T-shirts with my image on - can I get some money please?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Fiendish Astronaut, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    About a year and a half ago the singer of a band, whose a good friend of mine, told me they'd licensed out the rights to a merchandising company to sell t-shirts at their gigs. He sent the company an image - one of mine - he'd quite like to see on the t-shirt and sent them my details. He told me exactly what was happening and told me the company would be in contact soon.

    I heard nothing and thought nothing had come of it. I went to a few gigs and none of the merchandise had my image on, so fair enough. The last night, I saw... yup - you've guessed from the title of this thread - there it was. A black t-shirt with my image on it selling for £20. My singer friend was suprised I hadn't been contacted but will fetch my the company's details so I can contact them to ask them a few questions.

    Yes I've desplays elements of naivity in this story. But not much I can do to change that now. I wonder if anyone has any advice on how to approach this merchandising company... A friendly phone call first, or a stern solicitor's letter? Or perhaps something in between?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would probably approach them in a friendly manor, but also let them know that you are not happy about the situation. I don't see much point in raising a big fuss and how much money would you expect to get out of them anyway? Maybe they can compensate you with something...free T-shirts or something?
     
  3. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    Can we see the image? (Just out of interest)

    Do you have any idea what is the going rate for such things? You should have some idea when you speak with them. I agree with starting out 'friendly' and moving to more aggressive tactics (ie a lawyer's letter) if you don't get an acceptable response.
     
  4. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    Here it is. It's not the most techincally amazing image I've ever taken but it has a kind of sillhoette effect on the t-shirt... (actually I don't think they did such an amazing job with the reproduction of it)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Camerakim

    Camerakim TPF Noob!

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    This can be a bit tricky. Even though, or maybe because, the guy in the band is a good friend of yours I would sit down with him first and get an overview of the licensing deal they did with the company. Also make sure that they did not tell the company they owned the rights to the image.

    If this company are the ones selling the t-shirt and not just made them on order from the band, then it is of course their responsibility to make sure they have all the necessary rights to all the material they are using.

    I would approach them with a friendly phone call as soon as you know the complete picture.

    I'm not saying this is the case here, but it is not uncommon for bands to pass on photographers images to record companies and magazines, claiming they have cleared the rights to the image.
     
  6. John_Olexa

    John_Olexa No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I also would approach them with a friendly phone call Tell them thats your image and find out how they got it, why you were not contacted ect ect. Listen to there answers and take it from there.
     
  7. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice all. I'll update this thread with news when I have it...
     
  8. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    I can almost guarantee you it's the "friend" who's doing something wrong here, whether he knows it or not right now. No respectable merchandise company is going to risk selling copyrighted material that they don't have the rights to. It's just not something they want to do, and for obvious reasons. That would mean that your "friend" likely told them that he had full rights to the image.
     
  9. Fiendish Astronaut

    Fiendish Astronaut TPF Noob!

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    I'll get to bottom of it first before I start accusing. I give him full res files as a courtesy and because I've earned a not-inconsiderable sum of money from being his preferred photographer - also because he's a friend (I also know his family very well so it's not a friendship that will be ended easily) and I know he won't deliberately try to screw me over. But in future I will tell him to only give small samples of files to other parties and to tell them to come to me direct for the real thing. Some of you might baulk at this sort of tactic but it's what gets the business and changing that now will show a level of mistrust which I think could be taken wrongly... Besides he told me to "get what I can".
     
  10. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Whether the friend did it in malice (highly unlikely) or not, I'm still fairly certain that the company isn't at fault. They just want nothing to do with copyright lawsuits.
     

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