This is a super interesting story. Really shows what the world is like for artists. We constantly have to fight! Of course this guy is really laid back about it and brings an interesting question up. Is it ‘ok’ that his work has been used countless times even though he hasn’t been paid? It does mean practically unlimited exposure to his work and to his name, and that can’t be a bad thing. I say its horrible, its bad that his work has been used countless times and he has never been paid. In a few places someone else took credit for the photograph. Not to mention his work has been used to promote messages he may not agree with. Who’s to say I would even want my name associated to that piece of work if it was used in that manner.
These are types of things we fight with daily. Or I know I do. A lot of times you think, well surely if its a big company or a respectable place like a college, they won’t take advantage of you. WRONG. Of course I have to say this is not always the case. I have worked with some amazing people before. Friendly, considerate, and will pay you for your work. Sometimes the downfall to working for companies though, they take credit for your work. The image, artwork, or video is not credited to you the artist, it is credited to the company. Is that right? Again, I say no. If you are the creator of a piece of work, your name should be credited to it.
A few stories of the experiences I’ve had:
I contracted to film a web video for a colleges website. I go to watch a report on the local news stations website and my video is the precursor ad. Not only was it used out of context for what they paid for, it was also chopped up where they had someone else cut the intro and add a different slide at the end. Because of this editing the video no longer went to the beat of the music, it was just mixed junk. I, in no way, wanted my name associated to that video.
The employees at studio I worked for would smoke inside. By law this is illegal. When I asked one of them not to smoke at my computer in my workspace, he blew smoke in my face and walked away. I would find cigarette butts in my can of coke on my desk. Ok, this is more of a crap work environment that a story of misuse of work lol.
A college hired me to film and cut together a commercial for them. They provided me with the script and prerecorded voice over for the commercial. I filmed and cut together the video. They changed their mind and said the audio was not approved even though they gave me the audio. They did not want to pay for the work and in the end sent a check for 90% of the agreed price saying the video was only 90% done.
Two other separate occasions. I filmed and cut together a video. They approved them and put them on air. A month later they still had not paid their bill. On two different occasion they had filed away the invoice with the purchase order and never turned it into the business office!
I contracted to work for a studio were they refused to hire me as an employee. I continued to freelance but was called into the office where the boss told me I had to make a business decision. Whether I wanted to continue to receive a check from him, or to continue freelancing for others.
A studio I worked for wanted me to spend time out on a barge with construction workers and a crane to film a project. I had to sign release forms with the construction crew in case I was injured. The studio refused to cover me medically if anything happened but said I had to do it to keep working for them.
The new manager for a studio I contracted for overstepped his bounds demanding I do extra work I was not contracted to do. I would do the work and bill them for it. They refused to pay the bill. I went to the head boss about the problem of the manager overstepping his bounds constantly demanding other work. They fired me. I asked “did I do the job asked of me? Did I meet all deadlines?” They refused to answer any of my questions.
SO, to the point. As an artist you have to fight constantly. On one side, its business, smart business is getting as much as you can for as little as possible. Crooked business is getting as much as you can and cheating others out of as much as possible.