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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 19 Nov 2012 (Monday) 15:06
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Did I accidentally sign away my rights?

 
Dan ­ Marchant
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Apr 23, 2013 21:09 |  #16

Heath wrote in post #15859983 (external link)
I would also like to add something to my contract that would clarify that my photography does not fall under the companies creative IP rights I signed when I was hired......

......I am a project manger for my company. As a part of my job, I take pictures of our installations progress as well as the final installations to have a record of the project.

OK well that completely changes the picture. If photography is part of your job then the images are going to be covered by the company's creative IP rights clause and will belong to the company.

Ownership of work done as part of your job is totally different from ownership of work done unrelated to your job in your free time. You can ask them to give you the copyright but I wouldn't hold out too much hope.


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elrey2375
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Apr 23, 2013 22:08 |  #17

Dan Marchant wrote in post #15860461 (external link)
OK well that completely changes the picture. If photography is part of your job then the images are going to be covered by the company's creative IP rights clause and will belong to the company.

Ownership of work done as part of your job is totally different from ownership of work done unrelated to your job in your free time. You can ask them to give you the copyright but I wouldn't hold out too much hope.

Exactly. What does one have to do with the other. It sounds like you're wanting to be able to use photos you take in a work capacity as part of your portfolio. Is that the gist of it?


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Luxornv
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Apr 23, 2013 22:24 |  #18

If you're trying to promote yourself with the images you take for your employer, then that may be a conflict of interest. I wouldn't expect them to go along with that part.


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Heath
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Apr 24, 2013 06:47 |  #19

elrey2375 wrote in post #15860637 (external link)
Exactly. What does one have to do with the other. It sounds like you're wanting to be able to use photos you take in a work capacity as part of your portfolio. Is that the gist of it?

For work, I am not required to take good images, I just need to take images that are a record of the project. Snapshots.

What I would like to do is create images that are of a higher standard, for example perspective corrected, and provide them to my company for use for free. But I would also like to be able to use these images for my portfolio.

For example, the majority of our projects are all public. Meaning that anyone could get pictures of them, they do not require any special access. Last night after work, I went to one of the locations and took some photos for the designer of the project (does not work for my company). I would like to provide these images to my company, but I want to maintain copyright so that I can also use them (and give them to the designer).

Due to technology, and being an international company, I am never really off. There are no set hours. So how do I prove that I did not take this images under the direction of my company and took them on my own.

My boss has said that he does not want any "artistic" photos, but I do not know what this means. He said this after I sent him some wide angle (not distorted, just showing the environment) of one of our projects. But even though he did not want any of the photos, he was pissed off that the photos had my copyright. The photos were taken off hours, but he had asked me if I had any images, so I sent them to him.

For me, I just want some clarity. Either I am giving up any and all rights to my photos or I am not. And I need to know when a photo I take belongs to my company and when it is mine. Is it determined by subject matter or by time it was taken, or what?

If I am walking from one jobsite to another and take a photo (let's say of a dog), does the company own the image because I am required to document my projects?


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Heath
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Apr 24, 2013 06:54 |  #20

Luxornv wrote in post #15860685 (external link)
If you're trying to promote yourself with the images you take for your employer, then that may be a conflict of interest. I wouldn't expect them to go along with that part.

My boss has said he does not care if I have a photography side business that I make money from. (I do not make any money, he just volunteered this information)

But I completely understand this point which is why I want to get some clarity on the situation.

When is my photography mine and when does my company own it.


Heath
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banquetbear
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Apr 24, 2013 07:38 |  #21

Heath wrote in post #15861499 (external link)
For work, I am not required to take good images, I just need to take images that are a record of the project. Snapshots.

What I would like to do is create images that are of a higher standard, for example perspective corrected, and provide them to my company for use for free.

...why would you want to do this? They want snapshots. Give them snapshots. Isn't doing what your company has asked you to do your job? What advantage would your company get from a "higher standard" of image?

But I would also like to be able to use these images for my portfolio.

Thats nice. But if they were taken on company time, according to what you have posted the images rightfully belong to them. So if you want to use them in your portfolio then you have to ask them. But why would you want snapshots in your portfolio?

For example, the majority of our projects are all public. Meaning that anyone could get pictures of them, they do not require any special access. Last night after work, I went to one of the locations and took some photos for the designer of the project (does not work for my company). I would like to provide these images to my company, but I want to maintain copyright so that I can also use them (and give them to the designer).

Why do you want to supply these images to your company? What you write makes no sense. They don't want it. They want snapshots. You are in your own time. Take the shots and give them to the designer. Tell your boss so its clear that you did it in your own time. Whats the problem?

Due to technology, and being an international company, I am never really off. There are no set hours. So how do I prove that I did not take this images under the direction of my company and took them on my own.

If you actually really have an employment contract that says you are never really off work, you have bigger problems than copyright on images. But unless you want to post your employment contract here on a public message board for all to see no one here can answer this question. Go see a lawyer.

My boss has said that he does not want any "artistic" photos, but I do not know what this means.

Well, the simple thing to do would be to ask him.

He said this after I sent him some wide angle (not distorted, just showing the environment) of one of our projects.

You said before that they wanted snapshots. You've given them wide angle environmental portraits. But he wants snapshots. So why are you giving him wide angle environmental portraits?

But even though he did not want any of the photos,

because you keep trying to give him something he doesn't want!

he was pissed off that the photos had my copyright.

And I would be too. He asked you for photos. Your job has supplied you with a tool to take those photos. You've made it clear you have time to take those photos. Yet you chose to take them after hours (even though you claim you are always on the clock) just so you could claim copyright on images you want to give them for free and you took them in a style they have made clear they don't want.

I'll be honest here: your behavior makes no sense. If you were my employee I would be putting you in the "difficult" basket.

The photos were taken off hours, but he had asked me if I had any images, so I sent them to him.

Well next time don't.

For me, I just want some clarity. Either I am giving up any and all rights to my photos or I am not. And I need to know when a photo I take belongs to my company and when it is mine. Is it determined by subject matter or by time it was taken, or what?

If I am walking from one jobsite to another and take a photo (let's say of a dog), does the company own the image because I am required to document my projects?

...I'm not sure why you are confused. Your boss was rightfully pissed that you gave him images taken after hours to which you claimed copyright. But it doesn't look like he tried to claim copyright on those images. Instead he simply chose not to use them. He probably isn't even authorised to licence the images and would have to "throw that up the chain."

The only person making this complicated is you. If you have legal questions about your contract: go pay a lawyer, they will give you a more accurate and faster answer than you will get from this board. Its been five months since you asked here last. You said in November 2012 "I am going to ask for clarification in writing. I figure if it really isn't included then they won't mind putting it in black and white." So what happened when you asked?

My advice to you would be to just do your job. Find other stuff to shoot for your portfolio. Supply the images your boss wants using the tools they have supplied in the time you have been allocated. And if you want legal advice go see an expert.


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Heath
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Apr 24, 2013 08:10 |  #22

banquetbear wrote in post #15861603 (external link)
...why would you want to do this?

Because I enjoy taking photographs and sharing them.

Thanks for your comments.


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Nathan
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Apr 24, 2013 08:18 |  #23

Heath, I think you know that you're walking a fine line. Part of your job allows you authorized access to these properties - which I'm assuming are either private or otherwise restricted. You want to use the "artistic" photos taken on your camera as part of your portfolio. You presume that this is on your own time. But the fact that you used your company's time to get you onto the property, you begin to get into a grey area. Say you have assignments at 5 locations one day and you use time in between to pull out your camera gear - your employer could develop the perception that you're using company time to create your portfolio. Copyright issues aside, I'm not sure if I'd want to put myself in a precarious position with my employer like that. I have enough guilt taking a break during the day just to go to the gym.

If you're going to sit down with the company's attorney, then raise any and all of these questions you have. Only the attorney could give you the company's policies and intent behind them. I'd use the session as an opportunity to explore your questions... I wouldn't necessarily ask for amendments to my employment contract - unless you feel very comfortable doing so.

One option you could explore with the attorney is to accept that the photos you take are company property, but that you have reproduction rights to use in your portfolio. You wouldn't have copyright of the photos as work for hire, but you can use them for the limited purpose of promoting yourself. I understand you probably would not like to do this, as you feel that they photos are your own vision that the employer did not want and they are taken on your personal equipment. It may, however, be an even trade for both parties.


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banquetbear
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Apr 24, 2013 08:19 |  #24

Heath wrote in post #15861680 (external link)
Because I enjoy taking photographs and sharing them.

...well who on this forum doesn't? But I don't take photos in my own time to give away to my work. (If I in fact wasn't self employed.) You can share your images with thousands of different people. The fact that you want to share them with your work is what is causing you grief. Stop doing this and you won't have a problem.


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Kronie
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Apr 24, 2013 08:43 |  #25

The images you take for your company with company equipment, on company time are clearly owned by your company. An image you take at work, on your coffee break with your own gear? I would consider that my own but I am not a copyright lawyer.

It sounds like you need to see if your company even wants you to take these higher end pictures. They may not even want you to because I assume you will be doing it on company time and all they need are iphone snapshots. Business wise, if they want nicer images its a better fit to hire a photographer to come in and leave you to manage the project.

A better approach might just be to ask if you can come in after hours and photograph whatever it is your working on....just for your own fun. I wouldn't even bring up copyright into the conversation.




  
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Heath
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Apr 24, 2013 09:03 |  #26

Nathan wrote in post #15861710 (external link)
Heath, I think you know that you're walking a fine line. Part of your job allows you authorized access to these properties - which I'm assuming are either private or otherwise restricted. You want to use the "artistic" photos taken on your camera as part of your portfolio. You presume that this is on your own time. But the fact that you used your company's time to get you onto the property, you begin to get into a grey area. Say you have assignments at 5 locations one day and you use time in between to pull out your camera gear - your employer could develop the perception that you're using company time to create your portfolio. Copyright issues aside, I'm not sure if I'd want to put myself in a precarious position with my employer like that. I have enough guilt taking a break during the day just to go to the gym.

Just to clarify, anyone that goes to Times Square and takes a photo, is probably capturing some of my companies work product. I am only referring to images that anyone could get access to, and not any limited access work.

I do not have set hours. Meaning it's not 9-5. So I can take breaks whenever I want as long as I am getting my job done. My office is anywhere my work laptop and work phone might be at the time. So the line between at work and on break are not always clear.

Any photos taken on company time with company equipment are company property. (So can I use my phone, I only have one that work pays for, to post a photo to Facebook)


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Heath
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Apr 24, 2013 09:47 |  #27

Quick Update: I spoke to the companies attorney. The conversation went well, and she acknowledged that the current contract is not clear regarding photography.

They had a situation a few years ago (before my time) involving a copyright issue, so that is why it is a sensitive conversation for them. They had to destroy a lot of documents due to a copyright violation.

The attorney is going to look at my current agreement and we discussed possibly adding an exception that says I will only provide the company with photographs taken with my companies equipment and anything taken with my personal equipment will be personal. If the company wants better pictures (than what the current equipment will provide), then they will provide better equipment.

I asked about posting to Facebook from my phone (company pays for the plan) and I was told this would fall under reasonable personal use and be ok as long as I was also providing any images requested by the company to them for their use.


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Nathan
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Apr 24, 2013 11:55 |  #28

Glad it's working out. I guess I should have stopped when I said to discuss with the company's attorney. :lol:


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Did I accidentally sign away my rights?
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