We forego fees for others that offer us permissions without charge - and, in the event of known and/or repeat infringments, go for the legal filing fees plus $200 per copy in a "settlement". Court is a last resort but we are prepared to go all the way if it proves necessary.
At my studio (and quite a few others that I know of), we try not to let anything out that still needs retouching. We also strive to keep files for everything we do, so copying is not needed, we can still pull the orginal files/negs.
When people call and inquire we usually just sell them another print for less than they can get a copy file/neg and print made.
So far I have not had to make a decision as to what to charge so that I could answer your question.
I just had to throw my 2 cents in on this one,
I too am a Wal Mart Photo Center employee. Jak said everything that I was going to post very well. it is FEDERAL LAW that everyone is asking us to break here. I understand that not only is my job on the line, but I am risking a 50,000 dollar fine! Yikes! I don't know about you all, but that's alot of money to me.
When people say " I bought the photo from the photographer, I own it!"I tell people this, think of it as a CD, you bought your copy, you do not however own the trademark or copyright on the music.
Most people are very understanding when I explain the law to them but there are a few that just don't get it.
Most portrait studios are generous with copyright releases if you just ask them, and if not you may sign a waiver, ( we keep a stack handy) this absolves me & Wal Mart from potential legal action.
I realize that in todays liberal atmosphere that absolves anyone of personal responsibility or consequences, people think that the law somehow does not apply to them , however, I think that you guys need to cut the " overzealous" photo center employees some slack here and take some responsibility for yourselves. We are just doing our job and complying with the law.
I'm curious about one thing: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Cameron Diaz both just won cases against paparazzi, on the basis that they own their likeness, not the photographer, and therefore only they could decide how an image could or could not be used. If I own my likeness, how can anyone own a photograph of me? And, if I own my likeness, how can anyone tell me whether I can copy and distribute it or not?
I'm not trying to stir fires here, just an interesting wrinkle on the copyright issue. There's another thread here somewhere on a similar subject, but from the opposite angle.
Also, do photographers have contracts that forbid copying of portraits? Like a reverse model release? Otherwise it would be "work for hire", in which case the work is owned by the "hire-er", not the "hired".
I'll answer my own questions (slow night) with a small quote from an excellent link:
"The law says the “author” is the owner of the copyright. The
author of a photo or image is usually the person who
snapped the shutter or created the image. If you took the
photo, you own the copyright. If a professional photographer
took the photo for you, then he or she owns the copyright. If
that photographer is an employee of a studio or other person
in the business of making photos, then his or her employer is
considered the author.
Prior to 1978, court cases said a customer who
commissioned a photo was the employer of the
photographer, so customers could get reprints made without
any problem. In 1989, the US Supreme Court said a1978
law made that no longer true. To be an employee, the court
said a person would have to be considered an employee
under the traditional tests such as are used to impose payroll
taxes, social security, and similar laws. That is not the usual
From the Photo Marketing Association International Copyright Guide and copyright form, which is, of course, copyright © PMAI. It includes the forms I asked about.
I would think the difference in the celebrity cases is that the individuals did not commission the work. It would seem to me that the photographs in those cases should have to get a signed release, just as any other photographer would. But then again, I think there are a whole different set of rules for celebrities as they have put themselves in public domain.
Thanks for posting the Copyright Guide with the sample forms. I was just going to ask about this.
I would be interested in seeing some of the form releases other people use as well.
A year or so ago I contacted Olan Mills to have a reprint made of photos taken 15 years ago. Was informed they only keep negatives for a few years(can't recall exact #) But they would provide a release for $10.00.
Why should I have to pay for a release when they are not able to make reprints for me???? This makes no sense to me.
Also what about the quality of many of the photos taken at Wal Mart, Kmart, etc. which are turning red in my albums as we chat. I seriously doubt they could make reprints and feel I should be able to try and correct these photos before they disappear altogether.
There are many sides to this problem.
The photograph is a 'work of art', and, by default, is owned by the photographer. As such, nobody else has the right to copy it without permission.
The subject has rights to their likeness, and others may not have the right to USE that likeness in certain ways (varys from place to place, depending on that areas laws and precedents.)
If, for example, I took a photo of John Doe, I don't necessarily have the right to publish it--but neither would John have the right to copy it. Both require permission.
Note that there are sizable exclusions to the above--fair use, reportage, expectation of privacy, usage limitations, etc.--but that's the 'big picture' summary.
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