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Thread started 26 Aug 2008 (Tuesday) 09:54
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Location manager not happy with my photo session

 
kingwee
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Aug 26, 2008 09:54 |  #1

I had a photoshoot in a condo clubhouse (the common area where all the residents have access) recently; I knew a couple of condo owners in the complex and they let me use it. However, the property manager found out about the shoot afterwards (via surveillance) and was not too pleased, I simply smoothed things out by telling them it was for practice and we wouldn't use it again w/o written permission or whatever.

So, the provider of the wardrobe ends up using the photos in a published ad for their store, slated to come out next month. I'm pretty sure that legally, the condo property manager could not really do anything about it, but I'm getting a little paranoid here and I just need to figure out if there is any legal action they can take against me OR the clothing company for using their photos. In the images, there is no sign or anything that indicates where the photos were taken, like the name of the condo, etc...They just have some unique walls and furniture that would probably not be mistaken for any other location.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


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flyingwolf
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Aug 26, 2008 11:43 |  #2

Depending upon the contract that the tenants have with the condo owner they may have the ability to speak on his behalf for use of common areas.

Or they may have no ability whatsoever.

Your best bet is to contact them and see what sort of ability they have and use this as a lesson for the future, always get permission in writing from someone with permission to grant you entrance and use.

And just a note, I am not a lawyer. This is simply my opinion.


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kingwee
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Aug 26, 2008 13:43 |  #3

The contract with the tenants probably don't have a photoshoot clause, just some general stuff about proper use of the clubhouse, which we would have abided by. Namely, we put everything back exactly how it was, etc.

But, can anyone get sued?


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Mike ­ R
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Aug 26, 2008 14:59 |  #4

I'm not a lawyer. If there is something recognizable in the photo, it cannot be used without a property release.
Here are things to think about: What you need to determine is who the clubhouse belongs to. Since the people who live there pay a common charge and are allowed to use it, does it mean they can be considered an owner. If so, have them sign a release. You may want an attorney to go over the by laws. (have the store pay for the attorney)


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kingwee
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Aug 26, 2008 15:14 |  #5

Mike R wrote in post #6183662 (external link)
I'm not a lawyer. If there is something recognizable in the photo, it cannot be used without a property release.
Here are things to think about: What you need to determine is who the clubhouse belongs to. Since the people who live there pay a common charge and are allowed to use it, does it mean they can be considered an owner. If so, have them sign a release. You may want an attorney to go over the by laws. (have the store pay for the attorney)

Thanks for the advice. The storeowner wasn't commissioning me for it, I just did it in exchange for use of their clothing. So, I'm not sure if I can get them to pay for anything (plus they are on the frugal side).

Do you think this is something recognizable?
http://www.weeseing.co​m …e/ual/gallery-2008-08-17/ (external link)

I mean, there are no real building shots, etc. Although the interiors are a little unique.


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stathunter
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Aug 26, 2008 15:21 |  #6

In my opinion I would not care what the condo manager liked......I have never heard of anyone being sued because you used the a location. I would not sweat it......some people like to complain to hear themselves.
There is a french photography statement when people complain about locations......"bite me"......use it next time you see the manager.


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Mike ­ R
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Aug 26, 2008 15:33 |  #7

kingwee wrote in post #6183763 (external link)
Thanks for the advice. The storeowner wasn't commissioning me for it, I just did it in exchange for use of their clothing. So, I'm not sure if I can get them to pay for anything (plus they are on the frugal side).

Do you think this is something recognizable?
http://www.weeseing.co​m …e/ual/gallery-2008-08-17/ (external link)

I mean, there are no real building shots, etc. Although the interiors are a little unique.

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Only the sculpture could be considered recognizable and then only if it's one of a kind.


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asysin2leads
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Aug 26, 2008 20:51 as a reply to  @ Mike R's post |  #8

The only thing that I could think of that may or may not come up is liability. If you're there using it commercially, if something were to happen, then the condo owner could be sued. If you don't have liability insurance, then I would make sure to get some.

In my parent's condo agreement, there is actually a clause about not using it for commercial reasons. They live in a rather upscale condo community, too. That's all I could think of.


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S.Horton
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Aug 26, 2008 20:58 |  #9

kingwee wrote in post #6183763 (external link)
Thanks for the advice. The storeowner wasn't commissioning me for it, I just did it in exchange for use of their clothing. So, I'm not sure if I can get them to pay for anything (plus they are on the frugal side).

Do you think this is something recognizable?
http://www.weeseing.co​m …e/ual/gallery-2008-08-17/ (external link)

I mean, there are no real building shots, etc. Although the interiors are a little unique.

In that photo, you can't tell where it was taken. Silence there is golden.


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tim
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Aug 26, 2008 23:43 |  #10

I'm not sure "bite me" is a good approach. Telling them you didn't realise it wasn't allowed and you won't do it again without permission like you've done is your best bet. If he sees the photos tell the truth - you didn't give them permission to use the images, apologise, and hope for the best. If worst comes to worst get a lawyer, very much doubt it'll come to that.


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bieber
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Aug 26, 2008 23:58 |  #11

Can someone be sued? Always. Would the suit go anywhere? Almost certainly not.


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Tee ­ Why
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Aug 27, 2008 00:07 |  #12

I think that you may be liable. Commercial use of photos taken in a private property without a written release for commercial use is not allow I believe. I'm not a lawyer so you should check with those more in authority.

I have heard of a photog and a stock agency that got sued and lost the suit b/c the photo was of a door and it was recognized by the owner and used without a release by the owner.

You may want to talk with a lawyer about this.

Not the most specific, but this gives some guidelines.
http://en.wikipedia.or​g/wiki/Photography_and​_the_law (external link)
http://www.popphoto.co​m/howto/609/its-the-law.html (external link)


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S.Horton
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Aug 28, 2008 14:20 |  #13

People think lawsuits are like TV shows........

Nobody suffered damages here.


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sfaust
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Aug 28, 2008 15:16 |  #14

stathunter wrote in post #6183799 (external link)
In my opinion I would not care what the condo manager liked......I have never heard of anyone being sued because you used the a location. I would not sweat it......

You need to read PDN more often, the few books published regarding legal matters for photographers, or review sites such as case law. Then at least you can say "I have heard of people being used because a location was used without permission."

Whether is applicable in this case would be a different matter. He did have permission to use to use the location, but maybe not by the right people. How that comes into play is anyones guess unless they have some legal background with the specifics.

hortonsl62 wrote in post #6198097 (external link)
Nobody suffered damages here.

The condo owners or management association did suffer damages. A typical location use fee is several hundred dollars to a thousand or two, depending on the location, uniqueness, market rates, etc. So the fact that permission should have been requested, and the location could have charged a market rate fee, means they can indeed prove damages.

In the end, this is very much like someone using one of our images without permission. Lots of ranting ad raving, everyone saying they should sue, but rarely does it ever come to that except in the high visibility situations. Yea, there is a risk of a lawsuit, and with valid reason. But the likelihood of someone spending the kind of money involved in order to recover a few hundred isn't likely.

Its doubtful in my opinion that the OP has anything to worry about. He did the right thing in asking for permission and got it. He also isn't the one using the images for commercial use, the wardrobe provider is. IMO, there isn't much risk to the OP, and some but very minimal to the wardrobe provider.

If it was me, I would advise the wardrobe provider of what transpired with the property management company, and let them know there is a risk, although in your opinion it's very small, and let them decide to use the images or not. If you feel so inclined, offer to reshoot in a different location, and make sure permission and releases are secured properly this time.


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S.Horton
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Aug 28, 2008 15:48 |  #15

I'm willing to be wrong, but the photo shown does not depict any attribute of the location it was shot in, so the odds that it all gets somehow back to the condo governance organization are remote.

I think you're saying that (a) hosting the private event and (b) not being paid for the granting the right to shoot at the event is a standing to sue.

However, it gets a bit more complex, doesn't it -- OP quote "I knew a couple of condo owners in the complex and they let me use it [the common area]" Even if the condo agreement states that photography is not permitted, you have a situation where the photographer relies upon the permission of the host who, in some form, is paying the 'rent' on the facility. Is relying on their permission reasonable? Is the condo restriction on professional photography reasonable itself?

Not so clear.

All I'm saying is that the OP should not sweat it.

Noted your advice is far more clear and based upon experience; point taken, I'll surely remember this the next time friends ask me to shoot at, say, their country club.


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