The Art of Intellectual Property
The problem isn't as much as the idea that the photographer has a copyright on the images, but rather that they are performing a
work for hire.
Ultimately it is an issue with contracts. The problem is that the photographer historically provides artistic service in composing the shot, and in printing the image. The wedding photographer's competition isn't digital copyright infringement, it is the throw-away cameras that are put up on all the tables.
Yesterday, I passed a commercial shoot in London for London Transport and was about to take a shot with my camera only to be told that I would have to ask for permission first.
When I asked for permission I was told that if I intended to publish the photo(s) I would likely get sued, but if I wanted them for myself then I was welcome to take photographs.
Now, I did not intend to publish the photo(s) commercially. The only thing that my camera would capture that was different in the scene from the norm was a horizontal sign in the bus lane which said "Watch the birdie". This is not a copyrighted phrase as far as I am aware.
There were various people, cars and buses passing by, which I do not consider to be copyrightable; you would see the same on any other day. Sure, you usually need to ask for people's permission first before publishing pictures of them, which these people were doing for pedestrians who had their photos taken as they wandered through the shot.
The photographers also had some elaborate, and no doubt expensive, radio controlled lighting on the other side of the street, however I was not making use of this with my little camera.
Can anyone fill me in on what copyright laws or whatever apply in this case, English or otherwise?
If I had been in the same location without the photographers or the "Watch the birdies" sign being there, I would not have asked anyone for permission, nor thought about copyright or being sued!
So what's different in this situation? Just the fact that the camera crew were there? Does that automatically mean that it is not possible to take professional photographs at the same time?