The Customer Is Not Always Copyright, Part 3

| Right | April 16, 2017

(A husband and wife come in to get wedding announcements made, which have multiple professional photos in the design.)

Me: “So these photos were clearly taken by a professional, right?”

Husband: “Yep.”

Me: “Okay, so I just need something in writing from the photographer saying that you are allowed to use the photos.”

Wife: “No, it wasn’t a professional. It was a family friend.”

Me: “I still need permission. Just something with the photographer’s signature saying you were given the digital files to print yourself, or something like that.”

Wife: “But it wasn’t a professional! It was a friend! She’s not a professional!”

Me: “She still holds the copyrights to the photos, unless she’s given you the rights to them. If she has, I need something in writing stating that.”

Wife: “No! She never takes pictures! She just did this for us once! That’s the only time she’s ever taken pictures!”

Me: “Wow, she’s really good at it.”

Wife: “I KNOW!”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m sorry, but without the permission, I can’t print them. But I can still book in the order for you today, and once we get the permission, I’ll go ahead and print them.”

Husband: “Well, if all she wants us is for to write down that we can print them, I’m sure we can get her to do that.”

Wife: “No! I’m not asking her to do that! Just print the pictures.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. But I’m sure she would be flattered if you tell her she needs to do that in order for us to print them.”

Wife: “No! She would be annoyed! She isn’t a professional photographer! She’s a land surveyor! She’s never done this before!”

Me: “It doesn’t matter. The photos are still copyrighted. If someone wrote a book for the first time and had another job, that wouldn’t mean their book isn’t copyrighted, just because they haven’t done it before, right? Same thing.”

Wife: “No! It’s not the same thing!”

(At this point, the next customer in line stepped in.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but she’s not going to print them without the permission. I’m a photographer and I give a release with my digital photos stating that they can be printed, because a lot of photographers charge per printed photo, and charge extra for a disc with the digital images.”

Husband: “We can get her to sign a thing for us.”

Wife: “No! We’ll just go somewhere else!”

 

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