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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
Author
Photography & Copyright
Onsight
10/02/2005
9:36:09 PM
This might be better in its own thread...

On 7/02/2005 Onsight wrote:
>Oh great, more fricken copyright infringements... Our friends at K2 Climb
>have obviously been following Chockstone so maybe they'll see this... When
>will people learn that all the images on my web site are copyrighted and
>it is actually illegal to publish them on other web sites without proper
>permission? (Don't worry everyone; it's a rhetorical question, because
>I know the answer is "probably never").
Onsight
10/02/2005
9:36:34 PM
Regarding copyright infringements:

On 9/02/2005 cheesehead wrote:
>I guess this sorta thing is a common occurance for you Sime?
Yes it is, on the web at least. Some people seem to think that just because an image is published on the web, that it is somehow in the "public domain", and they copy it and use it on other web sites as they want, well you can't, not legally anyway. Obviously I've no idea now much of my stuff is used on the web without permission that I never find out about.

>Sucks for >sure.
Well, yes, it's rude for starters, but it also tends to devalue the images, which is not good for someone like me who makes a living from it and wants to be able to keep producing.

>At least is says your name....
Um, don't get suckered into one of the biggest publishing industry myths - "that exposure is good for you and that you should somehow be happy just to get a credit line." Credit lines are mandatory (for editorial work) as far as I'm concerned; they certainly don't pay the bills. I'm often quite willing to allow non-commercial usages gratis, if it's something I think is worthwhile (like Chockstone, or a way of helping some climbers out), and I'm far (far) more likely to he helpful if prior permission is sought (assuming I give it). If it's a commercial use then as a photographer you virtually MUST require some reasonable recompense, otherwise all you have done is contribute to the constant undermining of photographers and the photography business here. Question - why are there so few (1?) full-time pro climbing photogs in Aust? Well, certainly not because we have a shortage of ultra-photogenic rock around here, that’s for sure. One of the reasons is because the market for outdoor adventure and climbing images in Australia is in a very poor state indeed. Too many businesses here are all too used to getting usage of these images for ridiculously cheap prices from people who are simply happy to see their images in print, or whatever other reason, and accept some cheap gear or nominal payment in return. I’m not having a go at those people mind you. But my point is it doesn’t always have to be that way… it's only that way because people accept it.

>Is there realistically much you can do/worth doing in these situations?
Well naturally I’d prefer to do more productive things with my time, but there are some things you can do. You can try education for starters. In the case in question I’ve corresponded (pleasantly) with the web site in question and found out how it occurred and might be able to work with them in the future. Copyright infringements, particularly on the web, are rarely going to be economic to pursue legally unless it was a pretty major infringement. I had a significant infringement in print here in Australia last year but eventually gave up pursuing it. It seems that you’ve basically got to be prepared to invest time and $5-10 thousand, and basically be prepared to take it to court, before you’re likely to get any joy. It’s not all bad news though, if I came across an infringement that was significant enough, or annoyed me enough, then I WOULD be willing to persue it and I’m sure the potentially punitive damages would make it more than worthwhile.

Good luck Cheesehead, it's a tricky one.

mousey
10/02/2005
9:44:38 PM
informative read, thanks simon! this kinda stuff is invaluable
Onsight
10/02/2005
10:16:54 PM
You're welcome Josh. If you believe in your work, and learn to understand it's true commercial value, then one day your work might really be with something (as might mine). I'd say, be very weary whenever anyone tries to tell you that you should allow use of an image cheap or for free because "it will be good exposure for you". I think that is generally rubbish.

Another piece of food for thought for you… did you know that the big mainstream commercial stock photo libraries often value images that are “particularly unique, or are particularly difficult or dangerous to get” as 25% more valuable than other images? Think about that next time you’re swinging around on the end of your rap rope that you know is rubbing against some sharp edge up there… and maybe you’ll question why you should get paid any less than the dude working in a studio.
climberman
10/02/2005
10:20:56 PM
As a regular user in work and play of quite a few bits of image and data, it's amazing how many companies and individuals will allow use of their commercial product at a minimal fee, by taking out a general agreeement licence, or for free, if appropriate protocols folllowed (The UBD folks - Melways to the vics - are very good at this). Generally a polite request wil get a long way.

Having been on the end of Simon's generosity for pics (Blue Mts Cliffcare zonks ago), I can vouch for his generosity for a cause. The things are:

a) never take it for granted;
b) get approval before incoprorating the image into your media;
c) graciously accept a decline;
d) slavishly heap praise and ensure credit is given for the info / image if an approval is given.

A follow up 'thanks' of an official nature is a really nice thing and should be done always, I reckon.
Onsight
10/02/2005
11:22:33 PM
Thanks Jules. ABCD being general principles of course. Personally, I find most successful individuals, organisations and businesses do those things - and are good to deal with. In the same way I trust I properly acknowledge all the time and efforts of the climbers I work with...

Speaking of copyright and what all this stuff can be worth to mainstream companies, there's two interesting/relevant news stories...

How a website disclaimer failed to protect a copyright infringement. The case hasn't gone to court yet, hence no mention of damages.
http://www.simkins.co.uk/ebulletins/archive/TAFWebsiteDisclaimerFailstoProtect.aspx

And how a guy has been awarded over A$20 million for a contract breach when his face appeared on Nestle jars labels (in the US of course):
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,12131397-401,00.html

bapak
11/02/2005
9:54:02 AM
Hi Simon;

Understand your dilemma & frustrations re copyright. No doubt this is exacerbated
by the public acceptance of a digital image with less than 500kb of data as being as having sufficient detail to satisfy their needs. Thus leading to the "poaching" of digital images from one site to another rather than utilising "back scratching" links.

Have you seen Ctein's thoughts on "copyrights & copywrongs" on his Gallery @ www.ctein.com ? (he is a "master colour dye printer" = have his book "Post Exposure")

Although I'm not in your league as a Rock Climber/Photographer (& unlikely to ever be !)
I shoot around 500 rolls/year of 35mm/MF & 100 x shts of LF. However I enjoy sharing = pass most of my images on gratis except for "special business commisions" (weddings/ studio work). Admire your work, read your interview & agree that the only way to get "good shots" (in all light conditions) is to be prepared to carry heavy gear whilst on the end of a rope !

Steve.M :-)

IdratherbeclimbingM9
11/02/2005
10:07:18 AM
On 10/02/2005 Onsight wrote:
>Thanks Jules. ABCD being general principles of course. Personally, I find
>most successful individuals, organisations and businesses do those things
>- and are good to deal with. In the same way I trust I properly acknowledge
>all the time and efforts of the climbers I work with...

A few questions (Onsight) because I am curious.

The climbers you work with; do they actually make anything out of it, or is it done for the enjoyment of seeing a result printed sometime? (yes / no answer is sufficient).

The guy on the Nestle lable had (I gather), an arrangement with them that seems to have been later ignored by the company. In the absence of an 'arrangement' does the subject of a photograph have any rights? (The girls complaining about phone-camera pics taken of them on a Sydney beach seem to think so!).

If you travel in places like PNG the locals often request payment if you photograph them... This opens up the 1st world vs 2/3 world debate but its still a valid (and interesting) viewpoint.
Do you have any thoughts on the matter?
If they accept a payment, does this lead to negating their rights?
Is it the same 'deal' here in Aust?

Does the law differentiate between 'family snap' type photography (albeit dangerous/difficult to obtain image), and 'commercial' photography when it comes to image subject claims or photographers copyright?

As a backyard enthusiast, I really enjoy seeing photographs of climbs/ers and even the low quality family-snap type stuff, if I know the people / places involved.
If I ever wanted to get something published (assuming it makes the grade), it would mostly be for the buzz of actually achieving that end.
I guess I'd share the payment (profit ? if any??) with the mates involved in the exercise; as after all, they were deemed (roped)-partners in the experience. At the least it would contribute towards petrol costs of the next shared experience!

Chester
16/02/2005
9:26:02 AM
This is great reading, Thanks Simon and all who are contributing. Simon is 100% right that the climbing photo industry in Australia is in a sad state of affairs. The money you get for a published slide will be lucky to cover expenses, film, processing, travel costs, administration.

It is a shame because Australia has some of the best climbing photographers in the world. Most of the photos in Rock are comparable to any overseas mag and the quality seems to be getting better from year to year. Obviously there's still some bum shots or uninteresting (IMO) photos in there but it is really starting to come together. Tassie seems to have some great climbing photographers, and Cam's closeup/action style photography really complements some of Simon's more atmospheric work.

Unfortunately the situation won't improve whilst all the major climbing photographers accept small pay for their work. Simon, do you have any knowledge of how things are overseas, are they facing the same issue as us? I can't see an easy solution to this.

Cheers
Gavin
Ronny
17/02/2005
4:30:58 PM
On 11/02/2005 M8iswhereitsat wrote:
>
>The guy on the Nestle lable had (I gather), an arrangement with them that
>seems to have been later ignored by the company. In the absence of an 'arrangement'
>does the subject of a photograph have any rights? (The girls complaining
>about phone-camera pics taken of them on a Sydney beach seem to think so!).

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe the way it works is that as a basic rule the subject has no rights over a photo taken of them.
This may vary under certain circumstances - like where someone is particularly well recognised and hence use of their face on a product is in effect claiming that they are endorsing the product, or where the photo is used in a manner that may be slanderous or something, or where there is a pre-existing contractual relationship between the photographer and the subject.
Of course there's nothing to stop anyone forming such a contract - its just that without one the subject has no rights over the work.

>If you travel in places like PNG the locals often request payment if you
>photograph them... This opens up the 1st world vs 2/3 world debate but
>its still a valid (and interesting) viewpoint.
This is really just a case of the locals having something to sell - ie the tourists all want an authenitc local looking photo so show ppl back home - and the locals want something for providing that service. The key question is can someone legally prevent their photo being taken? If they could the papparazzi wouldn't exist - so i'm assuming not.

>If they accept a payment, does this lead to negating their rights?
This will all depend on what rights they have in the first place, and what part of those rights they intend to sell for the payment they recieve. I think that as subjects generally have no rights to begin with, any payment they can negotiate will normally not affect the ownership of the copyright. This is of course unless they explicitly negotiate some rights into the deal.

>Does the law differentiate between 'family snap' type photography (albeit
>dangerous/difficult to obtain image), and 'commercial' photography when
>it comes to image subject claims or photographers copyright?
I'm pretty sure there's no difference here, except that in the commercial situation its more likely that there will be some sort of contract worked out to apportion the rights to the photo, whereas the happysnap just remains the property of the photographer.

Of course all this only refers to the strictly legal situation, and says nothing about whether its a good idea to buy your mates beers for posing for photos - which is purely a matter for personal ethics.
James

Oh, BTW, this is all completely off the top of my head, so don't rely on it for anything important.

nmonteith
Online Now
17/02/2005
4:39:31 PM
So to sum it up - the photogarpher can claim payment for their 'copyrighted' work being un-lawfully published - BUT the climber him/herself cannot ask for payment?
climberman
17/02/2005
4:42:25 PM
Prolly not unless it is being used in a manner which attempts to prove endorsement of that product by the climber.
Ronny
17/02/2005
4:49:44 PM
On 17/02/2005 nmonteith wrote:
>So to sum it up - the photogarpher can claim payment for their 'copyrighted'
>work being un-lawfully published - BUT the climber him/herself cannot ask
>for payment?
You can always *ask* for payment. All i'm talking about is whether you can legally demand it - which i'm pretty sure you can't.

anthonyk
17/02/2005
6:27:43 PM
On 16/02/2005 Chester wrote:
>This is great reading, Thanks Simon and all who are contributing. Simon
>is 100% right that the climbing photo industry in Australia is in a sad
>state of affairs. The money you get for a published slide will be lucky
>to cover expenses, film, processing, travel costs, administration.

out of curiosity, just how big is the market in australia anyway? there aren't that many climbers and each doesn't spend that much on climbing (really), but is there much use of climbing stuff in other areas, eg general advertising, broader audience travel stuff etc? of course there's always the catch 22 of encouraging more people to the sport provides more opportunity for working within the field but potentially degrades the activity, but thats another story really. in the end, whats the ideal for you guys making much of a living off climbing?
Onsight
17/02/2005
7:30:07 PM
Gosh, thanks everyone, where to start…

Firstly, hi Steve/Bapak. Many thanks for all that. I checked out Cteins copyright blurb at that link… it’s pretty close to how I think and feel about it all too.

Man, 500 rolls a year is a LOT! Whatever you shoot I hope you’re having fun with it and enjoying the process. I’ll keep an eye out for your work.
Onsight
17/02/2005
7:34:14 PM
On 17/02/2005 Ronny wrote:
>I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe the way it works is that as
>a basic rule the subject has no rights over a photo taken of them.
>This may vary under certain circumstances - like where someone is particularly
>well recognised and hence use of their face on a product is in effect claiming
>that they are endorsing the product, or where the photo is used in a manner
>that may be slanderous or something, or where there is a pre-existing contractual
>relationship between the photographer and the subject.
>Of course there's nothing to stop anyone forming such a contract - its
>just that without one the subject has no rights over the work.
Thanks Ronny.
I’d say that's essentially correct but I'd put it another way (basically it’s the same thing though). I’d say the subject of a photo DOES have rights – rights for a recognisable image of them NOT to be used for advertising – or to endorse a product or service in another way – without their prior agreement.
(So climberman is correct too).
Onsight
17/02/2005
8:33:01 PM
Ronny has answered most of these questions but since I’d almost finished replying too…
On 11/02/2005 M8iswhereitsat wrote:
>The climbers you work with; do they actually make anything out of it,
>or is it done for the enjoyment of seeing a result printed sometime?
I’m sure climbers “work” with me or help me out for a range of reasons. Anyway, I do pay a commission in some circumstances depending mostly where and how a photo ends up been used. On occasion I’ve also being able to get them some gear, help hook the climber up with a sponsor, or get them a sometimes not insignificant payment directly from the company using the photo. It’s certainly not ideal but I believe I am very aware of and look after the climbers interests as best I can, and some climbers have done well out of it - either directly and/or indirectly.

>The guy on the Nestle label had (I gather), an arrangement with them that
>seems to have been later ignored by the company. In the absence of an 'arrangement'
>does the subject of a photograph have any rights? (The girls complaining
>about phone-camera pics taken of them on a Sydney beach seem to think so!).
I’m not familiar with the phone-camera incident you’re referring to (honest!) but that sounds like an invasion of privacy issue – even though it’s in a public space. I’m not a lawyer but I think generally speaking the subject of a photograph does have legal rights. For example you can’t use a persons image for advertising without their consent. Editorial usages are somewhat different though – hence the paparazzi (and all their rubbish).

>If you travel in places like PNG the locals often request payment if you
>photograph them... This opens up the 1st world vs 2/3 world debate but
>its still a valid (and interesting) viewpoint. >Do you have any thoughts on the matter?
I tend to mostly just photograph a 1st world recreational activity so I hadn’t thought about it much…
>If they accept a payment, does this lead to negating their rights?
I’d say probably not. Again it depends on how the photo is used. I don’t believe you actually have to pay someone to take their photo in a public space, so if the photo is used in an editorial context then there has been no breach of the subjects rights (invasion of privacy and slander/defamation issues aside). But if the image was used in an advertising context then it would come down to what was actually agreed. If a photo/image was used for advertising without a written/signed agreement to prove otherwise, the local who was paid a few bucks might be able to argue (or have lawyers argue) that advertising usage hadn’t specifically being greed to.
>Is it the same 'deal' here in Aust?
Yes, probably. And probably more likely to find out about and chase up such things.

>Does the law differentiate between 'family snap' type photography (albeit
>dangerous/difficult to obtain image), and 'commercial' photography when
>it comes to image subject claims or photographers copyright?
As far as copyright is concerned, I believe there is no distinction between ‘family snap’ and ‘commercial’ as far as the law is concerned. In Australia any creative work is automatically covered by copyright upon creation of the work. Here’s what the Australian Copyright Agency Limited have to say about it - this is copied from the CAL website at http://www.copyright.com.au
>“In Australia there is no requirement to register to protect copyright works. Copyright protection is free and automatic - it does not depend on publication, a copyright notice, or any other procedure. Copyright material is protected from the time it is first written down or recorded in some way, provided it is the result of the creator’s skill and effort and is not merely copied from another work…. The law gives owners of copyright exclusive rights to do certain things with their material. Copyright is intended to protect creative works from being used without the agreement of the owner and to provide an incentive for creators to continue to create new material…. Reproducing copyright material without the copyright owner’s permission will usually be an infringement of copyright…”

I don’t think the ‘family snap/commercial’ distinction would make a difference to “image subject claims” either – remembering that would depend more on how the pic is used. Just to reiterate – it’s generally either editorial (editorial content of magazines and books) or advertising (ads, catalogues, etc used to promote/sell and product or service).
Onsight
17/02/2005
8:35:31 PM
On 11/02/2005 M8iswhereitsat wrote:
>As a backyard enthusiast, I really enjoy seeing photographs of climbs/ers
>and even the low quality family-snap type stuff, if I know the people /
>places involved.
>If I ever wanted to get something published (assuming it makes the grade),
>it would mostly be for the buzz of actually achieving that end.
>I guess I'd share the payment (profit ? if any??) with the mates involved
>in the exercise; as after all they were deemed (roped)-partners in the
>experience. At the least it would contribute towards petrol costs of the
>next shared experience!
In that situation I’d say that’s a good idea and fair enough. Just in case you were wondering though, I’d say that if all you do is get a photo in Rock there certainly isn’t going to be any profit, so I kinda think that given the amount of time, effort, investment and resources, that often go into a decent shoot, it might be as much as anything an insult to just offer your mates a few bucks petrol money… which isn’t to say there aren’t some small things you can do to acknowledge their time efforts and contribution… and I believe I do. And I also believe that by running a sustainable business for 11 years I’ve being able to help out some individual climbers more than I could have otherwise.
Onsight
17/02/2005
11:52:52 PM
On 16/02/2005 Chester wrote:
>The money you get for a published slide will be lucky
>to cover expenses, film, processing, travel costs, administration.
Yeah not even close. If you are doing this on an ongoing professional basis then the film, processing and travel (even overseas) is but a part of it — and you'd need to add: bank charges, camera and lenses etc, computer and office equipment, interest, insurance, internet, office supplies and consumables, photocopying and printing, postage and freight, professional services (like accountant), phone, employees wages and superannuation, rent/mortgage and other occupancy expenses (like maintenance and electricity), car, tax, and so on, before you even begin to think about drawing yourself a wage or your future...

>It is a shame because Australia has some of the best climbing photographers
>in the world.
Yes, we do have – and have had – some most excellent photographers here. I think Glenn Tempest deserves special mention because although he isn’t shooting as much climbing recently he has produced much really exceptional stuff and also considering his work in other genre’s (esp. skiing and bushwalking) I’d say he’s one of the very best all-round outdoors photographers in this country.

>complements some of Simon's more atmospheric work.
Strange generalisation… ;-p

But yeah, I take your point, there is a reason for that (shooting tight action is fine - and I've shot a huge amount of it actually - but it’s not solely what it’s about for me) and perhaps a discussion of the different genres of climbing photography could be interesting sometime…

>Unfortunately the situation won't improve whilst all the major climbing
>photographers accept small pay for their work.
Correct. Trying to compete on price is somewhat self-destructive and destructive to any “industry” we might ever have here. But price isn’t the only issue – when we’ve had photographers here who were willing to submit to publications that they know aren’t even willing to take "responsibility" for their original transparencies.
>Simon, do you have any knowledge
>of how things are overseas, are they facing the same issue as us?
Yes, definitely they are. It’s getting more competitive overseas, that’s for sure, but at least in the US many of the photographers have better business practices, standards, and expectations. If any active photographers are really interested then they can email me offline and I’ll send you the link to an outdoor photographer’s discussion group you can join where the business side of this is discussed ad infinitum.
>I can't see an easy solution to this.
Nor can I. Basically I think there will always be less serious photographers who will just be happy to see their photos of their mates in print somewhere, as is their prerogative I guess — and the more serious photographers will always be screwed whilst they somehow think they have to somehow compete against that (and accept the same terms and pay) just to get the “exposure”.
Onsight
18/02/2005
12:36:04 AM
On 17/02/2005 anthonyk wrote:
>out of curiosity, just how big is the market in australia anyway?
Very small that’s for sure. One of the key reasons I’ve been able to make a go of it is because I get a very very large proportion of my photo income from overseas. Without that it’d be impossible.
>there
>aren't that many climbers and each doesn't spend that much on climbing
>(really), but is there much use of climbing stuff in other areas, eg general
>advertising, broader audience travel stuff etc?
There probably is a market there from time to time, and mainstream is where the money is, but I’ve personally found that market hard to tap into - perhaps due to my reluctance to give many of my images to mainstream photo libraries to market on my behalf…
>of course there's always
>the catch 22 of encouraging more people to the sport provides more opportunity
>for working within the field but potentially degrades the activity, but
>thats another story really.
An interesting philosophical point you’re touching on there! You could probably say a similar thing about guiding, or gyms, and I’m not sure how many new entrants my “work” would have encouraged into the sport, if any, but anyway don’t most of them just stay in the gyms these days? ;-P But seriously, like many climbers I don’t like to see my local crags getting overcrowded either but I don’t see it so much as a problem of numbers but of attitudes (incidentally, am I the only one who feels that climbing here is actually less popular than it was say five years ago?). And anyway, I don’t see trying to present a more positive image of the sport to the public is necessarily a bad – or degrading - thing. Nor do I see showing climbers some of the places they can go and cool climbs out there as necessarily negative. And finally, if somehow my work has encouraged more participants then I wouldn't necessarily be disappointed *provided* of course they don't stuff it up for the rest of us - and I say that because I'd be happy for others to enjoy climbing, as I have, especially as I believe it gives an opportunity to learn to 'appreciate' the outdoors (among other things) whilst giving an interesting and perhaps valuable counterpoint to our 'normal' urbanised consumer society... etc, etc.
>in the end, whats the ideal for you guys making
>much of a living off climbing?
In what sense?

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