Copyright issues when doing freebies - who owns the rights to the photo?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ted_smith, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    Hi

    I have searched and read a few posts on this but none of the one's I found quite answer my query as it is quite unique (I think?).

    I am currently an amateur photographer who works full time. However, these last few months I have photographed the pets of friends and family for nothing. More recently, I have 'put the word out' that I will photograph peoples' pets (as in the general public) at no charge (until further notice) in return for the experience. Obviously by doing it that way I increase my client base faster, learn from real life experience, and generate more varied shots for my portfolio. Then, when\if I decide to turn pro or semi-pro in the future my client base will be established. That's the theory anyway. In addition, it reduces the pressure while I learn.

    However, the agreement I have come to is that I will not charge for my time or for the PRINTS I produce for the customer other than asking them to cover the costs of the printing itself. So they are not paying for the expertise or the rights to the photograph itself. It is therefore my understanding that all they are doing is buying a paper based print - not the copyright or overall ownership of the picture.

    So for clarity,

    a) I will be invited into the customers home.
    b) I will use my equipment to photograph their pets.
    c) I am in the UK
    d) I will give them a print(s) of their favourite photos and ask merely for them to cover the printing costs.

    That said, do I still retain the rights to the image(s)? Could I, for example, send them to a pet magazine and have them printed without permission from the pet owner? Could I use the images on my website without agreement as part of my portfolio etc etc. I realise their is the obvious issue of courtesy (i.e. if you ask most people will be fine about it anyway and most people are reasonable) but I want to know what the law states or at least what most people's understanding and experience of it are in this respect.

    Thanks a lot for your time. Sorry for the length.

    Ted
     
  2. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    Under US law, it is my understanding that you own the copyrights as a de facto thing (period), unless you agree to give them up. Try photoattorney.com for a more precise and enlightened answer and maybe a referral for the UK.

    Gary
     
  3. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    True, in the US you are definitely the holder of the copyright unless you either sell it or give it up. Copyright is automatic the moment you make the capture. Only you can give up that right, period.
     
  4. holga girl

    holga girl TPF Noob!

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    in the us, unless you sign a release, you own the copywrite, of any photo you take, ever, with any camera in any condition...(unless you work for a studio, then the studio owns the copywrite)

    however, unless you have taken the pics in a public area, i.e. a park, street, public fair etc, you can not publish/sell the pics without the written permission of the 'model'.

    so...

    ~the images themselves are always yours, unless you release them.
    ~pics taken on private property, i.e. home, yards, studios, you need permission to sell/display.
    ~pics you take in public are yours to do with you please.

    hope that helps
     

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