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Thread: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

  1. #1

    Default Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A LAWYER AND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BASED ON WHAT I HAVE STUDIED LAW OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS. I CANNOT GUARANTEE THE CORRECTNESS OF THE INFORMATION AT ALL. IF IN DOUBT, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR LEGAL COUNSEL OR VISIT THE LEGAL AID BUREAU.

    Hi guys, some of you may have known a little bit of law or already an expert on it. However, this information is for people who know next to nothing about law. This knowledge is very useful, and it helps to prevent people from making use of your lack of knowledge or making use of your lack of knowledge to intimidate you.

    CONTRACT LAW
    ============

    All of us enter into numerous contracts everyday, from buying food at a food court or taking an MRT trip.

    A contract must be made between 2 or more parties. The following are ingredients of a contract:

    1) Offer
    2) Acceptance
    3) Consideration
    4) Intention to Create Legal Relations

  2. #2

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    For example, an advertisement in the Workshops, Studio/Model Shoots section of this forum inviting people to join photoshoots is not considered an offer (according to my understanding). It is merely an invitation to treat.

    People interested in joining the photoshoots must make an OFFER to the organizer of the photoshoot, and if the organizer ACCEPTS the offer, then it constitutes a contract.

    The offer must be properly communicated to the organizer, and the organizer must have received the offer. An offer can be revoked if it has not been accepted yet. Once an offer has been accepted, it forms a binding contract.

    Note that the Postal Rule does not apply here because offers and acceptances are usually made through Private Messages, emails, and SMSes in the ordinary course of business.
    Last edited by polars; 5th December 2005 at 05:10 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Rights of Third Parties and Privity of a Contract
    ===================================

    Third parties cannot derive rights and obligations to a contract if they themselves are not the parties to a contract. For example, if A and B forms a contract, then C, D, E, F, etc cannot enforce the contract at all. C, D, E, F, etc have no business in the contract between A and B.

    Written and Unwritten Contracts
    ========================

    It should be noted that both (1) written and signed and (2) verbally spoken agreements can constitute a contract. Yes, verbally spoken agreements can form a contract. However, because of the lack of evidence, e.g. black and white written contracts, verbal contracts are very hard to prosecute in courts. Smart people usually use voice recordings through tape recorders or the voice recording function in mobile phones to tape voice conversations.

    Please note that voice recordings can be forged. Also, voice recordings can be edited by the person taping it such that he will omit voice recordings that are detrimental to himself and preserve voice recordings that are useful to himself.
    Last edited by polars; 5th December 2005 at 04:15 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Promises and Breaking Promises
    =======================

    The person making the promise is known as the promisor. The person receiving the promise is known as the promisee.

    The promisor can usually break his promise if there is no CONSIDERATION from the promisee. Consideration must move from the promisee. I shall make it clearer:

    For example, person A promises to give his entire encyclopedia to person B. B has not given any consideration to A. Hence A can break his promise at any time, and the Common Law cannot touch him. This is because Common Law follows strictly on legal rules.

    To make the contract valid (i.e. to make A keep his promise), B should pay $1 as a consideration to A, on the condition that A will give his entire encyclopedia to B. This is known as the One Dollar Rule in law. The Common Law does not consider the value of the consideration, it is up to the parties making the contract to determine what is adequate consideration. Hence the Common Law will recognize the $1 paid by B even if the entire encyclopedia costs $1000.

    Promissory Estoppel
    ===============

    Because the Common Law focuses strictly on legal rules, it is often considered as hard and harsh. There is no way to make the promisor keep his promise unless consideration moves from the promisee. However, it may still be possible to force the promisor to keep his promise even when no consideration moves from the promisee. This is called promissory estoppel and based on Equity Law. Equity is based on fairness and justice, as opposed to the harsh Common Law.

    ***However, the person arguing promissory estoppel must have clean hands. He must behave in an honorable way throughout and any dishonorable conduct disqualifies his use of promissory estoppel.

  5. #5
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Isn't the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act an exception to this?

    Quote Originally Posted by polars
    Rights of Third Parties and Privity of a Contract
    ===================================

    Third parties cannot derive rights and obligations to a contract if they themselves are not the parties to a contract. For example, if A and B forms a contract, then C, D, E, F, etc cannot enforce the contract at all. C, D, E, F, etc have no business in the contract between A and B.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    What is the Common Law?
    ====================

    The Common Law originates in England in the Middle Ages. William the Conqueror, who became the King of England, sends his judges throughout the whole of England to spread the King's Justice. Over time, the law became the same throughout England. Hence, it is known as the Common Law.

    Many countries apply the Common Law today, including U.K., U.S.A., and Singapore. Both USA and Singapore were formerly under British colonial rule. Common Law is also known as judge-made law, because the judges made the legal rules.

    Common law is very strict and focuses on legal rules. If you used the wrong legal documents to argue in court, then your entire case may be thrown out of court. Soon, the citizens of England were complaining to the King. Although the King does not know the Common Law of the judges, he metes out judgements according to fairness and justice.

    Equity
    =====

    Soon, the Courts of Chancery were started. These courts were based on fairness and justice. In a subsequent development, the Common Law and Equity are merged and are now applicable under one court.

    The Roman Law
    ============

    The Roman Law is the exact opposite of the Common Law. Whereas the Common Law derives legal rules from cases tried (hence judge-made law), the Roman Law mades the legal rules first and then attempts to apply it to cases. The Roman Law was started by the French Emperor Napoleon and most of the rest of Europe applies the Roman Law tradition.

    Application of Rules
    ===============

    In common law, the courts refer to past cases and use them as examples in arriving at judgements, e.g. the Foss v Harbottle rule. You will also see judges referring to cases in the past, e.g. in 1850, 1980, etc. You will encounter references to judges' comments in law texts, e.g. Lord Denning LJ, House of Lords.
    Last edited by polars; 5th December 2005 at 04:54 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Punishments for Failing to Perform a Contract?
    ===================================

    No, in Contract Law, the law DOES NOT PUNISH those who fail to perform a contract. The law aims to COMPENSATE the innocent as far as money is adequate, and attempts to restore the innocent party to the state as if the contract has been fully performed by the defaulting party.

    Copyright Law
    ==========

    I am not familiar with copyright law. As far as I could understand, any graphic materials a photographer or videographer takes is his/her copyright unless the photographer or videographer signs away his/her rights.
    Last edited by polars; 5th December 2005 at 05:14 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Intention to Create Legal Relations
    ==========================

    The courts automatically assumes that there is no intention to create legal relations between family members, relatives and friends. So you would fail trying to sue your girlfriend from failing to turn up at a promised date.

    In the business world, the courts recognize that there is intention to create legal relations. For the case of agreements between photographers and the organizers, I would believe that there are intention to create legal relations.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    So far I have covered the contractual aspects in the photography world. I have yet to study Copyright Law but hopefully would do so in the near future.

  10. #10
    vince123123
    Guests

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    I'm sure many would applaud at you taking the effort to post this Where are you studying all these from anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by polars
    So far I have covered the contractual aspects in the photography world. I have yet to study Copyright Law but hopefully would do so in the near future.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Exemption Clauses and Limited Liability Clauses
    ===================================

    It is always advisable to put down exemption clauses or limited liability clauses in contracts. Exemption clauses could be used to escape certain responsibilities if the contract is not properly performed. For an exemption clause to be effective, it must be as wide as possible and not be restrictive.

    The case of Securicor Photo Films
    =========================

    Securicor hurried a security company to guard its factory premises. However, the security guard, instead of guarding the factory, burnt it down. The English court at that time ruled in favor of the security company, because there was an exemption clause denying all responsibility by the security company.

    Exemption Clauses Today
    ===================

    Today, for an exemption clause to be valid, it must be reasonable. Hence, in the case of Securicor, the exemption clauses of the security company would have found to be UNREASONABLE, and the courts would order the security company to pay damages if the case is tried today.

    Also, a contract must not contravene the Unfair Contract Terms Act (UCTA). Any exemption clause that violates the UCTA is VOID. Hence, to properly draft an exemption clause today, one must study the UCTA.

    Any exemption clause that tries to deny responsibility from death or personal injury is automatically void. Exemption clauses that tries to deny responsibility from other losses (e.g. monetary losses) is valid, provided that they are reasonable. It is up to the courts to decide what is reasonable.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123
    I'm sure many would applaud at you taking the effort to post this Where are you studying all these from anyway?
    You could buy any law texts and study it yourself, or take classes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Quote Originally Posted by polars
    You could buy any law texts and study it yourself, or take classes.
    I'm sure he's been there, done that

  14. #14

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    I hope that the above information is useful.

  15. #15
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Can you help us with the answer to my post at #5? Not sure if it got lost in the midst of your essay....

    Quote Originally Posted by polars
    I hope that the above information is useful.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123
    Can you help us with the answer to my post at #5? Not sure if it got lost in the midst of your essay....
    There is a Right of Third Parties Act. But I don't have the textbook with me right now. All of the above postings are purely based on memory.

    I need to refer to the text and reply on another day. Alternatively, you could help by answering it since you are yourself familiar with the law.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123
    Can you help us with the answer to my post at #5? Not sure if it got lost in the midst of your essay....
    don't make life difficult for him lah...
    polars: you won't need a textbook for that, it's all spelt out in the act. all you really need to know is that in most contracts it entitles 3rd parties to enforce contractual terms if provided for in the contract, or if it confers a benefit on them... it's almost specifically excluded by most savvy contract-drafters nowadays, anyway...

  18. #18
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    My apologies if that was unintentionally the case - I was just raising another issue which may be a possible exception to the rule on privity - Kudos to tingchiyen for the succint explanation!

    Quote Originally Posted by tingchiyen
    don't make life difficult for him lah...
    polars: you won't need a textbook for that, it's all spelt out in the act. all you really need to know is that in most contracts it entitles 3rd parties to enforce contractual terms if provided for in the contract, or if it confers a benefit on them... it's almost specifically excluded by most savvy contract-drafters nowadays, anyway...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    good effort, polars.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Extremely Basic Legal Knowledge for Photographers and Videographers

    Quote Originally Posted by polars
    You could buy any law texts and study it yourself, or take classes.
    I had gone thru some classes which introduces basic laws, very basic.

    An example, kinda stupid, is like when you want to buy a bowl of noodles for lunch, YOU are the one offering to buy the noodles (say at $3.00) and the vendor accepts your offer. Then it becomes a contract. Silly isn't it.

    Having said that, don't get too much headache over this kind of thing, unless you are into some legally binding business.

    Remember there are always exceptions, like transactions between friends (of 20 years) may be treated differently.

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