A month ago, we wrote that the business model of the wedding photographer was changing thanks to technology. What we didn't realize was that photo printing studios fear of copyright violations was holding it back. There's been quite a discussion on a few blogs today concerning the fact that photo printing studios are refusing to make reprints of photos they think might be professional photographs for fear of breaking someone's copyright. Apparently, the practice is quite common, and many people who have taken "professional looking" photos, can't get them re-printed without showing some sort of proof that they own the rights to those photos. This leads to the very obvious question of why this should be an issue at all. If I hire someone to take photographs for me, shouldn't I own the rights to those photos? That's why I hired the person after all. It's just a remnant of the old business model that photographers want to own the rights so they can demand exorbitant fees for reprints. What's likely to happen, over time, though is that people will start demanding the full rights to the photos they're paying for, or they'll simply route around anyone who tries to block them. No, printing at home won't match the overall quality, but for many people it's going to be "good enough" as the technology gets better, and then those photo shops and photographers trying to squeeze customers will simply be squeezed right out of business. Those who see it coming will adjust their business models (some already have...). Those who don't will end up suffering. Update: The NY Times just came out with an article supporting this, showing just how much competition is heating up in the photo printing world.
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