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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 04 Nov 2013 (Monday) 13:18
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Ethical question regarding pictures taken at event

 
OhLook
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Nov 09, 2013 11:51 |  #61

tickerguy wrote in post #16437197 (external link)
There is no substantive issue.

I see. You've decided again that being dismissive beats entertaining a perspective that differs from yours. I guess your perspective is that perspectives that differ from yours just don't exist, and there can't possibly be real people behind them.

In other words, to reduce it to one word, that argument is garbage.

Let the record show that you have insulted me twice now.

Don't you realize that "I am buying your undivided attention for three hours" sounds like an attempt to own a person, or at least to rent one? When you collect on your end of the transaction, what do you come into possession of: the images, or the fact of the contractor's having given you his attention for three hours? Hint: his attention is part of his mental life and can't be traded away, and at the end of those three hours it no longer exists.


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tickerguy
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Nov 09, 2013 12:57 |  #62

That's right -- you have a right to sell your time.

It's called self-determination. You choose as a seller of a good or service what you are selling. If you express that as a deliverable in exchange for $X, then you are selling output. If you express that as a unit of time in exchange for $X, then you are selling your undivided professional attention.

The latter usually costs LESS than the former because of the allocation of risks. When you sell time the buyer accepts the risk that your estimation of the time required for the task is wrong; that is, that instead of two hours you will require three. When you sell product you as the producer accept that risk, since whether it takes one hour, two hours or three hours you are paid the exact same amount of money.

Allocation of risk is part of the bargaining process.

Don't you realize that "I am buying your undivided attention for three hours" sounds like an attempt to own a person, or at least to rent one?

Own? What sort of illogical and outrageously false nonsense is this? If I own a thing (my person) are you arguing that I am not empowered to choose how to dispose of that which I own, in whole or part, and how much I "should" demand in compensation for that? It sounds like you're trying to argue that you have an ownership interest in my person and ability, whether directly or indirectly. That position is factually and ethically bankrupt.

The rest of your argument is similarly bereft of logical continuity. I owe nobody anything in regard to maintaining their ability to profit from their skills. If I choose to give away my coding ability, for example, I have that right, since it's mine. If you're not better than me this may have a bad impact on your ability to sell your efforts, but that's immaterial to the ethics of the matter, or the legality of it -- I own my person, I own my capacity to produce by my hand and mind, and I have the right to choose how, when, where and for how much I market it including giving away that ability and/our output for a price of zero. If a potential buyer and I agree on those terms then a transaction takes place; if the buyer believes that my offer is not worth the asking price then it does not.

Incidentally this is called improved productivity, often due to technology improvement but not always. The natural state of all economies is in fact a mild deflation for this reason -- the aggregate price level, absent artificial manipulation, tends to fall over time. Most people do not seem to understand this but that lack of understanding is due to the application of critical thinking to what's going on around you, along with much outright lying by various people in positions of power (who have a vested interest in lying about this -- the reason for which are far too involved to go into here, in this sort of forum.)

If you don't want to sell undivided professional attention to a task then don't. Sell the produced service or product instead. You are then free to divide your time as you see fit.

But if you sell someone three hours of your time and then do not in fact deliver to them three hours of your undivided professional attention in my opinion you have at minimum violated the ethics of your agreement, and in fact I believe a clean argument can be made that you committed fraud.


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Beachcomber ­ Joe
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Nov 09, 2013 13:01 |  #63

OhLook wrote in post #16437435 (external link)
Don't you realize that "I am buying your undivided attention for three hours" sounds like an attempt to own a person, or at least to rent one?

That is precisely what being hired by the hour is, being rented for a specified period of time. During that time you are obligated to spend all your energies on the tasks set by those who hire you. If you are not doing so you are stealing from those who hired you.

The OP asked if it was ethical to wear two hats. Unless done with the full knowledge and permission of all the parties who have hired you the answer is NO. I find such permission is easy to obtain. In point of fact I have shot for as many as four different parties during a single event.




  
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Nov 09, 2013 16:26 |  #64

tickerguy wrote in post #16437554 (external link)
Don't you realize that "I am buying your undivided attention for three hours" sounds like an attempt to own a person, or at least to rent one?

Own? What sort of illogical and outrageously false nonsense is this?

No sort.

If I own a thing (my person) are you arguing that I am not empowered to choose how to dispose of that which I own, in whole or part, and how much I "should" demand in compensation for that?

Not at all, although a person selling labor seldom has completely free choice about compensation. Being empowered to choose would be nice, but it's rare.

Here's a summary of what I am arguing: You judge an act unethical even if it harms no one, because, it turns out, you believe that paying someone by the hour entitles you to control over what he's thinking during the hours so employed. That's what "undivided attention" is.

Of course, he should keep his mind on his work while doing it, but this duty doesn't follow from being paid an hourly rate. People on a salary or a day rate or a job rate should also keep their mind on their work.

Hypothetical situation. You hire Joe Photographer to cover a three-hour meeting at which a senator speaks for an hour, and Joe gets 20 good shots of the senator speaking. Because 20 is many more than you asked him to get, his work on that part of the job was finished before the end of the speech. Next day, Joe gives you the 20 images and you pick 2 of them. Who is harmed if Joe offers the remaining 18 for sale to the senator's staff? (To avoid the appearance of duplication, he can select a few shots that look very different from the ones you're using.) Competition is nil, since you'll use the shots in the company's newsletter for employees, whereas any that the senator's office buys will go into mailers to voters. The environment benefits because Joe now won't have to drive to the senator's headquarters for a separate scheduled shoot.

The rest of your argument is similarly bereft of logical continuity.

I don't think you understood what I meant.

Continuing the Joe example: Joe shows you the 20 images and says he wants to offer the leftovers to the senator. You say "No, that would be fraudulent! You were paid by the hour! I expected your undivided attention, and if you sell so much as one pixel, you'll be a criminal. I'll blackball you and you'll never work in this town again!" (I'm not exaggerating the tone. It's the one you used on me, just for writing.) But Joe isn't your employee, and there was no WFH agreement. So, by the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended, he owns the rights to the images, except the ones he transfers to you. If your terms include removing from Joe the right to sell the 18 images, you have essentially taken the rights in those images for yourself, thus sliding the status of the job toward WFH without an explicit agreement to that effect. This amounts to blurring the WFH concept, with the rules around it that were meant to protect content providers.

If you don't want to sell undivided professional attention to a task then don't. Sell the produced service or product instead. You are then free to divide your time as you see fit.

When I'm working, I give the work my full attention, regardless of the method of payment. That even goes for volunteer work.


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tickerguy
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Nov 09, 2013 19:15 |  #65

You own the images because you shot them.

But you breached your agreement with me when you divided your attention from what you promised me you would do -- give me three hours of your undivided attention and professional expertise. That's what you charged me for, that's what we agreed to, and that's the invoice I paid.

Hypothetical situation. You hire Joe Photographer to cover a three-hour meeting at which a senator speaks for an hour, and Joe gets 20 good shots of the senator speaking. Because 20 is many more than you asked him to get, his work on that part of the job was finished before the end of the speech. Next day, Joe gives you the 20 images and you pick 2 of them. Who is harmed if Joe offers the remaining 18 for sale to the senator's staff?

What did I pay you for? 20 shots or 3 hours? If I paid you for 20 shots you're clear. But that's not the question -- the question was about the OP being paid for three hours of professional effort. Now if you only worked for two, and only invoiced for two, then shot the other images in the remaining hour, fine. But that's not the scenario presented.

You can spin it however you want LEGALLY, but the OPs question wasn't about law -- it was about ethics.

And yes, I WILL blackball you if you pull that when I'm the guy cutting the check -- irrespective of how good your work is, for the simple reason that you do not live up to your agreements.


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Nov 09, 2013 20:16 |  #66

tickerguy wrote in post #16438232 (external link)
You own the images because you shot them.

But you breached your agreement with me when you divided your attention from what you promised me you would do -- give me three hours of your undivided attention and professional expertise. That's what you charged me for, that's what we agreed to, and that's the invoice I paid.


What did I pay you for? 20 shots or 3 hours? If I paid you for 20 shots you're clear. But that's not the question -- the question was about the OP being paid for three hours of professional effort. Now if you only worked for two, and only invoiced for two, then shot the other images in the remaining hour, fine. But that's not the scenario presented.

You can spin it however you want LEGALLY, but the OPs question wasn't about law -- it was about ethics.

And yes, I WILL blackball you if you pull that when I'm the guy cutting the check -- irrespective of how good your work is, for the simple reason that you do not live up to your agreements.

If you work for 2 hours and then that's it, you have finished the shots for the person paying I would assume you would leave the function. You are a worker that's finished your work not an invited guest




  
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Nov 09, 2013 21:24 |  #67

tickerguy wrote in post #16438232 (external link)
You own the images because you shot them.

But you breached your agreement with me when you divided your attention from what you promised me you would do -- give me three hours of your undivided attention and professional expertise. That's what you charged me for, that's what we agreed to, and that's the invoice I paid.


What did I pay you for? 20 shots or 3 hours? If I paid you for 20 shots you're clear. But that's not the question -- the question was about the OP being paid for three hours of professional effort. Now if you only worked for two, and only invoiced for two, then shot the other images in the remaining hour, fine. But that's not the scenario presented.

You can spin it however you want LEGALLY, but the OPs question wasn't about law -- it was about ethics.

And yes, I WILL blackball you if you pull that when I'm the guy cutting the check -- irrespective of how good your work is, for the simple reason that you do not live up to your agreements.

I asked you who was harmed. That's an ethical question, not a legal question.

In the scenario I presented, Joe (not I--this is a hypothetical, and I'm not a character in this story) didn't stop working after two hours. He attended the event for the full three hours and gave HIS WORK his undivided attention. He didn't give YOU his undivided attention. You weren't there. He attended to the assigned task. (It's interesting that you now change the wording so that you wanted to be the recipient of his attention. That just kinda-sorta confirms something I was thinking.) Now you buy some of his images and, in your quoted post, you acknowledge that he owns the remaining images. Presumably, then, he can sell them if he finds a buyer. Maybe he has a buyer in mind because the senator's PR rep approached him at the event without interfering with his work. She spoke with him during a break, or just before the event, or just after it, while people were milling around or filing out. You got your full three hours out of Joe. Given that Joe isn't a regular employee of yours and that the contract didn't say WFH, do you think you have a claim on his extra photos because you paid an hourly rate?

That's a legal question.

Now we return to the ethical question. I say you don't have a claim on Joe's extra photos. They belong to him because he shot them. He's free to sell them. Whether you paid an hourly rate, a day rate, or a fee per shot doesn't matter. Joe fulfilled his obligation to you by dedicating himself to your shot list for three hours. If you agree that the extra photos are legally Joe's, free and clear--and, frankly, I don't see how you could reason otherwise--on what basis can you say that Joe has an ethical duty not to offer them to another buyer? Why does he even need your permission? The rights to the images are his, aren't they?

You'll have plenty of time to ponder these questions. I'm going out of town for a few days, and I won't have Web access. This time, please don't change the scenario to one that justifies the answers you'd like to give. I tend to notice such changes.


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Nov 09, 2013 23:01 |  #68

...ethics are a subjective, not an objective thing, so the fact that there is disagreement in a thread about ethics is no cause for alarm!

OhLook wrote in post #16437917 (external link)
Hypothetical situation. You hire Joe Photographer to cover a three-hour meeting at which a senator speaks for an hour, and Joe gets 20 good shots of the senator speaking. Because 20 is many more than you asked him to get, his work on that part of the job was finished before the end of the speech. Next day, Joe gives you the 20 images and you pick 2 of them. Who is harmed if Joe offers the remaining 18 for sale to the senator's staff? (To avoid the appearance of duplication, he can select a few shots that look very different from the ones you're using.) Competition is nil, since you'll use the shots in the company's newsletter for employees, whereas any that the senator's office buys will go into mailers to voters. The environment benefits because Joe now won't have to drive to the senator's headquarters for a separate scheduled shoot.

...for myself and my business: this one is pretty easy. My tagline is "Professional, discrete, quality photography services supplied on time and budget." I've bolded the key word. My contract allows me to retain copyright and allows me to pretty much do as you suggest in your hypothetical. But it isn't something I would ever consider doing. I used to work in the catering department at Parliament: and I would often be there, in the background, trying my best not to listen to some pretty confidential stuff. I'm still bound by my confidentiality agreement and still haven't talked about anything that happened behind closed doors 12 years ago, and I don't plan too. And my clients expect the same thing when they hire me to shoot a conference or event. I'm granted access to a venue to capture images for my client. The number of images they choose to use is irrelevant. They hired me to provide a documentary record of their event. I will shoot it, back it up, edit and deliver, then archive.


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tickerguy
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Nov 10, 2013 10:43 |  #69

OhLook wrote in post #16438443 (external link)
I asked you who was harmed. That's an ethical question, not a legal question.

The person who invited you was.

See, you're there only because you were paid to be there. Absent that invitation you would not be there, you didn't have access to the venue, and thus you couldn't have taken the pictures in question.

Now the fact is that legally they're yours. But this isn't a question of laws, it's question of ethics. You were given access to the event for a specific, contractual purpose and as soon as you start exploiting that access for your own pecuniary benefit beyond the contracted purpose you are ethically in the wrong.

Whether you're LEGALLY in the wrong is a different question.

In the scenario I presented, Joe (not I--this is a hypothetical, and I'm not a character in this story) didn't stop working after two hours. He attended the event for the full three hours and gave HIS WORK his undivided attention. He didn't give YOU his undivided attention. You weren't there. He attended to the assigned task. (It's interesting that you now change the wording so that you wanted to be the recipient of his attention. That just kinda-sorta confirms something I was thinking.) Now you buy some of his images and, in your quoted post, you acknowledge that he owns the remaining images. Presumably, then, he can sell them if he finds a buyer. Maybe he has a buyer in mind because the senator's PR rep approached him at the event without interfering with his work. She spoke with him during a break, or just before the event, or just after it, while people were milling around or filing out. You got your full three hours out of Joe. Given that Joe isn't a regular employee of yours and that the contract didn't say WFH, do you think you have a claim on his extra photos because you paid an hourly rate?

That's a legal question.

Now we return to the ethical question. I say you don't have a claim on Joe's extra photos. They belong to him because he shot them. He's free to sell them. Whether you paid an hourly rate, a day rate, or a fee per shot doesn't matter. Joe fulfilled his obligation to you by dedicating himself to your shot list for three hours. If you agree that the extra photos are legally Joe's, free and clear--and, frankly, I don't see how you could reason otherwise--on what basis can you say that Joe has an ethical duty not to offer them to another buyer? Why does he even need your permission? The rights to the images are his, aren't they?

Ah, but see, he couldn't have obtained the images at all but for the access which was granted to him for a specific, contractual purpose. Further, he sold three hours of undivided professional attention, but that's not what the client got.

There are two points of contention here and both are ethical violations by the photographer. First, he proceeded to divert some of his professional attention beyond the remit he contracted for. And second, he now seeks to exploit access he was given for a specific contractual purpose in a form and fashion that was not part of what was contemplated by the party who gave that access.

You'll have plenty of time to ponder these questions. I'm going out of town for a few days, and I won't have Web access. This time, please don't change the scenario to one that justifies the answers you'd like to give. I tend to notice such changes.

I haven't changed anything. The OP asked about a scenario where he was paid by the hour to take pictures and was given access to an event to do so. He then wished to know if using some of the time and the privileged access he was given to capture and then sell unrelated images to a third party was unethical or not.

I say yes on two grounds: the access to a corporate event (those are almost-always not open to the general public) the photographer obtained for a specific contracted purpose and the fact that he was hired to provide a block of time of his full professional attention to a given task and diverted some of that time and effort.

It may be legal to exploit whatever you can, but the question isn't one of the law -- it's a question of ethics, and converting your access to what is otherwise a closed event plus the time you sold to a given client to outside commercial purpose is ethically bankrupt irrespective of the legal aspect of the matter.


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Nov 11, 2013 08:59 |  #70

This is how I see it.
He is at a three hour event at which he does not feel like he needs to be specifically shooting for the client's desires every second of those three hours. I don't think this is unreasonable as he is the one that knows the most about getting what his client wants. So, he also documents the event as a whole, which includes some shots that include politicians but not executives. At the end of the event someone approaches him about any shots that were good of the politician.

We then answer two questions- Is he WFH? If not, then he is legally okay. Is it ethical? The answer is simple. He provides the images the client wants, and lets assume they are happy with what they get. He then asks if he can provide some of the other images to the senator, if the client is okay with it - then he is ethically okay. It would only be unethical if he knows that his client would be unhappy either that he took the time to take other shots, or that he is selling images that the client doesn't want.

It really doesn't matter what another hypothetical client would think about this situation.


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Nov 11, 2013 10:54 |  #71

If the OP asked the client for permission to do what he contemplates there would be no reason to ask about ethics since this would be a simple matter of agreement.


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Nov 11, 2013 14:21 |  #72

First, I want to apologize for being "off the grid" the last few days and apparently stirring up a bit of a firestorm without being available to answer some of the questions. Since the shoot was last Friday, let me describe what happened. First, when they hired me for the first event a few weeks ago, they had a pretty specific list of photos they wanted me to capture at the event. This second event on Friday was thrown together rather quickly. I had neither an agenda nor specific photos to capture. I knew they wanted pictures of the senator touring the facility and pictures of the senators with various company execs, the company president in particular. I was handed an agenda when I arrived, and what actually transpired had almost nothing to do with the agenda. I was flying by the seat of my pants, just capturing photos I thought they might want. The senator's "advance team" included a press/PR guy who, as expected, said that he'd be interested in any good pictures I got of the senator. However, he didn't provide me with any contact info and didn't ask for mine either. He did exchange that info with the director of marketing, who was the person who hired me. So to resolve the ethical dilemma, and since I didn't have the necessary contact info anyway, I emailed the marketing director and asked about providing pictures of the senator. I haven't gotten an answer yet. This seemed like the right thing to do and probably the smart thing to do as well. I'd like to continue a business relationship with this company (they've already talked about having me come back again), and as someone mentioned, the senator's people are probably unlikely to want to use or pay for any images anyway. If I can work it so they see some of the images, maybe I can work out a separate job with them sometime.

This was an interesting and lively discussion!


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Nov 11, 2013 15:09 |  #73

So to resolve the ethical dilemma, and since I didn't have the necessary contact info anyway, I emailed the marketing director and asked about providing pictures of the senator.

That's the right way to do it.


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Nov 16, 2013 00:03 |  #74

tickerguy wrote in post #16439566 (external link)
The person who invited you was [harmed].

See, you're there only because you were paid to be there. Absent that invitation you would not be there, you didn't have access to the venue, and thus you couldn't have taken the pictures in question.

Now the fact is that legally they're yours. But this isn't a question of laws, it's question of ethics. You were given access to the event for a specific, contractual purpose and as soon as you start exploiting that access for your own pecuniary benefit beyond the contracted purpose you are ethically in the wrong.

That the client provided access to a private event is an assumption you made. That's one way you changed the Joe Photographer scenario. (Note, again: it's Joe, not me. I'm not the transgressor you're looking for. I don't even do commercial photography. Please stop making me the villain in your descriptions.)

There are different kinds of venues. What if a structural engineering firm sends Joe to photograph the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the town's new bridge? It's outdoors, obviously. Anyone can attend. Joe takes several shots of the mayor cutting the ribbon. In one of them, part of the bridge is ruined by lens flare, but if Joe crops this image, he can get a nice headshot of the mayor. The mayor's staff has been looking for a headshot with a sunny outdoor background. Would selling this headshot harm the bridge-building client?

I don't see how it would harm the client. I believe such a sale might be deemed unethical because people are proceeding on an intuitive basis, without thinking it through, on the general principle "Dance with the one what brung ya." That principle is a good one in some situations, but I don't see that it applies here. Can you describe some concrete harm that comes to the client?

If you say that selling the headshot harms the client simply because the client sent Joe to the venue, you must also say that Joe cannot ethically profit from a photo he took of a coworker at his day job, on their lunch hour, without the boss's permission, because Joe wouldn't have been there, and would never have met that coworker, if he hadn't got that job--so, somehow, the boss would be harmed because he's responsible for Joe's presence.

Ah, but see, he couldn't have obtained the images at all but for the access which was granted to him for a specific, contractual purpose.

This may or may not be true; see above.

Further, he sold three hours of undivided professional attention, but that's not what the client got.

This is the other change you made in the Joe scenario. You assumed that Joe took time away from his assignment to work for a second client. As above, Joe can intend every shot for his original client and find later that some shots that the client isn't using have value for someone else. I made this clear in my previous post, where I said Joe worked for the agreed-on three hours.

I fail to see anything unethical about making a second sale if Joe has fulfilled his obligations to his original client. If the client is motivated by a desire not to let Joe gain any extra income from his three hours of work, that's a mean and petty attitude, and it has no place in ethical judgments of what Joe might do.


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Nov 16, 2013 00:08 |  #75

banquetbear wrote in post #16438605 (external link)
My tagline is "Professional, discrete, quality photography services supplied on time and budget." I've bolded the key word.

Please spell it "discreet" in your literature. Those are two different words with different meanings. This is a free tip from someone with extensive editorial experience.


PRONOUN ADVISORY: OhLook is a she. | A FEW CORRECT SPELLINGS: lens, aperture, amateur, hobbyist, per se, raccoon, whoa, more so (2 wds.), shoo-in | IMAGE EDITING OK

  
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Ethical question regarding pictures taken at event
FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
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