Biz photo "copyrighted"

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Postby Guest » 03/12/03 12:27 PM

I just finished getting a picture taken at a professional studio in town. The picture of me is on a CD. I paid for the cd, I paid for the materials and studio time. I also paid for time in Photoshop. I also paid the photographer the "rights" to have this picture put on a trading card ( a totally different company not affiliated with the photographer) to produce. What has been the experience of the people on this forum. Am I going to have to PAY the photographer EACH TIME I want to put this picture on a product of mine to produce?
1)video tape
2)dvd
3)book
Thanks for your response
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 03/12/03 01:44 PM

My business (and legal) experience with consultants has been that the CLIENT clearly owns the work product paid for, NOT the service provider. I don't know if this applies to photography.
Guest
 

Postby Max Maven » 03/12/03 02:02 PM

Originally posted by WarlockDrummer:
My business (and legal) experience with consultants has been that the CLIENT clearly owns the work product paid for, NOT the service provider. I don't know if this applies to photography.
It is not uncommon for a photographer to retain the copyright on a photo, and thus control its subsequent use.

The way around this is to address the issue prior to the shoot, and draw up a simple letter of agreement that defines the terms of ownership.
Max Maven
 
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Postby Guest » 03/12/03 04:52 PM

Throughout the '80s, I made my full-time living as a freelance writer for national magazines, so I know all about copyright issues in this context.

The issue is not one determined by law, but instead, by negotiation with the freelancer.

Most major magazines now negotiate with their freelancers for the rights that they need--usually first-time rights of publication (which covers the on-sale month of the article or photo) and Web rights for a specified period of time. Often, if they make money off their archived articles, they negotiate for those rights, as well.

However, the more rights a company or individual wants, the more they should rightfully pay.

Corporate clients often buy all rights, but it costs them more. A friend of mine recently did a 2-day shoot and received $60,000 for the purchase of all rights. She didn't have to work much for the next six months.

But it's all in what you have negotiated. Read your contract, if there is one. In the absence of a contract, I'd have to ask her what the default agreement is. It would generally be what is customary practice in the photographer's particular market.
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Postby Guest » 03/12/03 09:20 PM

Thanks for your time and comments.

Since I did not discuss anything about these "rights" before the shoot, it sounds like I am going to be "biting the bullet". I thought I would pay for the picture and leave it at that. I didn't know this was normal. The reason for bringing this up was because I did not want to be ignorant in an area and be taken advantage of. It sounds like it is normal for the photographer to charge for the rights. Thank you again for your help. At least now, I have some more knowledge about this kind of situation.
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Postby Guest » 03/13/03 06:38 AM

Don't feel bad...most people have no idea how copyright works in reguards to professional photos. Working in the copy industry, I have lots of people get mad when I tell them they don't own the rights to make reproductions of their family's studio portraits...
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Postby Guest » 03/13/03 07:34 AM

I am not sure how the legal things are in the U.S but in Finland (and therefore in Europe) they changed the law few years back stating that copyrights of pictures are owned by the photographer.

This of course created a problem for newspapers and magazines but eventually it was agreed that the photographers copyrights were handed to the companies in a standard work agreement. So, nothing really changed.

I think you could ask the photographer if he would give you the copyright. It is a normal practise.
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Postby Guest » 03/13/03 07:52 AM

Thank you Pekka and everyone else. I believe I will be talking with the photographer. I do not like the idea of getting another "right" anytime I feel that I need to use that picture. From the comments listed it sounds like I will be paying more up front but I will be through with the hassle of all the "red tape".
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Postby Guest » 03/13/03 10:06 AM

Originally posted by Steve Vaught:
Thanks for your time and comments.

Since I did not discuss anything about these "rights" before the shoot, it sounds like I am going to be "biting the bullet". I thought I would pay for the picture and leave it at that. I didn't know this was normal. The reason for bringing this up was because I did not want to be ignorant in an area and be taken advantage of. It sounds like it is normal for the photographer to charge for the rights. Thank you again for your help. At least now, I have some more knowledge about this kind of situation.
Steve,

I know your pain. I ran a commercial photography studio for about 12 years. There are a lot of photographers out there who pray that guys like you will walk through the door. Then they hammer you to death cash wise for as long as they can.

What to do? This is actually pretty easy but not the most ego satisfying solution. You have now been educated. Go and get another photographer to shoot yet another headshot (or whatever your work was) and get the information in writing up front. It will turn out cheaper if you are planning to use these photos a lot. A lot cheaper if you got a real dirt ball.

I know when I had performers come to my studio with a story like yours I would usually give them a deal. If I liked them I would give them a GREAT deal. I was a successful guy and it was good business to do a little pro bono every now and again. Not to mention the fact that I was also a performer and we do try and take care of our own.

These people that you turned a good deed for would also sing your praises to every person they came in contact with in business. I actually made more money than I lost by doing this. Not to mention I still get a nice Christmas card and show tickets from a Grammy winning rock band I did this for when they were still working bars.

This isnt all that unusual in my area, or it wasnt 10 years ago. So if you do decide to go this route explain to the photographer up front your situation. If he is one of the good guys he will understand and take care of you. If he is one of the bad guys he will hem and haw and you will be able to tell instantaneously if he is about to do the same thing to you the other guy did.

Another big help is to use your network. Ask the guys you know professionally in your area who did their work (if you like the work they had done) and go with gleaming recommendation in mind and pass it along to the photographer. Photographers like nothing better than word of mouth referrals. It lets us know someone liked our work and it gives us an idea as to what you are looking for.

I dont know how much you already have sunk into these pictures I hope to god it isnt a ton of dough but unless the work is so stellar that you think another photographer could capture you as well I would really think about getting the stuff redone. It is a shame and if it makes you feel any better Im pretty ticked off for you.

Best,

Dan-
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Postby Guest » 03/15/03 06:58 AM

Wow! all this info. Thanks again. Just to respond to Danny, I was recommended to go to this photographer from a marketing agent. I thoroughly enjoyed the shoot. I am a children's entertainer so instead of just a "headshot" I was pictured bursting out of colorful balls (think "Chuck E Cheese"). The trouble we had to go through to get that kind of shot! whew! The guy took MORE time than what I would expect other photographers may do. From all of the options that everyone is giving me, I feel the best route may be to go and negotiate....where is Roger Dawson when I need'im!

I'm just elated how much of help people are on this forum.

Thanks
Guest
 


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