...the sincerest form of flattery. We're flattered but seriously, with all the great photographers around this country why copy us?
I got an email last week alerting us to a local photographer copying one of our senior video game image concepts. This is the image we shot two years ago:
I won't even mention who the offending photographer was, it really doesn't matter. We had issues with them copying pretty much everything we did a few years ago and after calling them I thought they were done, I guess not. At least they waited a while to copy this time.
So first off I want to thank our fans who alert us to this kind of stuff! Most of the time there's nothing we can do unless it's one of our copyrighted sports composites or other specialty work, but it's nice to know. We've had a few tips this year that we did take action on, one of which was settled out of court. Any fan that provides info on copyright violations that lead to a settlement will be hooked up with free photography and/or a cash reward. If you see a copyright infringement Do Not Contact the offender, there are a couple reasons why. First, I know we have a lot of hard core fans that want to stand up for us but we need to be the ones who make contact with them. Second, if you contact them first you're giving them a "heads up" and they might remove the material before we have a chance to document all the details. Also, we're not talking about our customers, we give them permission to use images for facebook and other online services as long as the image retains our logo. We're talking about other photographers or businesses that steal our images or copyrighted concepts to profit from them.
So anyway...I call the photographer to find out what the deal is and he completely went off on me! The best way to describe it was a delusional paranoid conspiracy theory rant, it was actually pretty funny. I don't know if he was just having a bad day, week, month...but WOW!
He did bring up the fact we've been asking trespassing photographers to leave the property at our downtown studio when we see them. Yeah, I'm the bad guy for asking someone trespassing on private property to leave. It's not like I run at them waving a bat screaming "get out of here!" It's not my rule, it's the property owners policy. They don't want to get sued if someone gets hurt on their property. It's not just us, pretty much every tenant in the building is sick of it and asks photographers to leave also. It's not a public park for any photographer to come and use. I have close friends that are photographers, if I saw one of them down there shooting I'd kick them out too. I look at it this way, how would you like it if someone walked into your studio, set up one of your backdrops/props that you bought or rent and started shooting a session. Anyone who wants to shoot there is more than welcome to sign a lease and pay rent like the rest of us do. It would actually be pretty cool to have a bunch of different photographers in the building.
Thanks again to our fans lookin' out for us...You Rock!
Hope to have time soon to blog more about what's new.