Legal Question regarding the rights to my photos

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Kawi_T, May 12, 2009.

  1. Kawi_T

    Kawi_T TPF Noob!

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    I participate on another website for motorcycle enthusiasts. A guy on there is asking for people to contribute photos for a project he's working on he included the following disclaimer:

    "Legal: Anyone submitting photos will be included and by doing so releases all photos for my use on this project and only this project. You also give me creative license for editing and retouching photos for optimum quality."

    I expressed concern to him over relinquishing the rights to my photos.

    This was his response:

    "I completely understand where you're coming from, but I don't want to put in the effort and then have someone's attorney send me a cease and desist order because I don't have copyright to the images.

    Also, this is more of a courtesy to you than anything else. Unless you have filed for a copyright on your photographs, then since they are posted on a public forum I could legally use them if I chose to do so. I would never do that, thus the legal thing.

    Lastly, you aren't giving up your rights...just giving me permission to use them in this context and only this context.

    If anything, this is increasing your rights in the sense that if you found me to have used them in a manner inconsistent with how I acquired them, then you would have proof of that. Ultimately, I am only looking to provide those interested with a potentially cool video scrapbook of fellow forum users and most importantly, their bikes. I am a professional in a creative industry and I know, first-hand, how artists feel about their work and I certainly would never do anything to disparage your reputation as a photographer, nor would I steal your rights to your work.

    I hope this calms your fears."

    He is implying that by posting my photos on a public forum anyone can legally take them and use them as they wish. Is there any truth to this? It doesn't sound right to me. Thanks.

    Tom
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    no truth to it at all!
    Only the place you use to host them on could pull such a stunt - I would wait for those with the proper links to info to appear - send those to this guy and then cease all dealings with him after leaving a good warning to other photographers on the site. Reading what he wrote chances are I bet he knows the law and is banking on others not knowing it - keep an eye on his website too sounds like he might just take as well.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  3. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

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    He's full of bunk.

    You do not have to "file" for copyright - by federal law you create a legal copyright naturally when you create a work, whether it be written, sound, visual or some other creation.
     
  4. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup:


    This is correct, at least in the US, but there is one caveat.... From the Q&A section of copyright.gov:

    "Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
    No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work."

    This does leave one very big loophole....if someone copies your pic, then registers it before you do, then you will have a tougher time proving infringement. This presents a huge benefit of shooting in RAW...you have the digital negative, they have a JPEG copy. I don't know about other brand's makes, but I know that at least some Nikon cameras embed coding into the RAW file so that it can verified with software that the photo is untouched....used a lot in forensic testimony. This can save your butt as well with infringement.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Here is the link to the US Copyright Office.

    The United States has copyright agreements with about 100 other countries so you pretty much have global protection...... For visual arts (photography) you use form VA.

    You can register images online. If you register images online you can register all that will upload in 30 minutes. There is a $35 fee to register.

    If your copyrights are not registered you cannot file an infringement suit in Federal court.
     
  6. CrimsonFoxPhotography

    CrimsonFoxPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, there's no truth to it, but I'm sure he'll get photos from people who are not trying to make a profession out of it. It's fine in my eyes if hobbyists just want to contribute, hence no need to warn those types, but the guy is telling blatant lies.

    The question is this for me: his ridiculous email response to you aside, how much water does his original disclaimer hold? In general, if someone has record of the fact that they told you the photos would be theirs if you give it to them, then there's record of you giving it to them, does that disclaimer supersede default law? (especially if that disclaimer were to cite Act or Law so-and-so and state that you are hereby waiving your rights to that Act/Law in this case)
     

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