Equine Photographers' Network Letter to the Industry
Our Position on Copyright Issues
To our fellow professionals in the equine industry:
Who we are:
We’re an established online community of professional equine photographers meeting daily to discuss our concerns and ideas. We’ve begun sharing professional experiences, and it has become clear that copyright infringement is a situation we need to address with the equine publishing and advertising industry.
Those of us who make our living as artists, photographers, musicians, and writers are becoming increasingly alarmed at the growing risk to our work and thus, our livelihood. Copyright infringement looms as a gray cloud over the motivation for creators to limit submissions or to continue the supply of work as a whole.
We are aware that infringement is difficult to stop due to rapid advances in technology. However, unauthorized copies made in photocopy centers, retail kiosks, home scanning equipment and photo printers amounts to theft as does unauthorized use in publishing editorial & advertising content. Add to this an increase in authorized work published (but not bearing our protective markings or signatures as creators) and you can understand our concerns about contributing quality work, only to lose it.
Some clients may claim they didn't understand that their print purchases do not automatically include publishing or advertising rights. This is an individual policy with each photographer, and one which our industry as a whole must respect for the continuing good of all involved. Sadly, there are even professionals in our industry who have disregarded copyright specific agreements with photographers, and either retouched or removed signatures or copyright labeling, or refused to grant credit to the photographer.
- The public often assumes that images printed without credit are in the public domain and therefore "up for grabs."
- Professional print purchases do not automatically include use rights for advertising & editorial uses.
- There are professionals in complementary businesses who illegally remove and/or manipulate copyright markings on photos.
- Photographers have seen their authorized works sometimes printed without photo credit.
- Some clients do understand copyright law, but knowingly remove or obscure visible sign of copyright identification.
Photos displayed both online and in print are at greater risk to theft for all the aforementioned reasons. Occasionally this is due to ignorance of the law - but quite often the law is known yet blatantly ignored, again resulting in further potential for additional theft of our work. Collectively, we've seen numerous instances of photographs used without credit, of copyright markings removed from photos, of signatures and business names removed - even when the use has been authorized.
Each publication to which we supply our work (and to which we personally subscribe) bears a copyright symbol, and enjoys the safety of protection under the law. We expect publishers to be as concerned for our rights as for the protection of their own copyrighted creations. We wish to work together with respect, and, while we understand that removal of our credits may be occurring without your knowledge, we need to stop the theft of work supplied to the industry by honest creators. In the best interests of our industry, we ask your cooperation and support.
We understand that some publications may not be aware of staff placing their publication at risk to legal actions and settlements. If you have not already done so, please take precautions to set standards for procedures used within your prepress department.
Removal of signatures from submitted work is illegal and can implicate your company in legal actions.
We ask you to set the following standards for your prepress department:
- All submitted photographs must be accompanied by a photographer's release for that particular work, and applicable to each use; specifically, whether that use is print, web or other media. This should apply whether the photographer is amateur or professional.
- Photographers whose work does not bear an apparent signature should receive a typeset photo credit directly next to, above or below the photo.
- Photographers whose release is granted upon consideration of receiving a typeset photo credit must receive such credit.
- The credit should consist of the copyright symbol, copyright year, and the photographer's name in a typeface no smaller than 8pt.
- When the photographer is unidentifiable, the photo should be refused and the submitting party should be contacted with instructions to obtain a photographer's release in order to have the image printed.
- You have the right to refuse any photo which has been illegally altered prior to your receipt, to avoid liability for publishing such a submission.
We thank you for your cooperation. We believe working together, rather than apart, we can address issues of significant importance to our industry while continuing to find mutual satisfaction in the roles we each play in the equine publishing & advertising industry.
The Equine Photographers' Network