There’s been news circulating around of a new patent Amazon’s recently secured itself with, and it sounds a bit ridiculous when you take a look at the headlines coming out. For those who don’t know, Amazon basically patented a type of photography where one light is shining straight at the subject, along with light completely filling the background; in other words, seamless white background photography.
The patent was granted back in March, but news of this made the rounds just yesterday, angering many voices in the online photography community. The good news, however, is that there might not be that much cause for concern in the first place.
Here’s more of an exact description of the patent:
“Embodiments of the disclosure are directed in an arrangement of various elements to form a studio in which items, people, products, clothing, or any other object can be photographed or filmed to achieve a particular effect. More specifically, embodiments of the disclosure can allow images and/or video of an item placed in a studio arrangement as described herein to be captured with a background that appears, when captured with an image capturing device, as a near perfect white without the need for post-processing, retouching, or other image manipulation.”
The controversy here comes from the face that Amazon is pretty much claiming ownership of a specific type of photography. While this is indeed a bizarre thing to patent, it’s unfortunately a great headliner for the comments section to be able to raise chaos. The thing we need to remember is exactly who we’re dealing with here, and why they’d even make claim a patent like this in the first place.
Amazon is the biggest shopping network in the world, period. They’ve got a tremendous amount of products to photograph and post for customers to view what they’re buying, and it’s not a big secret that product photography typically uses seamless white backgrounds. But why copyright it? Isn’t it completely crossing the line when you’re essentially patenting a technique that’s been used by normal people for ages now?
It’s because Amazon’s a big company, and big companies play dirty games. We’ve seen it- no- we’re still seeing it happen with Apple and Samsung, and Amazon’s securing a patent like this so that another patent hog company doesn’t come and claim it. It’s sad to say this, but there are people out there that will sue you for using a photography technique when they have it patented. Should someone with that patent try and sue Amazon, who make thousands of these photographs per day, they’d have a hefty sum of cash coming in their way. What Amazon’s doing is protecting itself from companies like that.
So put down your pitchforks and don’t worry. It’s a bummer that that’s how the patent game works, but you guys are good. You’re still safe to take photography with seamless white backgrounds, and Amazon doesn’t have anything to gain from suing you for it.