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Thread: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictures?

  1. #1

    Default What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictures?

    Hi,

    Can I ask what are the real implications for a photographer/videographer to bear if he/she for one reason or another cannot deliver a certain portion of a wedding?

    Ok, the real case study is this, say you normally take 400 pictures for the night session. 50%/200 pictures are missing wedding banquet portion due to data corruption. Couple wants to sue you for 40k which is the price of the banquet. Is there a case? I was wondering if max is Small Claims Tribunal or something.
    Contract says that the reimbursement would be full package refund plus all salvageable photos returned (of coz from client's POV this is still unacceptable).

    Sibeh sian, though its not me, this is still a grave reminder of the risks that we have to take (however remote). Have a good mind to change to dual card machines (D7000 for DX, then D800...just a few more months only ), even though it will cost lots.
    You know some couples nowadays, I'd deem as "cannot take one" through phone screening. But sometimes they do slip through and over the phone it was all A-OK nice couple blah (or perhaps you are too busy or tired, mind is not clear), you will meet them once probably in every 500 shoots or something, and then you kena murphy's law.
    Last edited by 2100; 12th March 2011 at 04:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Personally haven't come across that stage though have corrupted files before but luckily managed to salvage the data which the client don't even know. Then again, from that experience, we use 2 cameras all the time.

    Usually we will put it in writing that the reimbursement will always be the full refund of the contract fees. (Hopefully for now and in future this clause need not be utilised!)

  3. #3

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Brother....the guy has at his disposal 3 bodies and 3 flashes. Let say, its just not about backup equipment. The company/guys have been doing this since 2003!

    Ok, say we have the understanding here is that during the shoot there is no card error/CHA whatever. Normal operation, you can even zoom into the picture and view the details - this is no issue as i think this data is from the body's RAM. Copy from card to PC no issue. It is only the opening of the file part do you realise that there is an issue.

    There are 2 scenarios which are critical here :
    (1) Copied card -> PC and you open the picture - data corrupted. I have not experienced this before but this was what happened
    (2) My personal experience is this. Root directory looks corrupted so damn ....you know something's wrong. Copied all the pictures out to PC which everything looks ok, and you put the card into cold storage, nobody would want to risk using a "condemned card", would they? Couple feedback that some pictures are missing, you scan the card and recovers about 40 lost images. Case close and both parties are happy.

    Case (1) is very damaging, you do not know it till PP which is like at least 1-2 weeks later) and hence there is a high chance that you will overwrite it. Actually come to think of it, a camera with dual cards is not immune to this.
    Key is that you need to detect that SOMETHING IS WRONG, and stop using the card.

    If it is usual CHA/ card not formatted etc....can just stop using and slot in new card. Old card can be scanned and images recovered - done this a few times.

    If you do not overwrite the card with other data usually it is fine. Even if its corrupted there is a high chance that you can recover and then at least crop part of the picture. If the corruption is like 10-20% of the JPG (its either the top part of the picture or bottom part of the picture is gone), you can't even tell.....say at most crop out that person's arm or something.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Hi,

    Can I ask what are the real implications for a photographer/videographer to bear if he/she for one reason or another cannot deliver a certain portion of a wedding?

    Ok, the real case study is this, say you normally take 400 pictures for the night session. 50%/200 pictures are missing wedding banquet portion due to data corruption. Couple wants to sue you for 40k which is the price of the banquet. Is there a case? I was wondering if max is Small Claims Tribunal or something.
    Contract says that the reimbursement would be full package refund plus all salvageable photos returned (of coz from client's POV this is still unacceptable).

    Sibeh sian, though its not me, this is still a grave reminder of the risks that we have to take (however remote). Have a good mind to change to dual card machines (D7000 for DX, then D800...just a few more months only ), even though it will cost lots.
    You know some couples nowadays, I'd deem as "cannot take one" through phone screening. But sometimes they do slip through and over the phone it was all A-OK nice couple blah (or perhaps you are too busy or tired, mind is not clear), you will meet them once probably in every 500 shoots or something, and then you kena murphy's law.
    Yah I know what you mean so will not discuss about the preventive measure or 'on rear sight who should had done what' things.

    But suing for the whole dinner package is not reasonable. The court will take in consideration the issue of 'reasonableness'. If in the contract your friend had already limited his liability he should be OK. The limits of liability will cover him unless we are taking about grave negligent resulting in personal injury or death.

    This issue is really a question for a legal person IMHO.
    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    if you have already done the best you can, don't need to hard up for any wedding couples doubting your professionalism.

    go to any mini lab, ask them for a film processing envelop,
    read the fine tiny words written on it,
    write something similar in your contract,
    ask your couple to sign below a dotted line before collect a booking fee,
    if they are not satisfy with the clause,
    suggest to them to look for another photographer.

    end of story.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    OUCH!

    Since the company/guys have been doing this since 2003, there should be a workflow or a system of backups and retrievals Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) that needs to be followed unlike the newbies. If they didn't do that, then it's rather difficult to have damage control then.

    Perhaps need to look at Chase Jarvis's methods of archiving and SOP as a reference. (It can be found on youtube)


    Anyway, back to topic. In my personal opinion, the liability should be limited to the fees paid or the entire contract fees but it must be in writing. Perhaps someone from the insurance industry can come up with an insurance policy to sell on this matter?

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Indeed there is a clause signed on the contract limiting the so-called liability of the service provider.

    But they are claiming that the clause is unfair and that they did not hear about that.
    You know, how often do we read the fine print. Like that Lehman Bros case....

    Just blame it on unreasonable clients I guess.... out to draw blood. Then settle out of court, 5k they also happy.

    Maciam like car accidents, the other party is at fault, still claim your insurance (and sometimes they DO get away with that based on non-visual evidence as in the dents and dings, thus affecting your NCD....damn !@%!@# one).
    That is why there are multiple-angle car cams nowadays on sale.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    pretty much depends on what's in the contract that is signed. This is singapore, not USA, the land of unimagainable torts. If contract doesn't state re-imbursement of wedding dinner, they dun have a case, unless the couple can provide beyond reasonable doubt that photographer deliberately delete the pics ( as opposed to accident loss of data that is typically written in the contract).

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    also, the claim that the clause is unreasonable is...unreasonable. If the company can find any other photographer who have similar clauses, then it's considered industry standard and deem reasonable. Also the fact that they never read the contract is their fault, unless they happen to be illiterate folks who have no powers of comprehension.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Quote Originally Posted by cosycatus View Post
    pretty much depends on what's in the contract that is signed. This is singapore, not USA, the land of unimagainable torts. If contract doesn't state re-imbursement of wedding dinner, they dun have a case, unless the couple can provide beyond reasonable doubt that photographer deliberately delete the pics ( as opposed to accident loss of data that is typically written in the contract).
    The signed contract surely did not state that kind of compensation (who would?).
    To even normal layman like us there is no case, but they are really out to pursue. So out of court settlement not reached, couple does not get compensated (only free wedding shoot), the next thing you know they are all over the forums.....

  11. #11

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    ?? i would have though that the contract would have included statement like "reimbursment of the photographer fee and footing of any professional attempts to recover lost data" etc

    The best way to seal this is to offer a reasonable amt (3K-5K) back to couple and make them sign a confidentality clause in presence of a laywer, with heavy consequential cost i if the news break out anywhere ( eg, loss of earnings for 5 years due to damaged reputation). If not, warn the couple that if brougth to court, it's a waste of time, and the losing party will have to foot the entire cost of the proceedings.
    Of cse, go thru with a lawyer first ( and a good one) to check where the judgement lies with the contract already signed..

  12. #12

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    I'd imagine they would have a limitation of liaibility clause in the contract which limits the compensation. If they don't, better put it in ASAP for future contracts! Out of goodwill, they may want to offer something additional like what cosycatus mentioned. These kinds of situations are tricky, because it's more the sickening thought of losing precious images than it is about paying I guess.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    Hi, what a coincidence! I have a case towards my VG/PG recently. But my case is this....

    I wanted my PG/VG to pay the amount of $26K or re-do my wedding table to table (inviting back all my relatives) because I was so mad that they were unable to deliver one of the most impt part of my photos (Table to table). How would you all feel?

    Not only they mention data was corrupted, they failed to deliver the photos on the date they agreed to give me and I have to doo all the follow up and chaser with my VG. They were late for 2 weeks but never mind, as long as they delivered the end product, it is ok!

    But after 2 weeks late, they informed us they lost the data (last part) of our dinner. But still fail to deliver our edited video and photographs. Wasted trip made! (would u be angry?)

    So we give them time to recover the lost of data, blah blah blah.... after 1 month plus of data recovery, finally they give up too. So they only offer a compensation of $2600 which is the amount I pay for the whole package. (What a joke!) They lost my memories which cannot be found.

    Never mind, we were gracious enough to let them repay $9500 (reasonable?) from the initial amout of $26k. We even allow them to make payment by instalment but first pay up $5k. So remaining, $450 in 10 months. Am I nice?

    But they say they cannot even pay the 1st $5k, and just tell me to sue them as I want to.

    Do u fellow photographers think this is fair? Is this the way to treat customers? Personally I am angry because they never made swift delivery and promises after we made deposits. It is always us who follow up with them from the beginning till this very moment.

    My pg/vg doesn't know how to meet customer needs. why so difficult?

    I have never really been so angry with someone in my life. this is really the 1st time and hopefully the last. Their slow respond is really affecting my life. it's so stressful to get them to respond to sms.

    what can i do? spread the words around same trade? can i do it here? haiz.....

    no money can bring the amount of my lost memories, married people will know. you will never remember who came before and I rely on photos. but now, its all gone

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is the liability of the PG/VG for data corruption / missing footage & pictur

    From Technology perspective, no matter how careful or using the best equipment. Unfortunately, when things like this happen, we can try our best to recover it but there is a limit to it.

    I do sympathize your situation and I do believe a service provider should to respond to your queries as promptly as possible within the reasonable timing.

    The amount of compensation you should receive really depends on what contract you have with him/her so I would check the document again.

    Sorry to hear that you experience this but do understand that sometimes it is really out of our control as far as equipment failure.

    Take care and hope things will resolve soon for you.

    Regards,

    Hart

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