December 27, 2015 at 11:49 pm #25091
As Symzio gets larger with more contributors, we’re going to get a lot more media in the engine. Since we do not screen media before it is published, it is up to the contributor to remain vigilant about all included media.
This is why we are introducing a flagging system in Symzio – if a Symzio admin comes across an image that appears to be editorial but is not marked as such, it will be flagged. The contributor will be notified. If we are mistaken, no harm done. If the media should have been marked, the contributor will likely mark it properly, and go through their entire collection to ensure everything is marked correctly.
The important thing to note is that if you publish editorial media on Symzio without marking it properly more than once, your account may be temporarily disabled and you will have to pay the re-inclusion fee to have your media show up in Symzio again.
We’re implementing the flagging system because Symzio is getting larger quicker than anticipated, and because contributors have been reliant on agencies to screen their stuff for so long, it is possible some artists are not as vigilant about independent tagging as they need to be.
As with most things, this is all being implemented to protect the rest of the contributors – if a client buys an image for commercial reasons and the contributor has to warn them that it wasn’t marked properly, it makes the entire system look bad.
I need not say how competitive the media business is, and how dramatic the success of Symzio will be on the entire industry; if we leave ourselves vulnerable in any capacity, it makes it all the more easier to knock us down.
Let’s get it all done right from the start!January 2, 2016 at 9:20 pm #25231
Added some Editorial information to the FAQs:
Key to take from this: Mark your editorial media as editorial!January 3, 2016 at 1:42 am #25232
I think it is worth putting something very clear in your buyers’s FAQ and license that the buyer is responsible for making sure that they are using the image in accordance with any restrictions. All Symzio is doing is providing guidance on that as we do not know the final usage of the image. As we know, the need for releases of buildings in particular is very vague and depends on the extent to which a protected building is the focus on the image rather than just being in the cityscape. Even then, an image of the Shard in London could be fine in a broad view of the London skyline, but not if the buyer specifically said in the text that their product was somehow supported by the Shard design, for instance. We have no control over that text.
I put this at the top of my license:
“You will find the contractual license below but I know you are unlikely to read it all. Here is a quick primer:
You are responsible for the use of the image and whether your specific use requires the permission of any person or company.
You must not use the image in a pornographic or defamatory way.
Standard licenses allow you to use the image in one design but they do not give you permission to resell the image.
Extended licenses expands on the standard license to allow you to use the image in much larger projects and to offer the image for resale on a calendar, product, clothing, wall print etc.
The detail is in the full Agreement below, but I hope that gives you enough information to choose either the lower priced standard licenses that give you a choice of file size, or the extended license that only is offered with a full size download.”January 3, 2016 at 4:11 am #25236January 3, 2016 at 4:25 am #25240
Absolutely. The responsibility for getting appropriate rights for an image rests solely with the “publisher”. It has been ruled (in the US at least) that putting an image up for sale on an agency is not publishing – that term applies to the final use of the image when it is put on a web site or magazine etc. The publisher is the one that needs to make sure that their particular use of the image is appropriate. The photographer and agency tells the user if the image has model releases and/or property releases and the publisher relies on that information being correct.
Telling someone that an image is for “editorial” use only is actually, in my view, advice that we are giving. We are saying that we don’t have model and/or property releases and so the publisher needs to take that into account when deciding how to use the image, but it is their decision and their risk.
SteveJanuary 3, 2016 at 4:58 am #25243
As a for instance, with my Shard example. This picture from Shutterstock is not marked editorial:
But if you cropped it to the right and published it in an advert for Viagra, say, and said, “our product can make you feel like this” – then I think you could certainly expect a take-down notice. So in this case, there was no editorial use only warning, but the use of that image could have caused problems for the publisher.
Edit: This is also why Alamy never say that an image is Editorial only. They very clearly state whether the image has model and/or property releases, but then it is up to the user to make appropriate use. This is all making me think that we should be more explicit about whether model and property releases are available on Symzio. We say when they are, but are silent when they are not. On many of my images (not all unfortunately), I used to add this little warning about releases not being available:
SteveJanuary 3, 2016 at 5:20 am #25246January 3, 2016 at 11:46 am #25260
I agree with Steven – the responsibility for proper usage must rest with the purchaser/publisher. There is no way anyone selling a stock image can know how the end user (publisher) will actually use the image. Even if we have an image marked as “editorial” use only, how are we to know that it will not be used commercially?
Yes, we should be marking editorial images as editorial. But I think when Steve says “it is their decision and their risk” is right on.
I am just building site, but I am going to follow Steve’s lead and include similar language that you – the purchaser – are responsible for proper use – just as you re to adhere to the terms of the license usage.
GeorgeJanuary 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm #25261
Good point by Steve. I’ll adjust my license text accordingly.
I still don’t understand how an image without releases can be sold as RF, even when marked as Editorial, but that’s another topic.January 3, 2016 at 1:49 pm #25262
RF is a type of license – it allows the user to use the image in any number of projects. It says nothing about the type of image though. RF licenses can be editorial or commercial (ie they don’t have releases for editorial and either have them or don’t need them for commercial usage). People do get it into their minds that RF=commercial, but that is just an internet based misunderstanding.
SteveJanuary 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm #25263
Steve, how can you sell an image or whatever under RF (unlimited number of uses) when you don’t have authorization to do so by the people or property owners displayed on your image?January 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm #25264
Good discussion. I am with Steve on this one. It has been always my understanding that it is the publisher who is responsible for proper authorization according to the image’s type of use. However, if we sell licenses under false pretense, like claiming there is full release when there isn’t, we might be found liable as well.
To be safe, I think it is best to be as open about this as possible. On my old Symbio site I show either N/A,No,or Yes for property and model release. Although this info has been collected at the backend, it wasn’t readily available on the frontend without tweaking/customizing the Symbio theme’s image page a bit if I remember correctly. Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I have explored new Symbiostock yet, the image/product page again needs to be tweaked in order to show release details to image buyers.
On top of providing that info I find it good practice to add a “for editorial use only” warning where applicable and educate image buyers about the usage limitation. – Robin is right, though: it should be carefully phrased as to not scare away our valued image buyers…
StephanJanuary 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm #25276
Steve: Can you find wording on any agency that asserts what you are stating? I want to see how other agencies address the issue because I never noticed anything like this before. Specifically, allocating responsibility and liability to the customer in regards to the end use.
I don’t want to put anything in our legalese that makes it stand out as compared to other agencies, but if what you are saying is true, then they’ve already figured out how to word it in a smart way.January 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm #25277
Actually, don’t worry about it. I just realized we’re talking about two different things.
If you put an image up and don’t mark it as editorial, you are telling the customer it is all right to use it in a commercial sense. That is the crux of the original post.
The second point is that despite being used commercially, or editorially, the end user is ultimately responsible for how it is presented and used, and despite being either commercial or editorial, that is their prerogative to determine.
We’ll work towards improving and sharing that information with buyers, but it is a separate issue to editorial tagging.
Images that have recognizable places, people or brands without signed releases must be marked as editorial. Otherwise you are telling the customer it is usable in a commercial sense. This is the central point contributors must be very actively vigilant towards.
We will be writing more detailed guides on this so there is more information and will post it here when it is ready.January 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm #25279
I’d suggest that the discussion here is helpful and will help refine editorial use.
As far as warning the buyer, I’d submit sellers include something like “You may not use an image designated “Editorial Use Only” for commercial purposes.”
To add to Redneck’s question about selling images with people and no release, on New Year’s Day I photographed the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. Thousands of costumed Mummers paraded past me on a public street. No way could you get them to stop and sign a release. Clearly editorial, and I could sell the same image to various publishers, such as blogs writing about great parties, or travel destinations, etc. But the image, for example, cannot be used on tee-shirts for sale. When someone licenses the use via my site or Symzio, we have to assume they will use it correctly. If we told them it is editorial and we told them editorial cannot be used for commercial purposes, I’d think that is clear, We warned them and we told them, what more can we do?
Yes, those of us offering editorial images for license must mark them. But the end user is the one ultimately responsible for how the image is used.
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