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Thread: Sell copyright & ownership of the images for a contract job?

  1. #1
    Account Closed AndrewG222's Avatar
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    Sell copyright & ownership of the images for a contract job?

    Hi,

    I'm looking at a contract job to supply a tourism website with images of our local area. Many of them will be presented as 360 degree images in virtual tours plus many regular still shots. None of the images are for sale to the public at the moment as to start off with it will all be available just on the website but there was talk in the future though that the public may be able to purchase the still images at various sizes.

    I'd be charged an hourly fee for all the photography work required.

    Basically I've been asked to decide if I would sell the copyright & ownership of the images to the tourism company or would I rather keep the copyright & ownership of the images but get paid less for the hourly fee.

    The easiest thing would be to make as much money up front but then I was thinking that perhaps if the image sales got popular I could have a small steady income in the future. Plus if I did sell them on would I have to supply the RAW files or sell just high res tif files?

    Probably a no brainer for most of you but I thought there was no harm in asking here on the forum.

    Thanks for any help.

    Andrew

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    There is no right or wrong in this. Basically you have to decide what you want to do, for your business. Some photographers retain copyright, others are happy to hand it over. This is a decision you have to make.

    Oh, and welcome to AP. Hope we get to see you joining in on the forums soon.
    Last edited by ricktas; 15-08-2015 at 3:11pm.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    G'day and welcome to AP Andrew. Hope you get a bit involved here. 'tis what makes forums work.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewG222 View Post

    Basically I've been asked to decide if I would sell the copyright & ownership of the images to the tourism company or would I rather keep the copyright & ownership of the images but get paid less for the hourly fee.
    Basically I have no idea how the business of photography works but my initial reaction is to go this way, retain copyright.
    What happens if one of your photos gets picked up for some sort of world wide advertising campaign? That hourly rate won't seem so good if you fluke it.
    Last edited by Mark L; 15-08-2015 at 10:02pm.
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    Thanks for the replies.

    I think in this situation then it's better to keep copyright & ownership of the images.

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    After 50 years in the business and watching tens of thousands of good photographers dissolve into nothing, I'd go for what you can get now and forgo any remote chance of future income. Besides, you can still claim fame for the original photography and if you're really good enough you can do it again. After all, you are the originator and not just a lucky strike.
    If you're a good business person shoot everything twice, keep one and sell one. That's advice I got from Nat Geo 30 years ago. The only challenge you will have is sending your client the one they like best.
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    I like my computer more than my camera farmmax's Avatar
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    I'm with Redgum on this question. Guess it depends on your situation. You have to be realistic. Are your photographs above average and already attracting sales and attention.? Or are you like most of us, highly unlikely to have a photo which will take the world by storm? I like Redgum's solution of taking two photos. Then you can happily give up the copyright on one of them and take the money and run

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I agree with Redgum too.(it's strange feeling I may have to adapt too tho! )

    My only concern about the shoot twice and sell the other image as a replacement is that if you sell the copyright now on the one, is there a clause on any contract you may create whereby all images for the shoot you do for them doesn't allow you to use any other images you created for them during this job lot.

    That is, if you worked for a couple of days for them .. on this shoot, are all images in effect owned by them as they paid you to do it all on behalf of them.

    You may have done another shoot during those days where you worked for them tho out of the billing hours they paid you for .. etc. etc.

    My experience with any conditional agreements(such as contracts and the like) .. is that you need to be 101% sure you understand them exactly perfectly and even as far as to what printer produced each pico litre of ink droplets that created the text! My advice is to seek legal help.

    The reason I say this is that my sister recently lost a small fortune in a business because while she thought that the contract she agreed too was right .. and that some anomalies were to be corrected, the contract screwed her massively(and not due to the anomalies).
    If she had the funds to fight the million dollar lawyers that would have inevitably been used against her, the anomalies in the contract would have worked in her favour and she may have been entitled to some compensation in the long run.
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    Geez Arthur, I read this last night and was too emotional to respond. Of course you are right again.
    Like I've said before a good commercial photographer is one with a bachelor's degree in business, accounting or law. Taking pictures is secondary to survival.
    Many years ago (like the 1980's) I had the good fortune to receive the letters AFAIM (Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management) and this gave me access to short courses like Effective Negotiation, Accounting for Non-Accountants, Effective Speaking, Diplomacy etc., and it was those skills that enabled me to negotiate with government, multi-nationals and benevolent organisations and from then on that's where my photographic work came from. Those skills also established my business network.
    No, I'm not a lawyer but I know how to deal with those situations and get the best results.
    One important thing to remember is that having a working knowledge of how to negotiate puts you in a strong position when the offer comes and in most cases the people offering you a deal simply want a product at the right price. If the offer sounds too good, it is. Let common sense prevail.
    If you want to be a good photographer (or business person) go and get the right education. It's not too hard.
    Back to the question. What are your photographs worth? As much as the highest offer. If you sell a photograph twice its value is halved, not doubled. It won't happen.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo agrees with Redgum's comments - a lot of reasonable and experienced advice.

    Photography and the future of that for any of us is really a gamble. A bird in the hand etc.........seems a better approach at least in the beginning. Also, having the copyright is all very well but try protecting it if someone tires to use your work without your permission. The praticality of that will soon overtake the theoreticals of enforcing ownership. Sell them the copyright and let them worry about that in future. Besides, if you get really well known and in demand in the future, you could change the way you operate i.e. begin keeping your copyright for your future work. By then, you will be better known and better able to protect your copyright if you have to.

    Lastly, a word about contracts generally. It is amazing how many people think that whatever is plonked down if front of you as "the contract" is what you have to agree to and sign - RUBBISH ! Everything is subject to negotiation. If it does not say what you agee to, then do not sign it ! end of story.

    good luck whatever you decide.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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