Why it's OK to share publicity photos
I started my collection of historic Phoenix photos with publicity photos from Valley National Bank. They had been created to distribute to newspapers, etc. to promote the company. By the time I got there, it was becoming Bank One, and part of the job of the Marketing Department at that time was to clear out all of the old stuff that said Valley Bank. And it had been sitting there for years! The storage room had stuff that had been there since the building was new, in 1973, and like any storage area, no one had bothered to throw away old worthless stuff. But now that the name of the company was changing, anything that said Valley Bank had to go, including publicity photos. By the way, Valley Center, which was the Bank One Building when I was there in the '90s, is now Chase Tower. It's at Central and Monroe. Tallest building in Arizona, you can't miss it (I sound like a Marketing person, which I am!).
I've always been interested in Phoenix history, and it seemed a shame to throw all of these old photos into the dumpster, so I asked my manager for permission to take them home. I didn't need permission to share them, because they were publicity photos, and that's the whole point of publicity photos. I wouldn't have been much of a Marketing person if I didn't know that!
When the internet was new, I started posting these photos on web pages, and I carefully marked the names of the photographers, and studios, stamped on the back. Most of the photography studios were long since gone, the only exception being Markow, which is now Paul, the son of Bob Markow. I've known Paul for a long time, so I double-checked with him, letting him know what I was doing. Just professional courtesy.
I'm an old Marketing guy, and a Graphic Designer, so while I'm no expert on copyright, I know that publicity photos were meant to be seen. They were meant to be published giving "free advertising" to a company. They were given out in quantity, in the hopes that as many people as possible would se them. That's the whole point of publicity, which is part of the Marketing Mix, like advertising.
So it's OK to share publicity photos. That's what they're for. And now I just share them for fun.
Image at the top of this post: Valley Center (now Chase Tower) under construction in 1972. Valley National Bank Publicity photo.
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Posted by Brad Hall