NBC Accused Of Using Cosplay Photos Without Photographer's Consent

NBC Accused Of Using Cosplay Photos Without Photographer's Consent

SyFy's TV series Heroes of Cosplay has been accused by cosplay photographers of "using images for promotion...on the weekly episodes without written permission from the authors and copyright owners of the images".

Writing on his studio's blog, BGZ Photography's Darrell Ardita says that "numerous" photographers, including one of his business associates, have seen their images used both on the show and its marketing material without any permission or compensation.

Well, permission from the photographers. In response to emails sent by Ardita, NBC (the owners of SyFy) replied by saying that, since they'd received permission from the cosplayers that were the subject of the photos - who NBC believes have co-authorship and thus co-ownership of the images - they were good to go.

It's a messy legal situation. Both parties believe they're legally in the right, and it sounds like it's going to be up to lawyers to sort it all out.

Below you'll find a link to BGZ's blog post on the matter, including records of correspondence sent to NBC, as well as an invoice claiming a fee of $US3500 per image used.

We've contacted SyFy for comment, and will update if we hear back.



    The part that annoys me about this is the cos-player themselves who went though all the work to make the costume gets nothing while the photographer is taking all the credit (and money) for someone else's creation.

    Fair enough, if they've used them, they should pay right?

    I always thought the Photographer owns the photo. Otherwise wouldn't every celeb be suing magazines and paparazzi for using photos of them if the subject had the rights?

      thats the point, the show has been using photographers photo's without permission. its not the cosplayers who are pissed, its the people who took the photo's

      In most cases, you need permission from both parties. The copyright is held by the photographer, but there are limits on what they can do with the photo without the model's permission. This is a reason that professional photographers often get people to sign a model release.

      For an example of a case opposite to this one, consider Vodafone Australia's campaign that used CC licensed images from Flickr in a way that made fun of the subjects. While they had their bases covered with the photographers, they had no agreement with the subjects of the photos to use them in an advertising campaign.

        That is a very correct statement about use. Another example is a recent lawsuit over street photography. A photographer presented shots of random strangers taken on public streets in a gallery without obtaining a release from their subjects - this was totally fine. However they advertised said exhibit using a few of the same images - that was now considered commercial in nature and opened them up to the lawsuit.

    The irony is that the cosplayers are themselves committing copyright infringement, by creating likenesses of images (in this case clothes and makeup) of copyrighted characters. However, no one seems likely to sue.

      Eh not really. I dont think thats how copyright works as they are not using it for any kind of commercial gain or stealing copyrighted property.

        But then this photographer is making money of people dressed up as characters from copyrighted material so shouldn't he be getting sued next?

        Below you’ll find a link to BGZ’s blog post on the matter, including records of correspondence sent to NBC, as well as an invoice claiming a fee of $US3500 per image used.

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