Consumerist reader Jessica was trying to do something nice for her late friend’s memorial service by collecting photos that she then uploaded to Walmart.com to ordering prints. But when she went to pick up the pics, the folks at Big W wouldn’t hand them over without a written copyright release.
See, Jessica’s friend was a professional photographer, as is her friend’s husband, who had e-mailed Jessica the photos to have printed. “So even their candid pictures appear professional,” she explains to Consumerist.
At the store, the Walmart staff had the prints — which she had already paid for online — ready to go, but withheld the photos because they appeared to be taken by professionals (which they were). They even held back a candid, non-pro shot because it “looked professional enough.”
In addition to those photos, Jessica says that Walmart wanted copyright info on a couple of shots that had been taken at a pro studio like Olan Mills back in the ’70s.
“There was no mark on them to indicate where they were taken, and my friend’s mom had sent me those,” writes Jessica. “She paid for them back in the day when they were taken, and she scanned them.for me last week. How am I supposed to get written copyrights for every single picture?
“And why did Walmart print the pictures in question, take my money, and only then question whether they were professional? Yes, I checked the box that said I had permission to print these, as I had implied permission FROM THE PICTURE OWNERS. These pictures were emailed to me by her husband and mother to be used for the sole purpose of her memorial service. I do not feel I was in the wrong here by agreeing that I had permission, as I did, as I understood it…. I am going to have to print terrible copies from my home computer just to have pictures of my beautiful, departed friend at her memorial service.”
Since Jessica had pre-paid for these photos but Walmart would not allow her to pick them up, we’ve advised her to contact her credit card company and issue a charge back.