Buchanan Studios Blog

news and events from Buchanan Studios

Posts Tagged ‘copyright

Don’t steal

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For those who don’t know – using images without permission is copyright infringement, or to put it simply, stealing. You know that big FBI piracy warning at the beginning of movies?  Same idea. So if you see an image online and you think, “That would look great on my site.” Don’t just grab it.

For those who know better, but think they won’t get caught – two words… Picscout and Tineye.  Both are reverse search engines that scour the web for images. Show them your image, and they go out and find it online.

FWIW – my most infringed image…

Written by stevebuchanan

May 18, 2012 at 8:30 am

How do usage rights work?

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We don’t sell photography, we license it.

Photography is copyrighted intellectual property, just like books, music and software. Like musicians, authors and software publishers, photographers are paid a fee for creating the work and then residuals or royalties for the subsequent use of those works.

Our fees are based on two main factors. The first being the time, effort and expense of creating the work. These are commonly referred to as production charges. In addition to the actual shooting time there is also pre-production time (set building, prop hunting, location scouting, etc.) and post production.

The second factor involved is usage. Many clients new to the field don’t fully understand the usage concept and often have the idea that “I paid for it, it’s mine.” This is understandable as most of what we pay for is stuff, tangible items(ie commodities.) Intellectual property isn’t a commodity so many of the rules are different. Our usage fee is based on how the client will use the images created. Images created for a national ad campaign that will run in 10 major consumer magazines will have a higher usage fee than those created for a local campaign because they’ll have a greater impact. When you go to the gas station the amount you pay depends on the quality of gas(regular vs. premium) and how many gallons you buy. When you license photography your total depends on the quality of the work(production costs) and how much impact the images will make.

Often clients simply don’t know how they intend to use the images created, or for how long. If that’s the case then we can grant an unlimited license, but it’s always better to plan out the usage so we can craft a license that gets you what you need, but doesn’t have you paying more than necessary. If you don’t need to put the image on a billoard in Buenos Aries then you probably don’t need an unlimited license. Many times clients are also concerned that at the end of the license period that they will not be able to use the images any more. Not so, we’ll be happy to re-license the images at the same rate as they were originally licensed.

At the end of the day usage saves the client money by allowing the client to pay for only what they need.

Written by stevebuchanan

January 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

What’s the point of a copyright?

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The short answer is a copyright is the legal tool that allows an artist to control their creations and therefore profit from them.  Creators of intellectual property (photos, books, music, movies, etc) have a constitutional right to profit from their creations. Otherwise why create them in the first place? Ego? You can’t pay the mortgage with ego. 

Many purchasers of intellectual property rights are confused by the seemingly arbitrary pricing that creators charge. How can the same photo cost one buyer $200 and the same photo cost another buyer $2000?  The answer is impact. Intellectual property is basically free to duplicate, so the traditional economic model of supply and demand doesn’t apply. There’s a limitless supply of copies available so there needs to be a different model for determining pricing.  That $200 photo might end up being viewed by a couple thousand people whereas the $2000 photo might be viewed by 100,000. More impact, more money.  

There are other factors involved with pricing such as time and expense associated with the actual production, level of competition in the market and yes, there is a bit of arbitrary x factor in many pricing schedules, but there is a rhyme and reason to the process.

Written by stevebuchanan

January 5, 2009 at 11:04 am

Respect the copyright, part 3

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China’s record of protecting intellectual property rights has been, well, abysmal. Lately Microsoft has been ‘black screening’ users of pirated software when updating their software. Ironically, MS may be liable under Chinese law for hacking. (click here for story)  As one radio announcer put it, that’s like getting sued by the guy that stole your car because it has a flat tire.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally not a fan of Microsoft. To this day, I can’t use a windows machine without getting a shiver down my spine, but any organization that fights for intellectual property rights is ok in my book.  Please, don’t use pirated software.

Written by stevebuchanan

October 24, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Respect the copyright (part 2)

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This is a blog about photography and the business of it. This is not a political blog nor a blog about legal issues, but this news story jumped out at me because I like the Foo Fighters…

NEW YORK (Billboard) – The Foo Fighters have blasted the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain for using the band’s song “My Hero” at rallies without its permission. 

Now I don’t particularly care what a bunch of aging rockers who shower too infrequently think of the presidential candidates, nor do I care what song they play at campaign rallies. But I do care about the legal protections of intellectual property. This is not the first time the McCain campaign has been caught using music without permission. It also happened during primary season with Jackson Browne. With the Orphan Works legislation still working it’s way through Capitol Hill, it seems likely that either McCain or Obama will be asked to sign some version of it into law. It would be nice if between now and then if the new president (whomever it may be) would bother to learn about copyright in the first place.

Written by stevebuchanan

October 9, 2008 at 7:50 am

Respect the Copyright

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It’s unfortunately rare that we come across a small business that understands copyright out of the gate.  I work with a lot of photo editors, publishers and art directors.  Since they’re in the business, they understand the concept of copyrights and intellectual property.  Once we leave the realm of the publishing and marketing world,however, that understanding starts to fade away.  So I was pleasantly surprised when we went to a local bakery to order my daughter’s birthday cake.  She’s had her heart set on a Scooby Doo birthday party so we asked them to put Scooby and the Gang on the cake.  They say, “Sorry, that’s copyrighted material and we’re not allowed to do that”  They were able to do a cake in the proper colors with dog tracks and a bone on it.  My (now 4 year old) daughter was thrilled and the cake was really good. They were presented with a challenge, offered a solution and kept everyone (including the copyright holder) happy.  That’s a bakery I’ll keep coming back to.

Click here for their site

Written by stevebuchanan

September 22, 2008 at 9:46 am

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