Make Me A Sandwich
A friend of mine - see photo - rang me up and told me there was a great new girly magazine out on the stands. And as she was a girly she wondered if some of my pictures would go well in it.
Good idea. She pointed me to the publisher's website and I cruised on over to see what was needed. There were the usual bits advertising their magazine and telling us that we should go out and buy it or subscribe to have it sent to us. There was a page on the site that invited girlies to send in photographs of themselves. There was page with a model release form that you could download, sign, and return.
At this point I started reading carefully - the model release form was written very well, and may have been the product of actual legal consultation. It asked both the model and the photographer who submitted the image to relinquish ALL rights to that image - not just in the form that it was to be submitted, but to any future use or modification that the publisher cared to subject it to. And there was to be no consultation or argument.
Hmmm. Well, I guess if you were selling the image and the write-up about it you would factor this into the price. I mean, if they were getting complete sale of the image in perpetuity that would mean a higher price than if you just licensed it for one mag - right? I was curious to find out what they were willing to pay for the images on that basis - I sent them a formal request for this information.
At the end of the week I received a very pleasant email. All chirpy and cool. They said that they were more than happy to receive images or articles for publication and would not charge the photographers to submit them. Of course, if we wished to take out an advertisement with their magazine, then they could send the rates for full or part page...They also sent along another page of requirements for the submission - technical stuff like 300 DPI and CMYK colour space ready for their printer. I suppose this saves their compositor from having to further re-size or modify the images.
I thought about the whole situation and tried to remember where I had seen this form of commerce before. Then it came to me - the crayfishing industry. You set out a pot, put in a little rotten bait, and whatever crawls into the pot is boiled up and served with melted butter and crispy bread.
No mention of paying the crayfish, but then no mention of paying the photographer or model either.