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Old 03-12-12, 09:10 PM   #1
ScoobyCircus
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Default Photograph rights- what are the rules?

Hey guys,

Just looking a person who has a bunch of photos of me performing at a show. This person was hired by the show to take photos for their promotion.

I know in the past that when photographers take photos of me, they get me sign a piece of paper saying that they get to use it- but this didnt happen this time.

The photos are available for view, but they have a huge water mark through the middle, which makes it impossible to use for my promotional purposes.

Im just wonder what my rights are here? I am in the photo. I was never asked permission and it feels strange not to "own" a picture of me.

Thanks!
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Old 03-13-12, 12:28 AM   #2
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I'm no expert on this, but I think some things come into play here: (1) was it a work for hire (did the promoter pay you) and (2) was the performance in a public place.

If it was in a public place I don't think you have much recourse against the photographer unless s/he uses the photo for a commercial purpose, such as to promote a line of clothing or a travel agency, etc.

If it was a work for hire, that is, if the promoter paid you, I doubt you have any recourse, either, because it's assumed that your being hired means that your performance belongs to the promoter.

I think the only time you can safely say that you own the photos is when you have someone photograph you. Otherwise it probably belongs to the photographer or the promoter.

It's a bitch, I know...
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Old 03-13-12, 12:46 AM   #3
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We put this clause in our contracts:

Contractors hereby give license for the use of photographs, recordings, film etc. of themselves and their services for promotion of the event and/or Contractorsí services to the Company, provided said use does not subjugate Contractorsí right and title to character and material. Contractors must be provided with copies of said media.

We still only get copies about half the time, but it helps!
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Old 03-13-12, 01:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabella View Post
We put this clause in our contracts:

Contractors hereby give license for the use of photographs, recordings, film etc. of themselves and their services for promotion of the event and/or Contractorsí services to the Company, provided said use does not subjugate Contractorsí right and title to character and material. Contractors must be provided with copies of said media.

We still only get copies about half the time, but it helps!
Sounds like a good idea!
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Old 03-13-12, 04:35 PM   #5
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Good contract, but I'd probably re-word it to sound less legal-ese. The reason is that when people see words they recognize they tend to pay more attention. With unfamiliar words their eyes tend to glaze over.

Here's an off-the-cuff re-word:

"Performers hereby license the use of photographs, recordings, film etc. of their activities to to the company to promote the event. However, images and recordings MUST be provided to the performers for their own use as well. The performers do not give up any rights to the use of these images and recordings."

What I'm saying is that plain English is more easily understood, and also tends to hold up better in a legal dispute.
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Old 03-14-12, 12:53 PM   #6
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Good point - some clients do find legal-ese difficult.

For us, this contract's been vetted by our attorney (and periodically re-vetted), and we find that especially when doing large corporate events, we receive more respect and are taken more seriously when our contract - which is going to their attorneys and accounting department - sounds a little more legal-ese.

However, we do work with clients about 10% of the time where we send a simpler contract, a one-page agreement, or an invoice, if they are a smaller group or one without legal representation themselves.

In the long run, what's most valuable to know is that any contract is only worth what you're willing to spend to defend it. We've found that a slightly scarier-looking contract at the beginning heads off problems with people who assume we're serious about enforcing it.
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Old 03-14-12, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabella View Post
We've found that a slightly scarier-looking contract at the beginning heads off problems with people who assume we're serious about enforcing it.
You make a good point as well. Gotta show 'em that that we're not pushovers.

--dk
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Old 03-22-12, 12:06 AM   #8
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ok, here's a point of view from the other side of the lens.

Just because you are in a photo doesn't mean you have any right to the skill, equipment, and artistic eye it took to create that image. If you want to use a photo, you should expect to recognize the photographer in some way. Photographers have their work stolen all the time, that's why they put watermarks on them.

A photographer can sell images of you for journalistic and editorial purposes all day long, and they can use the images they took of you for their own portfolio all day long. What they can't do is sell your images to other people or organizations for commercial use without your image release. So a photographer can't sell an image of you with a top hat and magic wand and sell it as a stock photo to every company out there who wants to pretend like their product is magical. They can, however, sell their image to the newspaper who can then run that image on the front page with a headline about the event you were part of, and they owe you nothing. Many events hire photographers to document the success of their event, and if they use those images to promote the next year's event it could be argued that they are using it in an editorial manner. If you are somehow portrayed as a spokesperson for something, you might have something to say about it. If you are somehow misrepresented in a concrete way, you may have something to say about it. Really, if they are going to use your image to promote a future event, they should probably get your image release just to cover their bases, but.... eh

Isabella's contract is all fine and dandy, and her use of it is harmless I'm sure, but think about it from the photographers perspective. They invest thousands of dollars and hours into their trade, and they negotiate a price for documenting an event. If, all of a sudden those images are being used by the entertainers at that event for their own separate commercial gain, they have a right to be pissed. That photographer doesn't owe you anything, they only owe their client for their services.


At the end of the day, think about this. If an event gets a great image of you that they like and use for years to come, or even just look at for years to come, that's years of them remembering you in a positive way. I would shy away from making anyone regret taking your picture.
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Last edited by Evan Young; 03-22-12 at 12:36 AM.
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