Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

I had a meeting with a large publisher yesterday.

They get over 30 letters a month from people saying “You’ve used my picture in one of your books, pay me.”

Every letter has to be answered. The publisher asks for a photograph of the complainant. It takes about an hour to check the image, check the model releases for the book, write a reply — it ties up the legal department whose time could be better spent signing contracts with fotoLibra.  Not one person has pursued their claim further.

So the publisher quite rightly has demanded model releases for all images of people that they use. Shots taken in classrooms can have the signature of the school principal, not every individual in the image. It’s impossible to get model releases for everyone in a crowd shot, so chances do have to be taken.

The same publisher has been awarded contracts to publish educational schoolbooks for a large Eastern European country, on condition the books are printed in that country. So the printing goes ahead, the rep visits the schools with the brand new books and is unblushingly informed that the school doesn’t want to buy the books because they already have them, at half the price the legit company is selling them for.

The books are shown and they are identical, except for the cheaper paper and binding. What happens is that the disc sent to the printer is immediately copied, the books printed elsewhere and rushed out to the schools. Lots of shoulder shrugging and expressions of regret, massive loss for the publisher. It’s a wonder they carry on.

It’s not simply the sneaky Slavs — the same thing happened with a long-standing EU member country whose Prime Minister owned several printing companies.

Bizarre, isn’t it?


Add your comment