Hi folks, I’m new here, and I have to admit that I struggle with a point & shoot. I’m sure there are lots of pros on this site, and I’m looking for input on a family issue involving photo rights at a wedding. Being the oldest brother, I seem to get thrust into the position of moderator/peacekeeper. My sister just got married, and she hired a professional photographer for the ceremony and the reception, which were held at separate venues and on different days. Their contract stated that no other professional photographer would be shooting the events. She has plans to submit photos and an article to a local bridal magazine about her wedding and events. The ceremony was held at our family’s vacation home, and the reception was held in a meeting/banquet/reception facility at a local historic shopping center (Pioneer buildings converted to shops & restaurants). She rented the reception facility for the day. Her reception had a May Day theme, and there was a parade around the historic buildings where the procession was led by a friend dressed as a may day fairy (closest description I can give to it), followed by a bagpiper, the bride & groom, and all the guests, who were given ribbon wands to wave while they followed her around. The procession ended at a may pole in the parking lot in front of the reception facility. Volunteer guests then danced the ribbon twining dance. At the completion of this, the guests went inside the hall for a meal, program and dancing. My brother is a part time professional photographer who does weddings, portraits, landscapes, action sports and occasionally sells stock photos. He was not the hired photographer at my sisters wedding, but was an invited guest. My brother took pictures of the events both days, as did other members of the wedding party (myself included). My sister, running around frantically at the ceremony, asked my brother if he got shots of some specific items, because the hired photographer was ½ hour late (actually he sent a subcontractor for the ceremony part). He already had of some items, and took pics of other elements after she asked. My brother took care to stay out of the way of the hired guy (and sub) while he was doing posed shots, but did shoot some of the poses from the side. A couple of days after the events my brother posted pics on the family blog for us to view, and provided a link to his business photo hosting site so we could see all the shots he took (around 400 pics). My sister put one of the shared photos on her wedding blog as well. A couple of days after that, my sister and her new husband sent my brother an email stating that he had no right to use their pictures on his business website. They claim that he caused a breach of contract with their photographer, that he violated their copyrights by posting their pictures (the pics my brother took), that he published their photos without release, and that he took pictures on private property without permission…basically, a cease and desist letter. They also claim that he breached the Professional Photographers Code of Ethics. So, over to my brother’s host site…he posted the pics there in a separate album. The host automatically populates a shopping cart, but none of the pics had prices. Within a day he removed the option of clicking on pictures to order prints, and under availability put “N/A”. The host had a server failure, and once the album was reloaded the shopping cart reappeared. Again, within a day he removed the purchase features. This was all before sis sent her email. At this point in time, his site has pictures of the events, but he removed any pictures which identified my sister and her husband from the front. There are a couple of pictures where they are shown, but not readily identifiable. My sister is still saying he breached contract, stole their copyrights, and took unauthorized pictures on private property at private events. She has threatened him with legal action if he does not remove all photos from his hosting site, or if he uses any of the pictures to promote or advertise his services. To my knowledge, she has not gone after anybody else for taking pictures. I personally took pictures, and some of my shots clearly show other people taking pics and video. As a result of her threats, my brother put a use agreement at the entry to the gallery of event photos. Here it is (his name & business name removed for privacy reasons): “All photographs in this gallery are subject to copyrights of the professional photographer listed above and are protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) and by the Berne Convention. Reproduction, storage or transmittal by any means, of any image on this web site, whole or in part, is prohibited without express prior written permission. Prints purchased from this gallery may not be reproduced or scanned for any reason and may only be used for personal display. If you wish to publish or reproduce the materials in any physical or digital form or use them for any commercial purpose, including display or Web page use, you must obtain prior written permission from (name removed for privacy reasons), photographer'(s).” My brothers position is that he is the owner of the photos, and has every right to display them on his hosting site for family to view. He has no intention to sell any photos of the wedding party, nor use them to promote his business. He was willing to give all the photos to my sister for her use, until she started the threats. He does feel that he has the right to use some of the photos (decorations, etc) where people aren’t in the shot or when the people aren’t identifiable. He also feels that my sister has no right to use his photos at this time. After he posted the user agreement, my sister removed his photo from her wedding blog. I’m not posting all this for reaction to any bad behavior on the part of any member of my family. I’m looking for information and opinions on the validity of any claims by any party involved, and specifically the following as they relate to commercial and personal photography. · What is allowed of an invited guest inside a rented private facility? · Would a hired photographer have a case for Breach of Contract if no other person was paid for photos? · Is it typical for the wedding party or guests to need a photo release when the pictures are taken by a hired photographer? What about if they’re taken by family? · If the bride asked an outside, unpaid photographer to take pictures of elements of the wedding (decorations specifically), would that put her in Breach with the hired photographer? · If guests of the event complained about her using their image without a consent form, would the hired photographer be obligated to not sell those photos (including people in typical posed wedding shots)? Is there such thing as a code of ethics for professional wedding photographers? If so, can you provide a link? Thanks in advance for the feedback.