Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Week of Freebie Requests

Here's something just for entertainement value. They are actual requests for image use from this past week. The funny thing about "The Very Big" case is that the gov't agency in question did have the budget to hire a third party to undertake this promotional campaign, just not for the single image around which the campaign would be based. :D

The Very Small

Them: "I received some grant money to installa permanent sign, such as you would find at a State or National park.Unfortunately there is no money in the budget for imagery."

Me: "Thanks for your inquiry. It is essential that I produce revenue for any andall usages of my work. That being said, the beauty of the rights managedsales model is that the small application pays the small fee. You couldhave full resolution files for all the images you mentioned for a one timefee of $100. Keep in mind that the principle of the time value of money appliesuniversally. Finding equivalent quality from a serious amatuer at nomonetary cost is possible, but at the expense of your time. Same dayresponse and quality of service are generaly not associated with the seriousamatuer who is often pre-occupied with a day job. I would be happy to provide those to you under the above terms."

Them: "Thanks for your response. I certainly understand the need to producerevenue and you make good a good point about my own time. I will keep yourterms in mind as I move forward."

The Very Big

Them: "As discussed over the phone we are interested in the following image for an upcoming campaign for the ********"

Them: "Again, the ******** is a government agency and would not have a large purse for image purchase. If you are interested it would most-likely more be for the recognition and portfolio than a financial gain."

Them: "It is not a large campaign for them, it will be around a 4-week campaign. As it looks now (however the marketing plan is always changing) a rough estimate would be: 3 magazines inserts, 4 large scale banners, some transit shelter ads, 8 newsprint insertions and possibly a :05 or :07 V tag"

Me: "If obtained through a stock agency, the usage described would command a conservative estimate of $1500~$2000. Now I realize that government agencies have limited budgets and as such I am very open to negotiation. But I am not in the position to provide such usage without monetary compensation."

Them: "It turns out that the ******** is going with another image and will not be moving forward with yours.
Thanks for your time"


  1. Glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets requests like that.

    I had an interesting happening recently. A company contacted me to use an image of mine for their web site. Before getting in contact with them I checked out their web site to discover they were already using the image in question, without permission and without paying me any compensation.

    I contacted them and pretended I was unaware of the unauthorized use of my image. I provided pricing based on both a rights-managed model and a royalty free model. Not surprisingly, this was too much money for this multi-million dollar company to pay.

    Within a week or so, they replaced my image with another image and have never returned my email.

    My next step is to send them an invoice. If they don't pay that, we'll go to small claims court. Of course, I documented their illegal usage of my image so I'm well prepared to defend my claim if necessary.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for sharing your story and checking out the blog. The market as a whole has very little respect for intellectual property. If they aren't demanding for something for free, they are just taking it. Hopefully your case can be settled outside of court (once they realize that you are willing to take it there).

    Many criticized Metallica when they took their harsh stance on copyright infringement, but, when you think about it, they were doing something perhaps more noble for the poor artists than they were for the rich. There's a saying about how the law and judicial system only exists so that rich people can make a point. But Metallica spent the currency of their celebrity (and some US currency, too) to make a point that speaks for all artists.