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Question on photo ownership

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SheltieBoy, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. SheltieBoy


    Feb 16, 2007
    I'm just an amateur photographer, never even tried to sell a photo, but I received the following e-mail message today:


    I found a photo which you posted of a Portuguese Water Dog in a dog agility competition at the Rose City Classic dog show 2007 in Portland, Oregon, USA. That is my black PWD coming over that red double jump. Are you the one who took that photo, or did you purchase it from someone else?

    No one asked my permission to use that photo, and I was unaware of its existance.

    I would probably be willing to let you continue to use it if you could provide me with a good 8 x 10 of this image.

    Please let me know about how you came to list this photo.

    The only signs posted about photography were no flash which I obeyed completely. This implies to me that non-flash photography was acceptable. I can't imagine that I would be expected to get the permission of every dog owner to take photos. If I was using this for commercial purposes it might be different (maybe) but these were all just practice photos.

    What rights/responsibilities do I have in a situation like this? I would like to have some thoughts from other photographers before I reply to this lady.

    I believe this is the photo that she is referring to: http://flickr.com/photos/montanapets/368641669/in/set-72157594511111084/

    Thanks for any feedback.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2007
  2. Don't know how it works over there stateside but over here it would be deemed that she's trying to scam you out of a freebie 8x10. Tell her she is more than welcome to purchase one at a cost of xx$'s.
  3. She owns the dog but she does not own your photo. This was a public event with tacit approval for photography from the organizers of said event. This is indicated by the fact that they instructed the general public that they could not use flash to take images of the dogs. This lady is out in left field and does not have a dog's leg to stand on. I would so inform the lady and indicate that if she were interested you would allow her to make a copy off of your website. Should she want an 8x10 you would be glad to sell her one. The chutzpah of some individuals.

    By the way, I too own a Sheltie, lovely dogs.
  4. ffb2t


    Jan 16, 2006
    You do not need permission to use that photo in your portfolio. You can even sell the photo if you wish as you retain copyright (same would go even if it was a person). Further, because the dog is unidentifiable from any other poodle (or whatever it is) to 99.99% of the population, you don't even need a model release if you wanted to sell the photo for advertising/commercial purposes. Short of it is, you don't need a release from her or anyone else.

    Here is a good resource for this kind of stuff http://www.danheller.com/.
  5. SheltieBoy


    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks for the reply Roy. That was the first thing that came to mind for me too. I licensed all the photos with Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 so she can print her own if she wants to.

    I've had lots of positive feedback from dog owners before (dog owners love ANY picture of their dog), and this is the first where someone questioned my right to take photos so I'm just checking to see if there is something I don't know about.
  6. SheltieBoy


    Feb 16, 2007
    Thanks Gordon and Frank for your replies. What you state is the way I thought things work so I am glad of that. Now if I can just say it to her without getting mad :) 

    Gordon: Shelties Rule!
  7. Yes they do, here is my little Harley Boy:

    NIKON D2H    ---    48mm    f/4.8    1/90s    ISO 200

  8. That's funny. I'm sure I'd find a way to say it to her without getting mad. But I can't say that she wouldn't be mad. I'd probably just laugh at her.
  9. With absolutely no intentions of high jacking this thread, I have a similar question. I was approached by a friend with what I thought was a great idea for a coffee table book. What she is asking me to shoot would be people.

    Without giving the idea up, how does one go about shooting images of people to be used in a book for profit? Would a release be required to use those images to sell in the form of a book? Is it legal to sell images of someone without their consent?

    And help that anyone can provide or direction that you can point me in will be greatly appreciated.
  10. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Greetings. It sounds like the dog owner has a pretty strange view of life... I mean imagine you are looking around flickr and happen to see your dog in a pretty good action photo... do you ask nicely if you could get a print or a full res electronic copy or do you pressure for a free 8x10 and sound kinda nasty about it all?

    In any event, I have seen signs posted at AKC events which state that only allow show photographers to photograph an event. Whether this was true at the event you were at??? The ownership rights of photos taken anyway? These rules are sometimes put in place to protect the show photographers which take official photos of winners and are exclusively contracted by the club running the event. Anyway there are potential complications for shooting at some events...

    Gordon, what a beautiful portrait of your dog!


  11. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hi Ty, In most cases, yes a release would be necessary if you are using the photo for commercial purposes such as compiling into a book that would then be sold. There are exceptions to that, and your lawyer can help you identify under what circumstances that would be the case. I usually carry a bunch of these forms with me, just in case. I have only used a couple dozen of them over the years:


    ps, ffb2t, a Portuguese Water Dog is NOT a Poodle!
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