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Thread: Copyright - Annoyed at my Employer - DET

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    Copyright - Annoyed at my Employer - DET

    Apologies to the mods if this is not the correct area.

    BUT!

    I was a little miffed at my school (my employer is the DET) and / or the photography co. they use for the formal school photos; why? Well, yesterday, the photos were distributed to the students in a portfolio / folder with a collage of pictures of school activities on the front.

    Of about 10 photos, 5 are ones I have taken of the girls doing their various activities about the school (musicals, dancing, debates etc.). No-one asked me for permission, no $$$ was offered, they did not even hint they would be used nor was I given any credit - whatsoever.

    To be honest, ordinarily, I don't care... I am not out to make money from this hobby... Although this sounds corny enough to make you vomit, it is enough for me that the girls get a real buzz out of seeing nice photos of themselves (not grainy iPhone photos) that have a decent level of quality. The school prints them in the school newsletters and I see faces light up when they see nice, clear close in shots that are in focus and well lit. I don't expect the school to pay me for it out of an already inadequate budget (unless they really want to).

    However, I am rather pissed this time as my photos have been supplied to a professional photography co. (who ought to know not to do this) who are charging premium $$$ to the kids and presumably making a good deal of coin out of it. I bore the cost of my DSLRs, lenses, tripods and the three speedlights that light up a crappily lit school hall - now, some photographer is using my efforts for (admittedly a small part of) his profit.

    = PISSED!

    Another teacher who also occassionally brings his DSLR along had a similar thing happen a few years back when the school used one of his pics on a promotional item. As I recall, he did not want $$$, he just wanted his name credited under the pic (as you would see in the papers). He too thought, "this is not for the girls enjoyment, this is the school trying to spin money."

    The response he told me he was given was that, "the pics were taken on school property, so the school can use them."

    No-one particulary belives this but, out of not being bothered, the teacher dropped the matter.

    So, over the weekend, I guess I need to decide whether to see the principal about this matter... (I guess the school is the responsible party as they gave over the pics). I have no intention to demand money, sue or demand a recall. I would settle for a 'sorry, Scott', followed by a promise to not repeat this.

    It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    Apologies to the mods if this is not the correct area.

    BUT!

    I was a little miffed at my school (my employer is the DET) and / or the photography co. they use for the formal school photos; why? Well, yesterday, the photos were distributed to the students in a portfolio / folder with a collage of pictures of school activities on the front.

    Of about 10 photos, 5 are ones I have taken of the girls doing their various activities about the school (musicals, dancing, debates etc.). No-one asked me for permission, no $$$ was offered, they did not even hint they would be used nor was I given any credit - whatsoever.

    To be honest, ordinarily, I don't care... I am not out to make money from this hobby... Although this sounds corny enough to make you vomit, it is enough for me that the girls get a real buzz out of seeing nice photos of themselves (not grainy iPhone photos) that have a decent level of quality. The school prints them in the school newsletters and I see faces light up when they see nice, clear close in shots that are in focus and well lit. I don't expect the school to pay me for it out of an already inadequate budget (unless they really want to).

    However, I am rather pissed this time as my photos have been supplied to a professional photography co. (who ought to know not to do this) who are charging premium $$$ to the kids and presumably making a good deal of coin out of it. I bore the cost of my DSLRs, lenses, tripods and the three speedlights that light up a crappily lit school hall - now, some photographer is using my efforts for (admittedly a small part of) his profit.

    = PISSED!

    Another teacher who also occassionally brings his DSLR along had a similar thing happen a few years back when the school used one of his pics on a promotional item. As I recall, he did not want $$$, he just wanted his name credited under the pic (as you would see in the papers). He too thought, "this is not for the girls enjoyment, this is the school trying to spin money."

    The response he told me he was given was that, "the pics were taken on school property, so the school can use them."

    No-one particulary belives this but, out of not being bothered, the teacher dropped the matter.

    So, over the weekend, I guess I need to decide whether to see the principal about this matter... (I guess the school is the responsible party as they gave over the pics). I have no intention to demand money, sue or demand a recall. I would settle for a 'sorry, Scott', followed by a promise to not repeat this.

    It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth...

    Scotty
    I'd call the photographer actually, hopefully he's in the aipp and so will understand the issue here.
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    It is hardly the photographers fault, if he was supplied the images by the school, he would have used them thinking that the school had the rights to use those images for that purpose.

    I think you would be well served to approach the principle and state your case.

    "Look boss, it's not that you used the images, it's that you used them without my permission, and you didn't give me credit"
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    You may get an answer from the principal similar to

    "gee, sorry Scott, we thought you gave us the images so we could use them for this sort of thing"

    Could just be an innocent case of a lack of clarity when you gave them the images

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    G'day Scotty

    Geez mate, I can understand your "attitude"
    Whatever the solution, I feel that it needs to be written down and on record
    If it were me .... the letters(s) would go to the Principal and the School Board at a minimum, and need to explain the issues you are concerned with. Facts not opinion not emotion

    The facts are clear -
    >> it's your hobby, the photos are your contribution to the welfare of students and the 'esprit de corps' of the school.
    >> if they were taken commercially the school would have had to pay for the services of the pro photog at $/hour ... you are receiving a salary so this part of the equation doesn't carry "unless you are asked to do a special task and are to be paid accordingly" eg: come to the school's drama presentation night and take photos of the production and make prints for the students & parents etc etc

    As a teacher, you are expected to do 'classroom activities' after hours [preparing for lessions, marking papers etc] ... you are not expected to undertake your private activities (hobby) free-of-charge for the school's benefit unless you volunteer to do so

    What you do expect is the polite acknowledgement of authorship, and the permanent acknowledgement from the school that although the photos were taken by you for the use within the school, they were NOT taken for commercial distribution outside the school.
    I would reiterate in the letter that 'the school is aware of basic copyright law regarding "copying 10% of a publication for educational or research purposes before submitting to a copyright payment to the author" etc etc ~ well you are the author in this case, and the school has just breached the "10% rule" ... so it is incumbent upon the school to either pay you or achnowledge you as author

    The next issue here is the re-use of your images by the 'other' mob ... are they printing your images? ... if 'yes', how did they get the masters? ... if 'yes', are they retaining any profits? ... if 'yes', I feel that you need to write to them also and explain the situation. They are probably acting in good faith upon what has been verbally provided to them. I would be 99% sure that this is the case, so that after a note from you, I would expect the pair of you could reach a quick agreement as to ackowledgement ... you digitise up a 4x6" master [PDF] giving your details etc, for it to be printed by the pro photog and included in with the folder of prints for the parents to read

    Hope this helps in some way
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    Hey Scott,

    I would go and have a read of the Copyright Act. The clause related to copyright whilst in the employment of others might stumble you up here, unless of course your photos were taken outside of your paid work times.

    Excerpt from Australian Copyright Information sheet for Photographers, available HERE under P


    Photographs taken in the course of employment - If an employee takes a photograph as part of his or her job, the first owner of copyright will be the employer, unless they have made an agreement to the contrary.


    along with this clause under the same heading:


    Photographs taken for the government; Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, a Commonwealth, State or Territory government is the first owner of copyright in material created, or first published, under its direction or control. Note that these provisions do not apply to local governments. For more information, see our information sheet Governments (Commonwealth,State and Territory).
    Last edited by ricktas; 31-07-2010 at 8:17am.
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    Ricks info is the first thing that came to my mind as well when I read the OP ...
    Hi Im Darren

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    Yes, as Rick has stated, that is the way it happens. Numerous photos that I have taken at school are not mine as such and are loaded onto the server for all and sundry to use. Some have been used for commercial publications, others for advertising the school but most are for the students to use and are archived for future reference. I neither expect pay nor credit. So be it. I love recording the kids' activities for them to use or for the school to use as they see fit. That's just the way it is.

    However, being asked to do a particular shoot and getting paid for it by the dept. is something different. This I have also done and this is when you also get credited for your work.

    Scott, when the kids buy their pics, word of mouth is the best way to get yourself noted for the images you are talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Hey Scott,

    I would go and have a read of the Copyright Act. The clause related to copyright whilst in the employment of others might stumble you up here, unless of course your photos were taken outside of your paid work times.

    Excerpt from Australian Copyright Information sheet for Photographers, available HERE under P


    Photographs taken in the course of employment - If an employee takes a photograph as part of his or her job, the first owner of copyright will be the employer, unless they have made an agreement to the contrary.


    along with this clause under the same heading:


    Photographs taken for the government; Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, a Commonwealth, State or Territory government is the first owner of copyright in material created, or first published, under its direction or control. Note that these provisions do not apply to local governments. For more information, see our information sheet Governments (Commonwealth,State and Territory).

    I have to jump in.

    Very quickly as I'm rushing off to a shoot

    1) Sorry Rick, but to clarify and perhaps correct, as stated
    If an employee takes a photograph as part of his or her job
    , thats the important part, as PART of his her job. So this clause is intended for use when photography is part of the employees services. It also will heavily depend on if the school provided the camera as (again) part of the employees contract of work.

    Its often a misunderstood clause.

    So, unless Scotty's responsibilities included taking pics, and was using school equipment, this wouldnt count.

    2) The School cannot claim that they own the images because they were shot on school property. However, if they learn from this and produce an agreement that they then get people to sign if they want to shoot on school premises, with the specific term of insisting on a copy of all images for publication and promotion of the school, thats their prerogative.

    3) not the photographers fault that copied the Scotty's pics ! Get real, of course it is! A professional should certainly know, and should have asked if all images were able to be copied. Having said that though, if the Headmaster thinks they have the right to all images, then maybe the photographer would have been given that same line. Might be a timely reminder for everyone to consider if you ever get into a situation where you have to use another photographers image.

    4) This all could be averted if when supplying images to someone, that you do so with a very cleart understanding how they can be used. If I were giving something like this away, I would certainly do so with a visible watermark on the free images, and if they were paying a small fee, the watermark would be removed. I think a frank discussion with the school or person concerned, would help educate them for the future.
    Last edited by Longshots; 31-07-2010 at 9:06am.
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    If you had used their camera then the copyright is theirs, but as you used your equipment I think it rests with you and if you did not give them permission to on sell your images then ask them to stop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    I have to jump in.

    Very quickly as I'm rushing off to a shoot
    Snip
    3) not the photographers fault that copied the Scotty's pics ! Get real, of course it is! A professional should certainly know, and should have asked if all images were able to be copied. Having said that though, if the Headmaster thinks they have the right to all images, then maybe the photographer would have been given that same line. Might be a timely reminder for everyone to consider if you ever get into a situation where you have to use another photographers image.
    That is what I was trying to say, only you said it better

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Hey Scott,

    I would go and have a read of the Copyright Act. The clause related to copyright whilst in the employment of others might stumble you up here, unless of course your photos were taken outside of your paid work times.

    Excerpt from Australian Copyright Information sheet for Photographers, available HERE under P


    Photographs taken in the course of employment - If an employee takes a photograph as part of his or her job, the first owner of copyright will be the employer, unless they have made an agreement to the contrary.


    along with this clause under the same heading:


    Photographs taken for the government; Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, a Commonwealth, State or Territory government is the first owner of copyright in material created, or first published, under its direction or control. Note that these provisions do not apply to local governments. For more information, see our information sheet Governments (Commonwealth,State and Territory).
    Yes, I am conducting photography sessions with my patients & in my paid capacity as a health care provider the DoH have rights over the images & can do whatever they please with them. I have had to get my patients to sign a consent which states that fact. The DoH don't have to recognise my work either as they are the owner of all the intellectual property that I produce in my paid capacity. Hopefully I can get hold of some donated cameras soon.
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    Its not about being taken while on school property, but if at the time the image was captured was the
    'tog under their normal employment T&Cs - i.e. being paid at that time.

    My understanding is that if it was captured out of normal school hours then Scotty owns the ©

    Next time - watermark !!
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    I would also feel much the same without first being asked if they could be used in this way and an acknowledgement.
    When I started work for my current employer, I created a database in my own time at home to make my job easier and set it up on one of my work computers to use.
    I informed the boss of what I had done and said that although it was mine, anyone else was welcome to use it.
    I discovered a couple of months later that he had found a blank copy of the database in my drawer and had given it to a mate of his running another company, needless to say I was not impressed so confronted him about it and he bought the database from me.
    If he had just asked if he could give it to his mate then I would probably have just said yes because I had not set out to make money from the creation of the thing but to make my job easier.
    I think that it is important to seek permission and to give credit.
    Last edited by in2fx; 31-07-2010 at 9:35am.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    I have to jump in.

    Very quickly as I'm rushing off to a shoot

    1) Sorry Rick, but to clarify and perhaps correct, as stated , thats the important part, as PART of his her job. So this clause is intended for use when photography is part of the employees services. It also will heavily depend on if the school provided the camera as (again) part of the employees contract of work.

    Its often a misunderstood clause.

    So, unless Scotty's responsibilities included taking pics, and was using school equipment, this wouldnt count.

    2) The School cannot claim that they own the images because they were shot on school property. However, if they learn from this and produce an agreement that they then get people to sign if they want to shoot on school premises, with the specific term of insisting on a copy of all images for publication and promotion of the school, thats their prerogative.

    3) not the photographers fault that copied the Scotty's pics ! Get real, of course it is! A professional should certainly know, and should have asked if all images were able to be copied. Having said that though, if the Headmaster thinks they have the right to all images, then maybe the photographer would have been given that same line. Might be a timely reminder for everyone to consider if you ever get into a situation where you have to use another photographers image.

    4) This all could be averted if when supplying images to someone, that you do so with a very cleart understanding how they can be used. If I were giving something like this away, I would certainly do so with a visible watermark on the free images, and if they were paying a small fee, the watermark would be removed. I think a frank discussion with the school or person concerned, would help educate them for the future.
    Agree, however at present we have no information from Scott about what agreement, verbal or otherwise, is in place, regarding him taking his camera to school and photographing students and activities. We need more information from the OP before either of our statements can be deemed correct. After all, the Principal may have asked Scott to bring his camera along to get some photos, therefore this could be regarded as a contract where he was asked to take them for the school. It gets very murky! If no agreement was in place and Scott was taking photos during his paid employment time, the principal could argue that he is not performing his role as a teacher, if he is taking photos, whilst being paid as a teacher. Dangerous ground to tread!
    Last edited by ricktas; 31-07-2010 at 9:33am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by in2fx View Post
    I would also feel much the same without first being asked if they could be used in this way and an acknowledgement.
    When I started work for my current employer, I created a database in my own time at home to make my job easier and set it up on one of my work computers to use.
    I informed the boss of what I had done and said that although it was mine, anyone else was welcome to use it.
    I discovered a couple of months later that he had found a blank copy of the database in my drawer and had given it to a mate of his running another company, needless to say I was not impressed so confronted him about it and he bought the database from me.
    If he had just asked if he could give it to his mate then I would probably have just said yes because I had not set out to make money from the creation of the thing but to make my job easier.
    I think that it is important to seek permission and to give credit.
    That was very cheeky of them to attempt to steal your intellectual property. You did the work in your own "unpaid" time, therefore it is yours to sell or do what YOU please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    If you had used their camera then the copyright is theirs, but as you used your equipment I think it rests with you and if you did not give them permission to on sell your images then ask them to stop.
    I dont think what camera he used matters .. The copyright issue here lies with whether taking these pictures fell within the duties expected under his conditions of employment. If photographing the students is part of his conditions of employment, the © defaults to the school, if not the © remains with the photographer, regardless of what camera he used.

    My understanding is that © ALWAYS belongs to the person that hit the shutter unless you are being commissioned to take the photographs, and have not retained your © in a written agreement, or have taken the images for your employer as part of your employment, which is obviously the issue here.
    Last edited by bigdazzler; 31-07-2010 at 10:11am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Agree, however at present we have no information from Scott about what agreement, verbal or otherwise, is in place, regarding him taking his camera to school and photographing students and activities. We need more information from the OP before either of our statements can be deemed correct. After all, the Principal may have asked Scott to bring his camera along to get some photos, therefore this could be regarded as a contract where he was asked to take them for the school. It gets very murky! If no agreement was in place and Scott was taking photos during his paid employment time, the principal could argue that he is not performing his role as a teacher, if he is taking photos, whilst being paid as a teacher. Dangerous ground to tread!

    I completely agree its murky. However Scotty has said on numerous occasions that he is a teacher. And he also stated that it was his equipment. And Big Dazzler, yes funnily enough the apparently minor perhaps pedantic difference between who suppllys the equipment is very important in the ATO's view. A subcontractor or employer would be very aware of that finer point. But, agreed far too murky. And the suggestion to discuss this with his employer would be wise indeed.
    Last edited by Longshots; 31-07-2010 at 11:47am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdazzler View Post
    I dont think what camera he used matters .. The copyright issue here lies with whether taking these pictures fell within the duties expected under his conditions of employment. If photographing the students is part of his conditions of employment, the © defaults to the school, if not the © remains with the photographer, regardless of what camera he used.

    My understanding is that © ALWAYS belongs to the person that hit the shutter unless you are being commissioned to take the photographs, and have not retained your © in a written agreement, or have taken the images for your employer as part of your employment, which is obviously the issue here.

    Sorry to repeat this but you do really need to read the link I've provided in the past to the Australian Copyright Council.

    Because your understanding of the Australian Copyright Act is incorrect - specifically this part of your statement " © ALWAYS belongs to the person that hit the shutter unless you are being commissioned to take the photographs, and have not retained your © in a written agreement".

    In this situation the images would be considered commercial and not personal/domestic, which is where there is a defining and very important difference.

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    I can certainly see why Scotty is peeved. The School clearly knows who took the photos, and if nothing else common courtesy would dictate acknowledgement, particularly as they appear to have been presented as part of a commercial package & most people viewing them would assume they were taken by the company producing the brochure.

    I would agree that the copyright would seem to lie with the School. Whilst it may not be in Scotty's job description to take them, the fact that he normally does, in school time, makes taking them part of his job, none-the-less.

    However, the Principal, or any reasonable employer, should be aware that acknowledgement of his efforts is just common courtesy, let alone good employee relations. Whilst for the last 21years I have just run my own small business with only a couple of staff, before that I did have a very senior position in Local Govt and to not have acknowledged the input of a staff member would have been unthinkable

    I think you should approach the Principal along the lines of wanting acknowledgement, as the way they are presented suggests they are the work of others. Don't involve the School Council/Board as going over the bosses head is never a good move.
    Last edited by Boo53; 31-07-2010 at 12:27pm.

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