There was a terrible workplace shooting today in New York City, near the iconic Empire State building. Within minutes, people who were nearby and witnessing some of the carnage immediately posted images and videos shot on their ever-present smart phones. Within minutes of the images being uploaded, various new organizations were contacting the people who took those images. The good folks at PetaPixel got some great screen captures from Facebook and Twitter, showing requests from national and international news organizations, requesting to use images.  Canada’s Globe and Mail, CBS, Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, and a bunch of other foreign press and blogs.

When you are getting flooded like that with such requests, wouldn’t it be prudent for a person to ponder: “Hey, wait a minute, this might be worth money”.    Ya think?    Most people don’t think and give the work away.

The NY Daily News website first ran an image with their watermark plastered all over the image. It had no credit, just their watermarks. I guess they didn’t want anyone stealing THEIR photo. If you want it, I’m sure they’ll be happy to give you the price the Daily News will charge you to run it in your website or newspaper. They finally, later, credited one Sean Senatore. I hope Mr. Sanatore had the sense to protect his work and make some money from his images. After all, it’s money in the bank to the news organizations.

I also heard on NBC this morning a request for images. Understand when you submit these images, you may be giving that newspaper, TV, news media, ALL RIGHTS to your image, according to their terms of submission. Just like uploading to some social media sites may also strip you of the right to protect your images.  In the cases today, while contributors may still own the images, the news medias they just gave their photos to, might own the rights to do as they please, like license and syndicate it, and keep all the money. The contributor MIGHT get credit. Take a look at the images from today and see how many list the photographer’s name.

Let’s not be subtle about this – DO NOT GIVE YOUR PHOTOS AWAY! Hire someone, like an agent or a lawyer experienced in this type of negotiation and let the pros work. It’s just business. And note we are not running any photos of today. We don’t have permission and have not licensed for any use.