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September 06, 2011

Getting Paid for Your Shots

Rock of Cashel

SEVEN YEARS AGO, when Flickr was still a baby and when iPhones did not exist, I walked out of the best cafe in Cashel and snapped a shot of the Rock of Cashel. That image has been seen by more than 20,000 on Flickr, been marked a favourite more than 50 times and appeared in collateral worldwide without attribution or compensation. Its unauthorised usage gives me a solid teaching example that resonates in the current experience of Susan Cloonan.

People often fail to appreciate how to sustain creative work. Some publicists and newspaper subeditors will scrape and use content without pause, opting instead to wait for the invoice to arrive from the aggrieved photographer. If I was more energetic, I could collect more than the occasional EUR 140 that many Irish publications will pay when they use my snaps without my approval. In fact, my current austere household budget is causing me to consider setting up a more rigorous web trawl with Tin Eye to spot the appearance of work I created. But Tin Eye won't catch the Irish freesheets or the sales teams that overstep their marks and take liberties with the creative work of others.

The solution is vigilance and in the preparation of boiler plate letters that get results. I'm covering this topic in the Public Relations module of the Creative Multimedia programme taught in Tipperary for the Limerick Institute of Technology. Based on feedback I've received from professional/amateur photographers, I should extend my hour-long lecture into an evening special session for all comers--and invite the subeditors who unwittingly disregard the creative work of others.


Susan Cloonan -- "Oops! I forgot my camera! Can I have your photos?"

FACT: Christian Payne uses Tin Eye.

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