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Thread: What is your face worth? copyright law!

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    What is your face worth? copyright law!

    Just found this today. Very interesting read.

    http://www.dailylife.com.au/news-and...309-1up8y.html

    cheers

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I suppose as photographers, most of us are more aware of what a Model Release entails and allows. By his own admission, he does not appear to have read, or questioned clauses in the document he signed. I think for at least the last 20-30 years, it is constantly said, do not sign anything without carefully reading it.

    As many of the replies have said on that link, there is nothing to stop him using his face now, to get newer photos and sign a decent model release that gives him more financial benefits from it.

    Certainly, I hand over a model release and also verbally tell the person(s) the main aspects and ask if they have any questions, before I allow them to sign it.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    By his own admission, he does not appear to have read, or questioned clauses in the document he signed. I think for at least the last 20-30 years, it is constantly said, do not sign anything without carefully reading it.
    ... and yet there are still cases being won where people were not given adequate time to read the "fine print" or did not have the full import of the document explained to them in plain English (... er ... Mauri?). I reckon a smart lawyer could get some restitution made, but you'd need awfully deep pockets to hire him/her and that would likely negate any benefits. It is in such cases that governments should, and often do, step in and amend contract law to provide extra protections for unwitting individuals. You can bet that Getty had a whole team of lawyers fold its agreement 47 different ways to ensure it would still hold water! In cases of the BIG guy vs the LITTLE guy, it's the job of governments to level the playing field, isn't it?
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    I have no doubt that it is all legal. And true he should have ready EVERY word of the document. And he did get $1500 for his efforts.

    At first it seems that it just isn't fair, but maybe it is just a case of crying over "spilt milk".

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I know a group of workmates to bought a lotto ticket together. They asked all staff if they wanted to be in their syndicate, and as new staff joined the company, they were asked as well. They won! $60K each, but some of the staff who had declined to be in the syndicate, got a lawyer and tried to fight to get some of the money. It was thrown out of court, but they each ended up with $55K cause they had to pay to defend themselves in court.

    There is always someone who wants more than they deserve, or is unhappy about something that they agreed to, before they missed out and changed their minds.

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    Well put Rick!

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Terrific photo, that. Even with the noticeably slanty horizon.

    Oh, and it's not his photo, is it?

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    It would be interesting to see if this gentleman would have still signed the contract if at the time had involved no payment but a % of profits made. My guess is he probably would have told them to go jump. You cannot predict what image will make it big time and what image won't. It sounds as though he was payed a reasonable fee for a days work as an unknown model and has since failed to capatilise on his 15minutes of fame. To me I would be expecting his modeling agencey to have warned him re model release forms and what to look for.

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    When George Lucas first filmed Star Wars he had very little money and offered the actors shares in the box office takings in leiu of solid wages (which were low as that was all he could afford). Harrison Ford (Han Solo) took the shares, Mark Hammil (Luke Skywalker) took the wage! Mark's kicking himself now! lol. At least I believe this to be the case. Happens a lot in the movies, and I think it happens a lot everywhere, contra agreements, percentage payments etc. I think Rauhina got paid pretty well for a days work, and it was the photographer that chose the model, location, settings for the shot and did the pp and sell to Getty's. I don't see a problem with Rauhina's situation or choice...I can understand him being a bit miffed, and it might spur him to get an agent and sell his face for a higher price next time, but everyone needs a 'break' in such an industry, I don't think anyone has been exploited here, or at least no more than millions of people before them in a well known and accepted scenario anyway.
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    ...but they each ended up with $55K cause they had to pay to defend themselves in court....
    Isn't that a case where the lawyer they had should have also gone for costs?
    It also helps prevent people bringing stupid lawsuits that are unlikely to win, if they're going to end up paying the costs of the person they sue.

    If only a photo of my face was worth $60k!
    At present I doubt it would get 60cents
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    Andy. George Lucas also told the film studios that he wanted the return on ALL merchandising. Thinking he was stupid for even asking
    (up until then merchandising for a movie was minimal at best) they agreed.

    Notice much star wars merchandise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Terrific photo, that. Even with the noticeably slanty horizon.
    And what a good point. Whilst the amateur spends half an hour straightening the horizon, the professional spends half an hour making $60,000 +
    Photojournalist | Filmmaker | Writer | National Geographic | Royal Geographic

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