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Thread: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

  1. #1

    Default Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Hi all,

    Sorry if i post this thread in the wrong place.

    This thread is all about copyrights of a freelance photographer.

    Let me state what happened first.

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

    I had done a pre-wedding shots for a couple as a freelance photographer. And there was no black and white signed regrading the copyrights of the photos that i produced.

    However, two of my photos came out in the Magazine (Feb 2010 issue, not mention the name of the magazine first), as a advertisement for a wedding planning company( not mention the company name also), My pictures were used in the full magazine size with their contacts and service information. And there has no information about me. ie my name, or the photographer name was not displayed.

    I called the couple and she said her makeup artist took those pictures from her and she also did not know the MUA is going to use those pictures as a advertisement.

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

    I really need help now:

    1. Do i own the copyrights of those images that i produced? although the couple paid for them?

    2. If there has no black and white agreement signed, do i still have the chance to fight for my rights?

    3. If there is, what and how should I proceed?


    Thank you so much for viewing this post.

    Jack
    Bokelicious Photography : www.bokelicious.net --- Facebook.com/bokelicious

  2. #2
    Member MobilR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Jack,

    Unless the photographer takes pictures for a company (more on this later), the photographer is, and always will be, the copyright owner of the picture he took. It's only the usage rights that is governed by a contract, whether it be model release, or editorial contract for publication (eg. with a newspaper or magazine), or a commercial license.

    I would just send the MUA a bill for using your image, and if they don't comply (and if you think it's worth the hassle), follow up with your lawyer. I don't know how they do things in Singapore, but in Europe this would be the case.

    If you work taking pictures for a company, sometimes there is a clause in your employment contract that states any intellectual property created while you are under employment automatically belongs to the company.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    TS, do follow up with us on what is your course of action and the outcomes. I am sure there will be plenty of photographers out there keen to know

  4. #4

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by MobilR View Post
    Jack,

    Unless the photographer takes pictures for a company (more on this later), the photographer is, and always will be, the copyright owner of the picture he took. It's only the usage rights that is governed by a contract, whether it be model release, or editorial contract for publication (eg. with a newspaper or magazine), or a commercial license.

    I would just send the MUA a bill for using your image, and if they don't comply (and if you think it's worth the hassle), follow up with your lawyer. I don't know how they do things in Singapore, but in Europe this would be the case.

    If you work taking pictures for a company, sometimes there is a clause in your employment contract that states any intellectual property created while you are under employment automatically belongs to the company.
    Hi MobiIR,

    just done a research, which actually disappointed me.

    according to research, in singapore, if you are a freelance photographer, and you charge for your shooting without any other agreement signed, your client owns the complete copyrights of your work.
    Bokelicious Photography : www.bokelicious.net --- Facebook.com/bokelicious

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by MobilR View Post
    Jack,

    Unless the photographer takes pictures for a company (more on this later), the photographer is, and always will be, the copyright owner of the picture he took. It's only the usage rights that is governed by a contract, whether it be model release, or editorial contract for publication (eg. with a newspaper or magazine), or a commercial license.

    I would just send the MUA a bill for using your image, and if they don't comply (and if you think it's worth the hassle), follow up with your lawyer. I don't know how they do things in Singapore, but in Europe this would be the case.

    If you work taking pictures for a company, sometimes there is a clause in your employment contract that states any intellectual property created while you are under employment automatically belongs to the company.
    post #4, Photo Copyrights


    since TS is being paid, he no long owning the images, he has no case here, even the magazine want to give credit for using the photos, they will only give it to the wedding couple, which is they are the rightful owner of these images now.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  6. #6
    Member MobilR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Alas, Jack, you may be right there. As this is a commissioned work (work for hire), copyright usually belongs to the commissioner (ie. the couple whose wedding you shot), unless agreed beforehand.

    (The full writeup can be found on the IPOS website)

    Unless the commissioner forbade the MUA from using their pictures as part of the advertisement, there is no case.

    You could just contact the MUA regarding giving credits where it's due, and maybe you could just benefit from having a MUA as a contact, which could lead to future gigs together, yours or theirs.

    Or, you could take another angle and approach the MUA to ask about using the advertisement as a tearsheet for your portfolio. Hey, you're now a published photographer.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    post #4, Photo Copyrights


    since TS is being paid, he no long owning the images, he has no case here, even the magazine want to give credit for using the photos, they will only give it to the wedding couple, which is they are the rightful owner of these images now.
    thanks catchlights,

    that;s exactly my research, haiz... disappointed.

    J
    Bokelicious Photography : www.bokelicious.net --- Facebook.com/bokelicious

  8. #8

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by jackzhangxiao View Post

    ...as a advertisement for a wedding planning company( not mention the company name also), My pictures were used in the full magazine size with their contacts and service information. And there has no information about me. ie my name, or the photographer name was not displayed.


    OMG. I'm quite disgusted with what had happened to you, TS. I think it is despicable and unethical of that wedding planning company to use someone else's photographs. If they want to advertise, they should hire a photographer instead.

    And that MUA had ulterior motive as well, since she did not me ntion what she is going to use the photos fo r.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by simplewhale View Post
    OMG. I'm quite disgusted with what had happened to you, TS. I think it is despicable and unethical of that wedding planning company to use someone else's photographs. If they want to advertise, they should hire a photographer instead.

    And that MUA had ulterior motive as well, since she did not me ntion what she is going to use the photos fo r.
    Thanks simplewhale,

    I actually dun mind if the MUA use the photos to show off the dress and makeup skills. At least let me know.

    Some more, she use it to ADVERTISING for her wedding planning company. I really found it not comfortable.

    The best thing is the couple also dun know about this, the couple was like a shock when i told them about this magazine thing. haiz....

    J
    Bokelicious Photography : www.bokelicious.net --- Facebook.com/bokelicious

  10. #10

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    then u should work with the couple to get $$ from both the mua and the wedding planner company?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by soeypixels View Post
    then u should work with the couple to get $$ from both the mua and the wedding planner company?
    Not cool.

    If the couple is angry, they will seek their own legal redress. And if they do so, you don't want them telling the MUA that Jack said we can sue or Jack said whatever. While it is unethical for the MUA/Wedding Planner to use pics without the couple's knowledge or approval, co-wedding vendors are not people I want to leave bad blood behind.

    No doubt they preyed on you/your couple, but in the first place you had allowed that to happen by not protecting your business.

    I would treat it as lesson learned and move on. Take care dude.
    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

  12. #12

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Not cool.

    If the couple is angry, they will seek their own legal redress. And if they do so, you don't want them telling the MUA that Jack said we can sue or Jack said whatever. While it is unethical for the MUA/Wedding Planner to use pics without the couple's knowledge or approval, co-wedding vendors are not people I want to leave bad blood behind.

    No doubt they preyed on you/your couple, but in the first place you had allowed that to happen by not protecting your business.

    I would treat it as lesson learned and move on. Take care dude.
    thanks.

    this is what i am think now. I did email the company for explanation, however, if they insist, i cant do anything about it. I will just treat it as a lesson and be more careful next time. Black and white is needed.

    J
    Bokelicious Photography : www.bokelicious.net --- Facebook.com/bokelicious

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    post #4, Photo Copyrights

    since TS is being paid, he no long owning the images, he has no case here, even the magazine want to give credit for using the photos, they will only give it to the wedding couple, which is they are the rightful owner of these images now.
    Hmm I read the linked post, and that's new to me. I guess the Singapore position is different from the US position (as per your post, I'm not acquainted with the US situation, but not altogether surprising given the US and Singapore legal systems have no real links).

    The surprising thing to me is that the Singapore position on this is also different from the UK position which is very interesting given the general links between the two. I'm not sure why the departure in assigning rights to the commissioner, but I'm glad I'm in the UK now.

    Anyone know the origination of the Singapore position, or is it just gradual case law evolution from the UK position?

  14. #14
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by jackzhangxiao View Post
    thanks catchlights,

    that;s exactly my research, haiz... disappointed.

    J
    you are welcomed.

    anyway, it already printed, the publishers probley just give you a few complimentary copy at most.

    the only person can pursue this case is the couple now, see how far they want to go lor.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  15. #15
    Senior Member hanqiang1011's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by jackzhangxiao View Post
    Thanks simplewhale,

    I actually dun mind if the MUA use the photos to show off the dress and makeup skills. At least let me know.

    Some more, she use it to ADVERTISING for her wedding planning company. I really found it not comfortable.

    The best thing is the couple also dun know about this, the couple was like a shock when i told them about this magazine thing. haiz....

    J
    I think in this case, you should tell the couple demanding the MUA for why do they appear on the magazine without their knowledge. For an individual whose image, artwork, works of creation, appearing on publications without that individual's permission, he/she have the rights to press charges against the author, publisher or whoever uses that individual's image, artwork or works of creation. And since you took the photos and concerns of the couple, the 3 of you shold meet go and ask the MUA. Face to face and out of court settlement is always the course of way.

    Hope a meeting between 3 parties will help.

    Cheers,
    Jack also
    Last edited by hanqiang1011; 22nd February 2010 at 12:28 PM.

  16. #16
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Hmm I read the linked post, and that's new to me. I guess the Singapore position is different from the US position (as per your post, I'm not acquainted with the US situation, but not altogether surprising given the US and Singapore legal systems have no real links).

    The surprising thing to me is that the Singapore position on this is also different from the UK position which is very interesting given the general links between the two. I'm not sure why the departure in assigning rights to the commissioner, but I'm glad I'm in the UK now.

    Anyone know the origination of the Singapore position, or is it just gradual case law evolution from the UK position?
    perhaps nothing has been changes since 1965...

    anyway I don't know anything about UK, but heard that something is cooking right now..

    Copyright Act Update
    MPA is represented on the British Photographic Council, which is helping to protect photographers' rights in relation to proposed copyright changes by the Government.
    If you wish to learn a little more about how the changes will affect you, please visit the following links:
    www.british-photographic-council.org
    www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=871747
    www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=832414
    www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/533736.php
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    All those are working towards strengthening photographer copyright rather than weakening it. Which again is good news but moot if we can't take pictures in the UK without being accused of terrorist activity

  18. #18

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by jackzhangxiao View Post
    thanks catchlights,

    that;s exactly my research, haiz... disappointed.

    J
    Hi there,

    I think you should not feel dissapointed but rather, should spend the time you spend resenting the problem and do something about it.

    This is a wake up call for those who is thinking that your image don't worth anything and just charge a minimum charge to do any shoot.

    I am sorry to say that, but it is very important for anyone who wants to (or at least try to) work as a photographer to understand the legal aspect.

    Move on and have a contract with copyright statement signed by the couple.

    Regards,

    Hart

  19. #19

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Not cool.

    If the couple is angry, they will seek their own legal redress. And if they do so, you don't want them telling the MUA that Jack said we can sue or Jack said whatever. While it is unethical for the MUA/Wedding Planner to use pics without the couple's knowledge or approval, co-wedding vendors are not people I want to leave bad blood behind.

    No doubt they preyed on you/your couple, but in the first place you had allowed that to happen by not protecting your business.

    I would treat it as lesson learned and move on. Take care dude.
    if the photographer signed an agreement with the couple to retain his rights
    how does it help since is the mua / wedding planner used the pic for advert?

    i am sure no photographer would ask the the mua/planner to sign an agreement to retain his rights. since the photographer is hire directly by the couple i assume in this case.

    so TS:
    how does the mua/planner have a copy of your photos?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Freelance Photographer Copyrights

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Hmm I read the linked post, and that's new to me. I guess the Singapore position is different from the US position (as per your post, I'm not acquainted with the US situation, but not altogether surprising given the US and Singapore legal systems have no real links).

    The surprising thing to me is that the Singapore position on this is also different from the UK position which is very interesting given the general links between the two. I'm not sure why the departure in assigning rights to the commissioner, but I'm glad I'm in the UK now.

    Anyone know the origination of the Singapore position, or is it just gradual case law evolution from the UK position?
    Well, looking at this:
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy/c-o...mmissioned.htm

    ... it appears that the position in Singapore was similar to that in the UK up till 1 Aug 1989 when the UK amended its laws.

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