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Thread: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

  1. #1

    Default Photographer's copyright vs client preferences

    How do you guys handle a situation where a client indicated that they do not wish their photos to be published on the Internet due to privacy reasons, when in the agreement, you have indicated that copyright of the photos belong to you?

    Do you insist on your rights to do what you deem fit with the photos, compromise, or give in to their request?

    Any insights appreciated
    Last edited by gremlin; 30th October 2008 at 09:47 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    That depends on whether you are still counting on them to give you business in the future.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    That depends on whether you are still counting on them to give you business in the future.
    What would you do if placed in this situation?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Like I said; if you value the working relationship with your clients, it will only be beneficiary to your business to give in to their requests even though the service contract says otherwise. Further, was their request only limited to the internet? If it is and you would still like to have those photos be included in the portfolio, you can always show them to your other clients in private.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Let them win if they will give u jobs future, but learn and be smart next time.
    Even if u dun expect they come back, just take it as lessons learn. if so important must use as web samples, suggest u tell them to pay abit more.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Use them as print samples in your portfolio, if your client(s) are valuable to you. It's about weighing the importance between taking your rights to the extreme, or seeking a compromise.
    We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities. - Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    If I am a client and the picture is about me (i.e. wedding, corporate function, etc)... I may also request not to post it online.

    In this case, if photographer has the copyright, does this mean I did not give 'model release' and have a say if I agree to post online?

  8. #8
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographer's copyright vs client preferences

    It is very simple, if all these is already reduced to contract, you are bound by contract to do what you have promised.

    By default, copyright vests to the commissioner. In consideration of agreeing to assign copyright back to you (apart from paying you etc etc), the client has stated that such assignment is subject to you not putting it on the Internet.

    If you proceed to do so (as per your property right in copyright), then you will be liable for breach of contract.

    If you are still in pre-contractual stage, then whatever the rest of the people said here about business relationship, commercial risks etc will be relevant.

    There is one more exception to commissioned works under specific purpose, but I don't think its necessary to go into that at this time.

    Quote Originally Posted by gremlin View Post
    How do you guys handle a situation where a client indicated that they do not wish their photos to be published on the Internet due to privacy reasons, when in the agreement, you have indicated that copyright of the photos belong to you?

    Do you insist on your rights to do what you deem fit with the photos, compromise, or give in to their request?

    Any insights appreciated
    Last edited by vince123123; 9th November 2008 at 09:49 PM.

  9. #9
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    There is no concept of model releases in Singapore. Unless there is a contractual agreement not to publish (see one post above), there is nothing you can do to stop the photographer (who I assume has been assigned the copyright) from publishing the photos.

    Quote Originally Posted by dawgbyte77 View Post
    If I am a client and the picture is about me (i.e. wedding, corporate function, etc)... I may also request not to post it online.

    In this case, if photographer has the copyright, does this mean I did not give 'model release' and have a say if I agree to post online?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    First of all, there are a lot of things written now below here which are confusing.

    1.) The Copyright has nothing to do with a with Model Release (MR) or Property Release (PR). So don't connect one with the other.
    2.) Copyright ALWAYS belongs to the Photographer, unless you have signed it off.
    3.) MR is only needed if you use the images for commercial gain, even more precise in relation with a Product. Eg. You can not use your clients picture to use them as advertising and sell picture frames or cameras with it. Portfolio display is no problem, as its about your work.
    4.) For wedding or Portraiture Shoots I would always contact the people in the pictures first, rights or not, as this biz is based on trust. It does not matter if you will shoot with this client again, but you dont want them to start talking bad about your business.

    Regards

    felix




    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    There is no concept of model releases in Singapore. Unless there is a contractual agreement not to publish (see one post above), there is nothing you can do to stop the photographer (who I assume has been assigned the copyright) from publishing the photos.
    Last edited by felix hug; 20th November 2008 at 11:46 AM.

  11. #11
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    1) Yup I know that and has been saying that.

    2) Actually, there are exceptions for commissioned work, which provides for automatic vesting of copyright even in the absence of "signing it off".

    3) Not under Singapore law - perhaps so under US law. Please elaborate with legal authority if you are asserting that model releases are required under Singapore law.

    4) Your comment is more a marketing/PR angle rather than based on legal rights per se. Hence it is commercial decision made based on the needs of business rather than on legal rights per se. It is akin to a company waiving off certain invoices in the interests of goodwill and long term relationship even though they are legally entitled to collect. Nothing wrong with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by felix hug View Post
    First of all, there are a lot of things written now below here which are confusing.

    1.) The Copyright has nothing to do with a with Model Release (MR) or Property Release (PR). So don't connect one with the other.
    2.) Copyright ALWAYS belongs to the Photographer, unless you have signed it off.
    3.) MR is only needed if you use the images for commercial gain, even more precise in relation with a Product. Eg. You can not use your clients picture to use them as advertising and sell picture frames or cameras with it. Portfolio display is no problem, as its about your work.
    4.) For wedding or Portraiture Shoots I would always contact the people in the pictures first, rights or not, as this biz is based on trust. It does not matter if you will shoot with this client again, but you dont want them to start talking bad about your business.

    Regards

    felix

  12. #12

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    The original answer was good enough, ie if you value repeat business, you would prob accede to this small request, it can be given as an undertaking in the contract, and that is that.

    I suppose if the business relationship goes nowhere in future, you could break the undertaking which could lead you to paying damages, but prob not much.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Thanks for explaining further,

    Still some questions and remarks.

    to 2).. which are this exceptions? Is it for weeddings and portraitures? I would be interested to know, as it would affect my business if otherwise.

    to 3.) Where did you get this piece of information from? Thats the first time I hear that MR is not required for commercial work in Singapore. (Bear in mind its not editorial I'm talking about) I would be very surprised if this is true and it would not make any sense at all. As a matter of fact you need even a Property release for the Esplanade Building eg.


    Cheers

    Felix


    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    1) Yup I know that and has been saying that.

    2) Actually, there are exceptions for commissioned work, which provides for automatic vesting of copyright even in the absence of "signing it off".

    3) Not under Singapore law - perhaps so under US law. Please elaborate with legal authority if you are asserting that model releases are required under Singapore law.

    4) Your comment is more a marketing/PR angle rather than based on legal rights per se. Hence it is commercial decision made based on the needs of business rather than on legal rights per se. It is akin to a company waiving off certain invoices in the interests of goodwill and long term relationship even though they are legally entitled to collect. Nothing wrong with that.

  14. #14
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    The exception is found under Section 30(5) of the copyright act, which provides that copyrigth for commissiond works do not vest in the photographer, but the person whoc ommissioned the work.

    This comes from legal research into Singapore' laws, which to date, has not yielded any legal authority on the necessity of model releases. Of course I cannot prove a negative so I can't tell you where the law does not exist for this. If you think model releases are required, then perhaps you can share with us the specific law which provides so.

    Property releases are even further out of this world - I'm not even sure they apply in the United States, much less in Singapore. In Singapore, the Copyright Act specifically provides that copyright in a building is not infringed by taking of a photograph of that builidng.

    HOpe this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by felix hug View Post
    Thanks for explaining further,

    Still some questions and remarks.

    to 2).. which are this exceptions? Is it for weeddings and portraitures? I would be interested to know, as it would affect my business if otherwise.

    to 3.) Where did you get this piece of information from? Thats the first time I hear that MR is not required for commercial work in Singapore. (Bear in mind its not editorial I'm talking about) I would be very surprised if this is true and it would not make any sense at all. As a matter of fact you need even a Property release for the Esplanade Building eg.


    Cheers

    Felix

  15. #15

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Interesting actually.

    Every country I worked so far, its quite painful to find out what actually is law and what is just common believe.

    I think the both of us will hardly come to an agreement on this topic in this forum. However for those of you who scratch their heads and have a real case at hand not knowing what to do?

    One advice I think vince here gave was to contact the legal authority, maybe thats the way to go ;-)

    However in the case of the Esplanade, I brought up, I talk about a real assignment we worked on, so Vince I'm not sure if you are really correct with your Property release issues. It may be an exception in Singapore, have no idea.

    Another piece of advice I can give, which could be a solution is to contact the PPAS (Professional Photographer Association of Singapore).

    They have some advice and legal issues on their pages and can be contacted through email and phone.

    Btw... In their pages they mention that copyright belongs to the photographer in most cases, so.. here we go again.

    cheers

    felix



    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    The exception is found under Section 30(5) of the copyright act, which provides that copyrigth for commissiond works do not vest in the photographer, but the person whoc ommissioned the work.

    This comes from legal research into Singapore' laws, which to date, has not yielded any legal authority on the necessity of model releases. Of course I cannot prove a negative so I can't tell you where the law does not exist for this. If you think model releases are required, then perhaps you can share with us the specific law which provides so.

    Property releases are even further out of this world - I'm not even sure they apply in the United States, much less in Singapore. In Singapore, the Copyright Act specifically provides that copyright in a building is not infringed by taking of a photograph of that builidng.

    HOpe this helps.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    IF you're not familar with Singapore law then I suggest you not make pronounciations... At least not when Vince is here.

    I suppose you may not agree and really it's not that important what we think is correct but whether you can cite the law, chapter and verse, to back up any assertions. Because when we are talking about legal matters, not moral matters or other matters of opinion, one must have the correct backing to make statements.

    The statutes website has the copyright act, so you can review it at leisure.

    Quote Originally Posted by felix hug View Post
    Interesting actually.

    Every country I worked so far, its quite painful to find out what actually is law and what is just common believe.

    I think the both of us will hardly come to an agreement on this topic in this forum. However for those of you who scratch their heads and have a real case at hand not knowing what to do?

    One advice I think vince here gave was to contact the legal authority, maybe thats the way to go ;-)

    However in the case of the Esplanade, I brought up, I talk about a real assignment we worked on, so Vince I'm not sure if you are really correct with your Property release issues. It may be an exception in Singapore, have no idea.

    Another piece of advice I can give, which could be a solution is to contact the PPAS (Professional Photographer Association of Singapore).

    They have some advice and legal issues on their pages and can be contacted through email and phone.

    Btw... In their pages they mention that copyright belongs to the photographer in most cases, so.. here we go again.

    cheers

    felix

  17. #17

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    I agree with what you say and have your point taken on the copyright act. I will look it up, as its ultimately important to us doing biz here.

    Its true I don't have a law section to offer here, but my points come rather out of experience in the industry and not "book" knowledge. Which is also important i believe. Its not just a mere "opinion" and I like to get to the bottom of this.

    Fact is that we have contracts with Corbis & the Lonely Planet Library, as well as other clients which require Model & Property Releases. I also worked on projects in Australia which required to check on this matter. In fact in Australia exists even a Landmark release for places like the Ayers Rock or the Sydney Foreshore Area. This things may not be stated in a "general" copyright act but special, sometimes local laws apply.

    Again I'm not having the lawyer background on this, but in fact have been working on projects as a professional photographer in my career colliding with this requirements in Australia in this case. So, its not made up... or just a moral opinion. My statement might have given that impression earlier.

    Some laws apply on the mere act of picture taking, others on the specific usage of the images.

    EG. in Australia is also a Child Protection regulation in place, so although model release may not be require in specific usage situations, you would still be on slippery ground, because you are essentially not allowed to take the pictures... In fact I was questioned by police on this when I worked on a book project.

    As for the USA and property releases required?

    There is a reason that the big libraries (even in Singapore), ask for Model and Property releases. I agree however, that it could be because many images are used globally and the rights have to hold up in each country.

    At last i like to say, its not about finger pointing here. The questions to this answers are essential to do successful business and its a big difference if you work as a wedding photographer here in Singapore where local law applies, or like we do, on commercial and library photography shot in the region, but with a world wide audience and its usage requirements.


    cheers

    felix





    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    IF you're not familar with Singapore law then I suggest you not make pronounciations... At least not when Vince is here.

    I suppose you may not agree and really it's not that important what we think is correct but whether you can cite the law, chapter and verse, to back up any assertions. Because when we are talking about legal matters, not moral matters or other matters of opinion, one must have the correct backing to make statements.

    The statutes website has the copyright act, so you can review it at leisure.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    Is this is the section you talk about?

    (5) Subject to subsection (4), where
    (a) a person makes, for valuable consideration, an agreement with another person for the taking of a photograph, the painting or drawing of a portrait or the making of an engraving by the other person

    again I'm not a lawyer, but its like i said.. this only applies for portraitures and weddings as far as i can tell.

    It reads .."taking a photograph... of a portrait"... for money, so unless you are a wedding or portraiture photographer it would not apply in most other cases, if I read this correctly.

    It would be important to know for everybody if this is the case.. and if this applies even more so for the Portraiture/Wedding guys out-there.

    Regards

    felix



    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    The exception is found under Section 30(5) of the copyright act, which provides that copyrigth for commissiond works do not vest in the photographer, but the person whoc ommissioned the work.

    This comes from legal research into Singapore' laws, which to date, has not yielded any legal authority on the necessity of model releases. Of course I cannot prove a negative so I can't tell you where the law does not exist for this. If you think model releases are required, then perhaps you can share with us the specific law which provides so.

    Property releases are even further out of this world - I'm not even sure they apply in the United States, much less in Singapore. In Singapore, the Copyright Act specifically provides that copyright in a building is not infringed by taking of a photograph of that builidng.

    HOpe this helps.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    actually it's been mentioned that the Copyright Act doesn't protect our copyrights...you have to go read it.
    it's assumed that we own the copyright but when it goes to court, I have a feeling that we'll find we've been following a false presumption

    Regarding releases from big libraries, they have to do that to protect themselves legally.

    Property releases...that's interesting. A lawyer in NY gave a talk and mentioned how trademarked buildings enjoy special protection (Empire State Building, Transamerica Building), but I am not sure what kind of protection applies to non-trademarked buildings.
    In this case, is the Esplanade a trademarked building, and do building owners have any legal rights in the first place if their building is part of an advertisement?

    Experience in the industry is one thing (the way things have been done all this while), but does not necessarily equate to what is actually legally right, so when a situation occurs where you go to court you might find what the industry believes is right is actually wrong.



    Quote Originally Posted by felix hug View Post
    I agree with what you say and have your point taken on the copyright act. I will look it up, as its ultimately important to us doing biz here.

    Its true I don't have a law section to offer here, but my points come rather out of experience in the industry and not "book" knowledge. Which is also important i believe. Its not just a mere "opinion" and I like to get to the bottom of this.

    Fact is that we have contracts with Corbis & the Lonely Planet Library, as well as other clients which require Model & Property Releases. I also worked on projects in Australia which required to check on this matter. In fact in Australia exists even a Landmark release for places like the Ayers Rock or the Sydney Foreshore Area. This things may not be stated in a "general" copyright act but special, sometimes local laws apply.

    Again I'm not having the lawyer background on this, but in fact have been working on projects as a professional photographer in my career colliding with this requirements in Australia in this case. So, its not made up... or just a moral opinion. My statement might have given that impression earlier.

    Some laws apply on the mere act of picture taking, others on the specific usage of the images.

    EG. in Australia is also a Child Protection regulation in place, so although model release may not be require in specific usage situations, you would still be on slippery ground, because you are essentially not allowed to take the pictures... In fact I was questioned by police on this when I worked on a book project.

    As for the USA and property releases required?

    There is a reason that the big libraries (even in Singapore), ask for Model and Property releases. I agree however, that it could be because many images are used globally and the rights have to hold up in each country.

    At last i like to say, its not about finger pointing here. The questions to this answers are essential to do successful business and its a big difference if you work as a wedding photographer here in Singapore where local law applies, or like we do, on commercial and library photography shot in the region, but with a world wide audience and its usage requirements.


    cheers

    felix

  20. #20

    Default Re: Photograher's copyright vs client preferences

    I'm reading on this case now which deals with a museum stopping a guy from selling pictures of the museum that the guy himself took.
    http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/ip/...k_and_roll.htm

    The interesting part is the dissent noted against the ruling at the end. Either way, trademark needs to be established first.

    "Furthermore, not only may Gentile take a photograph of the building, he can sell a photograph of it-the Lanham Act only prevents him only from "using in commerce" his photograph of the trademark in such a way as to cause a "likelihood of confusion" in the market place. It is not our place to try to list, even if we could, every commercial possibility for the work of a professional photographer of obvious talent. Merely selling a poster of its own trademark does not give the Museum the right to enjoin every duplication of its mark, only those that compete directly with its own product in similar channels of commerce.

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