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Author Topic: Copyright question  (Read 9632 times)

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« on: April 11, 2009, 16:38 »
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I took images of the Volvo Ocean Race today, as they departed from Rio.  I will submit them in macrostock sites as editorial.

So, I understand such images may not be used commercially without a release.  Does it also mean that I can not sell them as prints myself?  If so, why?  It is an open event.

Regards,
Adelaide


« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2009, 17:38 »
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So, I understand such images may not be used commercially without a release.  Does it also mean that I can not sell them as prints myself?  If so, why?  It is an open event.

Regards,
Adelaide

What country do you live in?

WarrenPrice

« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2009, 17:49 »
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I took images of the Volvo Ocean Race today, as they departed from Rio.  I will submit them in macrostock sites as editorial.

So, I understand such images may not be used commercially without a release.  Does it also mean that I can not sell them as prints myself?  If so, why?  It is an open event.

Regards,
Adelaide

I have scads of images like that ... but of motorcycle racing.  Some of my stuff is more than 25 years old.  I've found a use for it at CutCaster as Exclusive Editorial.  Some media specializes in "Vintage" images. 

I'm not sure that your country is the same as the US but I cannot sell it as prints.  What I have tried in the past is to get releases from the riders and use it in calendars.  That didn't work.  A few of them ignored me.  Nine month calendars don't sell very well.   ;D

« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2009, 18:10 »
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Plus you dont argue with those guys  :'(

« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 18:47 »
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I live in Brazil.  Does it matter?

Warren, in your case, were the photos taken in a racing track?  I understand that when we pay for an entrance fee it is written somewhere that photos can only be taken for personal use.  I can make a poster of a photo fo Shamu, but I can not sell them.  What I don't understand is how this can be applied to an open air event.  It doesn't make sense to me.  It's ok that images can't be used for advertisement, but why can't I sell a printed copy of a photo I took from the beach?

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2009, 20:30 »
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I live in Brazil.  Does it matter?

Yeah it does because the rules vary from country to country. I'm not familiar with Brazil's laws, and I can't read Portuguese so I can't help. Sorry.

@Warren -  in the US the rules are different for art prints vs. commercial use (calendars), and when you're talking about releases from the riders you're not talking about copyright, instead you're talking about the right of publicity, a subset of the right of privacy, which can vary from state to state.

« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2009, 21:21 »
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Yeah it does because the rules vary from country to country.

And what if it was in the USA?

« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2009, 21:41 »
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Yeah it does because the rules vary from country to country.

And what if it was in the USA?

Which state and what exactly are you trying to do? Art prints, calendars, etc?

WarrenPrice

« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2009, 22:13 »
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I live in Brazil.  Does it matter?

Warren, in your case, were the photos taken in a racing track?  I understand that when we pay for an entrance fee it is written somewhere that photos can only be taken for personal use.  I can make a poster of a photo fo Shamu, but I can not sell them.  What I don't understand is how this can be applied to an open air event.  It doesn't make sense to me.  It's ok that images can't be used for advertisement, but why can't I sell a printed copy of a photo I took from the beach?

Regards,
Adelaide

Yes, Adelaide, I was at race tracks but not paid entrance.  I had press credentials. 
As YingYang stated, I am not allowed to use images of another person for commercial purposes (advertising, promotions, or etc) without that person's permission.  It's pretty much the same reason Stock will not accept the images without a model release. 
Also, the same applies to registered trademark and/or logos ... except that would be a property release.
That makes me wonder if a Model Release would be enough.  Would I also need property releases for the machine he rode and the clothing and equipment he wore?  It is very confusing.


« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2009, 13:26 »
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And what if it was in the USA?
Which state and what exactly are you trying to do? Art prints, calendars, etc?

Wow, this is more insane than I had thought!  :)

Imagine this: I was taking my pics yesterday, when I finished a guy asked me if I would send him photos by email (that part is true).  Let's suppose that instead I would say I would sell him prints of the boats. Would that be illegal? Why?

I can understand that it might be illegal to release the image for others to make a profit in prints, calendars, whatever.  But if *I* take the photos of an open air event, no credentials required, the images were taken from a public area and not from a VIP or press area, why can't *I* sell prints/posters using *my* photos?

Regards,
Adelaide
« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 13:28 by madelaide »

WarrenPrice

« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2009, 16:09 »
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I tend to agree with you, Adelaide, especially if you are simply selling them locally.  My understanding is that "at worst" the person/product in the photo would issue a "cease and desist."  Easier to get forgiveness than permission.   ;)

I'm am processing some images from an event this past weekend that I plan to offer as "FREE" screensavers.  I'm not so sure that I can do even that.  I've asked one of the agencies for clarification.

Unless you plan to use the image for general distribution (stock) I, personally, would take the money.


« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2009, 18:02 »
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Hey Adelaide,

Don't stress...  as long as you're selling the prints for "personal use only" there are no problems.  I've shot the Volvo racing around the world and have sold many personal prints.  In shooting professional sport, read your accreditation terms & conditionals carefully...  some sports have added you can't sell personal prints, but not all have these new clauses.  Enjoy! 

I watched (on TV  :'() the boats come in and out of Rio and it look beautiful.

For some reasons, simple questions can't get simple answers on this site anymore.   ::)

Cheers,  JC

« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2009, 00:09 »
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Hey Adelaide,

Don't stress...  as long as you're selling the prints for "personal use only" there are no problems. 
...
For some reasons [sic], simple questions can't get simple answers on this site anymore.   ::)

Cheers,  JC
As for Adelaide's actual question: The closest to a "simple" answer I could find is in Brazil's copyright law, Lei no. 9610, Chapter IV, Article 48, that allows "works permanently situated in public areas [to be] represented freely, by means of paintings, audiovisuals, drawings, photographs and procedures." That's a more photographer friendly law than we have here in the US so I suspect you'd be ok Adelaide, but you'd still want to check with someone that actually speak the language about the laws of your country.

@JC-SL - I think it is strange that people are willing to criticize others that are actually researching the correct answers and trying to help. I'm sorry that giving off-the-cuff "simple" answers to questions about the laws of foreign countries isn't my style. I prefer to error on the side of caution. For instance, your answer would be wrong here in the US. I own a sailboat and my mainsail has a unique design by a local artist. He'd be within his rights to sue for infringement if someone were to sell photographs of my boat. Such is the world we live in.

For some reasons [sic], people can't give thoughtful, researched answers without others rolling their eyes on this site anymore.  ???

« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2009, 15:47 »
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Yingyang0... usually on your side as you seem to keep a clear and level head (that must be your legal background).  Looks like you've been on this site too long and are getting paranoid that everyone is talking trash but you.  Chill and get over it.   The question was can I sell a personal print, simple answer is yes. Not going into the specifics of every scenario like your local artist etc... there are no grounds for legal action if I sell the pic to my neighbor to hang in his boat shed.  None.

My simple answer comment was general and not specific to this post (sorry  ::))... I read threads that constantly get off track, get nasty and abusive. I once loved to grab a morning coffee and read through the posts as I found them to be informative and entertaining.  Now I don't...  I hope it's not me?  :-\

Yingyang0..  keep up the good work as you're one a the few real legal minds that troll here. If today is beautiful... go for a sail and get out of the office.  I'm off to the beach right now as the surfing is on.

Enjoy and keep selling sailing pics!  The sport can use any promotion it can get right now.

Cheers,  JC

(all said in a friendly tone.)

« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2009, 16:52 »
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Such is the world we live in.

Yingyang, thanks for your research. It is a strange world indeed. I think there is too much stress on "copyrights" and "ownership". Ericsson, Telefnica and Puma are sponsoring the boats, and IMHO they should be happy if people hang photos of the ships with their names on the wall.

It sounds a bit insane that I can photograph, print and hang a photo I took of the boats, but I can not sell a copy to the guy who was next to me, who did not have the equipment or the expertise to take such a photo himself (even if I can here, as you say I could not in the USA). Of course, it is unlikely that I have a problem with this type of personal approach (even in the USA) but it would be a problem if I had the images in Smugmug, Art.com or something similar. It is still insane.  :)

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2009, 17:50 »
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I interpret that whole "as long as you are only using the photographs for personal use" thing way differently than people posting above. If I go to Sea World and take a great shot of Shamu and want to make a poster of it to hang on my wall, I can do that. If I want to make 5 posters and give them to family to hang on their walls, I can do that. The minute I sell a poster, that becomes a commercial transaction, meaning I could get a cease and desist notice at any time. I am certain Shamu is a property of Sea World, and I am guessing even his name is copyrighted. If you sell that poster to anyone, you must have a property release from Sea World.

This is the way I interpret that whole thing. I am not an attorney or have any legal background at all...that's just been my interpretation since day one of selling stock photos. I hope I am wrong!

« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2009, 19:50 »
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If you sell that poster to anyone, you must have a property release from Sea World.

I agree, but then you are talking about an attraction in a closed place, and it seems they even write this is the ticket to make it clearer.  Of course this doesn't prevent one from selling on a personal basis - to a neighbour, for instance.

Regards,
Adelaide


« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2009, 20:13 »
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I interpret that whole "as long as you are only using the photographs for personal use" thing way differently than people posting above. If I go to Sea World and take a great shot of Shamu and want to make a poster of it to hang on my wall, I can do that. If I want to make 5 posters and give them to family to hang on their walls, I can do that. The minute I sell a poster, that becomes a commercial transaction, meaning I could get a cease and desist notice at any time. I am certain Shamu is a property of Sea World, and I am guessing even his name is copyrighted. If you sell that poster to anyone, you must have a property release from Sea World.

This is the way I interpret that whole thing. I am not an attorney or have any legal background at all...that's just been my interpretation since day one of selling stock photos. I hope I am wrong!

I think the same as you.  the question that comes my mind is like the linux cd's you see, where you pay not for the software but for the cd, maintenance on a burner, labelling, time spent processing etc etc.  If you are only charging for your costs of printing, framing, photoshop, etc is this a commercial transaction?

to earlier if you take a pic me sprawled over my ferrari (maybe in a couple of years :)), ferrari dont allow you to sell it (probably only wife would buy it, but thats not the point :)) because of copyright on their vehicle.

Phil
« Last Edit: April 13, 2009, 22:26 by Phil »

« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2009, 21:57 »
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...  Nine month calendars don't sell very well.   ;D

Priceless!

« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2009, 23:00 »
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to earlier if you take a pic me sprawled over my ferrari (maybe in a couple of years :)), ferrari dont allow you to sell it (probably only wife would buy it, but thats not the point :)) because of copyright on their vehicle.

Phil

Now there's an image! ;D

« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2009, 08:17 »
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to earlier if you take a pic me sprawled over my ferrari (maybe in a couple of years :)), ferrari dont allow you to sell it (probably only wife would buy it, but thats not the point :)) because of copyright on their vehicle.

Phil

Now there's an image! ;D

*shaking head to get image out of head*

It would be useful if someone on this forum who sells "personal-use" prints would chime in (explaining legal rights/issues for the respective country - ideally after consulting a legal representative).

As some stated above I am totally under the impression that as soon as there is money involved I tap into commercial grounds which could heavily upset potential copyright owners.

Remember without the boat, yacht, race car or whatever you are photographing the picture would be quite boring. So in the end only the years of engineering and millions of $$$ from their sponsors make it possible to even take that picture. Now most of the people think that they can make money off of that because the guy next to them doesn't have a camera with them at the time or doesn't know how to handle a D-SLR?  ???

Sounds a bit like wishful thinking to me.

Or let's look at this: You take a photo of a race car (Nascar, Formula 1 whatever). In order to be sure that you can sell your photo as a print simply contact the manufacturer of the car, the racing team, the driver, the tire manufacturer, the sponsors, the management of the race track where you took the picture and find out if they approve it. If yes, then I believe you have solid grounds to charge money for prints. I know that people do this all the time but I think they simply fly under the radar and that they might get away with it while they're lucky...

Here's another one: Let's say you take a photo and sell it through SS and it gets downloaded and used for a huge billboard along a major highway. Let's say the advertising company that bought the picture made some amazing piece of advertising out of it so that people would want to have a picture taken with them and the board in the background (or maybe without them in the frame if they are not so pretty...). Now since not all people who would want to do that, know how to work a camera, they would have to ask someone else to take the picture for them. Since some professionals won't work for free you would have to pay them in order to get that picture taken and printed.
So is this still "ok" to see that along that highway people take pics of your billboard photo charging money for prints? I look at it that way, without your photo the billboard wouldn't exist as such and therefore there wouldn't be any picture the people would want. So since your work is an integral part of this photo I believe you have rights to claim compensation.

I understand that this is by far not common practice but I don't think that it's legal either. In many, many, many (did I say many?) cases the copyright owners, models or property owners don't have a clue what happens with their unreleased stuff.

« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2009, 16:05 »
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Ok, let's play with another example.  A colleague discussing this matter in private with me said "Imagine if you were taking pictures of someones child, you wouldn't be able to sell that. How about and couple kissing in public?"

However, we have these for sale online in many places, obviously with no releases, and the people photographed there were only identified years later.



So why are these allowed?  Because they were published first as editorial? 

WarrenPrice

« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2009, 18:34 »
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Adelaide,
I think (pretty sure) that sailor picture is Public Domain.  I think the other is an old National Geographic image that has probably found its way into Public Domain.

There is a good read at Wikipedia on Public Domain.  It also emphasizes the difference in national and international copyright law.


« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2009, 19:21 »
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I tried to tell you all before, I do this all the time and as long as it's not for commercial (as defined as promoting a product or service and/or advertising ) purposes, there are no problems what so ever.. contrary to the legal eagles throwing stuff at you. 

And just for something different, 8 yrs ago I was involved with using international high profile sporting stars to decorate of all things, a casino.  No releases were ever asked for or sought from the athletes.  I was nervous, but the casino has very big pockets. In the 8 yrs, every one of the athletes ( and/or family members, agents etc..) have visited this facility for one function or another.  Not one complaint.  Most have posed for a picture with their image and have signed them.   These images are 4 - 10 meters high.

They were simply used a decor prints on the walls of a gaming venue!  I'm pretty sure selling a print or 2 of the Volvo is not an issue..  I've also done that.   Great pics from these magnificent yachts!

Cheers.  JC

« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2009, 19:27 »
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Warren,

I am not sure about the sailor image, but I am almost certain NGS owns the girl's photo.  It is not found in any site for sale, but it is for sale in NGS site and on Steve McCurry's site, and I would doubt NGS would let it be public domain for nothing, as it is one of the most famous images ever.  This image was taken in 1984, so according to the copyright rules in the Public Domain text in Wikipedia, it would fall into what we have discussed here at MSG before:
Quote
A work that is created (i.e. fixed in tangible form for the first time) after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is given a term lasting for the authors life, plus an additional 70 years after the authors death. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire, the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving authors death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the authors identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.




« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2009, 19:43 »
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JC,

I also think there is a general misundestanding about the rights, that's why I brought up this issue.

If a couple is kissing in public, they may not like having their photo taken, they may impede that their image is used in an advertisement, but can they impede that I print that image and sell copies of them?  It may be unethical, but is it really illegal?  Aren't such images allowed in an art gallery exhibition?  And aren't reproductions from what is in an art gallery often sold to visitors as prints, books and other items?  As long as they are not offensive or demeaning, can the subjects really impede the images to be sold?

Even if I had those Volvo Ocean Race images at Smugmug, does the organization truly have legal rights to impede me, or is it just a legend and the big shots try to threaten us saying we can not do it?

« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2009, 19:53 »
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Adelaide... the rights have very little to do with the practical aspect of your question.  The law is written, but we are more involved with the "business of litigation".  In short, the big companies (sporting bodies) will push you because they can, not for any other reason.  We have had cases before in this matter in Australia (I'm American living in Aussie land) ..  If I own the copyright to the image, I can sell it for personal use to anyone as long as I don't use it commercially or defame the subjects.  Argue as some will, but this is done in every country where there are photographers.

The funny thing is I sell most of my prints to athletes (or family members) who see there images published in magazines and want copies to give to their families..  that includes some friends in the last Volvo.

Cheers,  JC


 

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