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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22 May 2009 - – THIEVES!

Can you spot the difference?

I found a few of my images on ‘hometown hotties’ on the maxim website.   They published my work without getting a photographers release even though my © was clearly visible on the bottom of the image.  Notice how the ‘maxim’ image was enlarged to crop out my logo.

Here was my 2nd email to

My images are of Kinga from Vancouver.   All images i provide to clients have a © logo on the bottom with my name.  I have provided work to magazines (including Stuff online)  for years and it is quite standard to get a photographers release for publication.  I am just a little upset that my logo has been removed and a maxxim logo put on my images that are yet to be released into the US.    As Kinga is a client and i do not want to remove her from the competition,    I would be happy to see my logo/credit digitized onto these images.    ‘ © 2009 BWP.CA ‘

This was the response:

We require all Hometown Hotties entrants to get the photographer’s permission to use photos by signing a Copyright Release form. By Kinga submitting the photos without a form, we were led to believe that she owned the rights to the images. I’m very sorry that your photos were used, and name removed without your permission.

I’ve attached our Copyright Release form for you. Since Kinga is currently in a voting week and hasn’t yet moved on in the contest, if you’re unable to sign the release form I’ll be forced to remove her from the contest. I hope – as I’m sure you do – that I don’t have to remove her. Thanks for helping us – and Kinga – out with this. Sorry again for all the trouble.

Melissa Ward
Assistant Editor, Maxim Digital
1040 Avenue of the Americas, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018

How casual. . .sign this little release giving them full usage, resale, cell phone uploads, manipulation, poster and cd reproduction oh, and the big clincher. . renouncing all moral rights and association that I created this image.   I have alot of strong words for that!!!!

I just confirmed with a lawyer that the burdern or proving ownership fully falls on Maxim and this ‘led to believe’ crap is just that.  It’s usually pretty easy to differentiate professional images from snapshots (especially when they are clearly marked!!).  Now how many other photographers have had their work stolen in the same fashion?   I just have to rant how pissed off i am when a company such as this with all the financial means has to ‘steal’ work and especially remove credit.

So,  if anyone sees these images out there with the maxim logo,  I will be very appreciative if you could let me know. . . stay tuned!

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