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Copyrights
Old 03-04-2004, 04:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What should I do? I had one of my models approach me and wants to buy all copyrights to a photo shoot we just did. Yes or No? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
Thanks
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Re: Copyrights
Old 03-04-2004, 05:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Otto, I'd suggest that you search copyright right here on these forums. There's enough discussion on it to fill a library. If you're in photography for financial gain, and even if you're not, I would believe that you would want control of how and by who your images are used, unless it would'nt bother you to see someone turn a profit with your work, at your exclusion, or use your images out of context. Take care, George
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Re: Copyrights
Old 03-04-2004, 08:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What are the images worth to you? Is this something you do for fun and not for profit? Will the loss of the images mean you lose high quality material for your portfolio/website/brag book? How much is she willing to pay?

By selling off the copyright, the images become all hers. She can then turn around and sell them, lease them, license them to whoever she wants for whatever reason she wants. She OWNS those images and the rights to them. Will this be a loss for you?

My take is that if you are like me, and do this for fun (if you were a working pro, you wouldn't really be asking this question), figure cost of film and processing (I know, an assumption!) and your time, and multiply it by 100. Then negotiate from there.

For one of my normal shoots that would be 5 rolls of film at $25/roll (36 exp) + 4 hours at $50/hour x 100 = $32,500. If ownership of the images is worth that much too her, she'll negotiate. Perhaps she wants just one image. Do the math -- about $180 per image. Then again, if that one image is that good, you could stand to make substantially more than that licensing it for stock (provided you have a release from the model).

Frankly, unless the payoff was substantial, I'd keep the copyrights.
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Why?
Old 03-04-2004, 06:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Did you ask her why she wants to buy the copyrights? That would be a critical question.
Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Copyrights
Old 03-04-2004, 11:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Seems to me that you would sell the rights if you liked the price and had no further interest in the images. Mind you....when they are gone they ARE gone. So....simple choice from here....do it, or don't.
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Re: Copyrights
Old 03-05-2004, 12:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Your work is your work. You should be able to license the work to the model, but I wouldn't ever give up the copyrights unconditionally. Find out what she needs the permission for, and then work out a deal. License them for X amount of dollars for Y purpose. But, if the images are of any value to you - you should remain the copyright and only issue a license. Because once you release copyright the work is no longer yours.
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\"Why\" is an important question to get answered first.
Old 03-05-2004, 09:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The only reason someone really needs to buy the actual copyrights, is to PREVENT the use of the images. Anything else can be done by LICENSING the use of the photos.

The only other reason is if they have big plans for an image (read valuable plans that will make them $$$) and they don't want to let on to you the plans. So rather than tell you "we want to put this on the cover of our new book" they just try to buy unlimited rights -- often by buying the copyright outright.

Also, just because you sell the copyrights does NOT mean you can not use the image. That does not prevent you from using the copies of the image you already have made, including in your portfolio. It also does not undo any prior licenses. If you licensed the image for perpetual, nonexclusive use to me, and later you sell the copyrights to the model, that does not affect me one bit. I can continue to use the image without limitations. Unless the contract transferring the copyright specifies otherwise, you can also continue to sell prints as long as the reproductions were made while you still owned the copyrights.

Finally, in some countries, one can not try to buy up the rights to a piece of art in order to destroy it.
 
 
Re: \"Why\" is an important question to get answered first.
Old 03-05-2004, 12:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Finally, in some countries, one can not try to buy up the rights to a piece of art in order to destroy it.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is part of a scheme known as "moral rights," which are big in Europe. Basically the artist retains moral rights in his work even when he sells the copyright. Moral rights can include the right to prevent destruction, serious alteration, or contextual misuse of an artwork.

In the US, there is no direct statutory implementation of moral rights, but section 49 of the Lanham Act has successfully been used to create some of the same rights.

I don't do a lot of work in Europe, so I don't know if moral rights can likewise be sold there. But more recent copyright transfer forms available in the US explicitly include them in the transfer of rights. I also don't know if this has been litigated here. But it's definitely something to keep in mind in this global economy.

M
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