More IP madness

From David Pogue’s Blog

Today, a cheery/hilarious/frightening story from reader Jeanine Weekes Schroer that really rings the bell on the Ridiculous meter:

“I just had an extremely frustrating experience with the Yahoo/Target photo service, where you upload pictures on Yahoo to pick up prints at Target (in an hour, if you’d like).

“I had uploaded ten pictures (random stuff); I asked for a mix of 8 by 10s, 5 by 7s, and 4 by 6s. One was of my husband’s boat, because he loves it, and another was of my husband fishing near our home, because I love him.

“I showed up at Target’s Photo Center in my small town. The very sweet young girl found my envelope, but it had a note attached to it. The note said, ‘Ask for Copyright release for the 2 pictures lying on the dryer rack.’

“She called for assistance, because she was unsure what to do. The person who answered her call ALSO called for assistance, because she also did not know what to do. A third woman arrived.

“She told me that because of copyright concerns, Target reserves the right not to sell any picture that appears to be professional. She said, ‘Anyone can just download any picture they want, and we’d be liable. I’m sorry, we will not sell you the prints.’

“I proceeded to explain to her, as I had to the sweet teenager and the assistant, that one is a picture of my husband, and the other has ME IN IT with a camera! Surely that doesn’t appear to be professional staging. The manager reiterated, ‘I’m sorry.’

“I asked her if there was any paperwork I could fill out, swearing authorship of the pictures. She reiterated, ‘I’m sorry.’ Then she wandered off.

“They made lame intimations that they could do it if I had the original prints or film (but it was a digital camera, so no such monster), or if I could bring digital media with the pictures on it. I explained that the pictures were both more than a year old and no longer maintained on any memory card.

“It seems to me that they have not worked out a system for best serving the consumer, protecting copyright interests, and fending off lawsuits. I was furious and vowed in a letter never to use their photo system again–and never to go to Target again…