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Author Topic: Can I sell photos of a dog event?  (Read 2168 times)

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« on: February 18, 2012, 12:16 »
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This is not just a legal/copyright question, but also a more ethical one. 
I would like your opinion about this.

I am asked to be the dog photographer on a "Dog Adoption" event in April.  It's a whole day, and I am supposed to open a "mini studio" (kind of enclosed corner area in a big hall) where visitors with dogs can have photos taken (just the dog, or boss/dog).  After the event, I will put all images on a website page, to be ordered in several sizes, or downloaded for a fixed price.  The organizers of the event will not be paying me anything, so it's just for the photo sales.

I don't expect to earn much of this, but it will (I think) be fun, and after the event I will certainly be able to say that I know how to take dog pics!

Now here's the question :  suppose I take one or more really cute photos of beautiful or funny dogs, and I think these could be stock worthy.  Can I submit them to microstock agencies?

I'm not talking about photos with people on it, and not about "show dogs".  Just "posing dogs" of visitors to an event.
There won't be time to explain any details about stock photography to the owners, or ask any (written) permissions, because I think I'll only have 10 minutes per dog or so.

What do you think ?  Both legally, and "morally" ?


Ed

« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 12:22 »
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Yes.  you can do this.  These situations are exactly how "stock" got started....leftovers from commissioned shoots and images from commissioned shoots where exclusive rights expired.

ruxpriencdiam

  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 12:25 »
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Get a release from the owners just to CYA.

« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 12:25 »
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I cannot advise on legal as I am not a lawyer.

You may want to think of having releases signed for the dogs for stock purposes. That should put you in the clear.
A signature is always better.

Morally (and without a release), I personally wouldn't like to see someone else making money off of my pet in a studio setting.

« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 12:27 »
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I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner.

« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 12:34 »
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I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner.

Well, I've been doing that since 2006 ...  People bring puppies to my studio, receive free photos and dvd, and I sell them without a release on the stock sites.  These people always knew it was for stock, but I never asked to sign any release(s), as the stock agencies did not ask for releases either.  I have never had an MR request for a dog by an agency ever.
So from the agency's point of view, I don't need one.  But this event is different, as I don't know the owners, and they don't know I might sell the photos as stock.  And, as I said, I won't have the time to do any paperwork at the event.

« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 12:54 »
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I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner.

that would be so absurd..

ruxpriencdiam

  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 13:02 »
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I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner.

that would be so absurd..
This has been discussed before and there is  a site that requires a release, cant remember which one though.

« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 15:16 »
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I don't think you need any releases, but I think it will be safe for you to "give notice". If the dog owners are paying the organizer or ordering prints from you, it is only fair that they know the photos may be used for stock photo purposes. If you don't tell them at all that the photos may be used for your own purpose, it may give rise to the cause of action.

I suggest you either put up a sign or hand out the notice in your business card/brochure that all photos may be used for stock photos without further notice.

« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 15:25 »
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Good idea!  I was planning to hand out small cards with my website URL etc., so I can just add a notice on it that photos may be sold/licensed to other people beside the owner, unless they object to it.  I can also repeat that on my website page. 
Thanks!

WarrenPrice

« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 15:31 »
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Use the ones from owners who contact you for prints;
discount the print for a signed release.
 ;D

« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 15:39 »
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I guess you won't run into problems from the site .. but for an idea to get a release.  You could have releases there and offer something for free if they sign it.  They could sign the release while you take photos of the next dog.  A bit of increased headache however.

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 15:41 »
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I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner.

I have never been asked for a release for any of the dog shots in my portfolio.  

That said, I shoot the pet blessing every year for my church and have not sold any of the pictures from that event because it was not understood in advance that I would be selling the images.  

Anyka, I can understand the temptation, but if I were you I would at least ask permission before offering a picture of someone's pet in your portfolio, particularly if you are taking them under the arrangement that you are only offering prints for sale to the owner.  If you offer a free print and some flattery about their photogenic dog, probably most owners would not object.  

« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 15:54 »
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A free print - not a bad idea. 
I don't intend to put lots of photos of that event on the micro sites.
I would just like to keep the option open that I could do that in case one or more images would really be great, not just nice portraits, but really funny.

Leaf, I can hardly ask MR's for all the dogs in return for free images, because if the photos turn out "just portraits", I would be obliged to send all owners free prints   :o
But if I do have one or more "funny dogs", then the chance is real that the owner(s) will order prints, and then I could offer free prints for an MR (but only to them, not to all dog owners).

Lisa, tell me more about the pet blessing day!   Are they really "blessed" ?   Who's doing the blessing?
How do you organize the prints afterwards? 

« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 16:09 »
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Well, if you  have been doing it since 2006, I wonder why you are asking the question?

Your original post:

Quote
This is not just a legal/copyright question, but also a more ethical one.
I would like your opinion about this.

I am asked to be the dog photographer on a "Dog Adoption" event in April.  It's a whole day, and I am supposed to open a "mini studio" (kind of enclosed corner area in a big hall) where visitors with dogs can have photos taken (just the dog, or boss/dog).  After the event, I will put all images on a website page, to be ordered in several sizes, or downloaded for a fixed price.  The organizers of the event will not be paying me anything, so it's just for the photo sales.

I don't expect to earn much of this, but it will (I think) be fun, and after the event I will certainly be able to say that I know how to take dog pics!

Now here's the question :  suppose I take one or more really cute photos of beautiful or funny dogs, and I think these could be stock worthy.  Can I submit them to microstock agencies?

I'm not talking about photos with people on it, and not about "show dogs".  Just "posing dogs" of visitors to an event.
There won't be time to explain any details about stock photography to the owners, or ask any (written) permissions, because I think I'll only have 10 minutes per dog or so.

What do you think ?  Both legally, and "morally" ?

So let me amend my post from "I don't think you can sell shots of a dog that belongs to someone without having a release from the owner." to:

I don't think you should sell shots of someone else's dog unless you specifically ask them if it's ok to use for stock and sell the photos or you get a signed release. You are asking legally (I am not an attorney) and morally, so I guess my answer addresses the morality of making money off of someone else's property without them knowing it. The reason I am saying this is because I have run into this same issue, except as it applies to horses.

But pretty much what Lisa said. In some way, you should ask permission.

If you have already been doing it and getting away with it, then don't worry about it!

« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012, 16:10 »
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Here is a bit from Dan Heller's excellent site on Model Releases for pets:

Quote
Animals do not share the same rights as humans, much to the dismay of PETA. So, photos of animals invariably do not require releases. The "exceptions", such as specific and well-known animals, are protected, not because they are "animals", but because their likenesses are trademarked. An advertiser can't use a photo of Lassie, the famous TV dog, in an ad without a release from whoever owns that trademark. Of course, it'd be incumbent on a litigant to prove that the photo is, in fact, Lassie. Generally, the real complaint would come about because the user of the image used the name and "goodwill" of Lassie as a form of promotion. In this case, the claim would more likely be that the ad said something that wasn't permitted, and the photo wouldn't really be that much of a concern. (But, while you're in the courtroom, why not add it to the list of claims?)

If you're looking to make a calendar of cute animals, and you're using candid photos you took in public, you are free to do so without releases from the animals' owners.

On the other hand, if you photographed the animals in a private settings, not in public view, such as a photo studio, you need to get a release because it's a private business transaction


The site is at http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html#8.3

Steve

« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012, 16:21 »
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Good idea!  I was planning to hand out small cards with my website URL etc., so I can just add a notice on it that photos may be sold/licensed to other people beside the owner, unless they object to it.  I can also repeat that on my website page. 
Thanks!

And to me the card idea seems a little underhanded, as in the hubbub of the event, most people won't even read or comprehend what you are saying. Asking permission or for a release is just a way to protect yourself. It could certainly get ugly fast if one of the participants sees their dog photo somewhere and then realizes you used it from an event that really wasn't about that at all. Posting it on your website is after the fact, and again, deceitful. Don't forget, most pet owners feel like their pets are part of their family, even though Dan Heller says they don't have any rights.

But hey, that's just me.  ;)


lisafx

« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2012, 16:24 »
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Lisa, tell me more about the pet blessing day!   Are they really "blessed" ?   Who's doing the blessing?
How do you organize the prints afterwards? 


They usually do the pet blessing at my church around October, in honor of St. Francis.  The ministers at my church bless each animal individually, give them a treat, and a certificate.  It's really sweet.  Probably more for the owners than the pets, but who knows - my last dog got blessed every year and she lived a healthy life to the age of 16.  :D

Because I donate my time, I don't do prints.  Usually upload to snapfish or someplace and let people order their own prints.  I have one older gallery from when I used to post them on pbase.  You can check it out here: http://www.pbase.com/unityph/pet_blessing_november_2006

« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2012, 16:27 »
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^^^ I'd agree with DH's advice. I've shot dogs in outdoors settings, whilst being walked by their owners, and used them for stock. Because I'm not shooting on private property then there's no issue.

The shoot you are proposing though will presumeably be on private property and that makes a difference in itself.

The likelihood of getting 'caught' is also much greater if the photo setting is recognisable or if the dog's owner has seen (or has a copy of) an actual shot that they later discover being used for stock. I daresay that one pedigree dog looks much like another of the same breed unless there are identifiable features (such as a collar or distinctive marks).

I would suggest that the potential for sales of 'dog portraits' is probably fairly low anyway unless you are going to put the time and effort to produce something truly unique and special __ in which case you might as well go the extra mile and have PRs signed. What you have described is not worth the risk IMHO.

« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2012, 16:28 »
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Quote
It could certainly get ugly fast if one of the participants sees their dog photo somewhere and then realizes you used it from an event that really wasn't about that at all. Posting it on your website is after the fact, and again, deceitful.

I agree that in the US you can be sued for almost anything, regardless of whether they have any chance of a successful case. So a release removes a bit of that possibility. The other thing that Dan H is very clear on (regardless of whether you get a frivolous law suit) is that the final user of the image is the one that risks copyright or other claims, not the producer or agency.

Steve

« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2012, 16:55 »
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If you have already been doing it and getting away with it, then don't worry about it!

No, sorry for the misunderstanding :  I have been selling pet photos without an MR since 2006, but with the permission of the owners (not in writing). 
I started this topic because the upcoming event is something different.  It's not in my studio, and it's with dogs of people I don't know.

As for your other post CClapper, you're right that people would not really like it if they found an ad with their dog in it without their permission - even if I don't need that permission according to Dan Heller.

I think I'll go with Lisa's advice and offer prints for their permission.  I'm not going to ask for MR's though, I would only do that if the dog were very rare, or a prize winning animal of a big show. 

Gostwyck, you're right, the event is on private property (a riding school), and indeed, it can make a difference if the owners have a copy of the photo to prove it's their dog - though they would not go to court, it's Belgium here  :)

Thanks for the link Lisa!  You have some great cute shots there!

lisafx

« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2012, 17:24 »
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Gostwyck, you're right, the event is on private property (a riding school), and indeed, it can make a difference if the owners have a copy of the photo to prove it's their dog - though they would not go to court, it's Belgium here  :)

Thanks for the link Lisa!  You have some great cute shots there!

Thanks Anyka :D

Good luck with your event!  Hope you will consider posting here some of the cuter pics you get, so we dog lovers can enjoy them.   (with permission of course!  ;) )

Ed

« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2012, 17:35 »
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Quote
It could certainly get ugly fast if one of the participants sees their dog photo somewhere and then realizes you used it from an event that really wasn't about that at all. Posting it on your website is after the fact, and again, deceitful.

I agree that in the US you can be sued for almost anything, regardless of whether they have any chance of a successful case. So a release removes a bit of that possibility. The other thing that Dan H is very clear on (regardless of whether you get a frivolous law suit) is that the final user of the image is the one that risks copyright or other claims, not the producer or agency.

Steve

A release does not remove the possibility of getting sued.  Read the ASMP guide on releases.

These are dogs....I'm a pet lover....one of my dogs is posted on Veterinary websites worldwide and is one of my best sellers.  I've never had to show or present a release.  It's at Shutterstock, Dreamstime, etc.  Quite frankly, the only thing stopping you from submitting the images to the sites is you.  You are in a public place, set up as a photo booth.  There is no reasonable expectation of privacy.  You could also market the images of people posing with their pets as editorial or as RM unreleased images on Alamy.

Do whatever you think is best for you and your business  ;D

« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2012, 19:32 »
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.

« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2012, 23:29 »
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Don't forget to get a photo of the dog holding the release (after their pawprint of course)  ;)

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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