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Thread: Writing a contract

  1. #1
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Writing a contract

    Hey all,

    I did a photo shoot as a favor to a chef a couple weeks ago. The photos ended up getting into the hands of the management at the restaurant and they really love them. They want to use them for their website and imaginably social networking pages. I don't currently know much in detail as this is information is coming from an employee who got me the in, in the first place. but anyway I want the contract for few reasons, obviously to protect myself but also to look like someone who is a professional. I have never sold photos before so I don't quite know what to include in a contract. I want to cover how the photos will be used in it. I think it is fair to sell the photos for useage on their website and social networking but should the number of social networking pages be factored into the price? is that normal. Also i want the contract to discuss that usage by a second party like a magazine or something along those lines would be discussed if need be. I want to make sure that i am being reasonable all at the same time. The repeat business could be great because they change their menu seasonally. I don't know anyone who does this sort of thing professionally and have no one to ask about it. And like I said this is the first step into "professional photography" I have taken. Any advice is well appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Hey, cool shots in truefroto!

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Jason,

    If I am not mistaken, photos sold over the internet are DRM free (digital rights/restrictions(?) management). Personally I would never sell or buy photos with publishing restrictions. If I have paid for something, personally I will consider this thing to be my property. I have a right to do with my property whatever I want. Moreover, if your photos are published everywhere than your will become very famous very quickly

    Regards,
    Pavel

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Writing a contract

    Hi Jason,

    At christmas i was asked to do some interior shots of a local guest house, in our agreement i gave him permission to use the images in any advertising literature both printed and electronic related to his business but i kept the copyrights and he was not allowed to sell the images on to 3rd parties nor was he allowed to edit them without my approval. He has now asked me back to shoot some more, so i guess hes happy with the terms and conditions.

    you can make contracts as detailed as you like but if your going to limit the ammount of times a customer can use the images in his advertising materials, i think you might find this both difficult to monitor and enforce. i would keep your contract as simple as possible and either sell the copyright completely or allow a general category of use.

    You will have to rethink this when your famous and food magazines are asking to publish your work! although i think that they will give you the contract and youll either do it or you wont!

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Quote Originally Posted by Destructor View Post
    Jason,

    If I am not mistaken, photos sold over the internet are DRM free (digital rights/restrictions(?) management). Personally I would never sell or buy photos with publishing restrictions. If I have paid for something, personally I will consider this thing to be my property. I have a right to do with my property whatever I want. Moreover, if your photos are published everywhere than your will become very famous very quickly
    The only problem there is that photos you 'buy' do not become your property, they stay the property of the copyright holder and/or the artist.
    What you pay for is the right to use the image in certain ways. And depending on the laws of the country, some rights cannot be sold. E.g. in France,
    the right to attribution cannot be negotiated, the publisher must always give an attribution (that doesn't mean it is done in practice...). And the photographer
    is presumed to be the copyright holder, even if he is an employee (some exceptions apply, but 'work for hire' doesn't apply automatically).

    And getting famous is very nice perhaps (no personal experience in that area), but personally I like to eat on a regular basis.
    Last edited by revi; 27th March 2013 at 07:36 AM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Hi Jason,

    At christmas i was asked to do some interior shots of a local guest house, in our agreement i gave him permission to use the images in any advertising literature both printed and electronic related to his business but i kept the copyrights and he was not allowed to sell the images on to 3rd parties nor was he allowed to edit them without my approval. He has now asked me back to shoot some more, so i guess hes happy with the terms and conditions.

    you can make contracts as detailed as you like but if your going to limit the ammount of times a customer can use the images in his advertising materials, i think you might find this both difficult to monitor and enforce. i would keep your contract as simple as possible and either sell the copyright completely or allow a general category of use.

    You will have to rethink this when your famous and food magazines are asking to publish your work! although i think that they will give you the contract and youll either do it or you wont!
    Limiting the number of times can be difficult, but you can limit the period during which he can use the images. That might be easier on both photographer and owner (and how often would they want to reuse 2-year old photos?).

    Anyway, this sounds like the kind of thing that also has to be discussed with photographers from Jason's area/state, to know about local customs, and local rules. I know he said he doesn't know any that does that kind of thing, but there must be some that do product shots? Or at the very least someone that can verify that the contract is legal and has no glaring holes.

    Personally, I would keep it as simple as possible. So in this case: allow use on their website and specified(?) social networks (with a time limitation as required*), but any use by a third party either explicitly forbidden (they can always refer the 3rd party to me), or not mentioned at all (which afaik implies they cannot sell any rights or give any permissions to 3rd parties). You might want to include the attribution you want to go with the images.

    *Part of that is due to french laws requiring any cession of copyright to be well defined in scope and time, with ambiguity resolved in favour of the copyright holder. So this is as much to protect the client as the artist...

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Writing a contract

    I think that the guys above have covered the basis. Keep it simple and hit the key points:
    • Copyright remains with you and you may use the images for other purposes as you see fit.
    • They can use the images solely for the purpose of marketing/promoting their business
    • They cannot re-sell the images to a third party or sanction publication in any media other than that solely concerned with marketing/promoting their business.

  8. #8
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Writing a contract

    If I am not mistaken, photos sold over the internet are DRM free (digital rights/restrictions(?) management).
    I think you may be mistaken Pavel but im no lawyer! but if this was true, then a photo bought by and individual from a stock website could be re sold to countless other users, it just wouldnt work! Anything bought, even on the internet should be subject to the terms and conditions of the that particular sale.

    Personally I would never sell or buy photos with publishing restrictions. If I have paid for something, personally I will consider this thing to be my property.
    All fair and good and in the UK if i sell the copyright of my images to you then they are yours do as you want with (i think ) but you will pay a hell of a lot more for them than if i kept the copyright so that i could re use if i wanted

    I have a right to do with my property whatever I want.
    True, but only if you have paid for those rights.

    Moreover, if your photos are published everywhere than your will become very famous very quickly
    im with Remco on this one famous and hungry you can keep!

  9. #9
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    Re: Writing a contract

    Better to contact a lawyer now or when you write the contract. You don't want to include or accept language that could void the contract later on, while during the time before the dispute arises your images have already been commercialized.

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Quote Originally Posted by Destructor View Post
    If I have paid for something, personally I will consider this thing to be my property. I have a right to do with my property whatever I want.
    Agree with the others. Amazing how many people think they own an image they bought, but repeat sales used to be a huge income for a pro photographer (and other artists).
    Often wedding photographers nowadays provide a clause in the contract allowing the images to be used wherever (mainly due to the fact that the digital age makes it very difficult to control distribution). However, the photographer retains the rights and can also use them for their own purposes.

    Consider the Thinker. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker)
    Many, many copies were made of many different sizes. Lot of money was made.

    If you want the one and only image and the rights to do what you want with it, certainly - now let's see what the quote for THAT would be.
    Graham

  11. #11
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Writing a contract

    Wow, a lot of information to peruse here. Thanks everyone for replying. I think those of you who have mentioned that it is difficult to monitor the quantity of usages are right. I didn't consider how i would monitor that. As for a period of usage, i dont believe will be necessary because they change their menu four times a year and wouldn't want to display menu items that are no longer available. I'm also not concerned with them using the photos to make money other than advertising. I couldn't imagine them selling prints or using them for stock photography. I want to be clear that i own the photos to use for my own use as copyright holder.

    John, I think getting a lawyer is a great idea and is definitely a legitimate way of doing it. But I fear that the amount of money that would cost would eat all the money I would make from this. and right now I really need to reinvest in more equipment. Right now i'm only working with one speedlight and would like to have at ideally two more, a pair of stands and some light modifiers.

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    Re: Writing a contract

    I would think you would want two things understood. First, you are the sole holder of copyright and have final say over any usage that is not specifically allowed within, second, the scope of the usage rights (including purpose, media, length of term, etc.) you grant to the restaurant. (And, who is the restaurant? What if ownership changes hands?) Agreed, they may not have any use for the images past the next three months but, if some time hence they reinstate some items in their menu, they just might. Agreeing on all of this stuff beforehand might allow you to sleep more securely later on. Even if you suspect your images may have an early sell-by date, circumstances have a habit of changing. If you do wish to pursue this as a business, it surely would be prudent to protect as many of your rights as soon as you can. Freelance photogs in essence work on spec which suggests that protecting yourself against future misery should be front and center in your considerations.

    I found the book Best Business Practices for Photographers by John Harrington to be very useful. It certainly seems very thorough. I bought this one only because when I first became interested in the subject, it was well reviewed. There may be many others by now.

  13. #13
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Writing a contract

    Are there any people in any of the Photographs?

    Are there any Third Party Advertising Icons or Logos in the Photographs?

    Are you located and was the shoot located, in the USA?

    How much is their usage of your images worth to you - (speculative): Coupe of Hundred? Couple of Thousand? Twenty Thousand?


    WW

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    Re: Writing a contract

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhoads238 View Post
    Wow, a lot of information to peruse here. Thanks everyone for replying.

    John, I think getting a lawyer is a great idea and is definitely a legitimate way of doing it. But I fear that the amount of money that would cost would eat all the money I would make from this. and right now I really need to reinvest in more equipment. Right now i'm only working with one speedlight and would like to have at ideally two more, a pair of stands and some light modifiers.
    Jason,

    You don't necessarily need a lawyer to write the contract but you should definitely have one review it once it is written. One thing about contracts is that unless it looks favorable to both parties further negotiation will be required. If it looks more favorable to one party over the other, better it be you than the other party.

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