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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 08 May 2012 (Tuesday) 21:34
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NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.2 is Confusing

 
undcover
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May 08, 2012 21:34 |  #1

I was wondering if anyone has gotten hit with cease and desist letters based on NCAA bylaw 12.5.2.2

To give some background, I've been shooting collegiate beach volleyball matches since 2009. Photos I've shot have been used for editorial use and parents have bought photos for private use as well. This year was the inaugural year of sand volleyball as an official NCAA sport. A couple of my photographer friends who have been shooting beach volleyball longer than me, shot matches earlier in the year got hit with a cease and desist letter from one of the universities.

About a month later, I shot an annual tournament (which I had shot for the past 3 years) and I figured I'd learn from their misfortune and post the gallery with the shopping cart off. I also posted a few photos to facebook which players immediately tagged and started sharing.

Within a week, I got C&D letters from 3 of the 6 universities in the tournament saying I'm in violation of NCAA bylaw 12.5.2.2 by using student-athletes to promote a commercial product. I respectfully took the gallery down and contacted 2 of the universities to learn how to make the gallery 'legit.' I told them the photos (1) weren't for sale and (2) only had my name in the watermark. I also referred them to the last sentence of the NCAA bylaw "...such steps are not required in cases in which a student-athlete’s photograph is sold by an individual or agency (e.g., private photographer, news agency) for private use."

Basically, they said the fact that the photos weren't for sale doesn't matter. I was using student-athletes to promote my business and I wasn't allowed to post photos to my website or any social media sites. That really confused me b/c that would mean virtually no one could post photos of any NCAA event. The ironic thing is that one of the schools that sent me a C&D used a bunch of my images from last year's tournament to build the team website (with my permission).

I guess no good deed goes unpunished...


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undcover
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May 08, 2012 21:35 |  #2

Here's the full bylaw according to the 2011-2012 NCAA Division I Manual:

Use of a Student-Athlete’s Name or Picture Without Knowledge or Permission. If a student-athlete’s name or picture appears on commercial items (e.g., T-shirts, sweatshirts, serving trays, playing
cards, posters) or is used to promote a commercial product sold by an individual or agency without the student-athlete’s knowledge or permission, the student-athlete (or the institution acting on behalf of the student-athlete) is required to take steps to stop such an activity in order to retain his or her eligibility for intercollegiate athletics. Such steps are not required in cases in which a student-athlete’s photograph is sold by an individual or agency (e.g., private photographer, news agency) for private use.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 09, 2012 01:05 as a reply to  @ undcover's post |  #3

Quite clearly the staff at the universities are idiots of the first order. The above quoted clause is quite clear - it prohibits the use of images to advertise a product or service and not to the actual sale of images. It quite clearly states that you (a private individual or agency) can sell the images for private use (to the players so they can hang them on the wall) or to the press for editorial use.

It would solve a lot of similar problems if someone where to tell them to "sue me" as the institution would lose and that would stop future letters. Of course no one is going to go to court over this so the next best thing would be to contact the NCAA and get them to clarify the matter (preferably in writing).


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CAL ­ Imagery
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May 09, 2012 23:01 |  #4

The NCAA doesn't know the NCAA's rules.


Christian

  
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undcover
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May 10, 2012 12:10 |  #5

During an interview at the NCAA Final Four, the NCAA president said one of his goals was to simplify the 400+ page rule book. More power to him.


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qdrummer21
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May 11, 2012 09:35 |  #6

I work for a small Div III College and occasionally will take photos for our athletics department, and what I know for sure is that NO ONE seems to understand the NCAA rulebook entirely.

My personal thought on this issue would be the following..

The NCAA probably views a publicly viewable collection of photos as part of a photographer’s portfolio and that they're making the argument that the portfolio is in part used for the marketing of the photographer’s services. A way around this could possibly be a passworded gallery that only the athletes can use to order prints.

<Shrug> Right or wrong, some things are just way too complicated. OP, you're on the right track talking with the universities to work it out. There has got to be a way to sell the prints to the athletes, and the universities should be able to tell you what is a legitimate way of doing that. Contacting the NCAA itself too might not be a bad idea.




  
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undcover
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May 11, 2012 13:57 |  #7

If the universities told me I couldn't sell the photos, I'd completely understand that. I never thought you could sell photos of NCAA sanctioned events anyway. The problem I have is that I go to a public beach, take some photos, upload them to an online gallery and instead of looking at the photos as being editorial, I'm being treated like someone funneling millions from the universities and NCAA. And it doesn't help that I see several other sand volleyball galleries on smugmug.


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lauderdalems
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May 11, 2012 21:30 |  #8

I've been shooting and posting Div II for 6 years without any problems. If the tournament was an NCAA sponsored event then they usually prohibit everything except editorial use. Regular college games/events would follow the host school policy. Talk to the school SID or AD.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 12, 2012 06:19 |  #9

undcover wrote in post #14416808 (external link)
If the universities told me I couldn't sell the photos, I'd completely understand that.

If they did they would be wrong. The quote above from the regs clearly states that you can sell images. They NCAA just don't want the athletes likeness being used to endorse products/companies.


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wysiwyg59
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May 12, 2012 08:37 |  #10

NCAA IMHO is an illegal organization. They do not care about the athletes/students they care about money. I was at the Froozen Four in 2011 at the Xcel I took my 7D with 18-200 lens they let it in because it was under 6" long. We went to the Ralph in Grand Forks and they would not let my wife in with her 40D with 55-250 lens. Saw a fan in stands with a older Nikon with a bigger lens half way thru taking photos Security told him to stop. But they let it in. They do not know their own rules and how does a fan or photographer understand it.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 12, 2012 20:15 as a reply to  @ wysiwyg59's post |  #11

How does any of what you just posted make them "illegal"?


Dan Marchant
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NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.2 is Confusing
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