Ethical sports photography question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dantheman4334, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Dantheman4334

    Dantheman4334 TPF Noob!

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    Let me give you a little overview of my situation here:

    I shoot pretty much all sports for my schools yearbook. It started a year ago, freshman year, mostly because I have had a mild interest in photography since I was eight years old, about six years ago, and because I knew that if I joined yearbook, it might help my situation with colleges. Within a year, shooting only with a 55-250mm and an canon xsi, I quickly was able to rise up in my school. People all of a sudden started to love my photos, and would tell me all the time. Parents of kids whom I didn't know but apparently played on the teams I shot would tell me how much they loved this or that. Facebook, helped drive my popularity and recognition up the wazoo. Soon, it also helped school plays, student candids ect. My parents, to be honest, couldn't be more thrilled.

    At the end of last school year though, I came across a realization, that stuck with me all the way to this year:

    What I was doing violated our internet policy contract.

    Sadly, I shouldn't be putting my photos online. At all. I know these days you have to be careful about what one puts online. Anybody can save even the most postage stamped sized of images and do stuff with it, and the school has the power to ban me from the internet at school, and even expel me for this.

    I tried having a meeting with them, the school principal and athletics director about seeing if we could somehow have my photos online for everyone to see, while not violating the district policy. No dice. It was a flat and resounding no.

    The more I think about this, the angrier and more frustrated I get. The only place, then, that people can see my work, is in the yearbook at the end of the year, which no one looks at but the freaking seniors. The whole town is clamoring for my work. Every time I see people shooting at games, they always are asking me for advice. I'm fifteen, going on sixteen, and already I feel like I'm the king of the freaking world, and I see no reason for me to stop putting the stuff up on Facebook.

    But, I'm still breaking district policy, and I'm damn scared to find out what will happen to me when my principal decides to get an account. They say that the only way a single photo can go up, is if I get written permission from whomever is in the photo.

    The kids at my school are all on my side on this. The sports players too. I have no enemies, no other people who don't want photos from these games to go online except those two.

    Because of them, I can't sell my work back to the players to make money that I desperately need (time to get a new lens!), our local booster club can't use them to raise money for the school, which is just stupid if you ask me, and I can't even put them in our local paper. I don't even think they should be telling me what to do with them, If they can't even check for themselves if they're on there or not.

    Another thing is, no offense to the parents with their d40's trying to emulate me and my photography, but when I see that photos taken by them can be up, but not mine, it's really freaking annoying.

    So, who's wrong here, me or them? The photos aren't inappropriate in anyway.
    The point is, is no matter what they truly are, my town loves them and I need the money I could be making selling them, as does the school itself.

    But is fighting this really worth it? Am I crazy?

    Please, tell me before I do something foolish. I want this so bad; to be able to get the recognition that both I and our local teams deserve.

    Thank you

    Max
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    quick question - why do you have to use facebook at all?
    You could setup your own webspace for a small fee (or even free depending on your web acess, though from your wording it sound like you might be at boarding school). Then build up your own website for sales - there are even some printing firms who have custom website building kits which you can use and then even get them to do printing and postage with your prices (they take an annual fee from you plus I think commission off each sale - but you take the majority from each sale).

    That saves you from the facebook side of things - though then the school side will get far more complex and I am not going to try and work things out

    ps you don't exist on flickr searches ;)
     
  3. Dantheman4334

    Dantheman4334 TPF Noob!

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    1. I'm scared of trying to make my own website

    2. I'm not at a boarding school. Search for croton harmon high

    3. Getting a website wouldn't change much im sure
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You could always approach independant local matches for some work - your town must local football clubs and such who you could approach for this. That would not be covered by your schools restrictions - which these days with "pedofiles" (or however that word is spelt) being a big media hyped up factor any parent or concerned person could have them brought under the spotlight for allowing pics of kids up online like that. Its in the same line (of sillyness I think) as parents not being allowed to take photos at some school plays and productions
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    OK, I can understand that the region would have a policy about the use of school computers and their server and that any student has to abide by it but with a home internet account, it would seem that only your parents would have any say in how you used the account.

    If I am understanding this correctly, why is this not the answer?.. a home Internet account and web site.

    skieur
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Public events like school sports, shot on property that is owned by the state you are living in, is public property, and as such there is NO expectation of privacy. For example, imagine a football game,attended by 3,500 people. DO the athletes,coaches, cheerleaders, and members of the audience expect,or have a reasonable expectation that they will, "Not be seen by the public at large" at such an event? Answer--a resounding NO.

    How about a school volleyball match,held in the gym, but open to the public for a small admission fee. Again, school property, open to the PUBLIC....

    The law is clear; at events open to the public, there is NO reasonable expectation of privacy. Your school's principal and athletic director are violating your rights with their acceptable use policy,and are douchebags that could be easily deflated with a call to a half-decent lawyer and a small retainer. Are they banning PARENTS and students from SHOOTING photos at these public events? The answer is almost assuredly a resounding "no". What they are doing to you is simply tramping all over your rights, the basic laws of the United States; there is NO reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place or at a public event. Case law is pretty extensive,and if you decide to push the matter, you will win,and your school will lose. Ask or call an area TV station to send a reporter down to talk to your high school's principal and athletic director,and ask why they are trampling your rights. And make sure to ask the TV reporter to inquire as to how the school will handle parent and student photographs made at public events.

    Does the school allow any photos to appear in the local or regional newspapers or on TV news? If so, then your school's refusal to allow you to publish photos on the web must be allowed. Any lawyer with a lick of sense can shut the school's policy down in about a day. A call to your local newspaper however, might actually be cheaper. Talk to your high school's journalism teacher, who should have a fairly firm grasp on this issue. The school has taken a step that overrules a basic rule of law and this is a very simple, clear-cut freedom of the press issue. If they want to stop you from internet publishing based on their "policy", then call the local newspaper, the local TV stations, or the ACLU, or a lawyer,and see how fast any one of those organizations will make your school's administrators realize that what they are doing is illegal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2009
  7. battletone

    battletone TPF Noob!

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    The school wants wavers? The football team likes what you are doing? Print up a sheet for all the players parents to sign to give you permission.

    Its hard fighting the system in highschool. There isn't much give. Don't get expelled or even suspended, but don't take it sitting down either.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Which brings up the question; since it's an international forum:

    What country are you in?, so we have an idea of which laws may apply.
     
  9. Dantheman4334

    Dantheman4334 TPF Noob!

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    USA
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    He's in New York State: I looked at his school's acceptable use policy, item #14. It says he cannot use the school's network to post images, but ay attempt to prevent him from positing images to the web outside of school is a violation of basic freedoms accorded to a United States citizen.

    If his school's AUP item 14 were really the law, he could be punished for posting a photo of his best friend on Facebook without a waiver. That AUP violates basic America freedoms.

    What if his mother or father posted the images, taken at public events?

    This entire paranoid policy of his school is ridiculous and as I said, could easily be shut down by bringing a little television,newspaper, or advocacy pressure to the school's administration. If they want to act like Nazi's, they'd better be prepared for a fight when they try and take every cell phone and camera from parents and grandparents at each and every school football game, basketball game,etc.
     
  11. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I suggest that, instead of looking for advice from strangers in a forum, you sit down with your folks and calmly explain the problem and discuss how to proceed. I predict that you will be quite pleasantly surprised at their reaction.
     
  12. Dantheman4334

    Dantheman4334 TPF Noob!

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    i did. We are going to meet with the athletic director monday. I should mention that at one point he asked me to delete photos off my hard drive. that has to be illegal!
     

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