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Thread: Rights to usage of photos

  1. #1
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    Default Rights to usage of photos

    Hi all,
    Will be starting up a new talent and event company soon and have a few questions to check with all you great photog here.
    a) if models submit their compcard to us, can we used them as our own to distribute to potential clients and host on our website? (we might not know if the compcard are TFCD or paid for and also the photog if there's not credit printed)
    b) are we allowed to used tearsheets the models shot with their previous company/assignments? (e.g. from magazines, advert, screenshots, etc.) these are easliy scanned from the prints.
    c)if we were to produce a compcard using photos shot by us and also some provided by the models taken previously, are there any infrignment of copyright?

    Sorry, I search through the forum but would just to clarify with you guys.
    Just want to be sure......and not want to be sorry.

    Keep the great photos coming!

    Cheers!
    Last edited by coolblack; 17th December 2007 at 11:09 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by coolblack View Post
    Hi all,
    Will be starting up a new talent and event company soon and have a few questions to check with all you great photog here.
    a) if models submit their compcard to us, can we used them as our own to distribute to potential clients and host on our website? (we might not know if the compcard are TFCD or paid for and also the photog if there's not credit printed)
    Just check with the model for the contacts of the photog. Generally, if it is not for commercial usage (i.e. revenue generated from sale of said image), it is ok to use them. If someone contacts you that the copyrights are infringed, just negotiate continual usage by crediting the photog.

    b) are we allowed to used tearsheets the models shot with their previous company/assignments? (e.g. from magazines, advert, screenshots, etc.) these are easliy scanned from the prints.
    Yes, as it is accepted to be promotional materials for the models.

    c)if we were to produce a compcard using photos shot by us and also some provided by the models taken previously, are there any infrignment of copyright?
    Not if you credit the photog. Please see (a).


    hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Hello Randy,

    Thank you so much for your advise.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by coolblack View Post
    Hello Randy,

    Thank you so much for your advise.

    Cheers!
    I suggest you let everything randy told you come in one ear and go out the other.
    I don't know where he got the info from, but what he suggested is one of the surefire way to get yourself sued to kingdom come. Especially in the US (where Randy apparently is now. With his understanding of law, he may just be forced to flee from it soon).

    Remember, if you've infringed on copyright, it doesn't matter what you do AFTER the act. If they want to sue you, it will backdate to the very first incident of infringement. Crediting the photographer does NOTHING. In fact it opens you up for more legal issues.

    Worse if the photog finds out later, he'll entitled to sue you for every moment that you infringed on his works. I suppose if he stretches it, he can sue you to have a percentage cut of every single job your company ever received, for having the implication that the photog endorsed the company.

    At the same time, you can be sued for causing the photog to lose his income if he deems that your company is not reputable and has a negative association, that will cause others to not want to hire him. (like I said, crediting the photog will potentially make matters worse)

    If the photographer is someone like Albert Lam (go do a google on his name) who charges $15k per photo, imagine how much you'll have to pay for repeated use of his photo. I believe they'll count by per clickthrough to your website, do correct me if I'm wrong. Imagine 1000 clicks on your site.. that's 1000 uses..
    Do you have enough $$ to pay?

    ---------------

    I can't quite answer you on the tearsheet part as my understanding in this area is abit fuzzy.

    Purchasing a copy of the magazines entitles you to a copy of the image. Use of it for commercial purposes is... I'd look at it as illegal replication of the magazine. Further more, it's for a commercial purpose, so there's no way you're going to get away with something like that. All rights belong to the publishing company. If I'm not wrong, SPH charges $1000 per commercial use of their images (most magazines are under SPH or mediacorp). Once again, imagine if they decide to sue you for infringement.

    ---------------

    Provided by the models? and you plan to use it commercially?
    Every part in the 1st portion applies.


    Cheers.

  5. #5
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    I would greatly caution you against using something which you do not know the clear source of or the rights which are purportedly granted to you to use.

    Even if the model tells you that you can use, you still have to be very careful because she may not have the title to grant you the license to use in the first place. This is the reason why we have indemnity clauses each time someone licenses the use of intellectual property - to protect the licensee just in case the licensor does not have the right to grant the license.

    Now, onto your specific queries:

    (a) I would be very careful to use a photograph a model submits to you as "your own to distribute to potential clients and host on your website".

    Whether or not you use the photographs for commercial gain is probably irrelevant under Singapore law. In fact, even if you rely on US laws, I'll think (but cannot be sure since I am not well versed in US laws) that you will still be caught as you "knowingly use another's...photograph...in any manner...or for the purposes of advertising...goods or services...". It is my view that commercial gain is unlikely to be construed as merely confined to generating revenue from the sale of the image.

    Back to Singapore law, commercial gain is irrelevant as infringement does not look at that as a factor (emphasis mine):

    Quote Originally Posted by Copyright Act
    Nature of copyright in original works
    26. —(1) For the purposes of this Act, unless the contrary intention appears, copyright, in relation to a work, is the exclusive right

    [...]

    (b) in the case of an artistic work, to do all or any of the following acts:

    (i) to reproduce the work in a material form;

    (ii) to publish the work in Singapore or any country in relation to which this Act applies, if the work is unpublished;

    (iii) to communicate the work to the public; and

    Infringement by doing acts comprised in copyright

    31. —(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the copyright in a literary, dramatic,
    musical or artistic work is infringed by a person who, not being the owner of the copyright, and without the licence of the owner of the copyright, does in Singapore, or authorises the doing in Singapore of, any act comprised in the copyright.
    I would be very wary of advice which tells you to "go ahead and do it, and to negotiate if someone tells you that you infringed his rights" - this open you up to a fair amount of legal exposure if you are not careful or if you meet someone who takes enforcement of his proprietary rights very seriously.

    (b) Assuming tearsheets refer to pages torn out from a magazine, scanning of the magazine would constitute an unauthorised reproduction in material form - and you may find yourself liable for infringement.

    I am unaware of any legal defence which says you can infringe on copyright in order to promote yourself or another person. The usual defences to copyright infringement are found in Sections 35 to 40A of the Copyright Act (too long to quote all here).

    (c) There would be reproduction in material form of the photos that you do not own the copyright to. Combining work belonging to others with your own work is not likely to avoid liability for infringement.

    I also unaware of any legal defence which says that as long as you credit the author, you are okay. It is a widely held misconception that crediting alone is sufficient.

    In most cases, the author may b e happy with just crediting, as it helps to raise his own profile. Hence, it may be "a close one eye and let it be since I also benefit" sort of situation.

    However, if you meet someone who decides to enforce his proprietary rights, your crediting him alone may not be sufficient to avoid liability for copyright infringement.

    Quote Originally Posted by coolblack View Post
    Hi all,
    Will be starting up a new talent and event company soon and have a few questions to check with all you great photog here.
    a) if models submit their compcard to us, can we used them as our own to distribute to potential clients and host on our website? (we might not know if the compcard are TFCD or paid for and also the photog if there's not credit printed)
    b) are we allowed to used tearsheets the models shot with their previous company/assignments? (e.g. from magazines, advert, screenshots, etc.) these are easliy scanned from the prints.
    c)if we were to produce a compcard using photos shot by us and also some provided by the models taken previously, are there any infrignment of copyright?

    Sorry, I search through the forum but would just to clarify with you guys.
    Just want to be sure......and not want to be sorry.

    Keep the great photos coming!

    Cheers!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your inputs. Seems like this is a very sensitive and complicated issue.

    Guess the best way to avoid all issues is just to use our own photos.

    But what about if the model paid for her pervious compcard? Does she hold the rights to the photos? How would she be able to prove that the photos rights belongs to her?

    Thanks again for all the bro assistance and advices.

    BTW, we are based in Singapore, so guess we need to follow the law here.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Hi Coolback, I'm hope my input was of some use to you.

    If a model paid for her previous composite card (and assuming sufficient evidence exists to prove this), and there are no express provisions to the contrary or terms to the contrary, she would be in a lucky position, because she would fall under the exception of "commissioner" in Section 30(5), and hence, copyright would belong to her by default.

    My own humble view is, even if the model tells you that she paid for it, it is still better for you to use your own photographs. The model could be wrong; or there could be some other intervening situation which you may not be aware; and the model, being a man of straw; may have limited use giving an indemnity.

    However, I think you may wish to consult independent legal advisers on these issues given you're a commercial entity, since you probably don't want to unwittingly infringe on any rights; yet at the same time, you don't want to live in fear of infringement and thereby take too conservative an approach (we know that conservative approaches usually means less profits or ease of operations).

    Hope this helps

    Quote Originally Posted by coolblack View Post
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your inputs. Seems like this is a very sensitive and complicated issue.

    Guess the best way to avoid all issues is just to use our own photos.

    But what about if the model paid for her pervious compcard? Does she hold the rights to the photos? How would she be able to prove that the photos rights belongs to her?

    Thanks again for all the bro assistance and advices.

    BTW, we are based in Singapore, so guess we need to follow the law here.

    Thanks.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by unseen View Post
    I suggest you let everything randy told you come in one ear and go out the other.
    I don't know where he got the info from, but what he suggested is one of the surefire way to get yourself sued to kingdom come. Especially in the US (where Randy apparently is now. With his understanding of law, he may just be forced to flee from it soon).
    Dude, thats hitting below the belt and what you said borders on slandering.

    My info comes from my practice, as is governed by the guidelines as set forth by the PPA, the governing body for photographers in the US. To know more about the organization just google them and you will see that they do provide legal advise.

    If you attempt to beat a dead horse that "yeah, thats the US and this is Singapore", I have already conceded in the previous thread as closed by the admin.

    Advise what you want, but to take every chance to make a thread to become a "Randy bashing" thread is just getting too personal. I am a full time photographer, nothing more, nothing less. I let my lawyers handle all legal aspects of my business, my advice (or lack of it) are based on current practice. Just because the law on Singapore is not keeping up does not mean that I would be "forced to flee the US" because I do not understand it here?

    You have gone beyond a civil discussion to a personal vendetta. Dude, at least my real name, website and contact number (on my website) is published out in the open while you are hiding behind a lame pseudonym, who is fleeing?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post

    I also unaware of any legal defence which says that as long as you credit the author, you are okay. It is a widely held misconception that crediting alone is sufficient.

    In most cases, the author may b e happy with just crediting, as it helps to raise his own profile. Hence, it may be "a close one eye and let it be since I also benefit" sort of situation.
    Yes this is correct but if you are referring to my answer, then your answer is a classic Cantonese saying "If I present a drawing of a person to you, I have to draw the intestines and organs to you so you know its a human subject".

    Of course the part about crediting the author is not a simple just take the work and publish and credit, but AFTER contact with the author and having an agreement in the form of a signed contract of MOU.

    Alot of things are very simple, e.g. "switch on the lights". Don't make it overly complicated by saying "go switch on the lights by flipping the switch located x cm from the floor, y cm from the left wall, z cm from the celing. By left wall it was meant the wall on the left when you are facing the entrance, by entrance it was meant....bla bla bla". There are time for specific details but I do have faith in the level of intelligence of my targeted audience that they know exactly what to do with just a little prompting.

  10. #10
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Actually, I'm afraid that you have too much confidence in the extrapolation abilities of the audience. We are well aware of so many people who think that mere crediting is sufficient, and we are also aware of those who credit but who obviously did not contact the author to obtain a license.

    If you wish to present a view, the least you could do is to be clear about it. The main crux is not the credit, but the obtaining of a license or permission. It is my humble and contrary view that advising someone to credit does not necessarily mean or carry an obvious implication that the person has to ask for permission or obtain a license to use the work. Since crediting is not the main issue, but obtaining permission, why don't you just state that from the outset? I don't think you should be assuming that people can read your mind.

    You're stretching the point too far away that your Cantonese drawing example is way out of analogy. To use your analogy, you are trying to show someone a picture of intestines, but draw a man instead and expecting him to imagine the intestines.

    Lastly, if word economy is the reason, I suggest that the same number of words can be used to put forth the main point instead:

    1. Not if you credit the photog. Please see (a). (Your version)
    2. Not if you ask permission first. Please see (a). (My suggested version).

    Quote Originally Posted by randytay View Post
    Yes this is correct but if you are referring to my answer, then your answer is a classic Cantonese saying "If I present a drawing of a person to you, I have to draw the intestines and organs to you so you know its a human subject".

    Of course the part about crediting the author is not a simple just take the work and publish and credit, but AFTER contact with the author and having an agreement in the form of a signed contract of MOU.

    Alot of things are very simple, e.g. "switch on the lights". Don't make it overly complicated by saying "go switch on the lights by flipping the switch located x cm from the floor, y cm from the left wall, z cm from the celing. By left wall it was meant the wall on the left when you are facing the entrance, by entrance it was meant....bla bla bla". There are time for specific details but I do have faith in the level of intelligence of my targeted audience that they know exactly what to do with just a little prompting.
    Last edited by vince123123; 23rd December 2007 at 12:25 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Rights to usage of photos

    Instead of helping the TS , you guys just simply like to poke at each other comments trying to prove others wrong.

    I am sick of people arguing for the sake of arguing. Infractions are given to those who deserved it.

    PS : Thread is closed. TS please feel free to start another thread if you wish.

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