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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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Old 03-22-12, 12:49 AM   #9
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Great points Evan!

We try to strike a balance - we don't sell images of us unless we own the photos (so nothing taken at an event), and we ask photographers for permission to put the images on our website and send it out for press. We're also rabid about crediting photographers and linking to their sites, and sending them hard copies of press in which their photo appears as well as making sure they are credited by the paper or magazine. So it's definitely a two-way street.

For us, what's frustrating is granting permission to a photographer to take photos at an indoor, ticketed show for which we ARE the clients who control access (when the photographer has requested to come take photos for their own purposes), and then the photographer drags his heels about sending along copies...even though that was the deal he agreed to on the way in.

And of course, do note that the clause I'm pointing out is also a release - so the photographer CAN use the images he's taken of us at a private event where we are not the client and it may be a legal grey area. We're happy to release our images - as you rightly point out, it's rare that free publicity is harmful - but we want it to be a two-way street. Models are expensive, too
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Old 03-22-12, 02:09 AM   #10
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Word, yo


and yeah, web designers and photographers = slow to follow through.
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Old 03-22-12, 04:16 PM   #11
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I have photos taken of me all the time. All I ask of the photographer is that I can also use the photos to promote myself. I have never had a problem with this. Some of them are on my Facebook page, for those who wish to look them over. I posted one a few minutes ago, actually. http://www.facebook.com/sfdavidkaye Also, because I have a unique look I also get lots of requests to stand beside people while someone takes a photo. I usually get those, too, when I remember to hand them a business card.

Oh, and it's not unusual that people will tip me just to be in a photo with me. I don't ask for a tip for this, but I get them.
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Old 04-08-12, 10:11 PM   #12
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Default Copyright issues

Being an all-dressed-up face-and-body-painter I deal with photographers all the time, and specially researched this issue. Here it is plain and simple - you do not have any rights whatsoever! Copyright belongs to the photographer. If you work on public property or at any public event - they have the rights for all their picturs because performers/street artists are public figures. I used to do body-painting "trade for photos" till I figured this out, and now I stopped doing it, as photographer can sell pictures not just of me, but also of MY ART-WORK without paying me any royalties whatsoever! I am taking my own pictures now and not letting any photographers in my studio...
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Old 04-08-12, 10:20 PM   #13
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By the way - if the photographer was hired by the festival - you should just contact the festival and ask to e-mail you the pictures without the watermark, or you can ask the photographer, they usually send you the pictures! If the photographer refuses to do it or asks you for $$ for that - give him hell on facebook...you can post flames on his wall every day for couple of weeks, he'll get tired of it...
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Old 04-10-12, 04:23 AM   #14
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Personally, I wouldn't get all that worked up on who owns the photos, as long as you get a copy you can use for your own promotion, which I've found many photographers are very willing to do. On my Facebook page, which I mentioned earlier in this thread, there are two more photos taken by a pro photographer a few days ago. He owned the photos, but I asked him if he'd make them available to me to use, too. He agreed.

I figure that publicity doesn't hurt. Sure, image styles are going to be stolen or used or appropriated, or whatever term you want do use. But this has always happened. Even Leonardo Da Vinci and William Shakespeare, innovative though they both were, borrowed from others.

One of the funnier situations is that the Weinstein Company which produces the "Project Runway" series, insist that they own the copyrights on the design of the dresses the competing designers make on the show. I spoke with one designer who said that there's no way for him to have his own style and yet not borrow ideas from something that has gone before. He said he's not only used his own styles from "Project Runway", but he's appropriated those of other contestants, too. And given that the guy has a website and is fairly well known as a contestant, Weinstein hasn't made it worth their while to sue him.
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Old 04-10-12, 01:31 PM   #15
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Hear, hear.

"Our enemy is not piracy, but obscurity"
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Old 04-10-12, 06:25 PM   #16
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Question - how do you guys make a photographer give you a credit? I try to give all photographers with professional cameras my cards, and ask them to give me a credit if they publish a picture in print or post it online, but it hardly ever works...A picture with your name in a paper is great for publicity - if anybody wants to hire you, they can just google your name and profession, but un-named picture does not do anything for you...
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Old 04-10-12, 07:36 PM   #17
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Hi, Evan, where did you find the info that photographer can't sell your images as stock photography? Can they post them on free stock photography sites without your permission? I just found whole bunch of pictures of myself on a free stock photography site - the name of the photographer was listed, so I found him on facebook and sent him a message asking to take them off....I wonder what he will answer? It looks like it is his own free stock photography site he is using to promote his business.
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Old 04-10-12, 09:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irina View Post
I just found whole bunch of pictures of myself on a free stock photography site - the name of the photographer was listed, so I found him on facebook and sent him a message asking to take them off....I wonder what he will answer? It looks like it is his own free stock photography site he is using to promote his business.
This assumes that he's going to make a boatload of money on stock photography. With the use of the Web, stock photos that used to get $10 to $50 a shot are now earning 75 cents to $1, and that has to be split with the company hosting the stock website. I shot a bunch of stock photos about 6 years ago and uploaded them to one stock website. They have since migrated to a bunch of other stock websites worldwide. The threshold to get payments from this company is $50 in sales. I've yet to hit the $50 threshold yet in all these years. I've uploaded about 100 photos.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:44 AM   #19
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yeah, stock photos are hard to make money on (not to mention it's a free stock site), but he still can't sell or give away your image for commercial use without an image release from you if you are recognizable in the photo.
Here is some info. I've just known this stuff cuz I do photography as a hobby and have lots of pro photog friends.
http://support.snapfish.com/app/answ...release-issues
http://www.stockphotorights.com/
See if you can email him rather than facebook.
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Old 04-11-12, 12:21 PM   #20
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Wow, it turns out that you can't use pictures of people, landnmarks and private properties without a release for stock photography...what can you use? Trees and animals, unless they are somebody's property? These rules are kinda wierd...But thanks for the info, I'll try to contact this guy!
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