The images and textual content found on this website are the property of and held under the copyright of Los Angeles photographer Rob Greer. They are protected under the U.S. Copyright Law. The images and textual content on this site must not be downloaded or reproduced in any way or used for any personal, editorial, or commercial purpose without the written permission of Rob Greer.
If you wish to use or purchase any photographs found on this website, please contact me for more information. In some cases usage may be granted if you provide a reasonable citation or compensation for the photograph. To be clear, you cannot use any content found on or shared from this website without first obtaining the appropriate written permission.
United States Copyright Office
Editorial Photographers - Copyright
Understanding the Value of Copyright
All of my photographs have value but they may have an even greater value when they're shared with large audiences. To put the audience value system in perspective, in commercial photography a photograph becomes proportionally more valuable based on the number of people who will see the photograph. As an example, if a privately owned small business approached me and asked me to photograph 5 small products, I'd probably quote them just a few hundred dollars for the entire job. That price is based on the amount of time required, the uniqueness of the photographs, the amount of expertise required, and the number of people who will view the photographs. For small business product photography, the number of people who will be exposed to the images is typically limited. In the case of projects involving larger companies, photographers expect that more people will view the photographs and thus the overall value of the photograph increases proportionally. For example, several years ago Microsoft and AT&T hired me to photograph 5 mobile phones. It wasn't a difficult assignment and I spent about 5 hours on the entire project—from planning to completion. My photographs of those 5 phones later appeared on the home page of Microsoft.com and were seen by millions of people. For that project, my bill was just over $25,000. As these two examples illustrate, for professional photographers, exposure directly correlates to the perceived value of certain photographs. Given that photographs created for my self-assigned projects have a slight but admittedly real potential to receive worldwide attention, I'm forced to be particularly vigilant about citations in order to ensure that my business receives appropriate exposure if the photographs achieve some measure of acclaim.
As a photographer, I earn my living based on the income my photography generates. I therefore do everything I can to protect my ability to generate revenue from my photographs. Although I recognize and appreciate the desire others have to share my photography on the Internet, I require certain concessions as compensation for allowing my images to be exposed to a wider audience. In most cases, that concession is minor in that it involves including a brief citation with my images. In editorial circles, attaching authorial credit to images is common. Magazines and newspapers almost invariably post the name of the photographer near every photograph. That credit is part of the compensation that the photographer receives in exchange for having his or her work appear in a publication. With the advent of the Internet, many publications are now extending that credit to also include URLs to photographer websites. Likewise, and in following with that established tradition, when any of my photos appear on websites, blogs, or in social media, my logo (via watermark), my name, and a link to my website must accompany the work.
Although I recognize that my publication requirements may seem onerous to someone outside the advertising or publishing industry, I hope that these additional explanations provides you with a greater understanding as to the importance of citations. First, with my name and URL included with every photograph, I'm greatly improving the chance that interested parties will visit my website. Since few purveyors of blogs or social media are likely to spend the time necessary to search for my website, by providing the URL next to the photograph, the chances of a website visit are increased exponentially. And, although you may not realize it, I place great value on new website visits—both in terms of expanded exposure for my work and in the increased potential for new client acquisition. And if those two reasons weren't enough, those links may also have excellent SEO value.
In additional to the textual citations I've discussed in detail, my logo must appear on any photograph that is shared via social media or on blogs. Rather than impact the body of my photographs, a small Rob Greer Photography logo is positioned at the bottom right outside edge of the image. By including the logo on all of my public facing images, my name and brand is much more likely to remain attached to social media photographs as text citations are often removed, often through social media sharing limitations or through the ignorance or laziness of the person who shares the original post (which may very well include textual citation information).
There are also several business reasons that further explain my citation requirements. First, when a complete citation is available, then commercial and editorial interests are unlikely to use that photograph without first contacting me for permission. If a logo or citation is present, and a business or publication decides to forego that permission process and instead chooses to use an image without my permission, then they are liable for actual and statutory damages. To help put this in perspective, a few years ago several of my photographs appeared in a popular Huffington Post article. The Huffington Post author failed to contact me for permission and did not properly identify my ownership of photographs. The customer who had commissioned the photographs had done so with the understanding that they were for personal use only. Several months after the photographs were created, my customer submitted them to the Huffington Post stating that she owned all of image rights. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and although the Huffington Post should have known better than to run the photographs without proper attribution, due to the customer's claim of full ownership, the Huffington Post was able to claim justifiable ignorance. In this particular situation, I was within my rights to seek additional compensation from the customer since their usage rights didn't extend to editorial usage. Later, the story took another turn. One of the largest online newspapers in Europe appropriated two of my photographs from the Huffington Post article and included them in a prominent online story that was a paraphrased recap of the Huffington Post story. After stiff negotiations that consumed far too much of my time, I was able to collect a only 350 from the newspaper for their improper usage of my photographs. Although that may seem like a fair payment, if the photographs had been properly cited and watermarked in the original Huffington Post article, and if the newspaper had then used the photos, they would have been liable for $2,500 to $25,000 per photograph plus attorney's fees. As you can perhaps now begin to understand, given the huge financial considerations in matters related to copyright, proper citation is no small matter. Taking only this one case as an example, the customer who failed to follow my instructions cost me no less than $4,650 in lost revenue.
In some cases, people outside of our profession have suggested that I should be grateful for the increased exposure that comes from having my photographs shared around the world. And although it's certainly fun to see folks say nice things about my photography, that appreciation doesn't generate revenue for my business—especially when the people viewing my photography are completely unaware of the identity of the photographer (namely me). Other folks might argue that this greater exposure for my images might somehow lead to new business opportunities even though my business information isn't attached to the photograph. That idea would be nice to consider, but it's unlikely for that to happen. Someone would need to appreciate the photograph, begin a search for the photographer, discover the photographer, and then pay the photographer a nice fee for their work. Experienced photographers have been lured by this unfulfilled promise of greater glory far too many times to consider this a real possibility. I remain convinced that if my photographs don't have an appropriate citation or logo applied, it's statistically highly unlikely that I'll receive any direct benefit from their publication on blogs or in social media.
Upon receiving written permission from me, here are the terms and conditions that must be met in order to publicly share my photographs.
- When my photographs are displayed on a blog, I must be cited in the first paragraph. The words “Rob Greer Photography" must appear as an underlined hypertext link and must link to the URL http://www.robgreer.com. The HTML used to link to the URL may not include the “nofollow" attribute.
- When my photographs are used in an online editorial context, I must be cited under each photograph with the words "Rob Greer Photography" displayed as an underlined hypertext link and must link to the URL http://www.robgreer.com. The HTML used to link to the URL may not include the "nofollow" attribute.
- When photographs are displayed on Facebook or Pinterest, the following text must be included in the description of every photograph: "Copyright Rob Greer Photography, http://www.robgreer.com/"
- When my photographs are used online, photographs may not be cropped, resized, or otherwise modified. Additionally, the Rob Greer Photography logo must appear attached to every photo and may not be hidden, modified, or removed.
- When my photographs are used in a printed editorial context, I must be cited with the words "Rob Greer / robgreer.com" under each photograph or in the margin as dictated by the publication's style guide.
- Permission to display the photographs may be rescinded at any time for any reason. If a request for removal is provided, you agree to remove the photographs within 24 hours.
- You must contact and obtain separate permission from me and offer just compensation prior to sharing these photos with any other party or when using the photographs in printed or electronic advertising, magazines, website portfolios, websites or blogs outside of your direct control, or on your own business website.
- If you fail to abide by these Terms & Conditions, you agree to compensate me (and my clients when applicable) for any usage. That usage is based on the monetary rate that would be customary and in accordance with photographic industry rates at the time of publication or distribution. You may also be held liable for actual and statutory damages.
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