Just a thought about attempting to cover and quantify the issues behind photo workshops and workshop handouts. Most nature photographers have turned to teaching as an additional source of income, as traditional print markets are sluggish at best. The problem here is that there is a great deal of research and investment that goes into the planning and execution of a well-done workshop. Some photographers looking to enter this market are simply taking the ideas, locations, schedules etc. of those already teaching, and calling it their own.
Is this an intellectual copyright issue? Though I'm not looking to name people, I've personally had someone go as far as to teach a workshop based solely on a handout I gave at a workshop of mine they attended. They even called during their presentation to make sure they understood a point correctly - imagine my surprise. I don't know that there's any legal issue here, but perhaps it would be good to establish a code of conduct or ethics. I don't want to say that I own a location, or a topic, but just that ethics would dictate I don't follow around another photographer in the field because I like their work, I think people need to be aware that copying someone's teaching is equally unethical.
I have a friend who's wife is a photo-buyer for a large textbook company. They have an exclusive contract with Getty for images, but she tells me that before she looks at Getty, she looks through Flickr. 9 times out of 10, she is able to find the photo she wants, obtain the rights to use it for little more than the promise of a copy of the textbook.
I don't know that the people who are agreeing to this are our members, but it might be useful to start an initiative to inform members what they should expect in return for licensing their photo. I think this problem will only get worse, but perhaps we can at least take a few small steps toward a solution. The issue here, and one that is age-old, is the valuation of art (or in this case photography), and until photographers can agree that their creations have inherent value, we have no hope of convincing the market that they need to value our creations.
Both good topics for sure. As a full time travel stock photographer I find that stock prices continue to go down ... and down. Part of the problem is the fact (as always) that photographers are so ready and willing to GIVE their work away for a promise of a book, or bi-line. It kills all of us in the long run. Flicker is a BIG problem for sure. What I don't understand is the fact that text book editors will "trust" the images they are grabbing at Flicker. Anybody can post anything & say anything about the image they what or "think". I work VERY hard to caption my images correctly. My reputation ... and that of my agent depend on it! It just doesn't seem to count for much these days.
One other topic that has been on my mind is bi-lines. With agents, sub-agents, group contracts, etc. the photographer is getting a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. In addition to the photographer often getting the smallest cut ... National Geographic Traveler recently used one of my images and ALL the agents got their name on the image ... everybody got credit except for ME the photographer! Only a 20% cut for me on some of my images ... and now I don't even get photo credit! What is up with that! It's bad enough that so many images have NO credit line ... but to have a credit line that has everybody's name EXCEPT for the photographer is just wrong. There must be something we can do as professionals so the photographer gets FIRST credit before any agents or sub agents?
I agree that workshop "cloning" is a real issue. More than once a workshop/safari has suddenly appeared on the same dates I use at the lodge next door, etc.
However I don't think we'll get any further trying to protect the information once its out there than Galen did trying to copyright his tripod position.
What might be fruitful would be a chat about the types of information that is published publically vs. mailed only to participants, what is online vs. print, etc. I know I've gotten a little more cautious about putting too many details on public web pages with a lot of the little details going out as watermarked PDFs, for example.--David Cardinal
Good point, David. I mentioned this in a workshop I presented about leading workshops and photo tours. We need to establish our own routes and not copy those of another workshop leader. This is especially true when we're running our own workshops and not going through one of the tour companies like Strabo or Van Os.
Kathy Adams Clark
KAC Productions ~ www.kathyadamsclark.com