Kodak launched an on-demand photography service called Kodakit back in January 2017 that aims to connect photographers to brands looking for photography. But there’s something all photographers need to know about this “Uber of photography,” as it’s been called: it demands that you sign over the “entire copyright” to the photos you shoot.
While there were immediate complaints about Kodakit “low-balling” photographers back in 2017, PDNPulse highlights several points from the service’s Terms and Conditions that are extremely overreaching and restrictive — likely far more than most photographers realize.
1. Photographers lose the entire copyright to their work
[…] Photographer hereby perpetually and irrevocably assigns to the Client upon creation the entire copyright, including all rental and lending rights whether vested, contingent or future in the Work Product (including any associated intellectual property rights), and all rights, title and interest (including a right of action) in the Work Product upon its creation whether now known or hereinafter created to which the Photographer is now or may be in the future entitled by virtue of, or pursuant to, any of the laws in force in any part of the world and to hold the same to Client, its successors, assignees and licensees absolutely, for the whole period of such rights for the time being capable of being assigned by the Photographer together with any and all renewals, revivals, reversions and extensions throughout the world.
In other words, it’s a work for hire arrangement in which you’re giving up everything.
2. Photographers must hand over and/or destroy all files (including outtakes)
Upon the request of a Client or us, Photographer shall provide any and all works, images, tangible or digital images, sketches, files and photos, including all related negatives, transparencies or digital files, whether copyrightable or not, that have been authored or conceived of or reduced to practice in the course of Photographer’s performance of the photographic services for Client […] or if not so requested promptly following written acceptance of the Commissioned Photos, Photographer shall promptly irreversibly destroy all Work Product, including any remaining outtakes of photographic services that do not result in edited .JPG files delivered via the Platform as Commissioned Photos.
3. Photographers can’t use the photos they make for self-promotion (unless approved in writing)
…and even if approved, photographers must include a watermark or copyright notice demanded by the client.
Without the prior written permission of Client and us, Photographer shall not display the Work Product (including any Commissioned Photos) for personal promotion. Should Client or Company grant such written permission, any Work Product used shall contain the watermark or copyright noticed required by
4. Photographers can’t even claim to have shot the photos they shot
This is signed away in the “Moral Rights Waiver” section of the document.
To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, Photographer hereby irrevocably transfers and assigns to Client, and waives and agrees never to assert, any and all Moral Rights […] that
Photographer may have in or with respect to any Work Product […] “Moral Rights” mean any rights to claim authorship of a work, to object to or prevent the modification or destruction of a work, to withdraw from circulation or control the publication or distribution of a work, and any similar right, existing under judicial or statutory law of any jurisdiction in the world, or under any treaty, regardless of whether or not such right is called or generally referred to as a “moral right.”
The Full Document
If you’d like to read Kodakit’s full Terms and Conditions for yourself, here it is:
Kodak: A “Trusted” Name in Photography?
Kodakit’s stated goal is to allow photographers to “spend more time behind the camera” by taking over many of non-photographic aspects of running a photo business — things like marketing, booking, pricing, scheduling, invoicing, and payments.
But in accepting Kodakit’s “help” in these things, photographers must give away pretty much everything when it comes to copyright and the future benefits of created works.
And many photographers have indeed signed over their rights in this way: Kodakit Chief Marketing Officer Natasha Adams tells PDNPulse that “three to four thousand photographers across the globe” have worked with the service since it launched.
“Kodak Founder George Eastman once said, ‘You press the button, we do the rest’,” said then-Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke (who just stepped down this month) in the Kodakit launch announcement two years ago. “For photographers and companies, KODAKIT operates on this same principle. Building upon our longstanding legacy as one of the most trusted names in film and photography, KODAKIT will revolutionize how photographers and businesses work together, creating the photography ecosystem of the future.”
The Kodak brand definitely has a place in the hearts and minds of photographers, but with terms and conditions like the ones Kodakit has set forth, it remains to be seen how long Kodak can remain “one of the most trusted names” in photography.