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Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 01:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay I'm sure this has been asked before but I was unable to find it with a search sure if I figured out the correct phrase I'd hit it.

I've run into an issue with a shot I did with a model, it was a good shot and ended up producing one of my favorite images in my portfilo it was a big production and a lot of work went into it.

I did the session with a second photographer who did a lot more sets that were simply. If you google this models name you'll see two of the images he shot during that session. The model has just requested that we remove all the images and any mention of her name. I asked if she would be okay with me removing all the images with the exception of my favourite one but removing her name from it. She said no she'd rather I remove all of them and all mention of her name. Its certainly not a bad images its always the image that everyone makes positive comments about. So typically I say we'll sorry I'll try and accommodate you by removing your name and all other images but I wont remove that one. The problem is there was no release signed for the shoot. I realize I own copyright of the image but am I allowed to use it for my website even without her permission.
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 01:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There will be other images. You only have one reputation. Take it down. Even if you had a release. Speaking of which, why don't you have a release?
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 02:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I do always have models sign them, but for some reason it never happened with her. Either she didnt sign it and we didnt pay enough attention or she did sign and we lost it.
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 06:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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(first the usual: I'm not a lawyer, so you should refer the issue to one, this is only my understanding)

If you are not selling the image for commercial use (which you can't without a release) and only using it for promotional/gallery use or editorial use, then you have no obligation to take down the image.

However, RobArtLyn, is probably right, unless the image is amazing and could never be reproduced, I'd just take it down.

An alternative, if you contact a lawyer (if you don't one one, you should check out prepaidlegal.com -- great service), you could have a letter written by an attorney to the model to explain what your fair use is, but then offer to sell her the copyright to the image in question. She would then own it and you can use the proceeds from the sale to hire a new model, mua, etc. to replace it. You could both come out ahead.

Just my 2˘.
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 09:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You are in the UK. Most of us are in the US -- so our legal advice while well intentioned may not apply at all! For example in the UK, if you are hired by a company to shoot a wedding, they not you the photographer automatically own the copyright. (Just a difference in our laws -- not that this applies here, just making a point with it).

In the US, using an image even for self promotion for which you own the copyright but have no release for use of likeness could be challenged (it usually isn't). Using that same image in an article that is educational (and defensible as education) does not require the release. Using the image as a sample of your work and specifically disclaiming endorsement is a gray area. On a wall in your studio, it would likely be fine. On the Internet it is likely to be considered publication -- and therefore more likely to be looked upon unfavorably in a court.

But I agree with Rob -- how much business will you lose if you take the image down vs. have an unhappy person out there bad-mouthing you? Isn't the right thing to do apparent despite the question of whether you legally have to do as she requests?
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks Chuck. I missed that "small" piece of data.
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 02:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I spend most of my time in the US and the set was shot with a US model, mua, stylist and hair stylist in the US. So the US aspect of what everyone is saying applies.

I guess my beef is I very rarely pay to shoot anymore, the model did this for free but it was a huge deal, set design, building props, scouting location, paying three people to take care of the model plus post production. Took me close to two weeks on and off to set this thing up. If it was something I just did in the studio no big deal I'd just reshot it, but this was a lot of work, which makes me even more the fool that I didnt get or didnt keep hold of the release. Just seems unreasonable to me that even after I offered to remove all the images but the one, and from that image remove her name that know what a production it was that she is being a pain in the butt about it. Not like its a nude shot its a fashion image.

Maybe I should chalk it up to a painful lesson, just seems like if we could only use images that were by mutual consent and had to check in with the model in case they now felt they didnt represent them in the way they liked at any point in case they might start trashing our character whats the point?
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 03:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is why one gets a model released signed, dated and with ID and then keeps track of the release. If the release is properly worded, then it allows any use, etc. and you would not likely be having this problem. But once such a problem does occur, its generally better to just drop the whole thing. Destroy the photos and be done with it. I've had this happen once. I had signed release with witness, ID, etc. The model got married, and wanted the photos not to be published anymore. So I removed them all from my portfolio. I had a release, but life is too short to always be involved in some sort of hassle with someone. What is her side of the story by the way? Why does she say she doesn't want the photos out there?
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:55 PM
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 10:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith View Post
This is why one gets a model released signed, dated and with ID and then keeps track of the release. If the release is properly worded, then it allows any use, etc. and you would not likely be having this problem. But once such a problem does occur, its generally better to just drop the whole thing. Destroy the photos and be done with it. I've had this happen once. I had signed release with witness, ID, etc. The model got married, and wanted the photos not to be published anymore. So I removed them all from my portfolio. I had a release, but life is too short to always be involved in some sort of hassle with someone. What is her side of the story by the way? Why does she say she doesn't want the photos out there?
cheers,
rfs
RFS, while I do hold your opinion in high regard, there are some really stupid models out there. You may remember my implied shoot back a few months, and of course, got a signed release by both of us, and as part of that release, both of us could use them for self promotion, spelled out in black and white ink, and signed. Well, I posted a few of them on another site which also allows adult photographs (ones you need to be 18+ to view) and I had them marked as adult themed, but anyhow, a friend of hers saw them, and so she gave me a very irate phone call about having them up on that site. Mind you, I sent her several text messages, phone calls and sent a few messages via myspace, none of which were responded too and I allowed her a week to respond. I tell this story to illustrate that even when you have a signed release stating that you may use them for any legal purpose includeing self promotion, they don't always read the release and don't comprehend the english language very well, even though they are educated and so called professional models.
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Re: Image Ownership
Old 04-11-2008, 11:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaiahbrink View Post
RFS, while I do hold your opinion in high regard, there are some really stupid models out there. You may remember my implied shoot back a few months, and of course, got a signed release by both of us, and as part of that release, both of us could use them for self promotion, spelled out in black and white ink, and signed. Well, I posted a few of them on another site which also allows adult photographs (ones you need to be 18+ to view) and I had them marked as adult themed, but anyhow, a friend of hers saw them, and so she gave me a very irate phone call about having them up on that site. Mind you, I sent her several text messages, phone calls and sent a few messages via myspace, none of which were responded too and I allowed her a week to respond. I tell this story to illustrate that even when you have a signed release stating that you may use them for any legal purpose includeing self promotion, they don't always read the release and don't comprehend the english language very well, even though they are educated and so called professional models.

There are some very smart models also. But that doesn't really make the difference. Most people just flat don't read what they sign. Often it is in legal mumbo jumbo and they generally are not sure what it means even after they read it. But a release, no matter how worded, may or may not be sufficient for all uses of a photo. Every situation is different. I gave the example of the model in my post (who was a very smart model), who just didn't want her photos around the internet after she married. I can understand, and I cooperated with her in removing those photos. This wasn't such a bid deal before the internet, but now the photos can end up anywhere and everywhere. I think maybe photographers will need to make a more concerted effort to let the model know up front what the release really means one can do with the photos. Of course, you'll get a lot fewer models willing to pose nude or implied, etc.
Cheers,
rfs
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