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Private Purpose Only Mandate


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Question. I have a few photos shot at the British Museum (inside) that I was considering adding to my port. But on their website it very clearly says photography is allowed for private purposes only. Then a quick look on Alamy shows 2439 pages of photos of the British Museum, most inside and not labeled editorial only. Maybe it's not up to Alamy to monitor this, but so many photographers ignoring the "only for private purposes" mandate? Isn't that asking for trouble? Or are these mandates regularly ignored with no consequence?

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This whole subject is a grey area which is perhaps best left that way. Yes, they should be labeled Editorial Only, but otherwise, let's not encourage limitations. There already so many people and institutions keen to wield control.

Edited by Robert M Estall
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Mark your images as property in the image, then when asked if you have a "property release" mark it as "NO"

 

That puts the onus on the user.

 

Allan

 

I always do this if I am not sure if there is property in the image.

 

ITMA

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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38 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

That puts the onus on the user.

Though many forum pages were taken up by opinions that the onus had moved to the contributor following changes to the contract.

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Clause 4.1.14 states "the Content was not taken in any place where photography for commercial gain is forbidden, e.g. some museums, art galleries and other public or private buildings or areas;"

 

Contributors can choose to ignore this if they wish and even hope it will go away but it is very clear. Given how much (or more likely little) the rewards for publication are likely to be, it seems like a no-brainer to me - don't do it. Uploading such images is a simple and clear breach of the Alamy contributor contract and has nothing to do with any subsequent use of the image. This is not a property issue either which is entirely separate and additional. 

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2 hours ago, JSaunders said:

Maybe it's not up to Alamy to monitor this, but so many photographers ignoring the "only for private purposes" mandate? Isn't that asking for trouble? Or are these mandates regularly ignored with no consequence?

 

 

the answer is clearly it depends.  Many of us interpret mandates within our risk tolerance.  Same as plenty of users of picture do- why do you think Alamy created an infringement team.  In the end it is all a balance of risk/reward like most of life.

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1 minute ago, MDM said:

Clause 4.1.14 states "the Content was not taken in any place where photography for commercial gain is forbidden, e.g. some museums, art galleries and other public or private buildings or areas;"

 

Contributors can choose to ignore this if they wish and even hope it will go away but it is very clear. Given how much (or more likely little) the rewards for publication are likely to be, it seems like a no-brainer to me - don't do it. Uploading such images is a simple and clear breach of the Alamy contributor contract and has nothing to do with any subsequent use of the image. This is not a property issue either which is entirely separate and additional. 

 

furthermore, if you are going to go down that line, why do it for a subject matter where "Alamy shows 2439 pages of photos " ?  

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I had Alamy remove all my zoo and museum photos despite the fact that some had sold for good prices. I don't need the money enough to be taking chances.

 

Paulette

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3 hours ago, Robert M Estall said:

a grey area which is perhaps best left that way.

 

;)

Is Alamy really going to check millions of images for compliance with the entrance conditions of thousands of venues? Until then I expect a great many images in these categories are going to remain on the site.

Past experience suggests that anyone putting in time and effort to comply with a new term is likely to get kicked in the face a few months or years later when the contract changes again.

That said, I probably wouldn't put up any run-of-the-mill images taken at a paid venue with a clear policy stated on the ticket. When you pay for a ticket it's much clearer that you've accepted the terms of a contract if it's brought to your attention beforehand.

I don't happen to think the new term is particularly clear.

Edited by spacecadet
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1 hour ago, meanderingemu said:

 

furthermore, if you are going to go down that line, why do it for a subject matter where "Alamy shows 2439 pages of photos " ?  

Yes, I thought this also and was waiting for someone to mention it! 😅

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6 hours ago, JSaunders said:

Question. I have a few photos shot at the British Museum (inside) that I was considering adding to my port. But on their website it very clearly says photography is allowed for private purposes only. Then a quick look on Alamy shows 2439 pages of photos of the British Museum, most inside and not labeled editorial only. Maybe it's not up to Alamy to monitor this, but so many photographers ignoring the "only for private purposes" mandate? Isn't that asking for trouble? Or are these mandates regularly ignored with no consequence?

Hi JSaunders; Two points; Firstly regarding your search - If you just put in British Museum to the search engine you get 2439 pages of images, but these just have British and Museum as two keywords. Many of these will be other Museums in Britain. If, in the advanced search you put in "British Museum" as an exact phrase there are 994 pages of images - still a lot, I agree, but not as many as 2439.

Secondly I am a member at the British Museum and I specifically wrote to the the trustees after Alamy imposed their new contract, as I had a number of images on Alamy inside the British Museum. They replied to say that images for financial gain to the photographer, eg. stock images are not allowed to be taken in the museum. Given Alamy's new contract where it seems to suggest that Alamy will pass on their costs to the photographer if a legal case arises, I made the decision to remove all my images from Alamy. 

It could be argued that in practice it is very unlikely that anyone is going to be sued by the museum trustees for sale of an image - I think by far the more likely thing is that they would periodically ask Alamy to remove all images from sale. But given the new contract, and cost of legal cases is it worth the risk?

I also think that given that Alamy must be perfectly aware of the museum's stance, and also that Alamy prides itself on inviting new/inexperienced  photographers to share in the experience of selling their photos, that Alamy itself could go through their image base and remove these images themselves?

 

Kumar

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My theory is the same as the trademark infringement policies of Etsy.  They allow thousands of listings of clear infringement on trademark.  They make a lot of money on these listings.  It is in the contract that you are not to do that, but they only remove them if the actual owner of the trademark complains.

 

This way, they still get to make tons of money on the illegal listings, but cover their butts if the trademark owner complains.  Alamy is doing the same.  By shifting the responsibility to the contributor, they can continue to make money on the illegally uploaded images as they know people will continue to upload them.  Especially as Doc mentions, so many new inexperienced photographers.

 

They should be constantly using bots to locate probable illegal images if they truly wanted to make sure they weren't there.

 

Jill

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6 hours ago, JSaunders said:

Question. I have a few photos shot at the British Museum (inside) that I was considering adding to my port. But on their website it very clearly says photography is allowed for private purposes only. Then a quick look on Alamy shows 2439 pages of photos of the British Museum, most inside and not labeled editorial only. Maybe it's not up to Alamy to monitor this, but so many photographers ignoring the "only for private purposes" mandate? Isn't that asking for trouble? Or are these mandates regularly ignored with no consequence?

 

It's a minefield alright. Not everyone will check the website of course and unless there are prominent signs internally not everyone will be aware.

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6 hours ago, Allan Bell said:

Mark your images as property in the image, then when asked if you have a "property release" mark it as "NO"

 

That puts the onus on the user.

 

Allan

 

I always do this if I am not sure if there is property in the image.

 

ITMA

 

Hmmmm risky business . I think those days are long gone. 

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In light of the weight of opinion going against what I said I have no option other than to withdraw my statement made earlier.

 

Allan

 

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Just because others haven’t read the no photos for commercial gain policy or ignored it doesn’t mean it’s OK. If a photographer is selling photos then he/she ought to take the trouble to find out what the policy is. You can find several hundred photos on Alamy of Rosslyn Chapel (Da Vinci code fame) which enforces a very strict no photos at all policy, not even for private purpose. If you try to take one, a staff member will tell you not to. Luckily I recently went there for a news photocall so had the opportunity to take and put up some editorial photos. That’s the only circumstance in which I’d do so.

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15 minutes ago, Sally said:

Just because others haven’t read the no photos for commercial gain policy or ignored it doesn’t mean it’s OK. If a photographer is selling photos then he/she ought to take the trouble to find out what the policy is. You can find several hundred photos on Alamy of Rosslyn Chapel (Da Vinci code fame) which enforces a very strict no photos at all policy, not even for private purpose. If you try to take one, a staff member will tell you not to. Luckily I recently went there for a news photocall so had the opportunity to take and put up some editorial photos. That’s the only circumstance in which I’d do so.

 

 

but on the other hand the policy also needs to be enforceable. Plenty of countries restrict all commercial activities without a permit in their National Parks.  Does that mean the picture of a Takahe i took in a NZ National Park for intent of selling without a permit breaks rules? 

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I think one of the problems is that there's an ambiguity as to how the phrase "taking photos for commercial purposes" is interpreted by different establishments.

 

Some establishments, who state no photos for commercial purposes, just want to prevent photos of their property being used on commercial products (calendars, mugs, for advertising etc. which might compete with their own merchandise or exploit their property). But, they are actually quite happy/relaxed with photos of their property being used for editorial purposes.

 

Whereas other establishments interpret "commercial purposes" more broadly as applying to any photos being sold for commercial gain (to the photographer), in which case editorial stock photography is also restricted. 

 

It's a bit of a minefield.

 

Mark

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On 10/03/2022 at 20:16, M.Chapman said:

I think one of the problems is that there's an ambiguity as to how the phrase "taking photos for commercial purposes" is interpreted by different establishments.

 

Some establishments, who state no photos for commercial purposes, just want to prevent photos of their property being used on commercial products (calendars, mugs, for advertising etc. which might compete with their own merchandise or exploit their property). But, they are actually quite happy/relaxed with photos of their property being used for editorial purposes.

 

Whereas other establishments interpret "commercial purposes" more broadly as applying to any photos being sold for commercial gain (to the photographer), in which case editorial stock photography is also restricted. 

 

It's a bit of a minefield.

 

Mark

Some more open places which forbid photos for commercial purposes weren't thinking of stock photos or even prints: they just didn't want e.g. advertising shoots, with all the associated people and paraphernalia, clogging up their paths or viewpoints. But you'd have to check to be sure.

I'm currently trying to negotiate permission for a particular place. Clearly they have very inflated ideas of how much images sell for, not helped by Alamy still claiming an average of $30 per sale, and not making it clear that that's gross and includes Live News print sales (my average gross is nowhere near $30). So they are holding out for an unsustainable fee, and already have an inside photographer shooting their publicity shots, so they're not interested in a trade. I think it's a non-starter, but there are plenty photos of that place (not too many, yet) on Alamy.

I've already mentioned another place and was told under no circumstances would photos of the interior be released for stock (because they want to control where the photos would be used), and there are many on Alamy*. I passed on their email to OldAlamy, but nothing was done. As said above, it must need to the actual rights holder who contacts Alamy directly.

*Oh, that's interesting. There are some photos which I hadn't seen before which clearly were set up photo calls. I wonder if they realised that they would go into general stock afterwards!

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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I always play safe when shooting on private property unless what is shot is unrecognisable as being shot there. Yesterday I was shooting a recruitment banner at a local ambulance station. I kept off their forecourt, remaining on a public foot path and used a long lens. Even then management approached me as to what I was photographing as the said they had security concerns. I had a brief and interesting chat and all was well. So many contributors have no idea of others rights.

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7 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

Some more open places which forbid photos for commercial purposes weren't thinking of stock photos or even prints: they just didn't want e.g. advertising shoots, with all the associated people and paraphernalia, clogging up their paths or viewpoints.

 

Good point, I'd forgotten that interpretation.

 

Mark

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20 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

illegally uploaded images

They are not "illegally uploaded". They may, may, be in breach of contract but that's a very different matter.

 I have not broken the law at any point in respect of any of my images.

 

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

They are not "illegally uploaded". They may, may, be in breach of contract but that's a very different matter.

 I have not broken the law at any point in respect of any of my images.

 

 

 I may have broken laws, if we include error of omission when not asked as breaking the law, but yeah i don't see how any upload would be illegal, as most illegal activity regarding uploads would likely be blocked by Alamy. 

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