul Kay

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 06:19 AM

..... how much would you charge for a license to use one your photos in a corporate document and presentation intended to raise awareness and interest in a potential product to a companies distributors (i.e not public facing)

Ummm. Something, but not nothing, which is what the original request appears to infer. The NHU don't give stuff away (as far as I am aware), so why should it request freebies? And whilst its suggested that the series is 'a good cause' (from the language and terminology used in the preliminary paragraph), the NHU still does operate in a commercial world and is not a registered charity.


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#14 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 06:57 AM

 

Ummm. Something, but not nothing, which is what the original request appears to infer. The NHU don't give stuff away (as far as I am aware), so why should it request freebies? And whilst its suggested that the series is 'a good cause' (from the language and terminology used in the preliminary paragraph), the NHU still does operate in a commercial world and is not a registered charity.

 

Well, only the originator of the email knows what they meant eh ;) But they certainly haven't asked for it for free, any more then they've offered payment, credits etc... they've merely done exactly what they should have, i.e contact the owner to request permission with some info on intended use. The commercial dialogue has been opened, it's now up to the owner to decide if, and for how much... hence this thread being started


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#15 Paul Kay

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:02 AM

 

 

 

Well, only the originator of the email knows what they meant eh ;) But they certainly haven't asked for it for free, any more then they've offered payment, credits etc... they've merely done exactly what they should have, i.e contact the owner to request permission with some info on intended use. The commercial dialogue has been opened, it's now up to the owner to decide if, and for how much... hence this thread being started

 

As an opening gambit it is (as you infer) ambiguous and uses words which suggest positive (altruistic?) outcomes (from stakeholder engagement I wonder?) as a driver. I have seen too many usage queries worded this way (I could supply my own pictures for free as a full-time job) to think that this suggests an obvious likelihood of a commercial rate of payment being considered. You are right that the correct thing to do was to contact the copyright holder, but it would be nice to see a clear concise statement about usage and fees rather than this vagueness which is itself all too common and to me suggests a hope that the copyright holder will not request a fee. Experience makes one cynical seeing such requests......


Edited by Paul Kay, 23 December 2013 - 08:04 AM.

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#16 Drew

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:49 AM

I see it as a negotiation. Andy's letter pretty much states that it'll be used on "materials" for distribution promotion, printed and powerpoint.  The distribution isn't going to be vast, other than meetings and maybe distribution fests/gatherings.  I'd say if you got about $100, you'd be on a good path.  It's going to get you a new memory card at best :).


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#17 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:06 AM

I see it as a negotiation. Andy's letter pretty much states that it'll be used on "materials" for distribution promotion, printed and powerpoint.  The distribution isn't going to be vast, other than meetings and maybe distribution fests/gatherings.  I'd say if you got about $100, you'd be on a good path.  It's going to get you a new memory card at best :).

Yep, that's about where my head was as well


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#18 andy_deitsch

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

To help clear this up for everyone, I spoke directly with the producer on the phone. It is exactly as what was inferred. The BBC NHU claim they have no budget for this. I even asked if they would pay only if they did in fact sell the series but I was told they don't have a budget for that either. I gave it a few days and responded that I appreciate them reaching out to me but I have decided to decline the request. I told them I felt it was sending a wrong message to give away my images and that I find it astonishing that the BBC would expect photographers to give their images away for free. The producer told me that some professional underwater photographers have given permission to use their images for free for this project.

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#19 Stuart Keasley

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 11:44 AM

To help clear this up for everyone, I spoke directly with the producer on the phone. It is exactly as what was inferred. The BBC NHU claim they have no budget for this. I even asked if they would pay only if they did in fact sell the series but I was told they don't have a budget for that either. I gave it a few days and responded that I appreciate them reaching out to me but I have decided to decline the request. I told them I felt it was sending a wrong message to give away my images and that I find it astonishing that the BBC would expect photographers to give their images away for free. The producer told me that some professional underwater photographers have given permission to use their images for free for this project.

That'll teach me for trying to dampen my usual cynicism with a seasonal dose of festive good faith in people.

What a load of tosh eh!

Edited by bottlefish, 23 December 2013 - 11:45 AM.

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#20 Drew

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 05:10 AM

The producer told me that some professional underwater photographers have given permission to use their images for free for this project.

 

It may not be untrue.  If the images aren't big money earners but sitting in the closet somewhere, such low distribution isn't going to hurt the bottom line.  Plus there's the good will of such actions on projects like these.


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