Choosing a photographer
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NEWSLETTER MAY 1987                 VOLUME 93

So that YOU all understand the full concept of the Marketing Programme, I will endeavor to lay it out step by step giving you all of the information that I think I have to allow you to make an informed decision as to whether this program is for you.

The intent is to bring more portraits into your studio mid week which will increase your gross profitability.

The sittings will be fully paid sittings and there will be no freebees offered to get your customer into the studio.

You the studio will employ a customer service person who will be responsible for mailing out brochures to prospective customers and will be following up with a telephone call approx two weeks later.

They will be using a prepared script and will book where possible,  without pressure,  appointments for your studio in any of the fields which you wish to undertake.

We have prepared an advert which we will forward to you on your acceptance of this programme along with a list of criteria's and guides to help you choose the right person.

We are suggesting a rate of $5.00 an hour plus a bonus of $4.00 for every appointment photographed.  We are suggesting that the person be employed for a maximum of twenty hours a week however the exact amount you pay is over to you but remember... if you pay peanuts you may end up with monkeys.

We are bringing Evelyn Lageman to New Zealand at the end of July to run a series of two day programme's in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The first day will be to train you the photographer in what you can expect from this programme and what your involvement needs to be.

The second day will be to train you and your customer service person on techniques that will be used to put this marketing programme into place and what sort of script etc the telephone person will use.  These will be two days of extremely high pressure and will possibly be the most important part of the whole marketing programme.

It bombed ....badly... however Stuart Riddell took the same program and modified it a little... or a lot and has become one of the most successful portrait photographers in NZ and beyond.

NEWSLETTER FOR JUNE 1988                        VOLUME No 98

I have below.... a copy of a letter sent to a Copyright Lawyer... it should be self explanatory.

We want to set up a system by which Photographers can simply have the copyright of their photographs assigned to them, so that they can legally take action against anybody that would consequently illegally copy them.

The way I understand the law is that with Professional Photography the person who makes the first approach in commissioning a photograph technically owns the copyright, unless the copyright has been assigned to some other person.

I believe that is a simple explanation of the copyright law as it is applied to Professional Photography in New Zealand.

With the advent of Laser Copy Machines and high quality Copy Machines using photographic paper, it is now very easy to walk into an establishment that is offering this service and in a very few moments, receive a cheap good quality of the original photograph.

Professional Photographers in the majority of cases rely on the sale of reprints for their income. Some Photographers charge a fee for the creation of the negative and others charge a very small fee, or in some cases no fee at all relying completely on the sale of reprints to receive their income.

In the case of Wedding Photography there is so much time involved in and the wedding assignment, that I am unaware of any Photographer who is able to charge sufficient fee to cover the creation of negative costs. Therefore, Wedding Photographers rely completely on the sale of reprints or albums to recover their costs.

With the advent of the new Copy Machines several Photographers have found that complete weddings have been copied and they have received basically no income at all for the work put into those weddings.

Some Photographers have found that their Portrait clients have copied their proofs, or where transparency's are used have ordered one print and then had those prints copied at a much lower cost.

Naturally, if this trend continues Photographers will have two choices. One, to put up their fees sufficiently to make a negative creation fee and thereby lose probably a large percentage of their existing customers. Alternatively simply go straight out of business.

I believe that there is a legal solution to offer Photographers protection from this problem.  

I believe that if the Photographers have the copyright assigned to them, or their assignee they will then have legal redress to stop the photocopying of the images they have created.  

I believe that the paperwork should be extremely simple. I believe that the wording that the customer will sign assigning the copyright to the Photographer has to be clear, concise and telling them precisely what they are doing and why

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Obviously, the assignment of copyright will have to be such that it will stand up in Court and I believe that within six months off this system being established, it will be tried in Court several times.

I believe to make this work the owner of the copyright has got to be prepared to sue in Court anybody and everybody they can prove has infringed their copyright.

I believe that this is beyond the scope of the average Wedding and Portrait Photographer in New Zealand. For this reason I would suggest that a Company be formed, to whom the copyright would be assigned and they would do the policing on behalf of the Photographers to make sure where ever possible the copyright was not being infringed.

The funds to run such an organization would be by a levy on the Photographer, perhaps fifty cents or one dollar for every copyright contract that was assigned to the Company.  

The people who do the copying of photographs are either large Laboratories, Mini Labs or Copy Houses. The Photographers Copyright Company obviously would contact all of these people, with examples of how the photographs will be marked to show a copyright is in existence and they will be advised that the Photographers Copyright Company will sue should they make a decision to infringe the copyright on any of the photographs so marked.

This of course would also need to be circulated widely amongst people selling Photocopying Machines and to make sure that as many people as possible knew exactly what the Copyright Law means.

Never the less I would think that ignorance of a law is not sufficient defense if somebody copies a clearly marked photograph.

I would imagine that the writer once we have started moving along the above direction, would be in contact with the Consumers Society to see what they would like incorporated in the above plan and assuming was practical would include their requests.

Several weeks later....PROGRESS
The Copyright Programme is almost already to roll.

The Copyright Attorney and the Barrister have both agreed that what I wish to do is completely achievable and we are now just waiting for the i's to be dotted and the t's to be crossed.

This is the Copyright Programme as I see it:
It will start when you have your initial enquiry. At that stage before you do any Photography you will ask them to sign a Copyright Release, transferring the Copyright from them to your Studio.

There will be a simple explanation provided by the Barrister along with a very simply worded (in English) Copyright Transfer.

If the person refuses to sign this Copyright Transfer, you will then at that stage be able to decide whether you want to proceed with the Photography or not.

The Copyright forms will be sent to Chromatek who will register them with the new Company begin set up to handle this matter.

All of the Copyright forms will need to be registered with the Company within two weeks of the signing of the form, for the Company to be able to protect your interests in the Copyright.

There will be a fee paid with each registration and this will be on a pro-rata basis dependant on the numbers that each Studio will be handling. We will probably rate this on a Lab turnover basis on a starting point.

I have been advised we will need a fighting fund of about $60,000.00 .    This will allow us to fight five simple cases or two difficult ones.   So we are not talking about small change and we can only do this as a united body.

When it is ready I will be holding meetings thro out the country explaining the complete system to those who are interested.

I visualize that the registration fee will be $XX.OO per registration and until there is sufficient working capital built up within the Company to fight what ever Court cases maybe necessary to emphasize that you the Photographer are the owner of the Copyright.

This may mean that for 6-12 months a fee is paid and then after that initial establishment programme the fee will be reduced to a minor figure, merely to keep the thing operational. Naturally, if Court cases are involved this fighting fee will have to be re-established, but I would think if we win a court case we would get costs so extra's would not be involved.

The Barrister says that a trap situation will be completely OK, so in the next few weeks we will be asking for names of people who are illegally copying your Photographs.

We naturally will not be able to do anything about this until we have built up some capital to fight this in court, but if everybody gets behind this it should not take long.

This Copyright protection we will be offering to Chromatek Customers only and will be available to those Customers as long as they continue using the Lab.

This will be given in writing to the varying people that wish to participate.

The Court case will be fought by the Company against the Copy-house in the name of the Studio.

What this means is that the Studio will in actual fact appear to be suing the Illegal Copier. However, the Company will provide all the finance and Solicitors etc, to do this.

It bombed ....badly...thro lack of support...  however today it would appear as if most photographers could do with this to protect their intellectual property.