I believe it must be the Promoter / Director's responsibility to have signage at the entry points, stating "No photography of the artist's work, without the express permission of the artist".  

A) For the artist to have to display such signage in their own booth, takes up precious real estate, we need for our displays.

B) Some artists might not mind the pictures. Fine, they can give permission. 

C) For artists who think this is unnecessary... if your medium was photography, you might feel differently. Photography can be duplicated semi-reasonably by a third party. Especially if quality is not an issue.

D) Without such signage, we are faced with having to say "no" or police the customers. Easier and more pleasant to say "yes" than "no". Neither stopping someone, saying "no" or policing, is favorable or conductive to success.

E) Proactive is far better than reactive.

F) As a photographer the signage would be cumbersome, not simple. "No photos" - "No photography" - a camera with the not sign across it - are all not appropriate as they confuse the customer, being our art is photography. Therefore we would have to put up more wordage to be specific, not confusing. Thus larger signage.

It does not matter about copyright, common sense, or intellectual property rights. We are there to display and sell. Not to argue, educate, debate and police the customers. Why should WE be the bad guys saying "NO"? Why not let the promoter take the burden off our shoulders?  

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  • At one art show we noticed a woman taking photos at several booths across from us. It wasn't long before she entered my booth and attempted to do the same without asking. I have signs saying "no photos" so I stopped her. I asked her what she planned to do with all the photos she took of so many artists work both 2D and 3D. Her plan was to print the photos and make a collage for her home with no payment to any of the artists. After discussing with her that this was stealing, she continued down the street taking more photos.
    • A thief only cares about getting caught, if there is a punishment. Without punitive damages assessed, they will continue to steal. As they do not have ethical convictions to affect their conscience.

  • Yes, I have to police customers; some shows everyone is very respectful (La Quinta, Sausalito, Cherry Creek, Golden) other shows not as much. I ask someone to stop taking pictures of my works, and if they keep at it I will get in their face and block their camera view. You have to sell, but stand up for yourself at the same time. I look at it this way: if someone is going to start taking photos, they are not going to buy the piece from me, so therefor they are not a customer, therefor they are stealing. I've spent about $5000 + on copyright filing fees, and I protect my work.

    That said, most of the time people are fairly innocent about it, and will immediately apologize and delete the photo when asked.

    C'est la Vie

  • Just "FYI"-- those "No photography" signs at the entrance to art shows are not always "visible" to attendees (despite being neon pink, with 6" high bold black lettering). Nor are the smaller versions at the ends of each aisle, and above the panels/tables several places in each row. And, obviously, either they're deaf, don't understand English/Spanish, and/or have very poor short term memories for verbal messages re: "no photography without permission, and then, only when accompanied by a staff member", which is part of the "welcome to the art show" greeting.

    Comic Con Art Show has volunteer "floor walkers" checking for "stealth" photographers, as well as those obviously snapping pictures with their phones or camera (large cameras are usually not a problem-- can see if the lens cap is on). And yes, there are multiple "reminders" needed throughout each day of the show.

    • As a promoter it is challenging to know the 'best' way to discourage photography of artwork.  I don't think gate signage will help because at Art Spectacular at the Carillon in Springfield, IL  we have signage at the gates and inside the gates saying Only Pets Identified as Service Animals are Welcome, but, yes, we still have to explain that face to face with some pet owners (primarily dogs).  In case someone reading this would wonder why, it's neither safe for patrons, pets, or artwork to have pets on our sidewalks.  Before the signs, a patron's dog lifted his leg at the 2nd

      booth inside!  The patron said "Oh, I'm sorry".  So we put up signage and enforce the rule.

      For photography, this is what I do:  The first block of information on our Program, top, left, says:   "PHOTOGRAPHY! Please respect our Artists' creativity and ASK PERMISSION to photograph."   When I see someone with a camera, I approach them and nicely ask that they 'get permission' before photographing artwork.  Sometimes that person is from TV News!  :-)  It's harder to identify people who are carrying cell phones for that purpose.  I would welcome any other suggestions!  

      Logo AS.jpg

      • At one show earlier this year, a woman and her friends were photographing most everything of interest. I asked them to not photograph, and they ignored me.

        So, I took out my cellphone, hit record video, and the on camera, came up to them and said "hello" they responded hello and then i said, you are ware that you are photographing copyrighted material without permission?" I had their startled reaction on camera.

        After a few minutes, they came up to me, and asked me to delete the video!

        • ;-)  I am laughing my head off :-)

          So they want to take photos, without permission, against the rules and against principle. Yet, they want your video of them to be erased !!!

          When I ask people to erase the shots the sneak of my artwork, sometimes they get very belligerent.

          I would have told them.. "No. I wont erase the video.  I'm saving this for the legal action, to be taken against you, if any of the works, you photographed, ever is disseminated."

      • Many people do not read the program, except to locate a certain booth. The LARGE signage, at the entrance is helpful. we understand you will not stop everybody. The dishonest people will still do what they want. It will help with the honest people.

      • "It's harder to identify people who are carrying cell phones for that purpose. I would welcome any other suggestions!"

        It's going to depend on your staffing, and official show policies (in writing), but it's usually fairly easy to see the difference between somebody taking a call or texting, vs taking a picture, with their phone. Having volunteers/staff patrolling the aisles, watching for picture-takers, and "reminding" them of the policy, will greatly cut down on the problem. Yes, some are "sneaky" and hold the phone behind them or under an arm, behind a purse, etc., while snapping the picture-- even with watchers you'll miss some of those, but it's unlikely they'll get a very good picture anyway. If you have a security service (and the written policy...), and do catch a "sneak" in the act, have them check for photos on the phone and delete them, and/or escort the "sneak" to the exit, with no refund for any attendance fees.

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