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Sporting association used photos without asking

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by ronald_r32, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. ronald_r32

    ronald_r32 Member

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    So i have just found out that the local field hockey association used 8 of my photos from my facebook page on the cover of a booklet given to everyone that came to Grand final week last September. The photos have been cropped to remove my watermark and have been made into a collage on the front cover. I was not asked for or credited for these photos at all.

    Being that this was 6 months ago now is it worth going after? Im not doing photography as a business at the moment but do have the intentions of that going forward. If i was to followup with them on this what would my best course of action be?
     
  2. perz

    perz Member

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    Pretty much theft tbh.
    I'd have a word with them about it and tell them it's plain wrong and you need to be reimbursed.

    Not sure how far you should go though as I tend to favour settling a disagreement before it gets out of hand.

    Beat of luck!
     
  3. Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

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    It is totally wrong that they stole the images.

    It's up to you how you want to pursue it - if you don't need remuneration then maybe just give them a scare so they don't do it in the future - the last thing you want to do is send a local club broke - It could have been an honest mistake, they might not have realised that it was stealing. The clubs are usually run by civilians that don't know about this stuff.
     
  4. power

    power Member

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    letter of demand?

    that said are you part of said community - if so tread lightly around the whole thing.
     
  5. dche5390

    dche5390 Member

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    Absolute poor form. The active decision of removing a watermark is complete theft.
     
  6. perz

    perz Member

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    Exactly. The fact they went out of their way to remove it meant they knew why it was there in the first place.

    Don't throw a tantrum at them but also don't back down. What they did was wrong and they most likely know it.
     
  7. forbaz

    forbaz Member

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    the fact that they cropped out the watermark shows they 100% knew it was your photo - and the fact that they didn't approach you once they knew it was yours is incredibly poor form.

    As it has gone into print and out for their use means that they can't simply undo what has been done (i.e. take down a photo etc).

    It really depends on how much (and if at all) you want to push it.

    If you do want to take them up on it (even to make no money, but just for the principal of it) just calculate a value of each photo and send them an invoice requesting prompt payment. Then include a copyright breech fee on top of it.

    how you decide the value of any of those is up to you - there are online calculators for that.

    Or you if you don't want to push it hard, just get them to acknowledge in writing that they did the wrong thing - by taking the work without consent, modifying it and then using it for promotional purposes without reimbursing you.

    good luck. Things like this happened to lots of photogs (including me before) at some point.
     
  8. BluBoy

    BluBoy Member

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    While I side with you, you can not make this statement.
    It is just as likely, they put a request out for photos, someone saw their pics on facebook, 'tidied them up' a bit, and gave them to the club.

    If it were me, I'd ask how they got the images, let them know they are yours.
    Explain that this is theft, and to protect your brand you might need to take action.

    At this point, it is up to you. i wouldn't take action, or minor compensation at most.
     
  9. underskore

    underskore Member

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    maybe let them know that while you could be getting a lawyer involved you'd rather free membership for a year or three along with a credit for the photos printed in the next publication?
     
  10. Pinkeh

    Pinkeh Member

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    Seeing as they have knowingly cut out your watermark and used them in commercial print/publications then they have infringed on your rights as the copyright owner under the copyright act. Facebook's terms and conditions gives Facebook the right to use it however they want, but doesn't give your local hockey association those rights. It doesn't matter if it was six months ago. The fact that you've discovered it now doesn't invalidate the fact that they have breached your rights as the copyright owner. And you don't need to have a photography business either. Copyright is automatic so if you can prove that you are the copyright owner (or content creator) then that would be sufficient. Check with a solicitor.

    Whilst you are at the solicitor's office, get them to draft a letter of demand and attach an invoice for them to pay up.

    If you do it by the book, the letter from your solicitor will force them to act accordingly. Then their legal team will discuss terms with your solicitor and get you an acceptable compensation minus your legal fees. Doing it this way will save you a lot of grief and drama. If you don't get a lawyer then chances are they will use their legal team to bury you.

    I wouldn't settle for credit or "exposure". That is required under the copyright law (or conditions of licensing) and is not a bargaining tool. Free membership is also bullshit because they ought to have paid you in the first place. :p
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  11. cleary

    cleary Mental in the Face

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    Total dick move on the club's behalf, but - it's tricky, because I would assume as a local sporting club, it's probably not well funded, and it's a community of your peers.

    Crashing in with threats of legal action, regardless of whether that's "the right thing to do" or not is going to yield, at best, a small amount of money - and at worst, put you at odds with the organisers and members of the club (and whatever repercussions that will entail as a community organisation). In my opinion it will make you look like a dick, and that's not going to be of any benefit to anyone.

    From personal experience, when I started taking photos at my local tennis club as a beginner/amateur, I communicated with committee members from the outset and offered a license whereby use of the photos, by the committee for club related promotion would be for free. Initially the photos were pretty awful, but over the years it became a nice collection of memorabilia. Notice the distinction between "copyright" - which I retained, and "license" which defined how they could be used.

    My recommendation - get in on the next committee meeting.
    * Let them know that you were the photographer that took the photos used on the booklet.
    * Let them know that if they'd only come to you and asked to use the shots you could've provided them with full resolution, non-watermarked, highest quality versions of the images. Instead, the photos have been cropped to remove the watermark, non-print optimised quality, and
    * Let them know it doesn't "look good".
    * Let them know you could also have been credited in the booklet as the photographer behind the photos and they could have helped you out as an aspiring photographer

    Side Note: Whether or not any of this is true doesn't matter - Your goal is to make them regret what they did, but without making yourself look like a dick in the process. Since we're talking hypotheticals, you can make yourself the most generous person in the world. It also doesn't define how you choose to behave in future, because they've broken that relationship already.

    I would also be careful talking about copyright law in the meeting, because you may find that there are quite strict guidelines on who is authorised to take and sell photos at a club event (in the case of my tennis club, for any Australian Money Tournaments, the club assigned an authorised club photographer - me) - and you may find yourself out of your depth very quickly. If you DO plan to bring up copyright law, get legal advice first and get across any club/comp laws regarding photography at events.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  12. NNotNENN

    NNotNENN Member

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    ^^^ I would give some thought to the adage "pick your battles".

    Though I would definitely agree you've been wronged by someone (possible not the club as outlined in other posts), if you get aggressive with them, there's a good chance they'll jump straight into defensive mode. They might argue that since it's their players and/or facilities that you've taken photos of, that they should have some claim to them.

    I don't really agree with this but I definitely see that kind of reasoning used against photographers and particularly ones that haven't come through 'official' channels (i.e. you've just rocked up to the game as a spectator and shot for your own entertainment, rather than getting 'permission' or a 'pass' from someone). Doing this kind of thing is obviously fine until it ends up in a situation like this and you're already at a deficit by not being known to them.

    Not accusing you of doing things that way but just something to think about with your approach.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  13. Scootre

    Scootre Member

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    Exactly. And since it was more than ine image, then it's no accident.

    I'm an ex commercial photographer with first hand experience in this type of thing.

    Write them a stern, two lined letter. 'It's come to my intention...". And "please explain why...". Then get their written response and make no further contact because you are likely to damage your case. If they call you -and they probably will, because it stops you having an audit trail, be firm and polite and tell them you are waiting for a written response.

    Then make an appointment with a Contract Lawyer. This club will have commercial insurace so don't let anyone tell you to write them a nasty letter voicing your displeasure.

    The lawyer will normally take a percentage of your awarded damages. So it is worth her and your time.

    Start here: http://www.mamamia.com.au/lorna-jane-copyright/

    A Google search will show this was also picked up by the mainstream media.

    Good luck.
     
  14. Scootre

    Scootre Member

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    Regarding the posts about asking the sports club for compensation limited to reprinting your photos with your name on it and asking for free membership:

    With respect to all who've said that, this kind of advice is coming from people who've not had to earn a living solely from photography. I have.

    Your name means dick. Survival and respect for what you do is a result of understanding: You are only as good as your last job, your portfolio, your negotiation skills, AND especially, your ability to politely walk away when the money and conditions aren't right.

    Treating photography as a business and not a hobby would go a long way, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017

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