Saturday, April 10, 2004

Editorial is editorial only

For those just starting in the fields of photography (art, editorial, commercial), get accustomed to acquiring model and property releases. This lets your images cast the longest shadow and possibly save your butt in the future.

I'm working on an entry about the levels of legal problems by field of photography, but don't want to give you two heavy blogs in a row. For now, consider the following story and how it could have been avoided.

Newsweek photographer and White House News Photographers' Association Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Wallace McNamee of Hilton Head, S.C., took a photo. The photo was later licensed to Corbis Corp. of Olympia, Wash., an online digital image company. They licensed it to a greeting card company.

This is a normal use of images like a butterfly on a flower. However, this time it was a woman smoking and drinking before a wedding – more than 20 years ago. So, she's suing.

Obviously, something went wrong at the super-conglomerate photo service. Editorial images are for editorial use. Commercial images are for commercial use. The line between the two should not be blurred - particularly when there's no model release.

Enough for now,

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