I ordered a number of prints of some of my photos today. Now that I have an office, I got tired of looking at the bare white walls and decided it was time to put some of my photos on display.
Let’s hope I have better luck getting these prints than we did last week. We tried to get a photo Angela had taken at a wedding printed as a gift, but apparently, she did too good a job taking the photo, as the photo department at Walmart decided they couldn’t take a chance with copyright law unless we could get the commercial photography to give us written permission to use the photo, yes the photo Angela took, not a commercial photographer.
To be fair, their website does have a copyright form that you can bring with you, but the instructions say to any bring that if you’re having a professional photo printed, and if they question the photo at the time you go to pick it up, you cannot then fill out the form in person, which seems silly.
I think the fact that it was a wedding photo, and those probably are commonly reprinted without permission, definitely caused the problem. As it was, it wasn’t that big a part of the gift so we just skipped it.
I’m having mine printed at a local photo store, and don’t have any wedding photos, so I should be alright. But I do have to ask, how ridiculous is it that even a store as large and influential as Walmart is scared of copyright lawyers? Somehow, that doesn’t seem right. Seems like if I’m the one asking them to print a photo, I’m the one who should be held liable if I don’t actually own the copyright on it. It shouldn’t be up to the printer to “guess” at what might be a violation, especially given how good amateur digital cameras have gotten over the years. It’s not too difficult to take photos that are pretty close to professional quality, it’s scary to think that I couldn’t get them printed because they’re too good. Of course, it’s equally scary that they’ll print it if I just fill out a form, isn’t giving them the picture the same thing? Doesn’t the simple act of uploading the photo assert that I own the rights to have this photo printed? So, why does the law require them to get me to sign a form, instead of just assuming that if I upload the photo, I assume the liability? More importantly, why is the form valid if I print it at home and bring it with me, but not if I sign it in the store? That’s the kind of junk that gives lawyers a bad name.
Guess I just won’t bother shooting weddings unless I decide to do it commercially.
Update: I got all the prints back from Cord Camera here in town, and they all turned out rather well. One 8×10 had obviously been cut to that proportionate and served as a reminder to do that prior to uploading the next time. They simply cut equally from all sides, and while it’s still a decent photo, I would have cropped more from one side than the other. I think it changes where the eye is drawn to, making it a different photo really. It’s still good, just not the same.