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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Unprofessional and unethical email exchange with a magazine executive producer

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I have been contacted yesterday by this email:

Magazine executive producer:
there is an image of a girl texting. Your photo credit is on it and we will be printing this image. If you would like for us to purchase the copyright we are prepared to do so, however we would remove your name from it…If you want us to print this image we need your permission and your photo credit will remain intact…please contact us either way…thank you

My reply:

Dear [withheld]

“there is an image of a girl texting.”
Can you identify the photographic work a bit more precisely? Its file name or URL location where you found it.

“Your photo credit is on it and we will be printing this image.”
Before you do please read on. You are stating this as a matter of fact, where in reality you have not yet been granted a permit to do so.

“If you would like for us to purchase the copyright we are prepared to do so, however we would remove your name from it…”
You cannot purchase a copyright to my photograph. It is not for sale. You may possibly purchase a licence to use my photograph. You are certainly not entitled to alter my works or remove copyright notices”

“If you want us to print this image we need your permission and your photo credit will remain intact…please contact us either way…thank you”
Now we are talking. I need to know exactly:
a) Who are you representing?
b) which photograph you are interested in
c) nature of the article it will be published it (please attach copy of the text)
d) volume of print
e) size of the photograph on a page
f) will the article be reprinted on the Internet, and if so, on which website

Once I know these details I will consider if I want my photograph published by you, and secondly work out an appropriate licence fee, terms and conditions.

Regards,

Ted Szukalski

Magazine executive producer:
[Magazine name withheld]
Article: [withheld]
article Text: (Author will not release text in email)
Subject: [withheld]: (Attached)
Purpose of image: To publish a photographer
Circulation: Monthly Printed 8.5X11 four color
Location: [withheld]

Considered Publication:
We contact photographers to give them a media, such as a magazine, to either get published through and to have their work seen in print.
Internet is buzzing with MILLIONS of people who are not photograpgers [sic] but produce such impressive work like this one you have. We start a relationship with that photographer for future works…and by us just contacting you, means your work has got some real potential.
Your defensive tone has us considering alternative methods but personally, I’d rather have a start over FRESH kind of thing happen here. The Editor clearly told me…”Do not write him back.”
We can either reproduce your method of the work of this image attached with our photographers and models, which does take several DAYS to do if you’re not interested in be published in a magazine.
How many magazines/books/pamplets [sic]/articles/papers HAVE you been published and printed in?

My reply:
Dear [withheld],

Thank you for considering my photograph (my image reference:[withheld]) for publication in “[withheld]” magazine but after consideration I have decided to decline granting you permit or licence to publish this photograph.

Regards,

Ted Szukalski

Magazine executive producer:

Dear Ted,
We already shot the exact same image just like yours with one of our own models and photographers. The image looks perfectly reprodcued [sic].
The Editor already made a decision to decline using your image and had a replicated shoot organized before I even knew it.
I am sorry for wasting your time…

Thank you for the concept of the image though.
Have a great weekend.

[withheld]
Executive Producer
[withheld] Magazine

My reply:
Dear [withheld],

I believe you have just described and acknowledged a plagiarism. Lookup the term.

Regards,

Ted Szukalski

Magazine executive producer:

Ted,
we have been doing this for longer than you have been doing photography.
Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different transgressions. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent.
We did not USE YOUR IMAGE, we just reshot a scene similar…just to prove we can do it legally.

What this lesson that is taught to you right now…

Next time someone wants to PUBLISH you…don’t be a Dick.
Loose the attitude and from here on out, other chances at GETTING noticed will be on your side.

There is no need for me to look up a thing about this matter, I know the law very well and I am a stickler for using it to GAIN whatever can be gained.

Such as Public domain areas…

We gave you a NICE email to start relations, you pushed us to just simply retake the image, now your going to be pissed KNOWING this legally can be done.
Taking a picture of a “Super-Man” looking character who wears a J in stead of an S on his chest is CLEARLY LEGAL by standards of copyright laws.

This issue is closed…
it is done, and I have no more time with this matter and nothing further to add.

If you need representation, or if you need something further to say please direct it to the US Copryright Office of Affairs/Filing. Followed by complaints.
They will then ASK you for your processing 2-D number off of your SO form as well as the model release forms and AGE of the model. You can then file some legal motion to force us to disclose the image in question…

Have a Great weekend

So, there you have it. The most unprofessional and unethical email exchange I have ever had with any one representing a magazine. The quotes here are complete, I have only witheld the name of the producer and the magazine and I will be very kin to see their next issue.
This magazine has been operating for two years. And I have been taking photographs probably for longer than this person has been alive. I wonder how many other photographers they have treated like this or how many other photographs they have reproduced perfectly. And this person still does not know why I declined to have my photographs published by his magazine.

If this producer is reading it… I’ll give you a hint: US Copryright Office of Affairs/Filing will not be asking me for any forms or model releases. They will know the image is protected under Australian Copyright Law first and foremost and thus under USA Copyright law via Berne Convention to which both countries are signatories.

  • Lauren B.

    Wow…wow…wow.

    I don’t even know where to begin.

    The total lack of professionalism here is just amazing. Also, I find it interesting that the ‘Executive Producer’ for a print publication has such a low level of English skills:

    “We gave you a NICE email to start relations, you pushed us to just simply retake the image, now your going to be pissed KNOWING this legally can be done.”

    “Your.” Really???

    Like I said before: “wow.”

  • Mac

    “there is an image of a girl texting. Your photo credit is on it and we will be printing this image”

    Is that seriously what this guy counts as ‘a NICE email’ ?

    It seems reasonable to include the name and magazine in the blog. The writer is clearly not embarrassed by the quality or tone of their communications, so there is no reason that they would object.

    Mac

  • Thank you, Ted, for sharing this exchange. I too have been caught up by agents re-creating my photo by getting their own (unethical) photographer to re-shoot it. Your courtesy and professionalism towards them throughout the exchange was exemplary. Be kind, though. I think your contact was only about 10 years old. We have to be patient when dealing with them at that age.

  • BA

    Wow. Among the many other offenses, name-withheld’s grammar was atrocious.

  • that’s very rude and insulting, that’s ok mr, szukalski, any company with this working ethics couldn’t make it big if they continue to have this attitude with the others.

    good luck!

  • Lauren B.

    Wow…wow…wow.

    I don’t even know where to begin.

    The total lack of professionalism here is just amazing. Also, I find it interesting that the ‘Executive Producer’ for a print publication has such a low level of English skills:

    “We gave you a NICE email to start relations, you pushed us to just simply retake the image, now your going to be pissed KNOWING this legally can be done.”

    “Your.” Really???

    Like I said before: “wow.”

  • Mac

    “there is an image of a girl texting. Your photo credit is on it and we will be printing this image”

    Is that seriously what this guy counts as ‘a NICE email’ ?

    It seems reasonable to include the name and magazine in the blog. The writer is clearly not embarrassed by the quality or tone of their communications, so there is no reason that they would object.

    Mac

  • Thank you, Ted, for sharing this exchange. I too have been caught up by agents re-creating my photo by getting their own (unethical) photographer to re-shoot it. Your courtesy and professionalism towards them throughout the exchange was exemplary. Be kind, though. I think your contact was only about 10 years old. We have to be patient when dealing with them at that age.

  • BA

    Wow. Among the many other offenses, name-withheld’s grammar was atrocious.

  • that’s very rude and insulting, that’s ok mr, szukalski, any company with this working ethics couldn’t make it big if they continue to have this attitude with the others.

    good luck!