Need opinions on copyright issue!

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by butterflygirl, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. butterflygirl

    butterflygirl TPF Noob!

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    Hey all! I need some opinions! I recently took photographs for a client at her mother's home in MI and she lives in CA. She just e-mailed me to ask if she could purchase the rights to one photograph of her daughter to make Xmas cards.

    I told her I could make her some, because I do that with my business, but she doesn't want that. She wants to make her own with Kodak. If I do this, what should I charge? I'm still not sure if I want to or not, since if she gets the full resolution image she can print whatever she wants. But if I do decide to do this I want to be fully compensated...in this case what would you do and what would you charge?

    They already paid the session fee and still want to order other prints, but I don't want to scare them off! Please help!

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Looking at Kodak Christmas cards since that is what she is looking at, determine the average size of prints that are used. Then do NOT give her the full resolution image, but rather charge a different price for different resolutions. In order words, a good resolution for a small image at....whatever cost, a better resolution for a medium image at a higher price, a good resolution for a larger image.

    skieur
     
  3. butterflygirl

    butterflygirl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks that helps! I really had no idea where to go with this one! :)
     
  4. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You could sell her a release of the image for a specific quantity of images to be used for a specific purpose. Spell it out on a release form and include the image edited to the appropriate size. Include your copyright in a lower corner of the edited image.
     
  5. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk TPF Noob!

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    My advice? Don't charge her anything. Instead, ask her to refer friends, relatives, business associates, etc to you.

    In this day and age of digital, people can take the photos you've done for them, scan them and get a passable quality print. Keep in mind that most folks don't know an f-stop from UV filter--if the picture is sharp and the colors are pretty, they're thrilled!

    You have to stop and ask what kind of value are you providing your customer if you give them prints for a fee much higher than they would pay at the local CVS or Walgreens kiosk.

    I know a number of photographers here in the Dallas area who simply charge a "sitting fee" for portrait type pictures and explain that the fee also covers them being able to have the pictures printed anywhere at any time in any amount. If they don't do that, they're out of business--we got a lot of starving photographers in Dallas.

    Build and maintain your business by building and maintaining a reputation for fairness, quality and a willingness to work with your customers.

    Jeff
     
  6. butterflygirl

    butterflygirl TPF Noob!

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    I see where you are coming from here, but I'm not sure if by only charging a sitting fee any photographer would make a decent living.

    Professional photographers do charge more than CVS or Wal-Mart because they provide a superior service. If a customer simply wanted to take some photographs with their own camera and print them at a kiosk they can certainly do so - I assume they go to a photographer to get a better quality service and/or prints.

    I'm not saying your idea is wrong - by all means,you should definitely work with customers and build an excellent reputation - most work comes from word of mouth. But I'm not sure I wouldn't charge ANYTHING. In my opinion, when you give something away it tends to lose value in the customers' eyes.

    (Ok I'll step down of my soap box :) )

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I've already learned so much here!
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I personally do not see a copyright issue. My clients pay dearly for high res images. That includes the right to do as they please with the photo. Of course I always know their intentions. If you start playing games with copyright issues it will eventually bite you back.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    What about an apologetic large qoute?.. "I'm sorry but for a release to a private entity the cost per full res image for 1 year is $499"
     
  9. Allsmiles7282

    Allsmiles7282 TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't sell them to her. I've found that you have to set policies (i.e. you make the Christmas cards or she doesn't get to use the picture YOU took) and you have to stick to them. If a client really wants something, they'll pay for it and that is how you make money. Plus if you allow her to print them, not only are you missing out on a free advertising chance (placing your business name and website on the back) but you will also have junky prints being handed out in your name.

    I wouldn't do it if I were you but I'm not you, so do what you want, just my .02
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well really you are either going to sell her the rights or she is going to go and scan them. I don't know about what to charge but it is better than making nothing else on the image.
     
  11. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am a little confused by your statement and the caviler attitude to personal copyright rights. When you charge dearly for your high resolution files, do you provide a written release to use as they please?
    1) By charging a "dear" price, you have bypassed the concerns voiced in this thread, therefore not advising or helping with there individual concern.
    2) If the client has no such release, they still are breaking the law, even if unknowingly. By them thinking it's OK to do so, the attitude in the public that "It's my face, I own the rights to it and images of it" is only being perpetuated.

    I can only hope they understand copyright and you have provided a written release of your rights to the images.

    But, let's say one of your images of your client was to make it to the cover of Time magazine. Have you any recourse? Any rights to that image? And if you do, how would you benefit from that image if the client has implied rights, but not written rights to use that image as they please?

    Rights to your images are like a 401K. Give away the rights, and you forfeit any ability to sell or profit from your labor investment in the future. Do as you please, but the law is on our side until we choose to give away the fruits of our labor.
     
  12. butterflygirl

    butterflygirl TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for your replies! It's so helpful!

    She did in fact decide to let me create her Christmas cards for her - for which I am thrilled! So I don't have to deal with the copyright issue - whew!

    But I think in the future I won't be selling any rights away *wink
     

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