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Thread started 01 Mar 2011 (Tuesday) 21:45
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School Paper and Copyright

 
malibubts
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Mar 01, 2011 21:45 |  #1

Alright so I've been shooting for the last several months for my school paper. Basically the way it works is that they provide the pass and I go to the event and shoot. I drop the .JPGs off there and cutline. I keep all my Raw files and do an edit for myself and put them on my Smug Mug. Today the photo editor said I needed to talk to the editor in chief of the paper as I don't own the photos and the copyright belongs to the paper. I was told "The deal is that if you were there because of the paper, the paper owns them." by the photo editor. I haven't signed anything releasing my copyright and it isn't a paying job. So I'm not sure why they own the copyright. I'll be talking to the editor in chief in the next few days to clear things up but I'm really lost here on how the copyright is theirs. Any help would be much appreciated.


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Mar 01, 2011 21:53 |  #2

They didn't pay for jack, you are doing a volunteer service. I would suggest they will need to find a new photographer if they pursue this. I would not think they have a leg to stand on. I do not think a pass qualifies as payment.


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Mar 01, 2011 23:11 |  #3

If you didn't sign anything with them giving them the © rights, then the © is all yours.

I do not think a pass qualifies as payment.

And if they say it does, then they probably owe you money to bring that payment up to the minimum wage? ;)

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Splatmaster527
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Mar 01, 2011 23:26 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #4

I also work for the same paper along with malibubts and I fully agree with it being stupid that they think they can just tell us we don't own our photos when we get nothing in return for them. Half the time they are not even appreciated by the staff or our photo editor.


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malibubts
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Mar 01, 2011 23:39 |  #5

Yeah I took a look at the copyright law to confirm what I'm thinking. Unless I'm being paid or I signed something it looks like it's mine. And I don't know how a pass could be considered payment. Splat and I are going to talk to the editor tomorrow and see what the deal is.


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AdamGasson
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Mar 02, 2011 04:14 |  #6

Unless you've signed a contract handing them copyright then they have no legal right to claim it as theirs.

Even if they'd paid you that doesn't automatically assign them copyright in anyway unless a contract has been signed stating the transfer of copyright.

I'd look into registering the copyright (as you do in US, not in the UK) of the images as soon as possible before the paper do so.




  
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Channel ­ One
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Mar 02, 2011 05:50 |  #7

malibubts wrote in post #11939460 (external link)
Alright so I've been shooting for the last several months for my school paper. I was told "The deal is that if you were there because of the paper, the paper owns them." by the photo editor.



By having them assign you the work and providing your access you are working for hire and they retain the Copyright not you.

I haven't signed anything releasing my copyright and it isn't a paying job.



Ah but it is a paying job as you are bettering your education and they are providing the opportunity to do so, for what it is worth the same applies to unpaid interns working for a paper or a broadcaster.

If you wish to retain your Copyright to the images then you need to assign yourself the work and gain your own access to do the work and then you can sell “your” images to anyone who wishes to license them.

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thebishopp
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Mar 02, 2011 06:53 |  #8

Channel One wrote in post #11940941 (external link)


By having them assign you the work and providing your access you are working for hire and they retain the Copyright not you.



Ah but it is a paying job as you are bettering your education and they are providing the opportunity to do so, for what it is worth the same applies to unpaid interns working for a paper or a broadcaster.

If you wish to retain your Copyright to the images then you need to assign yourself the work and gain your own access to do the work and then you can sell “your” images to anyone who wishes to license them.

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malibubts
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Mar 02, 2011 07:08 |  #9

Yeah the paper seems to have the idea that channel one has. But every definition of 'works for hire' I have read involves payment. I don't see how a pass or working for the paper in an academic way changes that or qualifies as payment.


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TopHatMoments
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Mar 02, 2011 07:28 |  #10

A pass is access not payment, ( where's the payment [W-4]? )

Tell them to go jump in there lawyers office and get the real story, your in school to learn not get cheated. Worst end is they take you off the papers photog list.

Don't sign a da__ thing giving away your rights, ever never, only if you life depends on it and still not then.


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Mar 02, 2011 08:46 |  #11

(a) Initial Ownership.—Copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work. The authors of a joint work are coowners of copyright in the work.
(b) Works Made for Hire.—In the case of a work made for hire, the em- ployer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title, and, unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in a written instrument signed by them, owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright.

(d) Transfer of Ownership.— (1) The ownership of a copyright may be transferred in whole or in part by
any means of conveyance or by operation of law, and may be bequeathed by will or pass as personal property by the applicable laws of intestate succession.

WORK FOR HIRE

Section 101 of the copyright law defines a “work made for hire” as 1 a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment
or
2 a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work, as a part of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, as a translation, as a supplementary work, as a compilation, as an instruc- tional text, as a test, as answer material for a test, or as an atlas, if the parties expressly agree in a written instrument signed by them that the work shall be considered a work made for hire

TRANSFER OF COPYRIGHT

§ 204. Execution of transfers of copyright ownership

(a) A transfer of copyright ownership, other than by operation of law, is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly authorized agent.

Bottom line:

1. If you don`t have a contract (in which they pay you - like in $) you own the copyright
2. If you haven`t signed a release (on paper signed by you and them) you own the copyright
3. If you want to be mean, you could sue them for copyright infringement (and you would probably win)
4. Those are extracts from the copyright law so you won`t have any problems showing this to them.

Good luck.


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Channel ­ One
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Mar 02, 2011 08:55 |  #12

TopHatMoments wrote in post #11941228 (external link)
Tell them to go jump in there lawyers office and get the real story, your in school to learn not get cheated. Worst end is they take you off the papers photog list.


What sterling idea and a darn sure way to become a truly independent photographer, it is also a great way of ensuring any future chance of interning for a real news organization is shot right down the tubes.

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TopHatMoments
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Mar 02, 2011 08:57 |  #13

The world you live in is filled with clouds.


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Splatmaster527
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Mar 02, 2011 09:24 as a reply to  @ Big Apple Photography's post |  #14

My personal favorite part is how mali and I are both Engineering majors haha
and between us we have more gear than the entire paper and anyone else who works for it combined...
Our editor is a PHOTOGRAPHY MAJOR for crying out loud and he still has to shoot with the 20Ds our paper owns... I guess the engineering majors are the only ones with our $hit together enough to have a few few L lenses and a 1D in the bag then they try to say we cant keep our copyright. If anything we are losing money...


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sspellman
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Mar 02, 2011 09:58 |  #15

Just tell them:

1) Without a signed work for hire or copyrght transfer document, US law is clear that the photographer is the Copyright ownner. They cannot possibly prove that they own the copyright unless you have signed a document as a student that all your creative output belongs to the school.

2) Refuse to sign or work on projects that require copyright transfer. Offer to provide the paper with an unrestricted license to publish the photos as requested in the assignment, but no other rights.

-Scott


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