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14 March 2012 - 21:38Magazine Ethics (Or UMM’s Lack thereof)

Everyone wants to be published… after all isn’t that a great way of validating ones ego?  This applies to photographers as much as models.  Sadly through this validation,  so much is willingly being given up.   Shoots are commissioned, makeup artists paid, models put in time, photos are retouched… and then for what, a little byline credit that is barely visible.  I do not give my work out for free and either should you!  Ask for something… even if it’s just $100/ image as an editorial,  because your work does have value.  A generic image from most of the stock sites for magazine reproduction BEGINS at $100… so don’t sell your one of a kind first reproduction images short!

For the models:  Are you aware that photo submission to most of the competitions are not actually about ‘picking a winner’,  the big business is really in gathering images for resale.   Everyone gets so caught up in the glitz and does not realize that the big business is getting free resalable images… a big clue in the contract is the phrase ‘for resale’ or ‘may be assigned’.

I am calling out Urban Male Magazines lack of professional ethics.  Previously I had licensed an image to them to be used exclusively in an print editorial which was later tracked to the Telus website being sold as a cel phone download.  Recently I discovered many of my images (with the © still attached!) on their website for a model competition… I want to be clear that I was not contacted in any of these instances and I am the © holder!

Most ethical magazines upon seeing a copyright or trademark will require a form signed by both the model and photographer to be submitted for reproduction.   Less reputable magazines accept the submission exclusively from the model and ignore the fact that the images clearly are marked with copyright.

What also concerns me is that my name is associated with images that are not ‘finished’ for reproduction… These images are not retouched as they are from lo rez preview CD’s and do not reflect my brand properly.

Most models do not fully read my own model releases,   It’s reasonable to assume that the same models probably do not read contracts they sign with others.  These submission contracts usually have  a clause where the model claims to have full ownership over the copyright… essentially If I pursue the magazines for damages they would default to the models claim of ownership and in turn sue them.   I will remind the magazines however that the burden of proving ownership lies with them and turning a blind eye to a ©, visible or encrypted would definitely favor the creator of the work.

I don’t want to go after the talent that works with me… that does not bode well for a business reputation.  And do I want to enter into an expensive law suite with the magazines where the onus is on me to prove damages?   It would not be hard to win a case in court,  the big question is would it be financially viable.  This really becomes a catch 22, and my legal representation has informed me the best path is really to educate my client about these practices.

For further reading about ©, check out my blog about Maxxim

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