The topic here concerns the photographer once he signed the client's contract gives up all copyright but that is not all. The photographer has to agree to indemnify and defend the client if it infringes the rights of any party, any cost, damages, liabilities etc.
I wonder how many photographers do really read through their contracts given to them and understand what they are in for. Getting paid for a job is one thing but if the contract doesn't protect the photographer against any indemnity etc, then we will end up in a far worst situation. We might have to cough up money to settle the case.
I have recently started shooting events for a magazine. The type of events varies but some can be high profile public events. I have been given a contract to sign recently. I decided to read through the contract carefully. No one likes to read a contract which is usually written in complex jargons.
I am concerned with two paragraphs in the contract as follow which is reworded as not to reveal too much. The original paragraph is one long paragraph that you need to hold your breathe just to read them. I have broken it up to give clarity.
1. When you sign the contract, you assign and transfer all your rights in and to the work exclusively to the client. This include all worldwide copyrights, trademarks and similar rights. Includes all extensions and renewals thereof. The client and its assignees and licensees shall have the right to use the same (in part or whole) by any means, including without limitation publication in the print media and electronic media including websites worldwide, without payment of additional compensation to you or any other party. The photographer further waives his moral rights in and to the work.
2. Photographer agrees to indemnify, defend and hold the client, its parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, free and harmless from and against any and all claims or demands. Alleging that our exercise of any of the rights purported to be granted herein that infringes any rights of any party. And from and against any costs, expenses, damages or liabilities, including reasonable legal fees, arising from any breach or alleged breach of any representation or warranty given herein.
For the first paragraph, the client ask for complete unlimited use of the photographs locally and worldwide indefinitely. I receive only a small fee for the event shoot and they are asking for everything.
How best can I negotiate for this with the client? Can I ever use the images in my portfolios?
The second paragraph is what really worry me. It states that in case of indemnity, damages, liabilities, legal issues, the client will not be at fault. The photographer is responsible. On one hand they want you to transfer all rights to them but they wouldn't be responsible.
My take on this is, the photographer is assigned to cover the event based on information provided by the client. The photographer is on site with instructions from the client. Why shouldn't the client carry any responsibility? The photographer is there to take pictures and not conduct any other business.
Has anyone have this experience before concerning their contract with their client?
I will discuss with the client my concerns. The magazine has other photographers and I would imagine most would have signed the contract. Can I have my own contract as well? I think it is unlikely the client will sign it.
The other option is to have my contract signed by the host or organiser of the event where it protects me in case of any indemnity or legal issues. The contract will go on the line that I have been instructed by so and so to be present on site, to cover the event, with his permission to shoot any body who might be present in the building/venue etc.
What is your opinion on this? I would appreciate anyone's feedback based on your experience. This topic will certainly invite some lively discussion.