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Thread: Photographer's rights to use client's images

  1. #21

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by dsphotography View Post
    I like to find out about the rights of a photographer to use images he/she shot for a client.

    I recently shot some photos for a client's event at a restaurant. In addition, I helped to shoot some great food pictures served by the restaurant for the client's event.

    The owner of the restaurant hope to use some of my images on their website which I verbally agreed earlier on condition that they give me credit. Having briefly spoken to the client on the night, he said he paid for my service and hence the restaurant should approach him. He even said perhaps the restaurant could reduce the price of the dinner if they want to use the pictures.

    I believe a photographer owns the copyright to any images he/she shot unless he sell the images and give up the copyright.

    Since there is no money exchanged if the restaurant is to use my images it may not be much of an issue. But it will only create bad feeling for my client and affect any future business between him and myself.

    Can any professional photographers comment on this scenerio and your experiences?

    What is Singapore's law governing copyright of images?

    Regards,
    Stan

    That's why agreement and terms of agreement very important. It really depends on what has been agreed with the client, whether you have sold the rights to the images or whether you retain the rights. Copyright remains with the photographer but the right of ownership has to be spelt out or there will be disputes in cases like these. Owning a copyright does not automatically give you publishing and commercial rights.

    Best to get the restaurant to settle with the client. Afterall, if there is no agreement in place, the restaurant owner can choose to prevent the client from using his premises and food for a shoot too.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    whether you shoot for $1000.00 or $100.00, you still will have to kiss goodbye to your photos.

    so if you really want to keep the copyrights, the most simple way is just shoot for free.
    Unless the contract explicitly say you lose all the copyrights, you still get to keep the copyrights to the photos because you're the one who shot it, someone else cannot claim they shot the images. The person who did the setup owns the copyright for the entire setup. But the one who pays for everything owns all the commercial and publishing rights.

    Like the photos you shot for my family in your studio, I cannot claim the work to be mine even though I have paid you for it. But after paying, we agreed that I now own the rights as to how I want to use them.

    BTW, I'm just an engineer and not someone in the legal profession.

  3. #23
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Unless the contract explicitly say you lose all the copyrights, you still get to keep the copyrights to the photos because you're the one who shot it, someone else cannot claim they shot the images. The person who did the setup owns the copyright for the entire setup. But the one who pays for everything owns all the commercial and publishing rights.

    Like the photos you shot for my family in your studio, I cannot claim the work to be mine even though I have paid you for it. But after paying, we agreed that I now own the rights as to how I want to use them.

    BTW, I'm just an engineer and not someone in the legal profession.
    yes, you own the photos which are created by me.

    please read the next post which I taken from my past posting taken from #10 of How now?
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  4. #24
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Regarding local copyrights issue, many local photographers have miscoception, we do not follow the copyrights law of US..

    I research the copyrights and ownerships issue on portrait photography, this is what I found

    Ownership

    Generally, the person who created the work (i.e. the author) owns the copyright in the work. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Some exceptions are:

    Employment: If the work is created by an employee pursuant to the terms of his employment, the employer owns the copyright in the work.

    Special situation for newspaper/magazine/periodical employees: Where an employee of a newspaper, magazine or periodical creates a literary, dramatic or artistic work pursuant to the terms of his employment and for the purpose of publication in a newspaper, magazine or periodical, the proprietor of the newspaper, magazine or periodical owns the copyright in respect of publication in or reproduction for the purpose of publication in any newspaper, magazine or periodical. The employee owns the remaining rights that make up the copyright bundle of exclusive rights.
    Commissioning: If a portrait/photograph/engraving is commissioned by another party, the commissioner owns the copyright in the work. If the portrait/photograph/engraving is required for a particular purpose, this purpose must be communicated to the commissioned party. While the commissioner is the copyright owner, the commissioned party has the right to stop others from doing any act comprised in the copyright, unless such act is done for the particular purpose for which the portrait/photograph/engraving is created.

    For other types of commissioned works, ownership belongs to the commissioned party, unless the commissioner and commissioned party otherwise agree.

    As mentioned in the introduction, the copyright owner may transfer his rights to another party or entity either partially or wholly.

    taken from http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/O...and+Rights.htm

    and also this

    1. Copyright Copyright at Work
    I provide photography services. Do I own the copyright to the photos that I take for my clients? If I don't, is there any way that I can own the copyright? I want to showcase the best photos in my website and brochures.

    In general, clients who pay for your services own the copyright to the photos taken. However, you have limited rights in that if the photos are required for any particular purpose (e.g. a corporate client wants glamour shots of the senior management, to use in its annual report), your clients should tell you and you are entitled to prevent the photos from being used for other purposes.

    In practice, however, many photographers have their own terms of engagement with clients. The parties are free to have their own agreement, which automatically overrides the above default position. Thus, for example, you and your clients can mutually agree that you will own the copyright in the photos but that your clients can use the photos for certain purposes; or that your clients own the copyright but you have the license to reproduce the photos in your website and brochures.
    In simple words, photographers does not own the copyrights of the photographs, from the moment we collect money from the our customers, unless both parties enter an agreement to supersede the default law. (see the print in blue above)
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  5. #25

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by palmglove View Post
    perhaps to avoid problems, one option is to courteously inform the restaurant owner that both of you can discuss more details another day; make an appointment for discussion outside of the current event.

    i suppose it's normally not a wise thing to discuss any deals with 3rd parties while working on a shoot for someone.
    Quote Originally Posted by hongwen37 View Post
    You mean, secretly discuss with the restaurant a deal of using the photos he take for his client?

    If so, it is not a wise idea because if the client finds out (which is quite easy since the photos will be posted on the restaurant website), then he is subjected to being sued by the client for infringement of copyright.

    Guess the best situation for TS is for him to negotiate another shoot with the restaurant...
    No lah.. tell the chef, here's my contact. we can arrange to talk another time. Do a new photoshoot. Don't do secret talks, cos you never know word will get around and it's a small world. Integrity is a very good priciple to live by.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    Regarding local copyrights issue, many local photographers have miscoception, we do not follow the copyrights law of US..

    I research the copyrights and ownerships issue on portrait photography, this is what I found

    taken from http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/O...and+Rights.htm

    and also this

    In simple words, photographers does not own the copyrights of the photographs, from the moment we collect money from the our customers, unless both parties enter an agreement to supersede the default law. (see the print in blue above)
    Hmm.. So the default here is the the copyright is owned by the commissioner, ie the paying client, unless otherwise stated in the agreement. This also means that you cannot even keep the images you shot as a personal portfolio unless permission is granted. Hmm.. Next time must draft agreement to supercede the copyright clause liao.
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 27th October 2009 at 06:05 PM.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    There is no real or physical damage done, just MOVE ON...

    better to get a few more assignment than to wrestle with such matter, just like argueing over an empty parking lot.

  8. #28
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Hmm.. So the default here is the the copyright is owned by the commissioner, ie the paying client, unless otherwise stated in the agreement. This also means that you cannot even keep the images you shot as a personal portfolio unless permission is granted. Hmm.. Next time must draft agreement to supercede the copyright clause liao.
    yes, unless there is a agreement to supercede the copyrights clause, but than again, if you would knew this in 2008, will you sign the agreement for me before I shoot?
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  9. #29

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    yes, unless there is a agreement to supercede the copyrights clause, but than again, if you would knew this in 2008, will you sign the agreement for me before I shoot?
    Why not? As a photographer myself, I am someone who believes that copyright should be owned by the creator. Publishing and commercial rights can be sold to the client. That is why when I post the images I will still give the credit that it's shot by you rather than claiming it to be my work, even though I own the publishing rights since I have paid for it. It's ethics, no point to claim a work I paid someone to do to be mine when it's not.
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 27th October 2009 at 06:41 PM.

  10. #30
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Why not? As a photographer myself, I am someone who believes that copyright should be owned by the creator. Publishing and commercial rights can be sold to the client. That is why when I post the images I will still give the credit that it's shot by you rather than claiming it to be my work, even though I own the publishing rights since I have paid for it. It's ethics, no point to claim a work I paid someone to do to be mine when it's not.
    acknowledge of art/works created by artist/photographers is different issue here. noting to do with the law.

    under the work for hire, the client/customer owns the copyrights, that does not mean the client/customer has created the art, but he is the lawful owner of the art, the client/customer able to do whatever he likes to the art, keep it, sell it, destroy it, the original creator has noting to say and can't do anything about it.

    so if you sign agreement, means that you give your ownership back to me...... not sure how many clients/customers will do that voluntarily...
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  11. #31

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    acknowledge of art/works created by artist/photographers is different issue here. noting to do with the law.

    under the work for hire, the client/customer owns the copyrights, that does not mean the client/customer has created the art, but he is the lawful owner of the art, the client/customer able to do whatever he likes to the art, keep it, sell it, destroy it, the original creator has noting to say and can't do anything about it.

    so if you sign agreement, means that you give your ownership back to me...... not sure how many clients/customers will do that voluntarily...
    Hmm.. can be quite confusing as to what the ownership can and cannot do. I think I am confused by it also.
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 28th October 2009 at 02:19 AM.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    That's why agreement and terms of agreement very important. It really depends on what has been agreed with the client, whether you have sold the rights to the images or whether you retain the rights. Copyright remains with the photographer but the right of ownership has to be spelt out or there will be disputes in cases like these. Owning a copyright does not automatically give you publishing and commercial rights.

    Best to get the restaurant to settle with the client. Afterall, if there is no agreement in place, the restaurant owner can choose to prevent the client from using his premises and food for a shoot too.
    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Unless the contract explicitly say you lose all the copyrights, you still get to keep the copyrights to the photos because you're the one who shot it, someone else cannot claim they shot the images. The person who did the setup owns the copyright for the entire setup. But the one who pays for everything owns all the commercial and publishing rights.

    Like the photos you shot for my family in your studio, I cannot claim the work to be mine even though I have paid you for it. But after paying, we agreed that I now own the rights as to how I want to use them.

    BTW, I'm just an engineer and not someone in the legal profession.
    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Why not? As a photographer myself, I am someone who believes that copyright should be owned by the creator. Publishing and commercial rights can be sold to the client. That is why when I post the images I will still give the credit that it's shot by you rather than claiming it to be my work, even though I own the publishing rights since I have paid for it. It's ethics, no point to claim a work I paid someone to do to be mine when it's not.

    Ha.. you are confusing everyone...

    Please read the Copyright Act... http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_versi...st&method=part

    I repeat. Under the law (we are not talking about ethics or moral issue here), once you received payment from someone, the copyright is no longer yours unless otherwise stated in the contract.

    This applies to even if you just received a "token of appreciation" (ang pows, etc) as mentioned by Vince in some other post.

    So, once you no longer have the copyright, you dont have rights to the photos anymore.. not even to publish the photos on your website, in your portfolio, sell your images, etc...

    Best is to draft out a contract saying that the copyrights still belong to you but the client can still use the photos for their own purpose.. But whether client will sign this contract is another issue...

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon View Post
    Hmm.. can be quite confusing as to what the ownership can and cannot do. I think I am confused by it also.

    There is nothing confusing la... Once you lose the copyrights simply mean the photo is not yours anymore... Just like giving something to your friends... he can do whatever he likes to the photos....

    however, if you insist on using the photos for your own gain, the person (copyright owner) can sue you for infringement of copyrights even if the photo was taken by you...

    A lot of people dont give a damn about copyrights of their photos because afterall, they are not going to sell the photos (as stock photos, etc) or they are not using the photos for their own commercial gain... so thats fine... Problems only arise when circumstances such as that of the TS suddenly happened...

  14. #34

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Hi guys. It's nice to see a lively discussion on copyright issues and from what I see it still leave a lot of doubts and confusion with some people myself included.

    From the many threads, posting and links (knowledge overload) I will try to grasp as much as I can to understand what constitute copyrights in Singapore context.

    So it seems I have lost the copyrights to the images I shot for my client as based on Singapore default copyright law without an agreement.

    Lesson learnt and moving on I definitely will try to speak to my lawyer to see what best I could do to draft up an agreement between clients and I for future shoots that both parties can happily sign. I will seek to keep the copyright of the images but allowing the client for their publishing and commercial use only restricting them from selling to 3rd party. Perhaps even requesting a credit when the images are published (I know this is tough).

    Here is an interesting scenario. What if both parties have their own contracts to sign and there are clauses that contradict each other? I signed theirs and they signed mine and we forgot to go into the nitty gritty of the T&Cs before we sign them? What then?

    Anyway here is an update of my story with my client and the restaurateur.

    I informed the restaurateur that I will need permission from my client to use some of the images for their website. I told my client about it and mentioned that if the restaurant could use a few pictures on their website in return for some acknowledgment. My client informed me that he will get in touch with the restaurateur.

    All this time I have maintained my professionalism talking to my client and restaurateur. I have strike a good rapport with both parties.

    The restaurateur came back to me today to say he has asked for payment for each picture which they didn't want to. The restaurateur told me not to worry about it as they would not proceed and get into any issues as the client is both our clients. I have earlier told the restaurateur that I would be happy to do a new shoot for them at a discount so we do not have to worry about copyright issues.

    The fact that my client tried to make some money out of my images isn't nice and I couldn't do anything about it. My client is London based (not Brits) flew to Singapore just for the event. The food shots setup was not the requirement in the first place as I was hired to cover mainly the product launch at the event. I was asked to take some of the food pictures with no requirement on how it should be done. I decided to go the extra miles to build a light tent (my first for on site shoot for food photography) and shoot the newly created food for his event. Have a look at some of my work - http://www.dragonshutter.com/clients/corl/

    In any case, I wouldn't pursue the matter with my client. Thankfully I didn't voice any of my opinion in the first place. They responded to say they wish to use me next year for a larger event.

    Out of curiosity, can the expert advise the right rate to charge for food photography? I would prefer to charge by the hour (perhaps $200) and not limit on number of items or angles.

    Thanks all,
    Stan

  15. #35

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Another way of going around it is to during the shoot, if your senses tinker you that this is a great shot which can be use in your portfolio, do a variation either composition, angle or lighting, as long as it is different from the one which you will give to your client.
    As long as there is slight difference, be it of items or props, so long it is not identical, this copyright thing will not apply. Bcoz it becomes arguementative if turns into legal tassle.

    However, there is still a gray area in above, so the 100% foolproof way is to
    create the scene over again ( self assignment ) and this time everythings belongs to you. No dispute.
    Last edited by cabbySHE; 29th October 2009 at 03:19 AM.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by dsphotography View Post
    Here is an interesting scenario. What if both parties have their own contracts to sign and there are clauses that contradict each other? I signed theirs and they signed mine and we forgot to go into the nitty gritty of the T&Cs before we sign them? What then?

    Stan

    Erm.. I dont understand why there are 2 contracts for one assignment... I thought there should only be one contract between both parties for a particular assignment?

    And normally the employer (the photographer) will negotiate with the client about his package, what he will take, for how long, charges, etc... And if the client wishes to include or change anything in the contract, the photographer will then make changes (if he agrees to the client's demand) to the contract?

    Of course, if the client has his own contract for the photographer, then you can ask them to include your terms and conditions in their contract to protect yourself. Save you the trouble of creating the contract.

    A contract signed between two parties mean that both are agreeable to the terms of the contract.

    See the Contract Law.
    http://www.singaporelaw.sg/content/ContractLaw.html

  17. #37
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    if you not agree to any of the terms stated in the contract, why should you sign in the first place, once you signed, it means that you has agree to the term.

    so how can it be to have two contract? it will become a you say he says situation, same as like no contract at all liao lor.....
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  18. #38

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    With too many of this signing and going thro the fine prints of contract documents, I am quite sure there will no second or repeated assignment.

    In businesses, it is always base on a little bit of give and take, most importantly, maintain a good rapport and have a good words of mouth recommendation, plus a smooth flow of assignment coming in.

    I would prefers to servicing 10 good clients rather than 50 culculative and mean customer.

    On the matter of who owns what is never of an important issue,( to me ) rather than more assignment and prompt payment, which will be my first concern.
    Last edited by cabbySHE; 30th October 2009 at 02:10 AM.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Quote Originally Posted by cabbySHE View Post
    With too many of this signing and going thro the fine prints of contract documents, I am quite sure there will no second or repeated assignment.

    In businesses, it is always base on a little bit of give and take, most importantly, maintain a good report and have a good words of mouth recommendation, plus a smooth flow of assignment coming in.

    I would prefers to servicing 10 good clients rather than 50 culculative and mean customer.

    On the matter of who owns what is never of an important issue,( to me ) rather than more assignment and prompt payment, which will be my first concern.
    I totally agree with you cabbyshee. That is my philosophy in life and in business as well. Give and take and just don't be too calculative. Say for instance I shoot studio portraits too and recently spent extended hours for a family of five not knowing whether they will purchase more prints and frames. They enjoyed the experience and my work and went on spending more than the shoot itself.

    As for the double contracts between a photographer and client, I have not yet have that experience. The only experience I had was recently shooting for a model from an agency. The agency signed my model release form and I signed his. We both didn't bother that much about going through the T & Cs.

    But say if I decided to have a contract and the client (agencies will definitely have their own contract) put forward theirs, then both parties will end up spending time reviewing and trying to negotiate T & Cs. That scenario will be counter productive. Like you said, we will be unsure if there will be second or repeat assignments. Maybe we can get away with small assignment or inexperience clients.

  20. #40

    Default Re: Photographer's rights to use client's images

    Yes, in fact this is the basic principle of business photography ( or any business ), a happy and satisfied customer will eventually bring in repeated jobs.
    In business sense means open up a fixed deposit account with interest coming in. So, why go close that account, unless you're not happy with the bank.

    End of the day, the more active account the better.

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