STV’s shameless exploitation of photographers on Flickr

On my fairly popular Flickr photo stream I recently received an invite to add some of my photos to a group pool. This is pretty common on Flickr and is part of the idea – themed pools are a place to invite and share images from all over, you get your photos seen by more people and you get to see more people’s different photos than you might otherwise, sometimes becoming friends with some of them. I contribute to a large number of themed pools and it isn’t unusual for me to get an invite to post one of my images to one. This time it was the STV Edinburgh pool, a group pool on Edinburgh life and pics by the Scottish Television media group. However when I looked at their group rules I declined since it said if you added any pics to their pool (bear in mind they invited me to do so), you would:

Grant to STV an irrevocable and perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, world-wide licence to publish your picture on any STV branded service

old square, new buildings

I think this is utterly shameless behaviour on the part of a corporate multimedia business – you notice the terms “royalty-free” and “irrevocable”. No mention of compensation if they should decide to use one of your images to illustrate something in any of their media platforms, which are a business. So in other words they get to use your work for nothing to make money for their enterprises. This is blatantly exploiting amateur photographers, and at the same time a sneaky way of doing professional photographers out of work by finding the work of people online then using it for free. Sadly this is not unusual behaviour for many professional old media companies, I’ve seen similar with photos, with written articles and more. They seem to think you should be thankful for ‘the exposure’, the chance to get your work seen. It is a vile and shameless form of exploitation which I find infuriating. I have allowed the use of some of my photos under Creative Commons copyright, free to use with permission and attribution for non-commercial purposes, and have allowed some to be used for various good causes or not for profit art, community and charity purposes. But if a media company – a business – wants to have my images that they can use when they wish (and for all time!) then they can bloody well pay me proper rates for using them. If they are good enough to be used wherever they wish then they are good enough to be paid for. Shame on you, STV, and your disgusting, immoral business practises like this. We are not here to be exploited by you for free material.