Had an interesting discussion recently on a rare night out.
The person I was talking with didn't see the harm in going to a professional photographer, purchasing one print only from the session and then copying it several times for family members to save herself a bit of money.
Being a photographer myself, this of course sparked a teensy-weensy debate!
The lady in question honestly hadn't seen the harm in saving money and was oblivious to the laws of copyright. I explained to her that, had she taken the professional print she had purchased to a legitimate high-street printing company, they should have refused to copy the images without first obtaining permission from the photographer.
Then I put it this way.
IT IS ILLEGAL AND IT IS STEALING!
I'm sorry, but that's what it is.
Many of you might think photographers have a fantastic life, being paid the majority of time to do a job they enjoy. In my case, that is certainly true but something else you can take my word on - this job costs a heck of a lot of money!
In addition to the expensive gear needed to undertake professional photography work, most photographers will have spent an absolute fortune in training and development . Add to this the costs of running the studio, maintaining their gear, insurance premiums, childcare, postage, administration, processing.......the list is endless.
When a client comes along for a studio portrait session they will have paid a minimal session fee. This session fee will, in many cases, not even have covered the expense the photographer will have gone to in just setting up/carrying out and processing the session. The photographer's "salary" comes from the subsequent sale of prints and photographic products.
For a client to then only buy one image to reproduce is not only illegal, it will result in them having poor quality prints and is quite literally taking away the photographer's income.
Not fair, is it?
I am lucky to have some wonderful clients, but I do know of other photographers who have been affected by copyright theft. We don't just do this job because we love it. For many of us (myself included) it is our only source of income. We all have houses to run and children to feed!
When the word copyright is mentioned many people might roll their eyes and yawn but it is there for a reason; to protect people's livelihoods.
Look at it this way.
Imagine you work in a factory. You've trained very hard for your job, are good at it and work extremely hard to produce the end product.
Its getting close to Christmas and you have bills to pay, but on pay day you open your pay-packet to find a tenth of what you were expecting.
You challenge your boss who informs you that he's now got a machine which allows someone with no experience and no qualifications to press a button and get a similar (though less polished) product at the end of it.
Oh and by the way - your workload hasn't changed, you are still expected to come in tomorrow and put in all the effort, time and hard work you did before.
Not fair, is it?
Thanks for reading.