Legality: Selling Photos of Pro Athletes?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by kbob, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. kbob

    kbob TPF Noob!

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    I have taken several quality photos of pro golfers, taken at practice rounds (when cameras are allowed) just prior to PGA tournaments. I am wondering if a person is allowed to sell such photos to other individuals or on Ebay.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Oldfireguy

    Oldfireguy TPF Noob!

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    I'm not an expert on photo law but I would be surprised if it was allowed but I have been surprised more than a few times in my life. There must be a website or a book that would answer that question.
     
  3. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry but NO you cannot legally sell them, the redistribution of alive event is copyrighted to the event promoter in this case the PGA, you can only sale them to the news media, the copyright Fair Use rule allow you to sample a copyright item for review, the PGA’s copyright will expire in 120(?) years then you can sale them :confused:
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Even if it wasn't a PGA event, you usually can't sell a person's image without a release unless it's for a news story.
     
  5. kbob

    kbob TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, guys, for the feedback. It makes sense that a PGA-sanctioned event could/should restrict such sales. But, I question markc's comment:

    "Even if it wasn't a PGA event, you usually can't sell
    a person's image without a release unless it's for a news story."


    Obviously, there are many celebrity photos that show up in news & magazines without permission and the paparazzi makes big bucks. Why would one need a release to use a photo taken on public property of any person, famous or not? Is there a catch? Am I missing something?

    Inquiring minds want to know .... :lol:

    Bob
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Well, as you said, it's for news and magazines. If they tried to use the shots on a pamplet that advertised Willy's Wonder Widgets, they'd get sued. Even if they just tried to sell the images outright, there are issues. There are some qualifications depending on how famous the person is, but there are still restrictions there. That's why model releases exist. You get it down on paper all official-like.
     
  7. chakalakasp

    chakalakasp TPF Noob!

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    This is not true.

    http://www.kantor.com/blog/Legal-Rights-of-Photographers.pdf

    This is likely true if you are actually hired to photograph that person at an event, though. But there are many circumstances where it is very much legal to sell a person's image to the general public without their consent.
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I think you are confusing the two issues. I didn't say anything about taking the images or publishing them. I said selling them or using them for promotion. From that same PDF:

     
  9. chakalakasp

    chakalakasp TPF Noob!

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    Correct, you can't misattribute. You can't, in the example that you cited, claim that someone endorses Diet Coke when they do not. You could still take a photograph of someone drinking a Diet Coke in public and sell prints on your website for $300 a pop, assuming the shot was that good. Most stock agencies want a release because a lot of their clients are selling products and using those people in those adverts would constitute a misattribution of endorsement.
     
  10. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I think we are getting into the area that can vary a bit. Each state has their own laws, from my understanding. For the most part, most of what I've seen has been people quoting other people as to what's legal and what isn't, so I'm not going to pretend to be an expert. Personally I'd like to see specific references, as that PDF doesn't really cover this aspect, and it doesn't have any references anyway.
     
  11. chakalakasp

    chakalakasp TPF Noob!

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    This is true; the best thing to do for legal advice is ask a lawyer, which I'm definately not. I did go through a Comm Law class in college, but that hardly qualifies me to properly answer this question. For the most part, if you displease someone enough by selling candids of them, I'm sure they could sue you, though the likelihood of their winning is probably low unless you caught them doing something embarrasing and private.

    Here's a story from NY that might relate:

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1139565912319

    And here's a step-by-step matrix to use to determine if you need a release, written by a pro:

    http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html#5.3
     
  12. kbob

    kbob TPF Noob!

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    Hey, this has been a great discussion! I appreciate all the help. :thumbup:

    Let me vary my original question somewhat. I understand that I cannot sell my photos of Pro Golfers without the permission of the PGA and probably without a model release. That's fine. But I would like to share those photos in a way so that other golf fans can view them and enjoy. So the next question is ...

    Am I allowed to upload low resolution images to my website, just for folks to look at? (No intention to sell a higher quality resolution, and not asking for money to view the display.)

    Thanks again,
    Bob
     

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