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Wal-Mart Photo Copyright Policy

You know those photos I took of the girls in the "professional" studio (i.e. the playroom/craft room in our house)? Wal-Mart apparently thought they were "professional" enough that they had me sign a copyright form attesting to the fact that, indeed, I took the pictures.

Their copyright policy states:

In addition, we will not copy a photograph that appears to have been taken by a professional photographer or studio, even if it is not marked with any sort of copyright, unless we are presented with a signed Copyright Release from the photographer or studio.

Funny. I was somewhat displeased with the photos (too many girls wore black, the same color as the background I chose), and here Wal-Mart thought I was trying to print pictures taken by an actual photographer. ;-)

Anyway, just a heads up if you ever take "studio" type shots in your home. Most professional photographers don't use Wal-Mart for their processing and printing, after all.

P.S. Save yourself time: download and fill out this PDF before going into the store.

86 Responses to "Wal-Mart Photo Copyright Policy"

  1. Same thing happened to me, but at Sam's Club (same Walmart parent). I was printing some family portraits I took of friends and received a call alluded to the same message you got.

    At first I was a little shocked, but after talking to the photo tech, I felt much better about their policy. She said it was up to their discretion whether to print what they deem as "professional".

    I actually like that someone would be looking out for copyright infringement and a phone call seemed more than appropriate to validate.

    My guess is a lot more semi-professional types use Walmart than you'd think - bare bones pricing and decent quality are a pretty good sell.

    Cheers for the link. :grin:

    1. Yeah most professinals do not use wal-mart or walgreens. The thing is you are correct, alot of amature or former pros use them. They are just protecting the studio, photographer, and themselves. If you a DSLR camera majority of the time you will be asked to sign a consent form. Believe it or not people lie and will say they took it or a friend did. Photo Labs can not disprove unless there is a stamp or watermark on it. Even then most photographers do not stamp the photos and even some studios do not. I mean who wants a photography stamp or water mark on their wedding pics. Studios actually give you a copyright in some form if you buy a cd from them and most professinals do also. If you don't need one why do they give you one? Hassel, not really, funny, maybe. Photo labs get sued and close or the employees get fired even if they didn't let the copyright get sold.Its a percaution and if other places let you copy its on that company. Nobody realizes that they are just doing their jobs and I am sure you all havr policies to follow. Its a shame that you dont care if you put someone out of a job cause they are doing their job.

    2. Exactly!!!

      Walmart is a vile company.. It has been three years since I was violated by them and I haven't been back since..except to use the crapper..

      They are good for something..

  2. I'm cool with it too.

    Of course, that's "until it trips me up" at some point. If they ever tell me I can't print one of my photos or there's a delay some time, then I won't be so happy about it.

  3. Funny. I've heard the same story from others up your way. Down in the Carolinas I've never had that problem. I just printed these without incident which means either a) my pictures suck compared to yours or b) people are generally more lazy down here or c) Walgreens doesn't give a $hit.

    I'm thinking it's a combination of a & b. :smile:

    1. I looked at your pictures and it's certainly a combination of b and c because it's not a

  4. Erik J. Barzeski said on November 18, 2008:

    I'm cool with it too.

    Of course, that's "until it trips me up" at some point. If they ever tell me I can't print one of my photos or there's a delay some time, then I won't be so happy about it.

    Stumbled on your website and had to comment...

    I was fine with the policy too until they told me that I could not print at their store any more because my pictures were too good! And because I didn't have a business license that there was no way to prove I was good enough to take the pictures, so I could no longer print pictures in their store again...

    I offered to bring my camera and memory card in, but they said that wouldn't be good enough for them... Freakin' nuts!

  5. Although this note was posted few weeks ago I would like to comment after I learned that I'm not alone in this situation. I am currently facing the same problem - not with Wal-Mart but with Sam's Club in Raleigh, NC.

    I took some pictures of my daughter and nieces and they are not releasing them to me because "they look professional". The only option I was given was to bring the copyright release from the photographer, but not from me!!! (I wasn't even offered the waiver posted in this note). I asked them to check the Exif information where the copyright is under my name, but they wouldn't do it!

    Now I am planning to go tomorrow with a copy of the form from this post. Hopefully I'll be able to get the pictures!! Thanks for this post.

    1. Actually, most folks have no idea what exif info is, and I only just found out by accident when I got the free viewer Irfanview (And the free add-ons pack) and started poking about. So, although I would have been polite, I wouldn't have known of what you were speaking. I doubt this is in the training, and if it is, it may be passed over quickly in order to get the Clerk to the lab, working and productive.

  6. If you can prove that you took the picture, then Yes, Wal-mart will sell you the pictures. Without proof that you indeed took the picture or if you had it done at a studio or by a photographer you would need a copyright release stating that you may copy the picture or reproduce them. I work at a Wal-Mart photo center and it's not that I'm on a power trip or that I'm anti-good picture. It's the fact that I'm DOING MY JOB. Wal-mart sets policies and we as employees have to follow these policies. It’s just like any other job. You have rules, policies that you have to follow and I and like others, follow these policies. For me personally, I don’t care. I’d let people copy the pictures. I understand, but it’s just that I can’t. If we get caught selling a copyright picture you lose your jobs, have to pay a huge fine and last but not least spend time in JAIL!!! I just had a baby and she’s 3 months old, I’m behind on my bills so yeah here’s my point. I’m not ready to give up my freedom nor the time to see my daughter. I don’t have the money to pay a fine, so get over it!! And Yeah I don’t make 8$ an hour. I make more!!!!

    1. unfortunatley the policy still does not protect you the picture "look" is not the law...is it copyrighted? is the issue and you cant tell by looking at it.

  7. Emily said on January 11, 2009:

    If you can prove that you took the picture, then Yes, Wal-mart will sell you the pictures. Without proof that you indeed took the picture or if you had it done at a studio or by a photographer you would need a copyright release stating that you may copy the picture or reproduce them. I work at a Wal-Mart photo center and it's not that I'm on a power trip or that I'm anti-good picture. It's the fact that I'm DOING MY JOB. Wal-mart sets policies and we as employees have to follow these policies. It’s just like any other job. You have rules, policies that you have to follow and I and like others, follow these policies. For me personally, I don’t care. I’d let people copy the pictures. I understand, but it’s just that I can’t. If we get caught selling a copyright picture you lose your jobs, have to pay a huge fine and last but not least spend time in JAIL!!! I just had a baby and she’s 3 months old, I’m behind on my bills so yeah here’s my point. I’m not ready to give up my freedom nor the time to see my daughter. I don’t have the money to pay a fine, so get over it!! And Yeah I don’t make 8$ an hour. I make more!!!!

    I don't think anyone had a problem with the policy itself... It is the fact that even when I offered to sign the photo release since I am the one who took the photo, they told me, no, that it looks too good, it must be a licensed professional...

    My problem is when some employees don't even know or understand the entire policy, and just try to enforce part of it without regard to the customer... I was even told by the Photo center manager that I was no longer welcome to print pictures at her Photo Center again! It wasn't until we brought the Store Manager in, who would actually read the entire policy that I received an apology and an explanation that I would need to sign the form again if there was ever a question...

    I don't mind signing a form, but to just say, no, we won't print your pictures is not exactly good customer service...

  8. Here's yet another twist on Wal-Mart's policy. I have become the keeper of many family photographs over the last several decades. Many are from the late 1800's and some from the 1920s and 1930s. We all know that there is no way to uncover who actually took these photographs (nothing on the back of the picture), yet they are definitely professionally done.

    What am I to do? Family members have asked for copies of historical photographs of our long deceased family members. Wal-Mart allowed me to copy some, but the last time I went in with a grade school photograph of my long deceased uncle (photo from around 1930), I was told that they could not sell the copy to me.

    Any ideas for dealing with this? I have a scanner here at home, but I needed quite a few prints and it's not economically viable to copy this many photographs.

    1. I had the same issue with a photograph of my grandpa from either the 1930s or '40s. It was scratched, torn, and stained, so I spent a lot of time and effort into fixing it up. I reprinted the picture to show for an art class, and they wouldn't give me my pictures. Under US copyright laws, section 110 states that reproduction of photographs or other media for educational purposes is not an infringement on copyright. They still haven't given me my pictures. A lot of other places waive the copyright if the photograph is over 75 years old, but apparently Walmart is too daft to realize that what they want is for everyone to track down dead photographers or their relatives if they have any left.

  9. I met a lady today at our local WalMart who was trying to copy a family picture for her children and grandchildren.
    The family portrait was taken in 1876~~!!!
    The WalMart photo dept. would not allow her to make copies because of "copyright infringement". There were no copyright laws in 1876.
    And, how the heck would you get "permission" from the photographer after 140 years????
    Geesh!

    1. I wondered the same thing. According to copy rights for photographs. The copy right is good for the life of the photographer plus 70 years.

    2. The copyright runs out after 75 years. The problem is, you can't prove to those jerks when the photorgraph was taken unless there is a timestamp on it.

  10. What does Walmart do with the photos that they think are copyrighted?How long do they keep the photo before they get rid of them?I was unaware of their policy and when I went to our local Walmart I took photos with me and copied them from the Kodak machine,they did print for me but,when I went to pay for them,the lady stated I needed a release form.I told her I was unaware of that because I didn't understand their policy because of my diability,she just told me I needed a statement from the original photographer.I apologized to her and she stated that was okay.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You!

    1. Dominic said on August 30, 2010:

      I was told that they destroy the pictures. I don't believe them and my 80 year old mother is extremely unhappy that strangers have pictures of our family. I talked to the manager and the the district manager and got no satisfaction. I tracted down the regional manager and called him on his cell phone. Boy was he surprised. I am in the process of tracking all of the board members and managers personal phone numbers. When I get them all I will post them. Then we can all ask them what they do with the pictures.

      ....

      ...are you serious?

      cause we TOTALLY want photos of your family.

      As I stated before in a previous post we shred them and throw them away. That's the END of it.

    2. They throw them in the trash or shred them. I have worked in a Walmart Photo Center and if the customer could't get the release or just did't want to bother, we just threw them away. Do you really think anybody wants to keep pictures of your family and friends? I'm sure there's the occasional creep, but Walmart has no use for them and neither do its employees.

  11. Thank you for the pdf form!! I printed it, called walmart back and got my photos!!

  12. same issue,my parents passed years ago and ive been on the hunt for family pics from my aunts and uncles,so i wanted to make copies of them they were taken in 1985 ,and there is no wrighting on the back of them saying if they are copy wrighted.......walgreens wouldnt let me buy them...saying i need a letter of aproval from the photogifer........if i dont know who took them how do i get aproval.....my aunt thinks we took them at kmart she not sure....

  13. I have had similar issues in south eastern Kentucky with Wal-Mart (they have also lost several of our orders for months, then try to make us pay for them once they locate them months later)...I work for a school system and we have a school-based photography business with our students - we are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Wal-Greens two blocks from our school!!! We may face similar issues there, but I haven't heard of any so far...

  14. I spent $1,800 on photo equipment for my daughters equipment. I know little about photography and had some people at the wedding follow the photographer around and click pictures. In some cases those pictures are better than the proffesionals. I printed the pictures at Walmart when I went to pay they wouldn't give me pictures of my family that a variety of people took. I told them they cant have them they are mine. They said they wouldn't sell them to me and I told them that that is their perogotive if they want to charge me or not. But the pictures are my private pictures not for thier viewing. I asked the person behind the counter if they had a degree in photography they said their husband had one..my son is a doctor that doesn't make me one. So it becomes some clerks opinion wether to let you have the pictures. I spend about $5,000 per year at Walmarts times about 20 family members. Now I take my business to Target. It will be a cold day before I spend or my family members spend another penny in Walmart. It's time to hit Walmart where it counts, in their wallet.

  15. Being a Walmart phototech myself, we are required not by law by also by Walmart policy to enforce this. Copyright lasts the life of the photographer plus 70 years.
    http://www.copyright.gov/

    However! Yes, just fill out the stupid form and bam, done. Just don't do it in front of us. This form actually doesn't protect Walmart itself, but us! It is a heavy fine for EACH photo finisher in the lab as well as immediate termination if discovered. And with the economy the way it is, please just sign the damn form and save a fight. For the older photos, if you are related to the person, the copyright owner falls to next of kin. Little known fact. Voila! Yes, it is dumb. Yes it is a pain the butt. Yes, I've had things thrown at me over this and my manager socked in the face, but c'mon, just follow the legal laws. And yes, even when I get my stuff done there if it looks good enough, I have to sign off. ie: my artwork. In additon to the law, we are required to sign a form EVERY month that says we can't even do it if it looks professional. And, for the people who say I waste their time; we don't put signs and stuff up for our health, more for yours. You are fully warned beforehand. Sorry. =/

    Also, we are required by law to destroy any photos that are refused. We don't keep them and yes, you are fully entitled to watch us shred them if you wish. (If any employee refuses then and there, get a manager.)

    They are shredded and forgotten. We do nothing with them. Also, we can keep printed items on file for 90 days if requested. If you do items on the Kodak (or the new HP machines soon) there are no digital records of them. If you do them in the one hour or the send-away days/site to store service, they are kept on the digital file for a maximum of one week, three days minimum. If the lab has a crash, its all purged.

    Uh, those guys were idiots. We get amateurs all the time. Just have a letterhead or sign the PDF form, good to go. If not, get a manager.

  16. You Walmart people just dont get it. Like I told the person behind the counter after being asked for a release, "I took the pictures". She said they looked proffessional I said "thank you I took them dont need a realease". I told her if she called me a liar one more time I was going to rip her tongue out of her head. Pretty sure I really didn't care about the $4 worth of pictures. The funny thing is I spent $2,000 for a digital camera and I cant get the pictures developed because I spent so much plus I have to get called a liar by some clerk that by their own admission has not degree in photography. My experience was on May 15, 2009, since then my family has not spent a penny in Walmart and never will. It's certainly not my loss, ohers should follow suit perhaps we can put these low lifes out of business.

    1. No, you don't get it. We aren't calling you a liar, just sign the damn form that sits next to register, have a nice day. It's really THAT simple. You guys don't get it do you, Wal-mart isn't the one sued WE ARE. WE GO TO JAIL. WE GET THE FINE. Sign the stupid thing next the register no problem. We don't give two cents after it. I think I've stated before. Even I've had to sign the stupid form. It's life. Just feel honored your pics were noted as good and move on.

  17. 1) No form was offered 2) you have no qualifications to determine wether it be proffessional or not. 3) why would you take the chance of the possibility of some unknown photographer seeing a copy of some picture of some unknown person realizing the possibility of the copy coming from some clerk at Walmart copying this unknown photo of the unknown person and getting sued when the possibility of person standing in front of you that you just took pictures of his family away from and called him a liar will definately sue you......go figure.

  18. For the first time at the photo department in my local Wal Mart, my developed pictures were withheld because they looked professional. A friend of ours took them, just as he had 2 years ago. And where did we go back then to get wallets and 4x6's and 8x10's printed out in huge quantities, without the need for a copyright release??? The same frickin WAL MART. My husband shoots concert photography, and has printed out incredibly great shots at this same Wal Mart of really well known music artists... without a model release, copyright release, etc. There were ZERO issues for those photos, and in all honesty-- those workers should have been concerned about that, but they didn't care. At that moment.

    It's the "flip-flop" of the rules that is so annoying. They don't care one minute, the next minute they do... just pick the manner in which business is handled and stick with it.

    I'm going in with a copyright release from my photographer AND the copyright owner indemnification agreement to get my photos. I know I don't need both, but I'm covering my bases, and right about now I think that's what we have to do as customers to be able to finalize our purchases in the photo department.

  19. Meagan said on December 19, 2009:

    No, you don't get it. We aren't calling you a liar, just sign the damn form that sits next to register, have a nice day. It's really THAT simple. You guys don't get it do you, Wal-mart isn't the one sued WE ARE. WE GO TO JAIL. WE GET THE FINE. Sign the stupid thing next the register no problem. We don't give two cents after it. I think I've stated before. Even I've had to sign the stupid form. It's life. Just feel honored your pics were noted as good and move on.

    You do seriously think a judge is going to put a Walmart clerk in jail or fine him/her for allowing a customer to bring home pictures of his family. My judge friends are still laughing.

  20. I've simply been online looking for a generic copyright release when I stumbled onto this thread. I too, have had to make a last minute quick print at Walmart and yes, got stopped because my photographs were professional. Being a photographer per my profession, I do hope that they look professional. I have only run into this once, as I have pro labs that print my portraits, however, I'm sure my clients have run into it; attempting to print my portraits without a release or use form. I just want to say thank you to Walmart for protecting the photographers out there and shame on all of you folks who *love* the photographs taken by your photographer, but don't *love* them enough to pay for professional printing instead of saving a few bucks at places like Walmart.

  21. Kudos to Walmart for trying to provide some sort of protection for professional photographers. Everybody knows that some people really don't care too much about copyright infringement. But then, there should be some sort of system, procedure ... whatever ... so that their attempts at being of help won't be deemed as downright rudeness by some. I mean, what if I'm a plain housewife who loves taking pictures of my kids, but then I also happen to be excellent at it? Walmart folks could just compliment and insult me all in one breath?

  22. W said on June 30, 2010:

    I've simply been online looking for a generic copyright release when I stumbled onto this thread. I too, have had to make a last minute quick print at Walmart and yes, got stopped because my photographs were professional. Being a photographer per my profession, I do hope that they look professional. I have only run into this once, as I have pro labs that print my portraits, however, I'm sure my clients have run into it; attempting to print my portraits without a release or use form. I just want to say thank you to Walmart for protecting the photographers out there and shame on all of you folks who *love* the photographs taken by your photographer, but don't *love* them enough to pay for professional printing instead of saving a few bucks at places like Walmart.

    Thank you. I am AMAZED at the number or people who just DON'T get this. Photography is a profession, a career, a marketable skill that is punishable by law if abused. As for not getting your photos printed at Walmart, the dude who spent $2,000+ on his equipment shouldn't be printing here if he's so good then. Why isn't he printing at a professional lab if he's so good? NONE of the professional photographers that we serve at our lab that print for proofing and for low end gigs have ANY problem with giving a release.

    Dominic said on December 27, 2009:

    You do seriously think a judge is going to put a Walmart clerk in jail or fine him/her for allowing a customer to bring home pictures of his family. My judge friends are still laughing.

    And as for 'qualifications' I actually went to school for photography, don't insult me. If you really a 'true photographer' you wouldn't be arguing so heavily on an internet form about how a lab denied your business. Get over it. You and your 'judge friends'. Cause if they are copyright and the photographer pushes, yeah they are.

    Sabrina said on August 18, 2010:

    Kudos to Walmart for trying to provide some sort of protection for professional photographers. Everybody knows that some people really don't care too much about copyright infringement. But then, there should be some sort of system, procedure ... whatever ... so that their attempts at being of help won't be deemed as downright rudeness by some. I mean, what if I'm a plain housewife who loves taking pictures of my kids, but then I also happen to be excellent at it? Walmart folks could just compliment and insult me all in one breath?

    Hey, your right! Like I was telling Mr. Im-Fantastic-At-Photography-So-I-Should-Be-Law-Exempt, you just sign a form saying they were yours and then bring on the photos. And then in the case of coming to my lab, I usually discuss technique with ya while they print cause they probably look so damn amazing and I'm curious to know how ya did it. =)

  23. Firstly, in responce to the comments above, just because I happen to have the money to spend $2,000 on a camera to take pictures of my daughters wedding by no means makes me a proffessional photographer. Nor do I have any idea where to get pictures developed professionally nor do I want to. I had absolutely no interest in taking pictures of anything other than my daughters wedding. I have absolutely no interest in printing out any of the pictures I ever took. But in this one instance my 80 year old mother says that she had no pictures of my daughters wedding that I just paid for, I think I have the right to go to Walmart to print 4 lousy pictures I took without getting harrased by some "professional" behind the counter. Again, I know nothing about copyright laws nor do I care to know them as I am not a professional photographer. If I was given the option to sign a release I would have gladly done so. I was asked if I had a relaese and explained I didnt know what they were talking about.

    Secondly, to all of you people that are professional photographers...you certianly have the right to have your work protected against theft. Now that I understand the laws that protect you, I would never hire you. To the dealers that sell expensive cameras to "Joe public", you should be put in jail. To those people behind the counter at Walmart that say you have a "degree" in photography, you wasted your time and money. I never take pictures and was told mine looked professional by you.

    Lastly, I did return the camera to the store I bought it in after explaining the problem, the owner reluctantly took it back.

    Oh I forgot to mention that I went back to Walmart a week later and got the pictures developed, no hassels. I even went as far as to point out to the "Professional" how professional they look. I'm pretty sure that I got harrassed because I interrupted the "Professional Photographer" behind the counter from playing her computer game.

  24. Dominic said on August 27, 2010:

    To those people behind the counter at Walmart that say you have a "degree" in photography, you wasted your time and money. I never take pictures and was told mine looked professional by you.

    Funny, I wasted all my time and money and somehow, someway, I still don't have major spelling mistakes in my posts. Your sarcasm is the only thing wasted here...

    Dominic said on August 27, 2010:

    I'm pretty sure that I got harrassed because I interrupted the "Professional Photographer" behind the counter from playing her computer game.

    I laugh at this as you CAN'T play 'computer games' on those computers; the only thing one can do is our JOB. That is all I have to say on that to the people who think that trying to work 3 computers at once, a film processor, 20 orders and take care of a machine like the Frontier 390 all at once, is playing around. You're not the first one who thinks this, and not the last one; so quit your complaining when we're trying to serve more than just you, greedy.

    Eh, I've said what I've had to say and I think that now this has gone to nothing but petty stabs. If anyone has any constructive or genuine questions I'll answer them. Any more responses to this will be ignored, so get your last breath in while you still can. Until then, I'm going to get to back this thing called life and quit gripping about things that can't be changed.

  25. I just want to clarify something... The problem is not at all that Wal-mart thinks the pictures are professional and want a release it is that some of the associates didn't even know such a release existed and it was NEVER offered! This was before I officially went into business and I was told because I didn't have a business license that there was no way to prove that I was the one who took the pictures therefore I was not welcome to print EVER at that Wal-mart again! That is what I was upset about! It wasn't until I printed off their website their own policy and showed it to that Store Manager did I get my pictures. Some associates just aren't informed of their own policy.

    Since then (at different Wal-Marts) if I ever need a quick print I just show them my business card and sign the release and all is well, no problem. Again, the issue is not that there is a problem with them protecting copyright laws, it is with them NEVER even offering a release and told I was SOL to get my pictures back..

  26. What does Walmart do with the photos that they think are copyrighted?How long do they keep the photo before they get rid of them?I was unaware of their policy and when I went to our local Walmart I took photos with me and copied them from the Kodak machine,they did print for me but,when I went to pay for them,the lady stated I needed a release form.I told her I was unaware of that because I didn't understand their policy because of my diability,she just told me I needed a statement from the original photographer.I apologized to her and she stated that was okay.

    I was told that they destroy the pictures. I don't believe them and my 80 year old mother is extremely unhappy that strangers have pictures of our family. I talked to the manager and the the district manager and got no satisfaction. I tracted down the regional manager and called him on his cell phone. Boy was he surprised. I am in the process of tracking all of the board members and managers personal phone numbers. When I get them all I will post them. Then we can all ask them what they do with the pictures.

  27. I don't believe you shred them just like you don't believe that I took my the pictures. As a matter of fact I know they are not shredded. I got one of the managers to get all the pictures scheduled to be shedded from behind the counter that were taken by other "proffesional photographers" so I could see if my pictures were there. They weren't. A week later I went back and got another manager to give me all the pictures behind the counter. I did this for about 2 months and the pictures they showed me the first time were the same ones they showed me the last time. How long do they keep these photos that are supposed to be destroyed? They have an entire filing cabinet dedicated to destroyed photos. Conveniently mine were missing.

  28. Didn't say I didn't believe you took those pictures. I just said why a copyright release is needed.

    As for the 'filling cabinet full of professional pictures' your totally right; we keep them because I like hanging them on my wall along with the other pictures of your family I've been scrounging up cause I want to be your kids' aunt..

    (By the way, this is total sarcasm and a reference to a very bad movie before anyone goes jumping down my throat.)

    Photos are kept for a few days, if the owner wishes them to be, until they can find a release. This is usually anywhere from a few hours to like one or two days. They are gotten rid off because they're taking up the filling space of the paying customers who will actually come back.

    As for the two months.. I thought you took your business to Target and didn't ever come back to Walmart? Hrm...strange..

    But again, you don't believe me, nor do I care. Keep freaking out over them, and wasting your time with the cell phone thing. They're just going to tell you the same damn thing. Good luck with your quest, I'm sure it will be fruitful.

  29. To you this is a big joke...I come from a very strict family. The elders of the family value their privacy. Walmart has turned my daughters festive day into a nightmare. The family elders are very disturbed by the fact that strangers have kept pictures of our family. I don't want to get into the discussion of wether they are destroyed or not. It is not possible to convince these people otherwise without proof. They were not destroyed in front of me.

    Your attitude is absolutely appauling. We are the customer. I guess Walmart and its employees have forgotten who pays the bills. Its hard to believe you are the spokesperson for the entire corporation. You say this is total sarcasim, if I come accross as sarcastic I'm sorry I am only stating the facts as they happened to my family. I'm sure different stores are run differently.

    Wether you can play video games on the computers is mute. The fact that I stood by the counter for a very long time while this sales person did not acknowledge I was there is pertinent. Then to turn around take my pictures and be as rude to me as anyone has ever been astounds me.

    The fact that you don't feel I should feel some sort of satisfaction tells us as the customer that Walmart doesn't need us.

  30. Really. Walmart shreds the pictures. If you spent a fraction of the time you did blogging here you would have figured out how to get your pictures. Judging by your reactions ajd attitude i wouldnt have sold them to you also. Im a navy jag and what walmart does is beneficial to you and me. I dont want to spend an extra hundred dollars for a photographer because some slimeball doesnt want pay the original photographer waht hes owedn get the fuck over yourself and quit your hitching you pathetic piece of shit. You are a thief and a liar jackass. So go fuck yourself and follow the law. As your judge friends are concerned they are a waste of our legal justice system if theyre laughing about this. But thats ok youre a little pissant thats mad because they caught him fucking red handed. I fucking hate pieces of shit like you. Go fucking rot in a fucking grave.

    1. Haha....I can tell your another example of Walmarts higher level of education.

  31. Funny thing happened at Walmart couple of days ago. I paid a professional (30 years in the business) to take some pictures of fall scenery. One set with his expensive camera and one set with the $100 camera I just bought at Walmart. I took the ones from the expensive camera and developed them. He took the ones from my cheap camera and developed them. My pictures that he took with the expensive camera were confiscated. The ones he took with the cheap camera were not questioned. Sure you can tell....

  32. I have to say I just got screwed with the photo ownership copyright bullshlt at Wal-Mart. I tried explaining to them that they were not taken professionally but they did not believe me. I told them how I took them at my sisters house in a make-shift studio. They would not let me have MY PICTURES that I PAID FOR without some kind of release form. They said the pictures looked "too good". I begged them because I needed to get my holiday cards mailed out today because I was going on vacation but I got screwed. I asked for my money back and I will never do business with Wal-Mart ever again. I know they are a huge company and they won't be hurt by the loss of my business but I don't really care. I own a business and I frequently refer people to the online Wal-Mart photo center to process their photos. Not any longer. I will tell them that their quality sucks and they charge too much. I'll steer everyone to CVS, Shutterfly or anyone else. Wal-Mart can go F themselves.

  33. Hi,

    My frustrations with the Wal-Mart photo lab is this: I went to the lab with four photos. All of them were either my husband and I took together, and one that he took of me when we went to the park. I went to the Wal-Mart photo lab to have them printed wallet sized. The clerk wouldn't sell me my photos because she said they looked professional. I was so upset. It was evident that one of them, when carefully looked at, you can see the bottom portion of my hand/arm as if it was holding up the camera as I was taking a picture of us. In another picture, my husband and I were sitting in front of my iMac, and took a picture on there and I happened to white-out the background with my Photoshop program because our house was messy, and you could see that from the background and it took away from our picture.

    I understand copyright laws. As an artist, I think copyright laws should be upheld. And a big pat on the back to the workers that take pride in their jobs, and follow its rules. However, some of these pictures were clearly not professional and it makes me mad that a clerk took it upon herself to make that decision for me, and as a result, I wasn't able to get my pictures. Furthermore, it's not fair that consumers have to prove to Wal-Mart that certain pictures aren't copyrighted when it's difficult to prove that certain images were created by its owner. That's hard to do. My husband happens to have a high quality Canon camera. He enjoys taking pictures of me, landscapes, our pets. Photography is a passionate past time for him. So I guess we'll never be able to print some of our pictures at the Wal-Mart lab if they happen to turn out excellent.

    So, I went to Wal-Mart with four pictures that my husband and I took ourselves, and we left with nothing. Made me so mad. Also, and seriously, if I wanted to print out professional photographs, I would do it on a bigger size rather than those dinky wallet sized pictures.

  34. I read a few of your comments, both from customers and employees, and let me just say this: Wal-mart has made the situation a catch-22....What is a catch-22 you ask. Well, let me enlighten you, "a Catch-22, is a logical paradox arising from a situation in which an individual needs something that can only be acquired by not being in that very situation; therefore, the acquisition of this thing becomes logically impossible." (Wikipedia)

    So let me just say that after arguing with the picture tech, his boss, that guys boss, another boss, and finally the store boss....I won.

    I very kindly had to remind Wal-mart that it's not their job to protect copyright....it's the Copyright Owners (in this case the photographer) job to do that. Why do you think iTunes had to give up their properitery copyright protection on their music? Because it wasn't their job to try and control what I did with my music after I purchased it. Just like it isn't Wal-marts job to police copyright infringement on photographs. It's the photographers job.

    Oh, and to the employees of Wal-mart photo centers, don't you realize you are the scapegoats? Look that one up if it doesn't make sense. Your being used. How can a company demand it's employees certify that every picture printed off is not professional when there is no education or training provided to help make you aware of a professional picture. But to humor you, lets say you did get all the training and education in the world it still would be a subjective judgment on your part, and now we are back at a Catch-22. Wouldn't you know.

    In closing, I would like to quote Laurence J. Peter, "Against logic there is no armor like ignorance."

  35. I ordered and paid for some Christmas cards on Walmart's website using photos of my son. When I went to pick them up at the store they said they couldn't give them to me because they were done professionally. Then they tried to give me a refund but the morons couldn't figure out how to do it and told me to call Walmart.com. I walked out disgusted.

    My wife went in and asked to speak to the manager. They admitted to her that photos were non refundable, so exactly how we were going to get a refund by calling Walmart.com is beyond me. Finally the manager said she could have the photos but the moron in photo had already shredded them. So they gave her a gift card.

    You know what pisses me off? This is a photo of my son, if anyone should need to sign a release, it is not the photographer, it is my son. Since when do people not have any rights to images taken of them?

    1. Your last paragraph indicates exactly how much you know about copyright law. Here is an excerpt from a website on the matter, which doesn't address your specific problem, but it's basically the same issue.
      ---
      My local copying store will not make reproductions of old family photographs. What can I do?

      Photocopying shops, photography stores and other photo developing stores are often reluctant to make reproductions of old photographs for fear of violating the copyright law and being sued. These fears are not unreasonable, because copy shops have been sued for reproducing copyrighted works and have been required to pay substantial damages for infringing copyrighted works. The policy established by a shop is a business decision and risk assessment that the business is entitled to make, because the business may face liability if they reproduce a work even if they did not know the work was copyrighted.

      In the case of photographs, it is sometimes difficult to determine who owns the copyright and there may be little or no information about the owner on individual copies. Ownership of a “copy” of a photograph – the tangible embodiment of the “work” – is distinct from the “work” itself – the intangible intellectual property. The owner of the “work” is generally the photographer or, in certain situations, the employer of the photographer. Even if a person hires a photographer to take pictures of a wedding, for example, the photographer will own the copyright in the photographs unless the copyright in the photographs is transferred, in writing and signed by the copyright owner, to another person. The subject of the photograph generally has nothing to do with the ownership of the copyright in the photograph. If the photographer is no longer living, the rights in the photograph are determined by the photographer’s will or passed as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.

    2. Please look at ANY professionally-taken and printed photo. There, as a watermark along the side or the bottom is the name of the PHOTOGRAPHER. Since the photographer performs the work, he gets the copyright, unless it was surrendered to the model or subject (rarely, if ever) However, if the photo is going to be used in the commercial realm, a MODEL RELEASE must be obtained from the model or subject, and maintained by the PHOTOGRAPHER! The model release protects the Photographer. Now we begin to see the confusing morass of laws Wal-Mart's clerks are trying to protect themselves from.

      Remember the oft quoted sarcasm, "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help!"

  36. First of all there is no one behind the Wallmart counter that is qualified to make that call. People go to school for years to be able to tell the authenticity of a document. Secondly there is no governmental agency empowering Wallmart or its employees to police the copyright laws. Fact of the matter is that they are arbitrarily singling out costumers and humiliating them. Although there is no law against that it is certainly grounds for a defensible law suit and if enough people get together I believe a class action suit is in order. I for one want to be part of it. If they lose enough money they will be forced to change their policy and stop degrading people.

    1. while it is possible that some may single customers out to humiliate, i don't think that is the answer in every case. do you believe that a photographers work should be protected? do you understand why it is a FEDERAL LAW to not copy professional photos, do you get the point in that?? okay, in order to do that if a photo appears to be professional we must ask who took it and go from there. just because some employees didn't handle the situation correctly doesn't mean that it is that way in every walmart, and the policy will not change, the policy is not at fault. it's the individual employees fault that didn't handle it correctly... if it looks pro we are required to ask who took it, if the customer took it all they have to do is sign a paper saying they did. simple. done. if the associate is rude or does not follow that correctly it is the associate who is making a mistake, the policy is exactly as it should be. walmart as a whole is not at fault.

  37. Dominic said on December 22, 2010:

    First of all there is no one behind the Wallmart counter that is qualified to make that call. People go to school for years to be able to tell the authenticity of a document. Secondly there is no governmental agency empowering Wallmart or its employees to police the copyright laws. Fact of the matter is that they are arbitrarily singling out costumers and humiliating them. Although there is no law against that it is certainly grounds for a defensible law suit and if enough people get together I believe a class action suit is in order. I for one want to be part of it. If they lose enough money they will be forced to change their policy and stop degrading people.

    I came across this website after Googl'ing about Walmart and copyright yesterday. I have never been so humiliated in public as when I went to pick up pictures from the one-hour photo yesterday. A photo I took of my five kids, in front of a tree in my yard, to frame and give as Christmas gifts was supposedly too professional for me to have taken. I'd be flattered they thought it was professional, except that it isn't completely in focus, and it's obvious from the way my kids are standing that they weren't arranged by a portrait photographer. And of course they had to accuse me of trying to print a copyrighted photo in front of about 10 other customers. They didn't bother to ASK if it was a professional picture, and I wasn't allowed to see it, or I could have pointed out that it wasn't in focus. The so-called manager put his fingers all over the pictures, so when I did argue long and loud enough about it, they look even more like crap, and if that weren't enough, apparently their printer had ink on a roller, because there are black ink splotches in a line down 4 of the photographs.

    I did call corporate, though I expect nothing to come of it after reading posts like these.

    I too would love to join a lawsuit against them for the humiliation of being accused like that. I don't want any compensation beyond better training of their employees, because what I went through yesterday is slander, and no one should be subject to that for simply trying to get pictures they've taken of their children printed.

    1. Blegh, that sucks. I worked at a Walmart Photo Center and I always asked if pictures were done professionally. Even when I knew they were, I hated having to do it, it truly was the worst part of the job. And every coworker I had (with the exception of one, who looooved getting to enforce the copyright policy) agreed the policy is ridiculous. But we were constantly told "You will be fined and sued, you will be fined and sued." It becomes a battle between satisfying your employer or satisfying the customer, and in these economic times, the job will always win.

    2. Finally, someone that has been listening to me...If you read all of the childish responses to my comments. I have been humiliated here too. I am not going to stop. I have quit my job so I can give this matter my undivided attention.

    3. It does sound like they were very rude to you about that! What I don't understand is why there are several posts where people are saying the associates refused to sell it. It is not that way at my store!!! If there is no logo, but it appears professional, we are only to ask who took it and go from there. if the customer claims they took it and there is no logo, we just have them sign a paper saying they are the one who took it, then we let them have their photos. That is how it is supposed to be handled.

  38. I have a point and shoot camera, and take decent photos (not professional quality by any stretch) but I have a problem EVERY time I go to our local walmart.

    Apparently at ours if they are in focus and no ones head is chopped of they MUST BE a professional shot!

    1. I'm sorry you have that problem at your walmart... they are making much better cameras now, as far as megapixels, zoom and focus on these point and shoots cams, and between that and the photo editing software, you can even do some awesome effects with picnik on facebook and they look professional, sometimes it is very difficult to tell, and im sure they would rather be safe than sorry. I do follow the rules, but i feel i am very fair and make good judgement, I do however work with a girl who thinks every excellent quality photo MUST have been taken by a pro.. it's frustrating i understand, but they shouldn't be giving you a problem. new photo lab associates are especially afraid in the beginning of making a mistake with this for fear of being fired, until they become more experienced and recognize the difference.

  39. bananaspy said on December 23, 2010:

    Your last paragraph indicates exactly how much you know about copyright law. Here is an excerpt from a website on the matter, which doesn't address your specific problem, but it's basically the same issue.
    ---
    My local copying store will not make reproductions of old family photographs. What can I do?

    Photocopying shops, photography stores and other photo developing stores are often reluctant to make reproductions of old photographs for fear of violating the copyright law and being sued. These fears are not unreasonable, because copy shops have been sued for reproducing copyrighted works and have been required to pay substantial damages for infringing copyrighted works. The policy established by a shop is a business decision and risk assessment that the business is entitled to make, because the business may face liability if they reproduce a work even if they did not know the work was copyrighted.

    In the case of photographs, it is sometimes difficult to determine who owns the copyright and there may be little or no information about the owner on individual copies. Ownership of a “copy” of a photograph – the tangible embodiment of the “work” – is distinct from the “work” itself – the intangible intellectual property. The owner of the “work” is generally the photographer or, in certain situations, the employer of the photographer. Even if a person hires a photographer to take pictures of a wedding, for example, the photographer will own the copyright in the photographs unless the copyright in the photographs is transferred, in writing and signed by the copyright owner, to another person. The subject of the photograph generally has nothing to do with the ownership of the copyright in the photograph. If the photographer is no longer living, the rights in the photograph are determined by the photographer’s will or passed as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.

    You keep talking about professionals.....what part of we are not professionals dont you understand....If you cant figure out how to determine who took the pictures then you shouldn't offer the service. You are doing it just to feel empowered. Let the people who know what they are doing like the people at Rite Aid or CVS do the developing. There is never an issue at those stores. The excerpt you posted is double talk. If you are so sure a photo was professionally taken then you should be able to name the author of the photo, whether he is dead or alive and pick up the phone and give him a call to get permission to make copies.

  40. Stephanie said on December 24, 2010:

    I have a point and shoot camera, and take decent photos (not professional quality by any stretch) but I have a problem EVERY time I go to our local walmart.

    Apparently at ours if they are in focus and no ones head is chopped of they MUST BE a professional shot!

    I paid a pro $200 to take my $100 camera and take photos of my 2 month grandson...they developed them...I think I will pay him to sue Walmart and put the clerk in jail just out of principal.

  41. It is time to let the copyright policy go or somehow change them. They are a joke.
    I am a professional photographer and have been selling copyright released cd's for 12 years. I have maybe had 200 clients out of 10s of thousands call me with stories of photo tech nazi's that refuse to give up the prints... We offer to fax my letterhead and that usually works. Silly to think that they will accept a fax from a random phone somewhere in the country and then give up the prints. It prooves that they are just trying to make someone jump through hoops because they can. Sometimes I can not get a fax out right away so I tell my clients to take the business to another lab that does not have a power hungry tech working the counter or just go back during another shift. It would be very odd that there are 2 power freaks working back to back shifts at any lab.

    Isn't it funny that they will accept a random person's signature on a piece of paper to feel secure in releasing a professional looking photograph. That prooves absolutely nothing. What makes them think that the person on the other side of the fax line actually is the artist or that is actually their signature?

    Lighten up lab tech power hungry freaks. It is not like you are selling alcohol to minors, but If you were, I guess you just have the minor tell someone to fax over an of age ID. Then you'd be off the hook!

    1. it's not that the photo associates are power hungry freaks, I don't give a fuck who took the pictures, really i don't care, at all, i don't like telling people they can't have their pics, it's an annoying situation altogether, and i don't care who signs or makes or sends me a release, the point is once YOU or WHOEVER signs that paper, then YOU are responsible not ME. does that help you understand why we do that. it doesn't matter to me if lula mae from tim buck two signs it, if i have a signed release to put on file is all that matters, if you falsified something that is your error not mine, and is no longer my problem.

  42. Dominic said on December 25, 2010:

    I paid a pro $200 to take my $100 camera and take photos of my 2 month grandson...they developed them...I think I will pay him to sue Walmart and put the clerk in jail just out of principal.

    So, if I understand you correctly... you want to destroy a Walmart employee's life to prove your point?

    Dominic said on December 24, 2010:

    Finally, someone that has been listening to me...If you read all of the childish responses to my comments. I have been humiliated here too. I am not going to stop. I have quit my job so I can give this matter my undivided attention.

    First off, is it not against the site's comment policy to not allow people to be humiliated? I mean, I read through the comments, I didn't see any insults hurled towards yourself. And yes, I read ALL the comments.

    Second... you quit your job to draw attention to this problem? Still trying to work that logic out in my head here.

    Ken Rada said on March 1, 2011:

    Isn't it funny that they will accept a random person's signature on a piece of paper to feel secure in releasing a professional looking photograph. That prooves absolutely nothing. What makes them think that the person on the other side of the fax line actually is the artist or that is actually their signature?

    Lighten up lab tech power hungry freaks. It is not like you are selling alcohol to minors, but If you were, I guess you just have the minor tell someone to fax over an of age ID. Then you'd be off the hook!

    Part of the problem, I think, is indoctrination and fear. Employees are told of all the bad things that could happen to them - jail, heavy fines, losing employment - which may be true... but to what degree, I am unsure. Because it is hammered into them, some fear the reprecussions and some just don't give a skip. Hence the uneven enforcement.

    Ways to avoid all this:

    Don't shop at Walmart for photos
    Grab a few copies of the release. Have them on you before you go, signed and ready.
    Don't print photos. Get a digital photo frame.

    My job is tech support of the equipment; yes, I do see where the disconnect can come from. I also know that there are some people who are idiots that I would not trust with safety scissors and crayons, much less expensive equipment. I can't blame the ones that do for following a policy... I can blame the people that treat the pictures at the extreme ends of the policy, though. Unfortunately... that will happen. And no matter what, they are technically accurate in whatever they see.

    Personally, I'd be flattered that they thought my images were nice enough to be considered "professional". I'd be annoyed to sign a waiver, but hey... I want my prints and it would take too long to go somewhere else.

  43. It is astonishing that people are crying so hard about the copyright policy at Walmart. For one their policy is never to copy images without a release regardless of when the copyright expires. Also when you order pictures at walmart's kiosks or on the website one of the first things you do is hit "I agree" on their copyright policy. If you don't like read it then that is your fault and if you do read it and don't like it then go somewhere else or spend the money and get some decent photo paper for home printing. If you did take the pictures then it is no problem to fill out the paper that says you are the author of the work and be done with it. If they don't offer just ask for a manager. There is no need to be a big baby and throw a hissy-fit. People rip-off photographers all the time and I have had photographers call and request we keep an eye out for their photos because they don't give out releases at all. I would rather have someone enforce the copyright and cause me only a minor inconvenient, actually not any inconvenience at all because I am not a moron, than people be allowed to roundly violate copyright law.

    If you didn't take the picture then you don't have to right to make copies. Put simply, either get a release or get out.

  44. Do any of you know what the law actually says? I'm guessing that none of you "in the know" people have actually read it. I truly have no problem with all of this stuff. My point is and always has been, in my case, regardless of who took the pictures, they were already reproduced. Any subsequent law has already been breached.

  45. I don't like the fact that is left up to the emplyees discretion. My niece and daughter tried to print pictures they had taken with a good camera. Walmart refused because they appereared proffesional. However, the guy said he would take a note he didn't care who signs it. So how do you explain that nonsense. That is why I hate Walmart!!

  46. My point exactly. No qualifications "doing their job"...it shouldn't be their job! Me and my family haven't shop Walmart in two years. Hit them in their pocket book.

  47. Rachel said on February 13, 2011:

    I had the same issue with a photograph of my grandpa from either the 1930s or '40s. It was scratched, torn, and stained, so I spent a lot of time and effort into fixing it up. I reprinted the picture to show for an art class, and they wouldn't give me my pictures. Under US copyright laws, section 110 states that reproduction of photographs or other media for educational purposes is not an infringement on copyright. They still haven't given me my pictures. A lot of other places waive the copyright if the photograph is over 75 years old, but apparently Walmart is too daft to realize that what they want is for everyone to track down dead photographers or their relatives if they have any left.

    Last I checked Copyright runs out at 75 years so it becomes public domain. But I would not expect a WalMartie to grasp copyright law.

  48. I work at a Wal-Mart Photo Center. Please understand we are just doing our jobs. We are required to sign a document each and every month that says we will not print any photo that even looks like it could be copyrighted or we will be fired. It is hard to say if a photo is 75 years older than the death of the person who took it. If a photographer lived to me 100, that's 175 years.! The fine is $10,000.00 per image, so if you print 10 prints, that's a risk of a $100,000.00 fine for sale of a few bucks or less. The real problem is that Walmart has deep pockets and is sued all the time. Your need to copy a photo is just not worth losing us losing our jobs, I hope you can understand that. A note to photographers, when you sell your rights to reproduce photos on a cd, why not include a release on the cd jacket? We don't want to turn people down, but we are required to staple a photocopy of the release to the form the customer signs and file it.

  49. Do you have any idea how much it would cost a photographer to initiate a lawsuit against Walmart? If it were feasible to do so I would have done so myself for destroying my property. You people are comical.

  50. Dear Walmart Photo Nazis,

    Please understand what "Fair Use" is as well. Copying an old school photo for family history and research is hardly an infringement on the value of the work.

    Yesterday, I copied several school photos from the early 1960's and a couple professional photos of a relative from the 30's.
    The photo Nazi at my store sifted through and separated anything that didn't meet with her approval.

    I had already seen her be evil to another customer so I decided to tell her the personal story of why I was copying these photos which involves the death of my mother and a very old living relative. I just kept talking to see if she had a heart and would crack at all. I'm sure she did but was afraid to show it and asked if I'd like to see a manager. I said "Yes, of course!"

    She walked away to make the call and I reached over to her side of the counter and swiped up my contraband photos and put them in my bag. I had my money out with my receipt to pay her. She wouldn't take my money and before the manager arrived I realized I could just go to another register and pay and that's what I did.
    I expect I will not be "welcome" at their photo center again. I will probably be blacklisted!

  51. I work in the photo lab at Wal Mart. First let me begin by saying that it isn't just a walmart rule, but it is a federal law that we are not allowed to sell copyright protected photos. So to enforce that we follow this law we are instructed to use our judgement whether or not to sell a photo, even if it doesn't have a logo, and may appear to be professional. In the cases of extremely old photos I don't understand how someone could get a release from a person or business who no longer exists. BUT I do understand that the purpose is to protect against copyright infringement, and if you were a professional you would understand the importance of that. I do know that alot of people are not professionals but have nice cameras and photography is a hobby for them, if someone presents a logo free but professional looking photo and claims they took it themself, I don't refuse to sell it to them, I simply have them fill out our little release form. NO ONE can say that person didn't take that photo, and if they are lying and signed that form my ass is covered. Many photographers in my area make discs for people and charge them out the rear for the copyright release and let them print all they want at walmart. If you are a photographer or take nice pics as a hobby then you should make a copyright release form for the person you take pics for so they don't have any problems when they copy them. Now for those of you who think "well i purchased that picture i can copy it if i want to" um... no, you own the piece of paper, the photographer still owns the rights to the IMAGE on the paper, and you are not allowed to copy it unless you have the photographers permission. For those of you who say well i have my release at home, I'm sorry I can't give you the photos until you can bring me that paper, and no I will not speak to someone on the phone about it, I have to have a paper in front of me that I can copy and put in my file. I personally don't give a fuck who took the photo, all I need is proof on paper

  52. It is a simple rule, I know sometimes it is inconvenient and frustrating, but it is simple, I don't understand what it is about it that people don't get. And I'm tired of people being rude to me about it, I didn't make the rule, I don't give a crap who took it, I'm doing my job, I am very fair, and I follow the rules, I will do anything I can to help someone out. And if you need a certain photo so badly then buy yourself an all in one printer and stop trying to make somebody's job hell because you didn't get your way and can't follow a simple rule, it makes you look dumb. Also, we DO shred the photos, nobody wants someone elses stupid photos, they are only kept in the drawer if the customer wants us to keep it until they come up with their release. I could't believe that one guys post about how for two months he made the photolab show him their "to be shredded" photos, that's dumb, he was so freaked out about his family's privacy but he wanted to go through everyone else's photos?? I can't imagine a photo lab showing a customer those photos. I definitely wouldn't have. What a psycho. I love how people say "you walmart people" um, i am a person just like any of the rest of you, walmart is just my job, and to keep my job i follow the rules. I don't even agree with all the rules, but it's not up to me, so get off my ass.

  53. Dominic you are a fool, Nobody cares that you don't shop at walmart, you havent put a dent in walmarts pocketbook, you sound like a real dumbass, and for that I would be glad that you chose to shop anywhere but walmart so I didn't have to put up with your ignorant ass. Why don't you get the rule, it's not complicated. Who do you think should decide whether or not to sell you those pictures, because you keep stating it's not the photolab associates job to make that decision whose is it then??? Tell me, I'm dying to know. That doesn't even make any damn sense. I don't understand how they could have refused to sell you those though, that was silly of them, honestly without a logo I just would have asked you if you took them, then when you replied yes, I would have said, ok sir, let me give you a copy of our policy and let you sign saying that you took the photo, and I would have let you go merrily along your way with your pictures. As I previously stated I can't say you didn't take those, but if you were lying, my ass would be covered if you signed the paper. So, I'm sorry you had a bad experience but you can't judge every walmart everywhere and every walmart employee based on that experience. walmart employees are regular people just like you, what if you worked at walmart? then you would follow the rules to keep your job, and does that make you a dumb or bad person, or "one of those walmart people"? I can't believe you have been posting about this for years. that's INSANE. get over it man.

    1. Rebecca,

      You are obviously one of the better photo techs at YOUR Walmart. I applaud you for that. I do believe the point you are missisng, however, is that Dominic dies not have a beef with you, or even a beef with just a Walmart employee. The larger picture here is policy vs law and enforcement there of.

      Example: I was shopping at Meijer's with friends and wanted to buy alcohol. All of us are of age and legal, but I (the buyer with ID and name on credit card) was denied the sale because one person from our group of three did not have their wallet. Now several days later I returned to the Meijer's and had my six month old niece with me, not a daughter but neice. Was not even carded when going through the register.

      Who is left to blame if I decided to give my niece a "happy hour" before bead and she dies of alcohol poisoning. The clerk let me purchase alcohol in the presence of a known minor and not when in presence of legal company. It must be the clerk's fault.

      Now to the photos; Walmart is trying to justify their policy in the same way. Unfortunately Rebecca, you and your co-workers are caught in the cross hairs. Think of this situation, Walmart claims you are trained to identify a professional image, you find a professional image and request proof of release. Did you receive legal training on what verbage and statement need to be in a proof of release to make it legit? I didn't until year 2 of law school; but you accept that proof and sell the photo. The owner of the copyright then sues Walmart, you and the customer jointly. Walmart settles, fires you then sues you for the settlement they had to pay out because you didn't follow their BS training, they have no claim, except in rare cases against the customer. You lose in any case, whether printing copyrighted photos or accepting releases there of. So what good does the policy do you.

      Then the beef comes in. It's a case of too many uninformed individuals trying to play judge. Everyone but the money loses out in the end, and this is what they count on, believe me I've been party to corporate policy creation, its BS. My opinion, leave the photo desk, stock shelves, there is less customer drama and more money in Worker's Comp. claims.<- little lawyer humor.

  54. Lets think about this another way. A Walmart eployee knocks a box off the top shelf and hits me the customer. Walmart is responsible for the actions of its employees. Im sure Walmart has policies against injuring customers. Not every employee damages every customer. Walmart is still responsible. I have been damaged by a Walmart employee. Just by the fact that I have been on this website tells you I have been damaged and I should be compensated for my loss. At the very least I wasted an hour of my time sorting, editing and printing the photos. Any other reputable business would do something to make it right. If you buy something at Home Depot or Lowes or Target they go out of their way to make it right. You don;y get the smart ass attitude that you get from Walmart and its employees.

  55. Dominic,

    Please go look up the draconian measures that the Millennium Digital Copyrights Act has for violations and violators. Wal-Mart is wise to protect themselves and their clerks.

    You WERE treated rude. We get that, we really do. But the very idea that you would resign a job to argue about this on a web forum, is a little out of line. Our society is VERY litigious, (i.e. lawsuit-happy) so when the stakes are high, you protect yourself. (and I'd think I would call $ 100,000.00 per print, high stakes indeed!) If the customer wishes to purport to be the owner, then the CLERK and Wal-Mart BOTH are off the hook! The photographer then has recourse to sue the consumer who stole his work. But NOT the Clerk or the Store!

    SO:

    1) Wal-Mart. promise you will educate your clerks in the use of the release form and have some available at every photo counter, out and plainly visible (And Clerks, replenish these as needed).

    2) Consumers, when dealing with Wal-Mart, accept that this will happen especially with newer cameras that, even though they may only cost $100.00 or so, can take pictures light years ahead of instamatics we so recently had, and so be ready to "sign your life away" to get your pics,

    3) Let's be nicer to each other! All this could have been avoided with proper communication, even when the best answer is "I don't know why, let me get the boss." (Or for Managers, "I don't know, I will have to speak to someone in Bentonville, let me have your number and I'll give you a call back.")

    "We're from the Government, and we're here to help!"

  56. Still missing the point. The point is I drove 40 minutes one way to male these copies, I worked these prints for an hour fixing these "proffessional" photos, while some person behind the counter watched me print them then tell me I can't have them. Why didn't they say that before I wasted my time? Before I ever attempted printing them. I deserve to be compensated for my time. Furthermore whoever said "what does walmart care if you buy from them" last time I checked sweetpea other people like me are the reason Walmart exists. We are called customers. Let's see what walmart does without them.

  57. I don't have a problem with people doing their job. In this economy you wouldn't want anyone to do anything that might get them fired when there is a simple way to resolve the problem. BUT... if you have someone who is going out of their way to be ignorant or cause a problem, I'm all for making a mountain out of a molehill.

    I had a photo tech "assist" me with the one hour photo kiosk in a Wal-Mart. This guy watched me take the memory card out of my camera and insert it into the kiosk machine. He saw the photos as they were uploaded (different images with different people in and out of the photos as we were each taking pictures of ourselves at my sisters wedding, at the reception and at theme parks). I waited at the Wal-Mart walking around for a little over an hour. Go back to the photo lab and same guy that assisted me with the kiosk would not sell me my own images because they looked professional. Dude! You watched me take the card out of the camera, put the pics up, spent over 20 minutes with as I made funny cards on the kiosk machine. He knew I took those photos! I had one of him in the darn Wal-Mart!!! Common sense people. Common sense. Oh, and for those here who work at Wal-Mart and say just sign the release. I would have, in front of Mr. Twerp, only he claimed he didn't have any release forms, and I have to go home (20 minute drive) and print the form from my computer, sign it and return it to him. I went down to Target, took a picture of the tech, did the same thing (took memory card out, printed and kiosk) and they sold me MY photos. Guess where I take my business now. It's not the following of the rules I have a problem with, it's the horrible customer service and the inate brainlessness of that particular Wal-Mart photo tech.

  58. Rebecca...nobody cares if I go to Wallmart....really? I would guess wallmart might care if all of us CUSTOMERS didn't go there someone at Wallmart might notice. More Wallmart ignorance.

  59. I purchased a high dollar camera and some photo software because all my friends are into photography and I wanted to join them. I have no studio, no training but I am pretty good on computers so between the tutorials on YouTube, my friends advice, and my playing I have gotten pretty good adjusting my pictures. I usually order them from a site online that has a pro and amateur side. I use the amateur side due to the fact I do not have a studio or business. I took some formal pictures of my son but was not happy with the background so I created one and placed the picture on it. I thought it looked pretty good but before I ordered them on line I decided to have one done at Wal-Mart to look at it. I was told it was a professional picture and they would not develop it. Well it made me feel good they thought I was a pro but ticked me off when I could not get MY picture developed. So to avoid this problem in the future I understand that all I need to do is print off the copyright form someone has posted on this site and take it with me. Is this correct?

    1. James, that should be the case.. It's been hit or miss with me, and I'm a professional photographer. I just show them my business card and that helps me. Good luck! ;)

  60. Is Walmart allowed to use your photo. I have a friend that was in Walmart in Florida and she was in shock to see her kids photo up there on the display. It was taken about 10 years ago? is this legal? Can they do that? Thanks

  61. Oh no that can't happen. Read the previous comments from the brilliant Walmart employees. Just how stupid are these people?

  62. Just left Walmart, unable to determine photographer of Mom & Dad 30 some years ago for a church directory. Church long closed, pictures are of them at about age 60; they are both dead, would be in their nineties today. No tags anywhere on photo; same problem, just trying to give my family copies of pictures of their grandparents ! Any ideas? Clerk at Walmart said they have to be 100 years old to qualify for no sign off by photographer.

  63. I don't care what anyone says, i am sick of all the damn policing we have going on at every angle of our lives even down to our own private collection of family photographs and pictures we have taken down through the years ourselves and by family members. What the hell is the deal with this copyright shit anyway!!!!!???!? Come on! Is there really a black market now of people trying to make a copy of a photo??? OMG!!! Just say for the sake of it that it was a professional photo. You bought those photographs yourself of maybe you or your families party or whatever... OK WHAT? WHAT IS THE FRIGGIN BIG DEAL???!?!?! OMGGGG... this is like the recording industry coming down on people who are trying to get a free song!! If those pictures are mine ... i paid a professional to take it, then by god its then my picture.. i should be able to do whatever the hell i want with that picture. and do i care if someone else has a copy of my pictures i took and was trying to make a copy of it? why should i give a rats behind... What homeland security was violated. Who got hurt? Who Who Who???? As for pictures taken like 70 years ago of family professionally why should that matter after all these years where that picture came from?? Is some 99 year old man going to walk in walmart and pass the photo counter and see that picture and blurt out loudly, ' I TOOK THAT PHOTO 70 YEARS AGO ... THATS MY PHOTO.. YOU ARE VIOLATING ME ??? I mean i'm sick of all this police work going on. Someone always over your shoulder scouting out what you are up to .. Trying to control you .. Control your life even down to a stupid family photo!!! When do we just cross over to pure idiocy??? Well get this.. Last week i had a photo made of a relative of mine and i had this text program where i could write something on the photo. I put the persons first name near the bottom and Walgreens cut it right off and in the process of doing that chopped his head off down to his eyeball. I wrote them and never got one answer as to why???? There i'm done!!!

  64. <<<
    Dee wrote:

    Is Walmart allowed to use your photo. I have a friend that was in Walmart in Florida and she was in shock to see her kids photo up there on the display. It was taken about 10 years ago? is this legal? Can they do that?

    According to the Wal-Mart employees who posted here (and at the stores), no because they shred them immediately so there's no way those shredded photos could have been up there after ten years even though they definitely were.
    n
    How in the world did they get those shredded photos up there after ten years since they were immediately destroyed yet are now mysteriously up there again.

    <<<< Thanks

    Dominic wrote:

    <<<Oh no that can't happen. Read the previous comments from the brilliant Walmart employees. Just how stupid are these people?

    Very. Wait until you hear them try to explain how completely destroyed shredded photos (and negatives) are now being shown and existing again.

    Whatever excuse it is, it most likely won't be the common sense one of the photos were destroyed and shredded along with the negatives but copied onto a memory card by the employees without the customer's (photographer's) permission.


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