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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Copyright, schmopyright....

I usually do not have any problems with Walmart.  I see them as a necessary evil, and so I do shop there for groceries, etc.  I'd rather have a Target, but I digress....

So today I went to Walmart to print out some pictures for Dave's Valentine's Day present.  My dear friend Sara, who is an excellent photographer, kindly took pictures of myself and Caris at my house a few weeks ago.  Today, I went to Walmart to have these printed, so I could frame them for Dave.  When I arrived, I was asked for a release to reprint the photos.  I was confused, as these prints were not taken at a professional studio, but in my living room.  When I explained this to her, I was told I could not have my pictures unless I had a written release from the photographer.  Umm...excuse me?  After explaining again that these were not from a studio (to which the guy standing next to her said "they're studio, they have to be") I became a little angry.  The girl waiting on me was rude from the beginning, and this other person accusing me of lying sent me over the edge.  In the nicest way possible, I explained again the situation, and was then asked if I had the memory stick.  As I handed this to her, she then told me that wasn't good enough.  Okay....I just gave you what you asked for, and you refused it?!  Having been pushed to my limit already, I contacted Sara to explain the situation, and she then spoke to the person at Walmart.  Finally, I was given my pictures, having been required to sign a release that would be good for one day only.  After all their threats about Fuji possibly fining me, I finally told them I would gladly speak to them if they had any questions.  The thing is, if they would have taken the memory stick they asked for, they would have seen the original pictures, and the evidence that the photos were clearly taken in my living room.

So, any photo you have printed at Walmart is subject to their judgement of it being studio or not.  They make they call, not you, and will refuse to hand over your prints if you do not have the proper releases for copyright purposes.  This means the amazing you shot you got in your kids' bedroom, that might have a white background, could be taken as studio, regardless of what you tell them.

Needless to say, I won't be utilizing their photo services again.

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