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A copyright question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by xrdbear, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. My partner is creating a website for a business that breeds fancy poultry. These people have become friends of ours. They keep quite a number of breeds and I was asked to photograph them all for a gallery on the website. I spent a couple of hours taking a lot of photographs and getting bitten by the midges and got quite a lot of very useable shots.

    The customer has stated that he wants all the photographs on the web gallery watermarked as, apparently, fancy fowl photograph theft is rife in the business. The point is this, whose copyright do you think I should put on the watermark? Is there any point in watermarking without an owner's name?

    I took the pictures with their permission on their land. I will not be getting anything like the going rate for the job and have no intention of formally signing over the copyright to them. Will I be right in insisting on putting my name on the watermark in this situation?

    I took the photographs with his permission for the purpose of creating this website. Although I retain copyright, as there is no formal transfer or written contract, would I still need his permission or need to pay him money if I wanted to use any of the photographs elsewhere (unlikely but possible).

    All opinions gratefully received.
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    You are the owner of the images:>))))) Your ©
    Charge for use elsewhere.

  3. dsp921


    May 16, 2006
    Unless it was specified as work for hire the copyright is yours. However, since it sounds like there was no contract there's no way to tell what each side was thinking. This is the kind of thing that really needs to be worked out and put in writing prior to making any images.
  4. This situation is not work made for hire. The rules for WMFH (Work Made For Hire) specifically require that it be agreed upon in writing before the work takes place. Since you don't have a written agreement at this point, and you have already taken the photographs, you own them.

    Therefore, your copyright notice should go on them. You can make it small so as not to interfere with viewing the photographs, but make it large enough so it is readable.

    Furthermore, since the photographs are your intellectual property, you are free to license them for any purpose you desire. It might be wise to discuss that with the owner. There are rules around photographs of property, and animals are considered property.
  5. It's very difficult to get so formal over this particular work. My partner only does the websites for pin money and the fun of it. I guess I'm really a sub-contractor. If we do all the paperwork then we'll have to start charging real money and I don't think this is where we want to go. The few customers we have understand this.
  6. Thanks very much for the advice. On the whole I think I will avoid further use of the pictures in a commercial context. Some of them may go on my web gallery. I'm busy now trying to work out how to batch watermark the images.
  7. Well, the customer isn't asking to have them copyright watermarked, only marked so no one else can use them, so you can always place a faint watermark over the pictures stating "McTavish Fancy Breeders" or whatever the name of the farm. In a situation of trying to keep it as simple as possible, this might fit the bill. It's not stating that the pictures actually BELONG to McTavish Fancy Breeders, only that they are pics of their chickens.

    Yes, you own the copyright unless stated otherwise in a contract, but I think they're just asking for a simple watermark to avoid theft on the net.

    Now show us the pics!!! :biggrin:
  8. You could place a large "C" that is almost transparent. I would not put the chicken owner's name as the watermark. You don't want that to come back to haunt you later by them arguing that they thought that meant they owned the photographs or that they could use them in other ways without licensing them from you. Imagine they want to use the photographs in their annual report or communication with stockholders or marketing presentations.
  9. I'd tend to agree with Walter. If the owner of the farm is concerned about the theft of the photo's, even though you took them, the owner is making an assumption of ownership. If you put the name of the farm on the photo's, you are accepting his assumption and effectively transferring copyright.

    Whether you get the going rate or not, is not all that relevant, if you are compensated in any way. If you receive compensation, and you agree with the owner to accept that compensation, then you have a contract. Fair compensation or consideration, if agreed upon by both parties, can be as little as a shilling.

    (Contracts should be in writing, but it is not necessarily a legal or legislative requirement in common law that a contract be written). It appears though that you have not worked out all the terms of your contract....

    You might want to speak with a solicitor, but I would suggest that you state to the owner that you will watermark the pictures, but that you retain the copyright. Use your copyright watermark.

    But if you are going to sell your work in the future, you should get some local legal advice on what you should do.

    Selling rights/copyright is not necessarily a bad thing. I recently received a quote for aerial photographs of a property. The rate included an hourly charge for the aircraft, finished and RAW photographs, plus copyright to the pictures. It was quite reasonable (but not peanuts).

    Good luck.
  10. lbhs_rwb


    Oct 16, 2006
    In photoshop, make an action of adding the watermark, than go to File>Automate>Batch

    You own the copyright, don't put their name on it, other than that, put yours, or just a copyright symbol. Preferably yours.
  11. photoshooter

    photoshooter Guest

    As long as we are talking about copyright, I have been approached to
    1.video a school play
    2. photograph the same play.

    The intention of the video, is to sell copies of the video to the parents, for there personal use only.
    I assume the play is copyright.

    The school has permission to put on the play, would there be a copyright violation, if we video the play, and then sell the video to parents only. Raising money for the school PTA for activities?

    Hoping to get some good help.
  12. nipprdog


    Jun 8, 2006
    that can be done with PS Elements 4 or 5.
  13. I think the school is safe with respect to their having permission to video and photograph the performance and sell copies to parents. Dance schools video their recitals and sell the videos to parents all the time. I don't see how this could be any different.

    The sticky part is whether the school assumes they own the rights or they assume you own the rights to your video and photographs. Will you be paid to provide your services? Are you doing this out of the goodness of your heart? If you are getting paid, get a written contract that specifically states who owns the rights. If it says you own the rights, include language that grants them a license to sell to raise money for the PTA.

    That is the legal side of it. If you want to simply do a good deed for the school, then the legal aspect of it is irrelevant. Shoot the video and photographs, turn them over to the school, let them reproduce them and sell them to raise money for the PTA.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2007
  14. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    As one who signs the contracts and produces the plays at a high school, I assure you, you probably may not tape the play and sell the video to the parents. This is a flagarant violation of copyright and the signed contract which the school agreed to, If the school paid royalties to produce the production and on most major play produtions you do, you are generally not allowed to video the play and sell the tapes.

    It is a major difference between Dance recitals vs Play productions where you have copyright, royalties, rentals, and the authors royalties to b e concerned with. Each dance studio owns the rights to their product, so generally this is quite different. In Dance recitals, you have the copyrighted music to worry about though.

    Exceptions are of course for some limited one act plays, Plays which are no longer copyright (Hamlet etc. Taming of the Shrew, which we are doing this year)

    Generally, you are allowed a single video of a rehearsal for school archival purpose, but it may not be distributed. Many Many Many schools have gotten into big trouble for this problem. It simply is not allowed.

    Photographs are different in that they may be sold for personal use as long as the logo and image that are copyrighted are not in the photo. The Authors words and script are not evident in a photograph so generally most of the time this is not a problem, however, the contracts usually are very broad and state "recording devices" including video, etc.

    This past year several schools were in trouble simply because they forgot to place produced with permission by.......... on the front of their program as required by contract.

    In one word don't do this unless the material is not copyrighted.


  15. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Oh, and by the way,

    I didn't even get into the problems of using copyrighted music in a Dance Recital, ......
  16. Very good clarification Wade regarding video taping the production. It makes sense to me since newer productions would be copyrighted intellectual property which has to be licensed to perform. Thanks for posting that.
  17. Thanks for all the input. In view of what you have said I will put a simple ©2007 spoiling watermark on the shots and put a full copyright notice in the IPTC info.

    For TOLady here are three of the little darlings. Remember we are hen keepers too so no derogatory comments.

  18. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I could not see the beak on the first one right away. So you know what I thought...lolol

    Pretty cool chicks.
    Actually are rather pretty

    Great shots
  19. Great shots and a very informative thread! Thanks to all the contributers and good luck with the website.
  20. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    You are welcome,

    It is interesting the breadth of info available here at the cafe, from pros like yourself, to engineers, and other specialties the cafe members may have, and my experiences with the education world where I actually deal with the production companies for our plays, and have to deal with music compainies/permissions all the time to perform arrangements that we may produce, quite the place here at the cafe. Lots of knowledge!


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