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Family Photos; what's the deal

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  #1  
Old 03-15-2011, 08:37 AM
cangrejero cangrejero is offline
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Family Photos; what's the deal

I have read several excellent posts about this issue but, for some reason, have failed to find one that covers my situation. Hope you guys can help me on this.

My sister is a "photographer". I qualify the statement because I'm not absolutely clear on who is actually a "photographer" for copyrights issues. Is my daughter a "photographer" just because she took a photo with her cell phone? Maybe she is!

Since she alleges to be a "photographer", as family, we asked her to take some photos of my boyfriend and me at some places that are special to us. For us, she was just my sister taking some photos for us. We didn't pay her for taking the photos, we didn't sign any documents, and we had no idea of the copyrights implications of this activity.

Next we know is that she plastered all the photos with a big copyrights watermark and gave us digital copies of the copyrights-plastered photos. We asked for copies without the copyrights watermark but she refuses unless we pay her. Dealing with this is turning into an ugly family issue. We want to be able to reproduce and share the photos with our friends and family without the ugly watermark on them.

Do we have any rights? Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks!!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:46 AM
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4personnen 4personnen is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

NO legal advice whatsoever... just my common sense....
You didn't sign a contract then take another individual to take the photos (mother, father, neighbor), leave her with her shots and her watermarked stuff, forget about it. Don't allow her to use them for advertisement purposes. Don't argue! Leave her with her own issues to deal with. (she payed for the prints and she took time that is not rewarded, it would make her think a bit about ransoming relatives)

Unless the photos are exceptional, and then maybe she deserves to be paid for, otherwise, there's a lot of potential family photographers around.

Last edited by 4personnen; 03-15-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:20 PM
cangrejero cangrejero is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

Thanks, 4personnen. Very wise advice. Best to you and yours!
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:37 PM
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plugsnpixels plugsnpixels is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

This is too bad, and not cool. She should have said something to this effect while she was shooting, or before. Not afterward.

Curious, how much is she asking for these? Does it compare to other photographers you might have used? Work a deal with her, get your clean prints, then put old pictures of her in her undies all over Facebook...
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:04 PM
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MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

Quote:
Originally Posted by cangrejero View Post
My sister is a "photographer". I qualify the statement because I'm not absolutely clear on who is actually a "photographer" for copyrights issues. Is my daughter a "photographer" just because she took a photo with her cell phone? Maybe she is!
From a legal standpoint, anyone who takes a photo is the copyright owner of that photo, regardless of the equipment used or the quality of the photo, unless there is an agreement in writing when you are shooting for another entity, like an employer. For example, a photograph taken by a newspaper employee while on the clock may belong to the newspaper, rather than the photographer, depending on the contract.

As far as the situation with your sister is concerned. There are far too many things that can drive a wedge into family relations, don't let money be one of them.

If she incurred an expense to take the photos, explain to her that you thought that she was taking the pictures as a family favor ... then offer to cover her direct expenses in exchange for the pics.

If she did not incur an expense other than her time, thank her politely, and just move on. It's not worth it. You could ask her what she wants you to pay her, and see if its nominal or contains a big family discount. Personally, I charge all family members for photos as a discounted rate (except for my sister and parents, who get charged cost), largely as a deterrent from having every one of my 135 cousins asking me to shoot their wedding for free.

Under no circumstances post any of her photos online, even with the watermarks on them, unless you have a written release... You don't want her to sue you.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:10 PM
cangrejero cangrejero is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

Thanks, MBChamberlain and plugsnpixels. Great ideas, too.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:38 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

Your sister owns the copyright to the picture she takes, but she cannot use them for profit or advertising without your written approval. She could post them and use them as "art". She is watermarking the photos so you or someone else can't copy and print them. If she is a "professional photographer" she would tell you in the beginning that there would be a charge for the pictures she was taking. As the other's said..I'd let it drop and get someone else to take your pics...it just isn't worth the fuss...but you'll knoiw better next time.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:21 PM
CapturebyJo CapturebyJo is offline
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Re: Family Photos; what's the deal

That is really sad that your sister would do such a thing. I really hope that by now you have been able to sort this out with her and have some beautiful photos of you and your partner free of charge.
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