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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 20 Mar 2012 (Tuesday) 09:25
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Image rights when volunteering

 
njwiggit
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Mar 20, 2012 09:25 |  #1

I have recently volunteered for an animal organization and am wondering about the rights to my photos? This is a new situation for me so I want to cover my bases. Is it expected that the rights transfer to the organization? My thoughts are that they have the rights to use in all communication but not for sale. And I retain my rights for use. Just not sure this is how it works in life. They have requested a small logo on the photos of their animals, along side my photo credit. I have no issue with this for their communications but if I use the photo I obviously this would not be ideal. Any guidance appreciated as I would like to put something in writing so no one is "surprised" later. Many thanks!




  
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SuzyView
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Mar 20, 2012 09:29 |  #2

When I volunteer, I really volunteer. I don't care if they use my name or not, although, I'd like to see my name sometime. I let them have all rights to the images to do as they wish. If there are children involved, all must have releases. I don't publish anything on my own without asking for permission since I mainly shoot competitions or concerts or sports with children. For animals, I don't know what is appropriate, expect to speak to the PR or manager to get their requirements. My thinking is that when you volunteer, you can ask to use the images for your portfolio, but you don't want any money. If the customer wants images, they have full rights to order them from you, or do with the images as they wish. But remember, I'm only doing free work, nothing for pay. Please wait for someone to come into the thread that does both.


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nathancarter
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Mar 20, 2012 11:15 |  #3

I-Am-Not-A-Lawyer advice:

Without knowing your location, it's hard to give accurate information, so I'll speak to the U.S.:

You own the copyright to any photo for which you mashed the shutter button. You can license those photos in a variety of ways: To whomever, for whatever usage, for whatever duration, in exchange for whatever compensation. As a general rule, you don't transfer copyright to anyone (though you can do so if you wish).

In your specific instance, you'll retain the copyright, and you'll grant a license to the organization do use the images in whatever manner you wish to allow. You can choose to require them to give you photo credits and/or leave your watermark on the images; you can choose to allow or disallow them to put their own logo or watermark on the images.

You also retain the rights to use the images in your portfolio (with or without their logo); however, if there are any identifiable people in the images, then you'll want to get a model release. The model release allows you to use those people's likeness for "business purposes," and a professional portfolio may fall under the heading of business-related usage. If you're on good terms with the organization - and I'm sure you are, if you're volunteering with them - then they'll likely give you a model release without any hassle.

If you're just putting the images on a personal (not business) website, for a non-professional portfolio, then I don't believe you have to have a model release. It's nice to ask permission first, of course.


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mikekelley
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Mar 20, 2012 14:22 |  #4

When I did this I just gave them all the images for use as they saw fit, not really worth nit picking over. You own the copyright of course so you can do what you want as well.

I sent them 1024 px jpegs, they could do whatever they wanted with them and if they wanted larger by request i'd send them. I don't think anyone is getting rich from unauthorized photos being sold at an animal shelter so I wouldn't sweat it.


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sandpiper
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Mar 20, 2012 14:33 |  #5

njwiggit wrote in post #14118816 (external link)
I have recently volunteered for an animal organization and am wondering about the rights to my photos? This is a new situation for me so I want to cover my bases. Is it expected that the rights transfer to the organization? My thoughts are that they have the rights to use in all communication but not for sale. And I retain my rights for use. Just not sure this is how it works in life. They have requested a small logo on the photos of their animals, along side my photo credit. I have no issue with this for their communications but if I use the photo I obviously this would not be ideal. Any guidance appreciated as I would like to put something in writing so no one is "surprised" later. Many thanks!

Their rights to the image are what you agree between you. You are volunteering your time and if you want to say that you are happy to shoot the images but they can only use them for rehoming purposes (or whatever) you have that right. Equally, you can use the images as you see fit, if they have a problem with certain uses, they can insist that is written into the agreement, and you have the option of withdrawing your offer of help, if you aren't happy with the limitation.

Personally, I would happily let them have full and free usage for any purposes they like, but would wish to retain all my options on usage. If I thought any were commercially viable as cute shots for calendars etc., I would split any income with the charity.

As for logos, they can have what they want on their copies of the images, I would want the option of leaving it off mine.

At the end of the day, they need the images for certain purposes and they should realistically have full licence for anything they want to do, if you really want to help the charity. What else you do with the images, so long as it doesn't affect the image of the charity, shouldn't concern them.




  
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RDKirk
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Mar 21, 2012 13:21 |  #6

BTW, if you're absolutely certain you don't care what they do with the pictures, your licence does not have to be written. You just don't sue them.


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ssim
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Mar 22, 2012 02:55 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #7

You can make it whatever you want, it requires sitting down with the right people at the society or whatever it is that you are volunteering at. The key is at the end to have it all in writing. If you are already starting to have doubts about certain parts this is especially important.

I have done volunteer work for two different wildlife rescue facilities. In both cases I shot what they asked plus alot more and turned over the images to them. They sold prints and I did not expect to receive anything from them. The large prints had my name on them but even that wasn't important to me. To use Suzie's wording which I like, when I volunteer, I really volunteer. Wildlife is something that I feel very strongly about and I not only do photography work for them but donate cash and time as well. I have done some other volunteer work for other causes and haven't given nearly as much and I took the time to have a much more written comprehensive plan with them. I've never felt the need to have my lawyer go over these. All I simply do is take notes at the meetings and then issue a "letter of understanding" that details all the points and all the parties sign it. It is what you make it and I never try and turn a volunteer position into a revenue generator.


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Bend ­ The ­ Light
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Mar 22, 2012 03:25 |  #8

I take the performance photos for the theatre group my daughter uses. For the first 3 shows I gave the theatre company the full res images for them to do as they will...but I can do as I want too. I put low res images on the group's facebook for the cast to "pinch" for their avatars etc.

On the last show, I gave the full size to the theatre group, but SOLD all the full res on a dvd to the cast, cheap, but enough to make me a couple of quid for my time. I won't sell them or use them again for profit, and the theatre group will use them in their adverts etc.




  
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HappySnapper90
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Mar 23, 2012 19:28 |  #9

njwiggit wrote in post #14118816 (external link)
I have recently volunteered for an animal organization and am wondering about the rights to my photos? Is it expected that the rights transfer to the organization?

Why not talk to them and clear it all up before your scheduled day to take photos for them? Don't ask the internet when you should be asking your "client".




  
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lar55
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Mar 23, 2012 20:14 |  #10

HappySnapper90 wrote in post #14142203 (external link)
Why not talk to them and clear it all up before your scheduled day to take photos for them?

Good advice, but I tried it, and it didn't work. Me, a few years ago, before first-time taking pictures as a volunteer: Do you want a letter stating your rights to the pictures, etc? Them: Not necessary, since I am not a pro. Wrong, but I'm not going to argue with them...

But after a while I got uncomfortable with that. So now every time I give them photos, they get a quickie 1-line license grant in the email or on the CD (unrestricted, perpetual etc). I retain copyright, but they probably don't know that.




  
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HappySnapper90
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Mar 25, 2012 17:06 |  #11

lar55 wrote in post #14142380 (external link)
But after a while I got uncomfortable with that. So now every time I give them photos, they get a quickie 1-line license grant in the email or on the CD (unrestricted, perpetual etc). I retain copyright, but they probably don't know that.

Then you need more than just a sentence. You need a line that states you retain the photograph copyright.




  
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NatalieJohn
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Mar 30, 2012 01:49 |  #12

Some organizations which work for welfare of animals reserve the rights of using their animals' pictures. I will suggest you to provide us clear idea of your location so that one can help you in proper manner.




  
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scorpio_e
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Mar 30, 2012 09:28 |  #13

You should have a contract with them and have all of the details covered in the contract.


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