Walmart Requires a Written Release for Photos that Look “Too Professional”

If you need to print some photos taken by someone else using print services at places like Walmart, be careful: if the photographs look “too professional” some places will require a written copyright release before allowing you to pick up the prints — even after you’ve paid for them. The Consumerist has a story of a woman named Jessica who ran into problems at Walmart after collecting photos from a couple pro photographer friends for a friend’s funeral:

See, Jessica’s friend was a professional photographer, as is her friend’s husband, who had e-mailed Jessica the photos to have printed. “So even their candid pictures appear professional,” she explains to Consumerist.

[…] In addition to those photos, Jessica says that Walmart wanted copyright info on a couple of shots that had been taken at a pro studio like Olan Mills back in the ’70s.

“There was no mark on them to indicate where they were taken, and my friend’s mom had sent me those,” writes Jessica. “She paid for them back in the day when they were taken, and she scanned them for me last week. How am I supposed to get written copyrights for every single picture?

Jessica had also checked a box affirming that she had permission to print the images while on Walmart’s website. Protecting copyright is a good thing, but having employees make decisions on whether photos are “too professional” after they’ve already been printed and paid for doesn’t seem like a very good system.

Walmart Spoils Memorial Service Because They Think My Photos Look Too Professional (via ALTFoto)

Image credit: Walmart by matteson.norman

  • David

    she was just doing her job = she was a good german

  • Raven_Altosk

    CVS pulled this crap on me because my photos are professional quality and I watermark them.

  • Robert

    Heck they refused to print a photo that they took back when they had a photo center saying i needed to contact walmart corporate and get written permission, yeah right like I am going to go through the trouble of doing that when walmarts reprints are crappy and pixolated anyways

  • Candys221

    I also had my daughters picture made into a canves. They made the picture and then asked me take a paper to have the photographer sign a release because it “looks professional.”I had gotten permission from the photographer years ago. I’m not sure where she is at now? And if looked professional, why did they make the canves? I hope they don’t try and get me trouble?

  • Sam

    I signed the WalMart photo release form saying I have the copyright to the photo of myself. The woman refused to give me the photo because she said I could not have been the one who had taken the photo. After I left her, I thought to myself, I could have taken a highj-quality photo of myself, and that would be called a selfie.

  • Piss off

    Out of state..went to walmart to make a copy of one picture for the in laws before I had back home and that a hole behind the counter told me he could not give me my copy because it was a professional picture what I paid for them I should be able to do what I want with my I told him back in my state I had no problems coping pictures …

  • Denver

    Can we please touch on the fact that scanning a copyrighted photo is NOT legal, and is still infringing on copyright? Walmart is doing the right thing asking for that. In this instance, the photographer and the client are doing the wrong thing.

  • bgbs

    It’s time to dump these printing services for online printing services. You just upload, and they get delivered to you, no questions asked.

  • bgbs

    That’s better than refusing to hand over photos after the payment.