Amazon Has Pretty Much Just Patented Photography, So Stop Taking Pictures Right Now

Amazon Has Pretty Much Just Patented Photography, So Stop Taking Pictures Right Now

Oh hello, gentle readers. Do you run an Etsy store? Have you ever sold A Thing on Ebay and taken a picture of it against a white backdrop? Are you a professional photographer? Well, shut that down, son, because Amazon owns the patent on the ubiquitous object-against-white-screen photo that is a staple of product photography everywhere.


I am not really sure how to tag this other than a big #fail for the USPTO, or a huge Kudos for Amazon’s IP attorneys. In a patent simply called Studio arrangement Amazon took IP ownership on what we all call shooting against a seamless white backdrop.

Yep, Amazon could now theoretically send you or your photographer buddy a cease-and-desist should you try using their super-special super-secret super-unheard-of photography technique that is actually pretty much the same method every person on earth uses to photograph products, except theirs is way more better and different just because.

Amazon’s technique is apparently the purest of the pure, being only the photographer, the photographed object/person, the white background, a number of front lights/back lights and some sort of object separating the subject from the ground below it.

How does this breakthrough work in practice? Glad you asked.

1. Turn back lights on.
2. Turn front lights on.
3. Position thing on platform.
4. Take picture.

Even yr Happy, who is so picture averse that we will even avoid using the iPhone camera, is aware that this is how you take a a fucking picture of a fucking thing and is not a revolutionary thing that should be patented. Sure, Amazon has thrown in some photography person language about what f-stops and ISO settings to use (look at us sounding like we know what the fuck we’re talking about there) but TechDirt hits it on the head: this is essentially an internal document that explains mandatory or desirable photography methods for people that work for Amazon or are perhaps third-party sellers that sell on Amazon, but Amazon figured that internal memos were for the weak and just went full patent. You should always go full patent, because apparently the US Patent and Trademark Office will let you patent fucking anything at this point. How do we monetize our very special plan for drinking scotch all day while sitting at the computer? Someone get on that for us.

[TechDirt/DIY Photography]

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