SOLVED-Working on a usage agreement and need help

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by zeppelin390, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. zeppelin390

    zeppelin390 TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, my name is Scott and I am a full-time real estate photographer.

    My biggest customer started using my pics in TV commercials without discussing it with me, and they know how much I try to control my content, especially after the email I sent out to the their rental dept. for using my pics without asking.

    With them being my most important customer, I give them preferential treatment and have given them numerous deals and discounts. I have given them close to 10k in discounts this year, the most important thing about that number is that its revenue I didnt collect.

    I should have began our working relationship with a usage agreement contract, but I made the mistake of trusting them. Last week, I sent an email requesting a meeting to discuss all this, and I got no reply. I texted and got no response for 24 hours. I called and got attitude and an empty apology about how they feel bad about my frustration about not being treated with the respect I deserve.

    Unfortunately, I need this customer right now. Moving forward, I need help on how to navigate this without pissing them off more. I need to come up with a usage agreement the benefits me and makes them feel like they are winning too. These people are spoiled rotten and are big enough in this area to get their way most of the time.

    Thanks in advance- Scott


     
  2. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    If you had no contract or usage agreement with them prior to taking the job it will be very difficult to near impossible at this point to get them to stop using them on tv.

    The problem is if it went to court depending on your state law, they may be able to state that this was a contracted employment and the images belong to them. If a judge concludes that this would be a reasonable conclusion then you have no rights to the images at all.

    Problem 2 is that if you change the usage agreement suddenly limiting the use of images moving forward, as a customer I would expect to pay you less or I would not sign the agreement.

    It's a difficult situation.
    I hope someone here can aid you in a solution.
     
  3. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think at the moment if you pursue this issue there will be a bad outcome for both parties.

    I would say, before your next shoot, get a contract in place.

    While it is not an immediate fix, and it does not directly address the problem I highly recommend checking out the book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It writing by Chris Voss. This book may help with this problem and will help in the future. I have listened to it twice this year and will be listening to it again soon. If you want, there is a way I can send you a free book. Send me a PM if you are interested.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Write off anything done up 'til now as an expensive lesson. Contact and demand (Politely at first) a meeting. Keep at them 'til you get it, even if this means walking into head office and sitting there. Explain that there was an omission when you initially started doing business in that you didn't have an agreement in place. Explain that going forward, you must have a contract for mutual protection. Also point out that you still retain copyright to the images, and while they don't have anything prohibiting the use of the images in television, they also don't have anything permitting it.

    If they don't want to play ball, walk away. You need the revenue, you don't need this client. Yes, the financial hit might sting a bit, but in the long term, it's better to eat Ramen noodles for a week or two than to be a doormat.
     
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  5. zeppelin390

    zeppelin390 TPF Noob!

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    I think I'll let this commercial slide. Her and I both know I should have been asked, and I'm sure they had a conversation about it and she decided not to ask me. Going into 2020 with them, I'll be better prepared.
     
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  6. zeppelin390

    zeppelin390 TPF Noob!

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    I agree, and That's the exact attitude I had with my second biggest client in October for treating me with disrespect. They had the best year they ever had and it went to their head. So I agree, I will not be walked on and treated with disrespect. But, in this particular case, I dont want to lose them. The problem, I think, is that I'm dealing with the owners younger daughter, her gender has nothing to do with it.

    I also know they dont want to lose me, I'm above average in this town and these larger realtors like to have an edge on the larger teams in the area. Their stock went up when they brought me in last year. I have become good friends with one of the realtors and she has told me my value with them, she definitely shouldn't have told me lol. I was drooling the whole she was bragging on me, knowing i can use this as leverage, in a sense, in future negotiations.

    What I'd like to do is write them an email and break down the discounts, which arent disputable. I don't want to recoop that money, but just show them the number. They want to be able to use the listing photos anytime and anywhere. What if I throw a fee of 10k a year at them? Use my listing photos all you want. And at the end of the email, remind Ashlee that I deserve more respect than what I've been getting recently. I'm sure that part won't make it's way into the email to her mom.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  7. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would strongly, I repeat strongly recommend not using email for this. This is a problem in "dealing with people" and pretty much anything other than in person contact and discussion will only create more problems for you.

    I do not know anything about your market, however, loosing this customer sounds like it would hurt your business. What happens to your business if instead of just loosing this business they actively start bad mouthing you after a "bad deal"?

    Dealing with this may require things that seem counter intuitive to solve. There are several good resources on this subject, one of them is the book I referenced above.

    I am sure you will be more tactful then what you wrote above, but if it comes across like you wrote, I would no longer do business with you........
     
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  8. zeppelin390

    zeppelin390 TPF Noob!

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    I did ask for a meeting in the ema
    i asked for a meeting in the email she didn’t reply to for 6 days. I think she doesn’t want her mom to know how poorly she’s handling this.

    When I called her, she mentioned having to take care of sick kids this week, which does suck, but not my problem.
     
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  9. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would do as much research as I could. I would prepare all of your material, as you discussed. I would find time to just got stop by. Even if it takes several tries. Ultimately it depends on the value you place on this relationship.
     
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  10. OldManJim

    OldManJim No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hope you get this situation resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Having said that, I suggest you prepare the agreement you want and make a list of all their competitors. If you lose them as a client, you need to replace that income. If your work is truly valuable, the smaller firms would love to have you work with them. It may take a few of the smaller firms to give you the volume you need and it will put you in a better place to negotiate with this client in the future.

    I also suggest you contact a retired businessman in your area for some advice on the business side to avoid problems like this in the future.
     
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  11. zeppelin390

    zeppelin390 TPF Noob!

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    Thats a good idea. Think I might join a local small business group and get some advise from there as well. As of right now, I'm working with a gentlemen from on here to help me with this whole situation.

    Thank you to everybody here.
     
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