Sunday, April 27, 2014

Golf Photography and the Copyright Conundrum

No, I’m not happy about it, but you get used to it because there’s no failsafe any more. You can kick up a fuss but it’s probably not going to get you anywhere. Once you put something on the Internet, it’s there to be used by anyone else – be it words or music or imagery – no matter what copyright gets trampled over.

Portsalon Golf Club, Donegal, Ireland, 2nd Hole, copyright Kevin Markham
The 2nd hole at Portsalon
My photographs have often been ‘borrowed’ . I’ve seen them on travel company websites promoting Irish golf holidays, on Twitter & Facebook, and Irish golf course websites. None of them credit me… which explains why I now insert my copyright so blatantly. It used to be along the bottom but it was too easy to cut off. Now there's a risk that it interferes with the image itself.

 If you work as a freelancer – in anything – for some reason people expect you to work for them or give them stuff for free. It’s the classic ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’… bring up the subject of payment and there’s a surprised silence as if you should be honoured to do work for free.

I readily admit that I have provided work for free to online companies – and happily so – in the hope that it will generate paid work in the future… or, at the very least, raise my profile… and I have been well paid by various golf magazines (in the UK particularly) so I’m not on here to gripe. It’s a learning curve and you have to be forward if you want to make a success at what you choose to do.

Then again, sometimes you’re just too flabbergasted to speak.

A Sports Management agency contacted me to use one of my images for their main ‘golf’ page. I vexed over how much to charge them. I responded with my price and then heard nothing. I contacted them a fortnight later – their response was two lines. No, they weren’t interested. Thanks.

I had to drive somewhere, set up, wait for the right light, take the photo, drive home and then tidy it up in Lightroom. That takes time and effort, for which any photographer would expect to be paid. And cameras and equipment aren’t exactly cheap. So… how much did I want to charge them for the use of my image?

A huge sum of €15. And consider that sports management agencies charge everyone for everything and you’ll see the irony.

There’s no pleasing some people… and I guess that includes me. And this message is also directed at @finestgolfholes on Twitter, who have now used three of my images (including the one above), won’t credit me and don’t even respond to tweets.

No comments:

Post a Comment