Copyright issues on similar photos

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by nancy sv, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. nancy sv

    nancy sv TPF Noob!

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    I just found this forum, and am hoping you guys can help me out on this. My husband and I, along with our 10-year-old twin boys, will be riding bicycles from Alaska to Argentina leaving in June. My husband and I are both teachers, so we have decided to partner up with Reach the World to have an interactive website and other things to teach kids in inner city schools about the world. We are VERY excited the journey and about the possibilities of bringing the world to the kids.

    Reach the World (RTW) is a good organization, but for some reason they are insisting in holding the copyright for all materials we post on their site. We don't mind giving them the copyright of our written stuff - we can always rewrite in the future if we want to. But we are hesitant to give up our photos - we can't retake them at a later date.

    So - it looks like our options are limited, and we want to make sure we make an educated decision here. We could just give them our crappy photos (of which there will be plenty!) or we could try to take two of the best ones. Generally, we will know when we are taking a great photo - and we could try to take two. We could send one to RTW, and keep the other for us. But that's where we aren't sure about the legality of it all. At what point are they completely different photos? Obviously, if we take one looking west and another of the same thing looking east, they are different. But what about slight differences? We've taken some photos before that we had a VERY difficult time telling the two apart. Obviously there are slight differences, but not much.

    So I guess my question is: how close is too close? At what point would it become a copyright violation if we used the duplicates for ourselves?
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    just say
    "you can't have our copyrights...you can have rights to use them though"..
     
  3. nancy sv

    nancy sv TPF Noob!

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    We kind of did that and they decided they would rather not work with us than not have the copyright. We really do want to work with them (for a variety of reasons), and are willing to go with it. But we need to know how similar is too similar.

    It seems so strange to me that they insist in having the copyright - I honestly don't know what they will ever do with it. I don't see any problem at all with us having the copyright and being able to use them at a later date, but I guess they do. We would have liked to use our really good photos on their site to share with the kids in the classrooms, but will use the bad ones instead. Doesn't make sense to me, but all I can do is shrug my shoulders and move on.
     
  4. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    They want the copyright so they can market the material and make money and not have to compensate you for any of it.

    You have several choices...

    If you want to be on their web site so bad you are willing to sign away any and all claim to the images, then that's your choice. You are being taken advantage of though.

    What you could do is only give them some of your work and not all of it. Take several images of everything and let them have one image. You still retain the copyright on any other images. The first thing you do though before you give them anything, is your register YOUR images with the copyright office so that you can prove you are the copyright holders of the images you kept. It only costs $40 for a CD full of images to register. It sounds like there is a lot of potential for commercial as well as publications and documentary benifits out of this trip. Don't let someone else get the benifit of all your work and effort... unless you are compensated for it.

    Mike
     
  5. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    By the way, if they have you sign anything (it requires written permission to sign away your copyright) you might want to have a Intellectual Property lawyer look it over. They make word it in such a way that anything you take during the trip is theirs, even if you take other images for yourself. And if you sign something like that, then it won't matter how different the images are. You will never be able to publish them or put them on your web site without the threat of them coming after you for copyright infringement since they will hold the copyright.

    Doing this is really really not a good idea. I have to really wonder about an organization that requires this too. Most legitamate groups will go with a "right to use" license and leave it at that. But to require you to sign over your copyright is just plain wrong and suspecious. But I suppose there are a lot of people that will do so not knowing what they are giving up.

    But what ever you do, I hope you have a great trip. That's some undertaking and will be a lifetime of memories.

    Mike
     
  6. nancy sv

    nancy sv TPF Noob!

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    We've specifically asked about that issue - and it is ONLY the photos we send to them to put on their website that they will own. Therefore, it really isn't that big of a deal. As you know, most of the photos we take will be throw-aways anyway and those are the ones we will send to them. It is unfortunate because we had really wanted to share good photos with the kids. We were just thinking that, if we could get two phenomenal photos that are similar, but not exact, we might put one of them on their website. But then again - maybe we won't.

    There are a lot of good reasons to work with the organization so we will do it. I don't think their attorney knows much about intellectual property because they sent me an email written by their attorney that I know for a fact is wrong. (He said that any time a photo is published in a newspaper you give the copyright to the newspaper - so what's the difference of putting it on the website? I've had photos published in newspapers, and I still retain the copyright.)
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    First of all you have to figure out how much your photos are worth. Certainly the images will be amazing. Question is will they be editorial quality or fickr quality. If the images are strong you will have a bargaining tool. If not they will be used once and sent to the archives. Point is that these companies can not be bothered by rights or similar photos. They are fair as long as everyone talks it out.


    In either case your exact intentions of usage should be discussed and clearly understood by both parties. It is that simple.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. nancy sv

    nancy sv TPF Noob!

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    thanks for your thoughts. There is no doubt in our minds that most of our photos will be Flickr quality. We will have some amazing photos that will most certainly be good enough to sell. We've decided that the only photos we give RTW will be Flickr quality photos - realistically we wouldn't do anything with them anyway. However, we were thinking of maybe giving them the second tier of the really good shots - you know how you take three or four that are really close, but one ends up being very slightly better than the others? We had thought about giving them the ones that didn't make the cut. But I think we've decided to just not go there at all - that gray line between different photos is just too fuzzy.
     
  9. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Is RTW paying or funding your trip, if so then its a paid commission and copyright would be theirs, if not, then they have no right to demand anything. Big companies are always at it, trying to do togs out of income by demanding rights and there's so many people photographing these days and wanting to see their stuff published they're willing to sign away rights for zilch, this is why the stock photo market has images available for 20c instead of a reasonable cost for pics as they used to in the good old days. H
     
  10. nancy sv

    nancy sv TPF Noob!

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    OK - so if we are hired by a company, then the photos we take belong to them? What if our contract is more like a freelance situation - we aren't actually on contract or anything, but we've agreed to provide certain articles/photos? (We are actually in a voluntary situation here) How does it all work with newspapers - just because your photo appeared in the newspaper, does it belong to the paper? If a freelancer sends articles/photos to an online magazine who retains the copyright?
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and tell them to get stuffed!

    Besides, what if you decide to do a book later? Would you then have to buy your photos?
     
  12. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    The paper I am employed by owns the rights to the photos. If I was to freelance for them they would pay a large fee to buy the copyright from me. Of course the by line would credit me. Again if this was unacceptable we would discuss a plan that would make everyone happy.

    I was bummed to read that you were going to not provide them with your work. This sounds like an excellent opportunity.

    Love & Bass
     

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