Who do I send an Invoice to?

Who do I send an Invoice to?

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 17.44.03

(Edited, see the end)

Dear colleagues of Scanpix and Postimees -

I’m just curious how on earth you got the idea that you can publish my image on your page — or as it comes to Scanpix, how did you ever think you can sell my work (keeping a 100% royalty, I assume?) without asking me? I have not given Postimees any publishing nor Scanpix any syndicating rights.

I took the image 25 years ago- my first foreign assignment ever — and the only licensing I’ve given for that image is in connection with“Eesti Vabaks”, a documentary we did on the original Rock Summer c. two years ago for YLE in Finland.

You are suppo­sedly profes­sionals, you should know better. And frankly, this really pisses me off.

But I am sure you do have a good expla­nation? I’m really dying to hear it.


Edit 28.2.: seems like Postimees has made the mistake, adding scanpix as a credit automa­tically (thus also damaging the reputation of Scanpix). It is my present unders­tanding, that Scanpix has done nothing wrong, and they do not even have the picture in their archives. Please see comments.

Where Postimees got the image from is being investigated.

Edit : Aivar Reinap, the Deputy editor in Chief of Postimees, contacted me with apologies and they have taken down the image. There has obviously been a mistake in a) using b) crediting the image. Their conduct in the matter has been very correct.


(I thought about adding a small follow-up post, but maybe I just add this here:)

This is not about one particular paper or one particular agency. It is very frustrating to have ones images nicked conti­nuously and used with no further thinking (and obviously, without any compen­sation). Sometimes the copyright stamp has been cropped out, sometimes even the pictures have been scanned from a printed magazine and captions erased. Some such examples have been discussed in this blog earlier.

In general, there is way too little unders­tanding about the copyright and maybe consequently, no respect to it exists. If more and more cases like this are discussed, maybe we start taking it more seriously. If we (profes­sionals) do not take these matters seriously, how can be expect anybody else to do it? 

In the era of the digital, more and more things of value are just series of ones and zeros — easy to transfer and easy to copy-paste. But somebody has always created those series, be it movies, music, photos, text, computer code.… And thus, somebody always owns it. 

Note: we are not talking about a marginal issue here — pennies, so to speak. Immaterial rights constitute about 5% of our GNP in Finland. They are more than agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism combined (2011 figures). In USA they are the second most important product of export ‑after arms, of course. In the years to come, I am convinced the role of IPR will just increase. Maybe it is the time to start taking them seriously, to clear who owns and what prior to publishing, what it says in the byline… like now?

21 Replies to “Who do I send an Invoice to?”

  1. Mitäs siinä. lasku sinne ja 100%/200% korotus tekijä­noi­keus­rik­ko­mukseen vedoten.
    Jos aikovat käräjöidä, saavat hankkia perusteet vasta lauseelleen.
    just laitoin laskun eräälle tapah­tu­ma­jär­jes­tä­jälle. Oli alusta­vasti sovittu palkkiosta kuvistani, mutta välit­täjänä ollut kirja­paino meni konkkaan ja laskutin loppu­käyt­täjää sillä peraat­teella että olivat käyttäneet kuvia johon heillä ei ollut käyttö­lupaa sillä laskua ei oltu maksettu. Vähän mietit­tyään tulivat siihen tulokseen että on sittenkin halvempaa maksaa valoku­vaajan lasku kun alkaa käräjöidä, siitä saattaa tulla 200/400% korotus loppupeleissä.

    1. Mua oikeasti kiinnostaa, mitä selit­tävät. Toi Scanpixin rooli (eli ilmei­sesti siis ovat myyneet eteenpäin jotain joka ei ole heidän) on aika mielen­kiin­toista. Mutta katsotaan. Pistin Postimees lehteen kyselyn, että onko koottuja selityksiä.

      Mua vaan suoraan sanoen ketuttaa tällaset jutut.

      1. Sitä odotel­lessa että joku rakentaa googlen kuvahaun päälle palvelun jolla voi tarkistaa onko joku käyttänyt luvatta sun kuvia — vai onko sellainen jo?

      2. Terve, Virossa parikym­mentä vuotta jo työsken­nel­leenä voin “lohduttaa”, että tekijä­noi­keus­asiat ja niihin kohdistuva ymmärrys ovat tässä maassa vielä lapsen­ken­gissään, ja itse asiassa niiden suhteen on otettu viime vuosina pikemmin takapakkia. Virossa suurim­matkin lehdet käyttävät kuvakre­dii­teissä tällaisiä lähteitä kuin “repro” ja “Wikileaks”… Kyse on ammat­ti­tai­dot­to­muu­desta ja asenteesta, suora­nai­sesta hölmöy­destä, mutta myös siitä, että Virossa lehdet maksavat valoku­vista (virolai­sille kuvaa­jille) keski­määrin 10 euroa/kpl, max. Luit oikein: max 10 euroa. Niiden siis ei ikään kuin tarvitse pelätä sitä, jos joku kaltoin kohdeltu kuvaaja uskaltaa hermostua ja nostaa metelin. Virolaiset kuvaajat eivät uskalla. Asia sitten mahdol­li­sesti korjataan tarjoa­malla hänelle “tupla­palk­kiota” eli 20 euroa… Voih, minulla olisi näistäkin asioista tuhat tarinaa kerrot­tavana Virosta…

  2. Wow! Who knew you too have to contend with willfully ignorant fraudsters. And what a sweet and charming letter you’ve publically sent them.
    Hopefully they will be shamed into the both properly crediting you as the owner/creator and as such pay you 300% of whatever they would have paid had they asked in the first place.

  3. Käytän­nös­sähän loppu­vastuu on julkai­si­jalla, eli ensin kysely lehteen — joka vaatikoon sitten Scanpixin tilille. Mua kiinnostaa, että onko niillä tästä kunnon kopio ja miten ovat saaneet haltuunsa kyseisen kuvan? Tätähän se taitaa olla tulevai­suu­dessa, kuvien määrä kasvaa ja niitä “lainataan” oman mielen mukaan. Tosin, kyllä ammati­laisten tulee tietää pelisäännöt.

    1. Kyllä, just näin. Ymmärrän hyvin jonkun aloit­te­levan blogistin (with absence of malice), mutta Scanpixin toiminta perustuu siihen, että myy kuvia. Niiden pitäisi vain olla sellaisia, jotka omistaa.
      Vähän niinku autokauppias myy autoja… mutta olisi suotavaa, että eivät ole varas­tettuja. Tai voi tulla sanomista.

      Ja olet oikeassa. Vastuu kuvan julkai­susta on julkai­si­jalla (paitsi tietysti erään nimeltä mainit­se­mat­toman suoma­laisen kustan­tajan mielestä, jonka mukaan vastuut kuuluvat kuvaa­jille, mutta royaltit kustan­ta­jalle :-) ). Mutta toi Scanpixin rooli on kyllä kiva kuulla. Taitaa olla pohjois­maiden suurin kuvatoi­misto. Ja tässä heidän business model?

  4. Dear mr. Kuukka and colleagues,

    What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? These are quite heavy accusa­tions you have made here — without even bothering to ask for clari­fication, before stamping us publicly as thieves? 

    Scanpix Baltics does not have your image in the archives nor have we sold it to anyone, including Postimees. How did it get there and why on earth have they put Scanpix as credit, is currently being looked into. Until that is clear, the only profes­sional thing for you to do, would be to remove this link, before damaging our reputation any further. 

    Allan Leppikson
    Project Manager
    Scanpix Baltics

    1. Allan -

      so noted. Postimees contacted me earlier today saying the same thing, i.e. Scanpix had nothing to do with the matter. They just (automa­tically?) put scanpix under pictures. Which is maybe something to look into?

      I was careful not to label anybody anything (such as “stealing” or a “thief”); and by now it should be clear, as I said, that Scanpix has done nothing wrong.

      Who made a mistake and how, and what are the consequences, that remains to be seen.

      I will not remove the link, but I will add “read comments” in the text.

      I thank you for you swift response.

      1. Why Postimees used Scanpix as credit, we will naturally pursue further. We are clearly not happy about that — but this is between Scanpix and Postimees. 

        When it comes to your actions and publically damaging Scanpix reputation as a group (Scanpix Baltics, Sweden, Norway and Denmark)… this could have all been prevented, if before going public, you would have waited until Postimees replyed to your e‑mail from yesterday. Or if you would have asked us directly. But you didn’t and damage is done. 

        We have no idea how many persons have seen this post here, what we do know is this:
        Your twitter account (where the original post was also tweeted) has 569 followers. The post got 4 retweets by persons who have together 855 followers. That is already 1424 pairs of eyes. The story is also subject of the day in various Estonian photo sites, surely also in some Finnish ones. So we are not talking about some minor thing.

        You may have not called us thieves directly, but the undertone of your original post and later comments are clear for all. I do unserstand your frustration after seeing the un-licensed usage, but that does not give you the right to slander. As said before, the damage is done — and the respon­si­bility for this is on you. We are currently negotiating with our lawyers, what comes next, guess we just have to wait and see.

        Allan Leppikson
        Project manager
        Scanpix Baltics

        1. First things first: I don’t have anything to do with this case or this blog in general, the following is purely my personal view of things as an outsider:
          The way I see things, Kari has nothing to do with any potential “damage done” to Scanpix or anyone else,
          as it was not him writing Scanpix as photoc­redit but Postimees, he might have accele­rated the rate at which the thing spread (if at all), but even in that case he could not have known, who did the mistake or if the photoc­redit was just as fake as Postimees right to use his image, it’s just not possible.
          Furthermore, since the whole thing was already posted falsely on a public website, from where I am standing the credit for damaging Scanpix’ reputation goes to the person clicking the publish button at Postimees.
          However, from a marketing point of view I would go even further and claim that in fact no damage at all was done to Scanpix, since the whole thing was cleaned up and the only thing that remains is a lot of Scanpix in the heads of outsiders(like me), which should be a good thing for any company.

          Just in case you’re not familiar with anti-marketing, I highly recommend taking a look at Ryan Holidays “Trust me I’m lying” (e-)book on dirty but very, very effective marketing techniques (Hi Lumia). http://www.amazon.com/Trust-Me-Lying-Confessions-Manipulator/dp/159184553X

          ps. After re-reading the comments, I noticed the word “lawyers”, and I have to say, that phrase might be the first to cause any sort of damage to the reputation of Scanpix, as in a case of a big business setting up the artillery against a single person the popularity is almost never in favor of Goliath.
          pps. Just to be clear, I do not wish any harm to either party (Scanpix, Kari, Postimees), just sharing my thoughts regarding “damage” done to Scanpix’ reputation.

          Peace! :)

        2. I hadn’t read this post before, hence did not see these comments earlier. This is just brilliant.

          As said before, the damage is done – and the respon­si­bility for this is on you. We are currently negotiating with our lawyers, what comes next, guess we just have to wait and see.”

          I hope you, Allan Leppikson, do not mind if I add your reaction and comments to the ever growing body of material of bad corporate responses in social media. 

          As with rest of the commenters, no-ones interest or intention is to hurt anyone else — but rather to discuss and educate on how to improve the situation and the world we live in. Reactionary comments that can be interpreted as clear threats can work as unnecessary fuel and spark for Streissand effect and other pheno­menas which can have severe damages and uncont­rol­lable consequences. This time luckily there were no unnecessary sh*t storms and samanges to anyone.

          It is always better to respond with an apology and work with others to inves­tigate whether situation was real, caused by accident or inten­tio­nally. It is almost never a good thing to reply with threat and accusation, or demand a post be removed from the internet without a merit.

          You did good by replying swiftly and by using your real name — that is much better than so many people have done. It is good to be humane and personal, even in this capita­listic and corporate world we operate.

          Kari is an amazing profes­sional and with his blogging has brought these issues to the surface multiple times, allowing people to see, realize and discuss where the world is going and what implica­tions it has to the profes­sions of photo­graphy and journalism. If Kari would keep his interac­tions behind closed doors in emails and phonecalls, nothing would change. 

          We are all agents in the ever changing world and stories like these allow us to realize what kind of shifts are happening and what role do our own actions have in it.

          Thank you Kari once again for your great work in blogging about these subjects.

  5. Dear Allan,
    Look up slander in the dictionary.
    First of all, what you are thinking of is libel, not slander.
    Mr. Kuukka has come nowhere near fulfilling the legal definition of libel. There has been no willful lying or misconduct. He very speci­fically said that Scanpix has done nothing wrong. However, it is a fact that Scanpix was dragged into the whole mess, not by Kari, but by the offending party who put your name up there.
    Instead of libeling Kari by incor­rectly accusing him of accusing you of stealing, you and your company would be better served by working with him publicly to stop this sort of scourge as opposed to simply trying to cover your own ass using his.
    Hopper Stone
    Los Angeles, Ca.

  6. This is an everyday life in Estonian media. They pick the photo, they do not credit them and they rarely pay for them. If noticed by the owner they just apologise and take down the photo. That’s it. And if the owner or someone else do not notice it — everyt­hing’s good! For them.

  7. I am going a bit offtopic with my comment, but seeing this photo brought back wonderful memories: a sudden hope of freedom in the stuffy dark house of the USSR. And I was in my late teens, striving for my personal freedom as well.
    I looked at this photo for a long time and it made me happy. This has no monetary value for you per se, but I hope it counts for something.

    1. Virginia -

      it counts a lot! Photo­graphy to me is — yes — a profession i do to support myself and my family. But it is also a passion — and the highest rewards are the moments when you somehow manage to touch people. Photo­graphers and journa­lists are always accused for “taking” from the subjects… often rightly so. And it is so rewarding sometimes to feel — and to hear — that you have managed to give something back, even if it is a flicker of a smile on somebody’s face. How many times I have in a bus or a train seen a person leaf a paper I have my pictures in… and the moment they turn the page my images are on, I count the seconds…do they look at them, how does that make them feel.
      I’m not sure if you have seen the small multi­media piece I did on the festival, but in case you have not, you might enjoy it.


      Thank you for taking the trouble to comment.

      1. Thank you, Kari! I did not know that you had replied to me (I guess I did not mark that “notify by e‑mail” box), but today I felt like I should take one more peek here. And you had.
        I also thank you for the link to the multi­media piece, I’m going to dive into that now.
        With all my good wishes; keep noticing and capturing moments.

  8. Boy, talk about Scanpix shooting yourself in the foot. Allan you should have talked with your PR people, prefe­rably ones which understand how Internet works, before threa­tening with lawyers. When corpo­rates threaten people online it usually just ends up in PR disaster.

  9. Just a sidekick note… kari: Today I again recieved a note from Finnish Press Agency (Suomen kuvapalvelu/Yhtyneet) that I should send an invoive for images of paula koivu­niemi and family. Shot maybe somewhere in 1985… 180 euros… 3x60,- hmmm, not bad for images done thirty years ago… just because I refused to sign a contract to give my copyrights away.
    Most of the press photo­graphers did, where are they now, and how much they are making ? These notes come on a regular basis… Just a reminder for today´s photo­graphers. They don´t understand what they do when signing those agree­ments… Jukka W

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