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Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 03:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello GG,

It has been a long time since I have posted on this or any online forum. Some of the names here I recognize while others are new to me. For those that I know it is good to see you online still and those that I do not know it is nice to see you posting on a wonderful web forum that Rolando has here and hope to get to know you. I have received a letter in the mail that has brought me back from falling off the face of the planet sort of speaking and posting here once again. The letter sent to me is from a lawyer friend of a model I worked with on three occasions under a non-commercial time for print bases.

The letter states the following: [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

Dear Mr. Prokop:

Please be advised that the undersigned and the office of XXXXXXX & XXXXXXXXXX, L.L.C. represent the interest of Ms. XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX. It is our understanding that you have, in your possession, certain images of Ms. XXXXXXXX which are her property. Therefore, we are requesting that you forward to this office all of the originals of said images, as well as copies, contained on any medium, including, but not limited to: photographs, negatives, CD’s and/or DVD’s. We further request that you erase any of Ms. XXXXXXXXX’s images from any computer, memory disc and/or hard drive.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to receipt of Ms. XXXXXXXXX’s property.

Very truly yours,

XXXXX X. XXXXXXXXX

After speaking to her attorney friend on the phone so he could have my address to send the letter. It was explained to me that this model feels any shots done with her that is risqué she believes is her property. That regardless a model release was signed and dated by the model for the photo shoots, the model does not feel the release form applies to the topless images reason not know. Beyond the model feeling she solely owns the digital images she is concerned about the images being seen with her desire to no longer model and get into mainstream acting. Oh, she is however ok with my continuing to use the non-risqué images of her that where shot during the same shoots / sets.

I will state that if a model does not desire to have topless images of her used for professional reasons or even family reasons that I am willing to work something out with them. This might be a signed agreement of sorts in order to not use the images at a cost or even a flat out buy out of the work done. However a model feeling that images she modeled for, signed a model release for are her property I strongly disagree with. Before I forget to mention the same images the model feels are her property had been registered along with other work last year with the United States Copyright Office with a number of VAU590415. The work has the title of Duane Prokop Photography and the author of the work is Duane Prokop.

I have left the models name out and details of what her profession was during the photo shoots and might still be as I do not want to start a flame war or have personal shots taken at her. I am interested to hear what models and photographers think of such a letter and how they would handle the situation only. This is also a good opportunity for those workshop hosts to step up to the table, set personal / business opinions aside and speak to potential workshop clients about protection of their work and how they would handle or have handled such a situation.

I look forward to hearing feedback about this subject matter by Garage Glamour members.

Regards,

Duane Prokop

prokopphoto
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 03:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Forgot to mention the model in my post is not the model the letter was sent to me about.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 03:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Send the lawyer a copy of the signed release and assuming it is a valid, standard release, he'll go away. Twice in the past, I experienced situations which were not dissimiliar to yours and each time a copy of the signed release resolved the situation. I later learned that both "lawyers' were young, having recently passed theie bar exams and were either engaged to or the boy friend dujour of the former model.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 03:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What Doug Said.

Unless you're in Canada

And she paid you

Which you weren't

And she didn't

Cheers [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 05:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm sure what Doug said will probably get a desired result, but in the end the model might hate you- karma. I would try to reason with the model if it's not time sensitive and give her some sources that she can sort through and find in for herself that she might have signed over more than she realized and if she's still uncomfortable with that- then the courteous thing to do would be to offer to sell back to her, at cost, what you put into those images. Your reputation is a part of what people buy when they come to you for a picture and not being flexible might end up hurting you more than it's worth.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 08:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It's amazing that someone with a professional credential like passing the bar would be so careless and so ignorant of the law they're supposed to be representing. I had a lawyer say something to me about someone owning pictures that were taken of them. I discussed copyright with this lawyer and they were totally unaware of the subject. I saud careless as well as ignorant - they were careless to send out a letter on their letterhead without doing any research on the subject.

There is some precident for a per-image cost of registered copyright images. I think it's about $1,500 per? Share that number and the cite for the legal case to the attorney...
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 08:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Doug's got it. Plus, in all cases, the photographer owns the images, unless a specific copyright release has been issued. Filing with the government is a nice touch, but not required...it just makes things easier if you have to go to court.

The images are yours. You can choose to be nice to her, or rather cold. I say figure-out how you need to use the images, then give her what she wants without impacting your needs.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 08:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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After dealing with a number of lawyers through a nasty divorce, I can tell you that what they are taught to send a letter and see what response it gets. Sometimes just getting a letter from a lawyer is enough to scare the receipient into waiving their rights. If on the other hand the person responds like they know what their rights are then only thing the lawyer is out is a few minutes and postage. Since the model has no legal ground to stand on her lawyer would have told her that sending the letter and seeing if he fell for it was her only real option.

Notice the letter only said that the model "felt" the photos were her property. Just in case he knew his rights the lawyer didn't want to say anything in the letter that could come back to bite him. It was a lame scare tactic but nothing in the law says lawyers can't try them.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 08:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm a lawyer. Most lawyers are as dumb as a box of rocks and as lazy as the day is long. They shoot from the hip, thinking that the little "J.D." after their names will intimidate someone.

My clients bring me demand letters every week which threaten to take some action or another against that client. My stock response letter spends about two paragraphs explaining exactly how meritless the demand is, suggests that the lawyer enroll in some Continuing Legal Education and includes a threat to file a declaratory judgment action and seek recovery of fees and costs if we receive so much as another letter from the lawyer or his client.

They usually go away.
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Re: Images Shot Are Models Property Since When?
Old 09-20-2005, 10:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If the contract is valid, they are S.O.L. Everyone is right, it's a scare / bully tactic. You can't sign a contract, get relegion a week later and void the contract. The Attorney most likely knows this. He just seeing what he can get out of you.

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