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August 18, 2007

18. Reflection of the Beacon


This is a reflection of the Beacon in Jordan.

I received an email the other day from Chapters book store (now Indigo). They are selling photo books. These look like they may be the same books sold by Wal-Mart and Costco but I am not sure yet.

Leanne and I want to put our wedding photos into a book like these so I have been looking around for something that would suit our tastes, or I guess more specifically, my tastes!

As I was looking at the terms and conditions for the Chapters PhotoBooks, I quickly made the decision that they would not get the book business from me. Point 1 of their license and warranties section of their Terms of Service irrevocably gives them full rights to your photos. By using their service to create a photo book, for which you pay for, they will retain rights to use your images in advertising and promotion, without paying you a cent for them. This simply is not right.

There is a lot of discussion on the Internet between photographers about Royalty Free stock photography which is the business model where a stock agency will on your behalf sell a photo of yours for a fee (sometimes as low as $1.00) and then give you a portion of that sale, maybe only $0.20. As part of this sale, the buyer then gets to use your image in whatever application and distribution size or media they want. Just think of a company buying your image for $1.00 and using it in an international advertising campaign that targets 20 million viewers and makes them tens of millions of dollars.

And Chapters wants you to PAY them to give away your images like that.

John Harrington (Photo Business News and Forum) has written a lot on the subject of royalty free photos as has Stanley Rowin (Pro Photo Business Blog). Even if you are not a professional photographer, you should avoid establishments that take part in this practice. You certainly wouldn't give anything else away for free. Also, by participating in practices like this, you are propagating the idea that building in wide ranging releases into a TOS contract for a service you are using is okay. It simply is not. The retailers need to know this.

Comments anyone?

UPDATE: I checked the TOS for both Walmart Photobooks and Costco and neither one retain rights to your images the way that Chapters would like to. What a better way to tell Chapters than to buy your photobooks from other retailers.
Walmart Photo Center
Costco Photo Center

Posted on August 18, 2007 03:44 PM | Permalink



I'm not sure if what I'm talking about is the same thing as the Chapters photobooks you looked into, but we made some Korea photobooks using kodakgallery. It was easy, reasonably priced, there were several layouts/dimensions to choose from and the final product was outstanding. I'll have to admit that I didn't read their terms of service, because I wasn't too concerned since for the most part, I didn't put the effort into each individual photograph as some professional photographers might. Anyhoo, check it out if you're interested.

Posted by: Sarah at September 15, 2007 9:29 AM

How about shutterfly? I hear good things about them.

Posted by: Elaine at October 8, 2007 2:49 PM

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