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Don't write off your rights, says Joshua Latchford

14 February 2018


A neighbour’s phone call alerted Joshua Latchford to an unusual car crash a few streets from his home in Brentwood Essex. The 17-year-old scrambled for his camera and minutes later was snapping the mangled remains of a brand-new £215,000 McLaren supercar. It was pranged just ten minutes after its unfortunate owner picked up the keys – back in May 2016.

“I sent the picture to my local weekly paper hoping that it would help me to get my photography noticed”, said Joshua.  Savvy for a schoolboy, he specified in his email that he wanted a credit and that the picture could only be used that paper.

The aspirant professional photographer was delighted to see his work in print, despite the absence of his byline. Over the next few days, however, it appeared in dozens of other publications, including several national newspapers. His permission had not been sought; he was uncredited and unpaid.

He said: “My uncle is a photo-journalist and he was able to put me in touch with contacts who advised me on pursuing payment. It turned out that my local paper had handed the picture to a syndication agency and they were responsible for its wide exposure.”

It took a few emails pointing out that copyright law gives a photographer the rights to their work and to control where it appears, after which Joshua was several hundred pounds better off.  Today if you see the picture, he is credited.

Since this brush with photographic fame, Joshua has done several commercial shoots and is studying photography at university.

He said that inexperienced photographers need to be more assertive of their rights: “You should always demand that you are credited and think carefully about what permission you are giving people to do with your work. What you might charge for giving someone a print will be different to using a picture on a website and different again to use in print. Obviously you should always keep your copyright."

To find out more about the #useitpayforit campaign and to discover fee guides and rates for the job, go to the union's campaign page.j

Tags: , photographers, photographers' council, copyright, Joshua Latchford, #useitpayforit, rate for the job