How To Photograph Real Estate and Vacation Rentals

Colbert Slams Amazon Over Recent Photography Patent

In case you didn't know, Amazon recently put out a patent on White Seamless Studio Photography which a lot of photographers found to be quite bogus. You can read our article about that here. Colbert put out his video of him ripping on Amazon with some pretty humorous jokes and going a bit in depth into the patent they filed.

The Phoblographer said on their post of this video that "(Colbert) must have read our collective  minds." I agree! I personally thought the patent being put out by Amazon was a bit random and weird and to see what Colbert was saying/joking about was spot on. It's been a few weeks now since Amazon filed their patent and a lot of people are still joking or scratching their heads over the entire situation. In private groups on Facebook, I've seen comments like "I guess I'm going to patent shooting with 1pm sunlight" or "I plan on filing a patent on using off camera flash in photos."

Colbert ended his video by deciding since Amazon was going to patent the seamless white backdrop setup, he was going to ultimately patent patents.
[via The Phoblographer]
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GroundUpJon's picture

Challenge accepted!

Duke Pham's picture

Stupid Amazon

Tropical Flavor's picture

Allow me to share here a comment I posted on another article about the Amazon Patent. Here goes:

… Should we all now (to protect ourselves) have to take multi angle behind the scenes pictures of our setups just for the purpose of proving to potential ignorant judges that our white backgrounds are different from the “Amazon white background” ?

It seems whoever signed to grant this patent either received loads of cash or they have NEVER seen a Magazine cover (or product photography, or any picture on a white background) their whole life. I think the photography community, and especially those most influential photographers, blogs, magazine editors, art directors or anyone really who’s ever used (or produced) photographs of subjects on white backgrounds should petition the USPTO to invalidate this patent and make it clear that we don’t need this kind of precedent in the photography world especially in this day and age of social media, youtube, online tutorials etc, allowing the free flow of information relating to photography know how and technique over the internet.

Simply commenting on how ridicule this is may not be enough because with this precedent (and especially because of how the judicial system works), Amazon could potentially sue anyone who produces a picture on a white background. Even if they (Amazon) lose, how many photographers have the resources to handle the upfront cost of a legal battle with the added frustration, waste of time and energy in the process.

Again should we all now have to take multi angle behind the scenes pictures of our setups just for the purpose of proving to potential ignorant judges that our white backgrounds are different from the “Amazon white background” ? Also, even if Amazon itself has no intention of taking legal actions against any photographer could we say the same of potential patent trolls who may some day acquire Amazon’s patent portfolio ?

Daniel Pryce's picture

I highly doubt Amazon will sue any photographer. Amazon doesn't care, it would be a waste of their time to sue that portrait photographer in Kansas who took a headshot against a white background, or replicated the lighting setup in the patent. This was patented to stop their competitors, companies that could cause millions of dollars in revenue loss, not us cretents. Its like the NSA, they don't care about slim jim in Houston who likes to shoot guns at deer.

Louis Rafael's picture

the issue being, those who work for amazon's competitors, as photographers.... well.... no more white backgrounds.

Brad Kearns's picture

I am going to patent using a paint brush.....

Daniel Pryce's picture

Why I don't care about the Amazon patent. Stop thinking of yourself as being so important, that a multi billion dollar company would take the time out of their yoga classes and latte sipping to sue your ass into oblivion...

Daniel Pryce's picture

Make that a Maple Caramel, non-fat, no whip, double hoho, macchiato latte that costs more than my 2 way GO train (luxury train ride compared to the subway) to downtown Toronto from Scarbaria.

Sickofhypocrites's picture

It's not about any individual being so important as to be sued. It's that no fucking company should be able to abuse citizens through the government in this way by opening up the possibility of such ludicrous bullshit as being sued for white backgrounds in photos getting legal recognition. If it's so ludicrous to enforce, as your rhetoric and common sense imply, it's even more ludicrous to grant the patent. Stop being a sarcastic asshole in favor of giving up every legal right we have. I could sue for the patent of walking canines in sunlight outside of a building's interior, and I shouldn't get the fucking patent, regardless of how unlikely it is for me to target any given individual for walking their dog. The line on this type of bullshit has to be drawn. Patent trolling is stifling innovation. It's an ACTUAL job killer.

DB White's picture

I completely disagree that a million dollar company won't bother to sue the average person. I've seen too many cases in NH and VT where big companies go after "mom and pop" businesses for infringing on the big company's name or a product name. Usually these cases have no legitimate basis, but the legal costs are prohibitive for the small businesses to fight in court.

Vera Sreckovic's picture

Think I might patent photos taken in daylight

Bob campbell's picture

I think I will patent the way we wrap toilet paper around our hands. Holy crap, I could make a shitload of money.

bob Farrell's picture

Parochial as ever. Any chance you could post vids that the rest of the world can see?

Wuz nt Me's picture

If anyone deserved to patent "photography against a white background" wouldn't it be the people that have been making white backgrounds for photography for decades....?

Hernani Jr Canete's picture


Hernani Jr Canete's picture


Hernani Jr Canete's picture


Bruce Kaplan's picture

I have patented typing, eating & breathing.

jerry Lyp's picture

Hmmm, I wonder how the passport or immigration..department is gonna handle this? Because last that I checked, you need to have a portrait with a white background...soo.. is our government fighting itself? haha

Zagato Zee's picture

The irony of course, being that 4 of the first 5 US patents he makes reference to - should never have been granted.
Flight? The Wright brothers were second into the skies by around 9 months.
DNA Sequencing? Swiss, German and Italian work for 99% of it.
Pizza with cheese in the crust? Common in Turkey and Balkans - in the 1700's.
Lightbulb? Predominately American work yes - but none of it was Edisons.