Copyright issues

Copyright issues meant that this photos ended up in court!

There are copyright issues surrounding photographs that we should talk about.  Remember that picture of the monkey taking a selfie?  That’s what we’re talking about here.
Copyright issues meant that this photo starred in a court case!

This was the image that prompted a public debate and eventually ended up in court.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous and all have cameras. Some even have better cameras than your basic DSLR. Instagram, Snapchat and other social media outlets offer a platform for your images. The temptation is to record everything.  For example, on a personal level, we recently managed to get a step-son outside for a walk with our dogs.  That went on Facebook!

What’s the issue then for photo booths?

If you press the shutter you own the image.

Not everyone wants their picture published.

Green screen copyright issues

Let’s look at how this affects green screen issue (available with our Gold Package). Green screens, as you might know, is where we add a separate background to the final image. Green screen images can be of anything, to be honest. Capital cities, winter scenes, Christmas related images. The list is endless.

When we run our photo booth we usually take 4 photos for every session. That calls for 4 green screen images. These will usually be with a common theme. Of course it’s not essential to have four different images. These images have to come form somewhere – and they’re going to belong to someone. Some images are so well known that the image itself is the watermark – take any image of Mickey Mouse as an example!

Some sites, like Shutterstock, allow photographers to publish their work with a watermark. Most photographers will publish their work on their own web sites with a watermark – as we do. On there other hand, there are web sites where the images are free to use. Sites such as https://pngtree.com/ or https://pixabay.com/images/search/png/ .

But a simple search of Google will throw up many (hundreds of) images. There don’t appear to be watermarks on these images – but the first rule still applies!

When we provide our Gold Package we find that most customers understand these basics. But on occasion, there’s a specific request – for Harry Potter, for example. Disney are very protective of their products and will prosecute infringements. Luckily there are many images that aren’t copyrighted.

There are also people who do not want their image on social media.

Teachers, members of the Armed Services are obvious examples. I’m sure there are others you can think of! We approach this in two ways. If possible, we’ll keep their image off our web site and social media. There are going to be occasions where this is not possible. The booth butler may not note the particular image, or fails to pass on the message. If that’s the case we’ll work to remove the image as soon as we can. On other occasions the party host asks us to keep the images off social media completely. In these occasions we password protect the images on our web site. We share the password with the hosts.

So what does that mean?

In the first place we ask our booth butlers to be in charge of the picture taking so that we “own the result (it’s in our terms and conditions).  We’ll always be available to offer advice for this whole issue – and we have hundreds of images to suggest!  Copyright issues can be an issue – but we’re good at solving issues!

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