Old 07-14-2011, 10:38 AM   #1
Paolo Roffo
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Mr. Roffo,
I would like to obtain your permission to use your photo of an Amtrak train at Niantic, CT (Photo ID: 315077) on my firm's website. We represent injured Amtrak employees. Please advise. Thanks. [Name Redacted]


I got the above email yesterday. I told him no, but I still thought it was amusing. Anyone else had a similar experience?
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
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How is this amusing? He liked your picture and wanted to use it, and he did the right thing of asking you for your permission...
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Hi Paolo,

Over the last couple of years, I've received a fair number of RP-generated e-mails asking to use photos for various things. The only ones I typically respond to are ones that clearly lay out what the person wants with the photo and clearly identify the requestor. Many of them come through asking for permission to use the photo someplace and provide no identification whatsoever, except for a "screen name". I basically ignore those. They may be legitimate requests, but the folks behind them need to learn some basic social skills about how to engage someone in conversation and make them comfortable. Walking up to someone under a cloak has just the opposite effect.

It sounds as if the person who approached you represents a law firm....correct? Did he/she clearly identify that fact and provide a name and contact number? If not, I think you did the right thing.

Another issue is, of course, compensation. Rather than re-open that continuing discussion, let me just say that if the person or firm was clearly of some means and they did not offer you anything for the use of your photo, they have overlooked or chosen to ignore the fact that it cost you something to get that photo. If they fail to acknowledge that the photo has at least some value, I would be inclined to politely decline the request if signed, or ignore it completely if not.

My $.02.
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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I have gotten several lately from various different people.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:13 PM   #5
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How does the piucture help his case, I wonder.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #6
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If I can find it ill show you all, but I received an email stating they were going to start up a similar site to RP and whoever signed up first would get more upload space in their servers and would get "benefits" to premier contributers. Im fairly certain I deleted the email never to be seen again but ill see if its in the trash bin. I never replied back, im somewhat content with this site.

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Old 07-14-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paolo Roffo View Post
Mr. Roffo,
I would like to obtain your permission to use your photo of an Amtrak train at Niantic, CT (Photo ID: 315077) on my firm's website. We represent injured Amtrak employees. Please advise. Thanks. [Name Redacted]


I got the above email yesterday. I told him no, but I still thought it was amusing. Anyone else had a similar experience?
I think I received the same, or similar. Though, not injured Amtrak, rather LIRR employees, which was odd as I have no LIRR photos. Still, I responded stating that I would require a fee for usage of a photo in the manner suggested. He surprisingly followed through asking how much to which I provided details of a few previous fees but I stated I could be flexible, especially if it was for web use only. He again responded but said "Most of the photographers he has been asking have been willing to allow free use of images".

A few points here:

First - I believe the offer is legit but sadly vague and typical in this day and age. I typically respond "Dear ________ ",

Second - If anyone agrees to allow free use of their images to such inquiries, they are entitled but risk making any future such offers for payment a near impossibility.

Third - Believe it or not, I received a near identical vague request from an agency representing Amtrak which I was very happy to have followed through.

Fourth - it's a tight market and there ARE lots of photographers offering images for free, or for notoriety only, and consequently, it would seem that you are not always going to get top dollar. I typically ask what the customer may have budgeted for such an expense and work from there if it falls into range.

Good luck.

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Old 07-14-2011, 08:57 PM   #8
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I think photogs who let their images be used for free are morons. I will not do this except to students who ask nicely for class projects. I have willingly given prints to the subjects of my photos if asked, but nothing more. Actually, the last time I let someone use my photography for free, we had an agreement through e-mail that it was a one time only thing. They laid the "we have a deadline coming up" trip on me, so I let them do it.

Then they used the picture a second time at which point they bought me a new lens and a few day trips as well as paying down a few bills. Always get it in writing how you allow your pictures to be used, even if, and sometimes especially, if it is for free.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
I think photogs who let their images be used for free are morons.
Hi Joe,

LOL, I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, but I would wholeheartedly concur that folks who do offer their work for free do indeed make it a lot tougher for the rest of us make anything off of ours.

I've been pretty good about allowing free access to my stuff by railroaders, railroads. Note however that all of the operations I've done that for are tourist operations and museums that aren't exactly making a killing. Beyond that however, I'm in the same camp with Mitch. Prospective users need to make me an offer that acknowledges the fact that I didn't get these pictures for free. I suspect that few of us actually make money doing this, but if our work is to be put to use, we'd all like to have something to help us defray some of the expenses....which at least in my case, have been considerable.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:23 AM   #10
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My philosophy is simple. If you or your organization make money, then I make money.

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Old 07-16-2011, 01:23 AM   #11
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My philosophy is simple. If you or your organization make money, then I make money.

Jeff Hawkins
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Welcome Jeff!

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Old 07-16-2011, 01:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hawkins View Post
My philosophy is simple. If you or your organization make money, then I make money.

Jeff Hawkins
That's exactly right. The only time I let people use my photos for free is if it's explicitly not for profit and some small mom and pop thing like a community newsletter or something.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:39 AM   #13
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I've only allowed one person to use mine for free. I prob shouldn't have but I had a history with them.

One morning I captured a picture of an engineer bringing a MARC into St. Denis. The engineer was about to retire. MTA asked for the picture so they could frame it for a retirement present.

In 2007, I did the MDOT Fellows Internship and worked at MTA. They were really nice to me took me around the light rail shops at Falls and Cromwell, take pictures from Penn Station platforms, I got in some newspaper saying that "the inherent weakness of buses is that they are subject to traffic" and other stuff so I felt like they were kind to me, I would return the kindness.

Although they wouldn't let me ride on the engine from Rockville to Kensington, but I got to meet the Brunswick Train Master.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
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In 2007, I did the MDOT Fellows Internship and worked at MTA. They were really nice to me took me around the light rail shops at Falls and Cromwell, take pictures from Penn Station platforms, I got in some newspaper saying that "the inherent weakness of buses is that they are subject to traffic" and other stuff so I felt like they were kind to me, I would return the kindness.
Well, since the MTA runs buses also, a) you didn't do them any kindness by putting buses down, and b) you didn't learn much during your internship.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:54 AM   #15
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Uh, how much do you all get paid for posting your shots on this site? If the request seems reasonable, I give it to them since I've given this site a few shots for free. Once I even gave the TOAD some shots for free. I regret that one, though.
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Old 07-16-2011, 06:05 AM   #16
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BTW, I had a travel agency contact me who handles tours in Canada - wanted a shot I had of the Canadian. Offered to pay, I sent RAW files at my expense to their office in the Chicago area. Several email contacts asking where my compensation was and got a few excuses about being busy with the Rose Bowl, etc. I stopped bothering, but I'll never spend my money again to work with a so called paying customer that has contacted me via Railpics. I'll demand payment up front before I burn files to a disk and mail them anywhere. Free is cool - I know the terms of the deal and if I think I want to help - cool. I don't need or want to make my living doing this, that's for sure!
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:02 PM   #17
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I never send or ship anything until payment has cleared. I've learned my lesson from past experiences.

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