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Tony Wu's excellent response to requests for free images

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We know how frustrating it can be to reply to requests for free images.

 

Instead of composing yet another lengthy reply, you can now just send a link to the excellent reply that Tony Wu has composed and that he is sharing under a Creative Commons license.

 

I find the text comprehensive, educational and polite, hence I will start using it as my standard reply for unreasonable requests.

I urge fellow Wetpixelites to sign on and use it as well.

 

Big Thanks to Tony Wu for putting together this tool!

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I had a new one during the trip to St. Croix, when I visited you.

One of the divers asked if my pics from the trip would be on a website that they could copy them.

I said they were available for purchase on my website and gave her my card.

She responded, "OK, I'll put my son on it. He might be able to get a copy. He is good with computers"

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When it comes to freebies I have a really simple rule; I help those who help me....the rest can pay full use rights.

 

Like all the best rules its flexible, but in 99% of circumstances it works well enough. I know one colleague who automatically forwards a similar link the moment the 'We have no budget' phrase is mentioned...what this statement actually means is 'we have plenty of money but we want to keep it for ourselves'.

 

Tony's open letter is good, but I do wonder if it's a bit long.

 

Based on that, how many will read it? After all, the intended audience will be too busy investing time looking for another free image or two...but having said that I will use it next time someone comes looking for a freebie.

Edited by decosnapper

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I agree that this isn't the response for every situation, but it works well in many. I will be using it in situations where editors of large magazines that you know "know better" approach you with the "we will give you photo credit/ getting paid in in actual money is an unreasonable request/ you're the ONLY photographer who asks for [Gasp!] " m o n e y"!" type situation and also in situations where a potential client who might not " know better" asks you to do a job that basically constitutes maybe a day off shooting but 2 weeks of editing. ( The "could you just come snap a few quick pix of xyz since your camera takes such good pictures, It'll give you exposure!"). These are the Type of situations that prompt me to either ignore request completely (not a good solution) or write emails the length of dissertations (very frustrating).

 

Having said this, I do give "casual" pictures to friends and I make donations to the two causes I support. But when ppl who get paid themselves out of a project approach me for "free labor or resources" I find Tony's text brilliant.

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Oh no Dave... Tell the lady you also have a son... Who is good at sending invoices ^_^

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Hearing the 'we will credit you' line triggers two thoughts;

 

1. The person offering such a service knows nothing about inherent moral rights with intellectual property - i.e. the right of attribution/credit.

2. The person offering such a service knows all about moral rights, but hopes the gullible will say yes.

 

In the two examples above, neither approaches/methods are professional. This automatically rings alarm bells. Will they pay my bill? Will they use images outside of the terms of the license? In other words, will they act professionally...chances are they won't.

 

Creators are entitled (caveats apply...) to a credit, its not something that can be offered as a bonus. As an aside, for those exempt from moral rights (Here in the UK, newspapers and magazines) I put it in the contract when material is supplied +25% is added to the bill if a credit is omitted. To date, this clause has yet to be invoked.

Edited by decosnapper

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When anyone now asks for a free use of a picture, I ask them to send a TESCO voucher for the due amount instead.

 

(TESCO is a British supermarket food chain.)

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These are great (and funny) references guys - thanks for sharing the links.

 

"We will credit you", by the way, is generally a sign of naivety with respect to authorship but it can arise legitimately if you work for a content creating organization. Many times only the organization is credited.

 

For example, if I create a graphic or take a photo on behalf of an agency or media company (newspaper, graphic design firm, magazine etc.) sometimes only the organization I work for will be listed as the author (I have had both happen to me - so that is why I am giving thes examples).

 

This is not always a cabal against the photographer. For example, I photographed basketball games for my college newspaper and while photos running in the newspaper had my name credited, conglomerations of basketball photographs provided to the university (that featured ~6 photos from past several decades) just referenced the newspaper and not each of the photographers who took the exhibited photographs.

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Just got around to reading Tony's letter. It really is a comprehensive masterpiece. I can't recall how many times I have been asked to 'donate' video footage for 'credit' and, sorry, I don't give a darn about the credit. As Tony said, credit doesn't pay the bills. It is unfortunate that there are so many novices who are desperate to have a credit. This feeds their egos and undercuts everyone else at the same time. Wish there was a united front on this issue but, alas, that will never happen.

Steve

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I think Tony's text is/could be s start to a "united front". It is up to us to spread the message, educate the new and upcoming photographers as well as editors, other creatives and other people around us. Tony's text serves as an excellent "standard tool" for this purpose. Let's spread the message and encourage our fellow photographers to read it and use it.

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A friend sent me this picture that could be attached to Tony´s response :) :

post-4794-1338757924.jpg

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A side question - I am curious to know how folks respond to image requests for scientific journal articles? The reason I ask is that a few years back I did some work on fish patterns:

 

http://www.sci.utah.edu/~allen/materials/Sanderson_JGT_2006.pdf

 

Several photographers (some of which are WetPixel members) kindly allowed their images to be used free of charge. Naturally, they were acknowledged in the paper and their images given full credit.

 

I thought it was cool especially when our work was put on the front cover of the journal it was published in.

post-4161-0-22754400-1341594538_thumb.jpg

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