Contract Goofiness (Rant/Advice Needed)

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by squee, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. squee

    squee TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I did pet portraits last weekend. They came out great and my clients love them. I made the mistake of showing up to their home without my contracts because my laptop broke down the night before and I hadn't gotten my files from my techie yet. We did the session. After the session they approached me that I wouldn't be using the photos to sell or commercially without consulting them. I simply replied saying that technically I could, but I don't currently sell my photographs to outsiders. I also told them that I wouldn't have to but if I was approached by someone who wanted to buy one of their photographs I would tell them (not ask) and share with them some of what I made.

    I got my files yesterday and sent them via email to the client. They replied saying that they would not sign the model release and edited the 'permission to use' saying I couldn't use them commercially or to make a profit. They also did not email me back the contract saying that THEY could not use them commercially or make a profit on them.

    Also, I requested that they MAIL them back to me signed but instead they scanned them in and emailed them back after signing them. I'm not comfortable with this, I really want the original copies.

    I want to be fair. I wouldn't go selling photographs of them without giving them a small part of it. But I feel kind of violated or.... disrespected? Like they are trying to tell me that they OWN the images even though I did the session for free and they haven't even bought their prints yet. I'm bad at confrontation but I need to find a way to say "Hey! All you did was pose. I put my heart and soul and time and energy into each and everyone of these photos. Time I could have spent doing homework or out with my friends or what-have-you."

    Just feels like a slap in the face. I don't know. I don't intend on anyone's advice to replace legal counsel, just wanna see what you would do. I just know that I'm PISSED and kind of don't want to sell them their photos now. :playball:

    I mean, TECHNICALLY, if I sign this edited contract that I can't make a profit on the photos, and I do it before they purchase them, they could take me to court for them for free! I would be violating the terms of the contract by selling them to THEM! :confused:
     
  2. Mustlovedragons

    Mustlovedragons TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Southwestern Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I don't know, as I am not an attorney nor have I had this happen but it may be a case of "hard lesson learned" and you acquiesce to their wishes, not the other way around. Next time I bet you have all paperwork, though (that was NOT meant to be demeaning, I swear it, honest). Best of luck no matter how you run with it and sorry it happened. Drama and stress that sure wasn't needed.
     
  3. squee

    squee TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yeah, I probably shouldn't haven shooted without paperwork, but I already had to reschedule them once because my car broke down and they live an hour away from me. I felt bad and kind of too strapped for cash to lose a client. I also thought they were nice people. :grumpy:
     
  4. g-fi

    g-fi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Ohio
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well, if this was me, I would politely but FIRMLY insist that they sign the standard contract, be clear that you don't want to offend them, but these are your working terms and that while you value their business, there are NO exceptions to the contract as stated.

    Have you proofed any images with them or delivered any files? If it was me, I would not give them access to their images without the signed contract, but a faxed or scanned copy of the unaltered contract would be enough for me, I wouldn't insist on the hard copy back. I think that the scanned unaltered contract should be enough.

    You say you don't want to lose them as clients, but do you need clients who are going to dictate your business terms to you? You did a free shoot for them, driving an hour to reach them, which was probably your initial mistake. People who get something for free, feel that they are *entitled* to EVERYTHING for free.

    You CAN afford to lose these people as clients if you're not making money off them, and unless you have some reason to believe they're going to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of prints, you stand to lose more by not putting your foot down and being firm about your business terms than if you cave in and do it their way. If you give some people an inch, they will take fifteen miles.

    Bottom line, tell them it's their choice, they can sign the releases unedited and purchase their prints, or they take their business elsewhere and you live and learn. Sounds harsh, but there are some people who will just walk all over you unless you stand up for yourself and be firm.
     
  5. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    336
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wolcott, Connecticut, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Well, if you're looking for a strategic way to get them to sign the original releases, here's something you can try:

    "Technically, I can't even sell the photos to you unless you relinquish commercial control to me. So if you really feel strongly about not signing the original release form, I'm afraid I won't be able to sell you prints of the pet shoot. Legally, I can't sell you prints until you relinquish commercial control of the photographs to me."

    I don't do portrait photography, and I don't know if this is really even the case, but it sounds pretty convincing to me. A nice, "hey I'm just obeying the rules" way to strong-arm them into signing the forms.
     
  6. jewely

    jewely TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Just wondering , so they scanned your pictures ,,, i was under the imperrision that photos where copywrited just by simply being that you took the photos ,, DONT Quote me on that cause im not sure thats true but if that is the case and they print a single one ,,, i think you would have legal action right ?
     
  7. squee

    squee TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I wouldn't have a problem turning them away, but they took a stack of business cards from me to give to other dog owners in their puppy class. I have a good feeling that if I cross them, these would be the type of people to spread rumors about me. That is the last thing I need.

    This keeps sounding dirtier and dirtier. I think I may look up a local attorney who is familiar with photography laws.

    Their proofs are up online and watermarked but that's the only access they have to them.

    I mean, it's unclear to me if I have rights to these photos. On one hand they were taken on their private property, but on the other hand they didn't technically commission me because they didn't pay for the shoot.

    My brain is going to explode.

    GOD I'm just so PISSED. I took these photos and I spent about 45 minutes to an hour each editing them (35 came out) and they're trying to tell me what I can do with them??! Sometimes I hate people and fantasize about becoming a hermit and marrying my dog.
     
  8. jewely

    jewely TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    so theese are the brown akita looking dogs in yout gallery ?
     
  9. jewely

    jewely TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Also are you realted to Ted Nugent by chance ?
     
  10. squee

    squee TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    No I'm not. :) I get that all the time, though. My family replies "Not THOSE Nugents!!" :lmao:

    Yes, those dogs.
     
  11. jewely

    jewely TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  12. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    336
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wolcott, Connecticut, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Whoa... whoa... whoa... I really don't think you'll find a lawyer that's going to give you an overview of photography laws for free.

    I'm telling you, man... just tell them that you can't sell prints of the photos to them until they relinquish commercial control to you. The fact that they haven't signed the releases and that they haven't relinquished commercial control to you doesn't mean that you don't own the photographs... it just means that you can't use them for private gain until you're given permission to do so.

    Think of it this way... picture this... you to take a photo of a random guy on the street. You like the photo, but he refuses to sign a release form. There's nothing illegal about you possessing that photo... you just can't really use it for anything. See what I'm saying?

    So don't bother with lawyers... there's no reason it needs to go that far. Your clients absolutely don't own any rights to those photos... you do. It's just that, if they won't sign a release, you probably shouldn't use them for ANYTHING, even non-commercial display, just in case. Now, whether or not they'd like to buy prints relies on them giving you commercial control, in the form of a release, which allows you to legally sell their pet's likeness in those photos... to the client, on stock agencies, whatever.

    Don't be mean... just be firm. "Hey, this is simply the way the business works. I really can't help you if you neglect to sign this industry-standard release form." Catering to their every whim may just wind you up in even more of bind down the road... put your foot down professionally. If they are reasonable people, they'll be understanding no matter what they ultimately choose to do.
     

Share This Page