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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 03 Nov 2011 (Thursday) 10:24
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School Paper and Copyright...Again

 
malibubts
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Nov 03, 2011 10:24 |  #1

Hey all,

A while ago I started a thread here dealing with copyright and my school paper. You can view that link if you'd like, but long story short the paper thinks they own the copyright to my images. I'm not being paid in any manner, using my own equipment, and have not signed any releases of copyright. I just let the issue die down as it was towards the end of the year last year without changing anything. Today I get the email from our adviser:

Eric-- Can you explain why you have Lantern copyrighted material here with no credit or mention of The Lantern?http://www.photoeric.c​om/galleries (external link)

What MUST happen is that all photos you shot for the Lantern note that they are on your site with Lantern permission. And as we have discussed, the Lantern owns the copyright on photos you shoot for it, you do not.

Dan,

Will adding a line such as "Posted with Lantern Permission, www.thelantern.com" to each gallery description suffice?

Eric

Yes. As long as it it prominent on every page. The copyright on every photo with your name also must go.

So not sure where to go from here. Last time I talked with a lawyer from the Student Press Law Center (external link) and he said I was in the right. I'm thinking of giving him a call here again with an update on the situation. Any one else have any other ideas?


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RDKirk
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Nov 03, 2011 12:06 |  #2

As you were advised back then, you own the copyright and you should be registering your copyright for all the images. If they can't find a way to work with you under those conditions, then you may not be able to work together. But with what has been done to this point, you own the copyright, not them.


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chrispychicken
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Nov 03, 2011 12:36 |  #3

Yea... that adviser doesn't understand copyright law. I'm very involved in my school paper and the photographers grant us the right to use the images in our publication and online, but they keep the copyright - and that's the way it works legally, unless you actually sign off on a work for hire agreement.


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ZXDrew
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Nov 03, 2011 12:41 |  #4

You're in the right. I would speak with the lawyer again and update him on everything going on. You might be able to get a letter from him stating what your rights are or that you do in fact own your photos.

You could also double check as to why they think they own your work. It might be as simple as a blanket clause in your admission to a class where you lose the right to your work.

Edit:
...So I went back and read over what you had posted in the other article. It seems getting the editor and the advocate together in a room would be the easyist way to get this hashed out. You might want to ask the advocate to get his/her boss involved as most likely this will go up a few levels to the schools actual legal office. If you want to sale the photos online you would need permission of the university and you might be able to trade off submitting work for the right to sale the photos.


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RDKirk
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Nov 03, 2011 13:02 as a reply to  @ ZXDrew's post |  #5

It might be as simple as a blanket clause in your admission to a class where you lose the right to your work.

But that can't be done legally, no way. Even if such a clause exists, it has no legal power. The US copyright law is very specific that a signed document with very specific wording is necessary. This exact kind of case--blanket clauses to attend classes--has specifcially been denied by the Federal courts. Students in, say, art classes, keep the copyright to their work...they can't be lost through blanket statements in class admission paperwork.


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emsjeep
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Nov 03, 2011 13:17 |  #6
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Talk to a lawyer. You should be able to find someone who will lay it out for you for cheap and maybe even do a letter. Probly about $500 if they don't require a larger retainer.

At worst, you will get angry e-mails and a C&D letter, but it won't go beyond that. Tell them where to shove their manufactured rights.




  
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malibubts
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Nov 03, 2011 13:20 |  #7

The Lantern has some policy that the adviser emailed me. I was only made aware of it once the issue was brought up the first time and I never agreed to it, even verbally.

Eric, Mitch-- Below is Lantern copyright policy. Read it over and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.--Dan

Copyright Policy
The Lantern values the creative and intellectual contributions of the student staff. It is imperative that the Lantern maintain ownership of all intellectual property to fulfill its mission.

As a condition of participating in the Lantern, all students are required to assign to the Lantern all rights to intellectual property relating to “Lantern Materials.” The term “Lantern Materials” means all articles, stories, documents, text, photographs, images, designs, graphics, maps, software, computer code, data and other information or materials in any tangible medium of expression that is: (A) created by a student for the Lantern; (B) created with the use of Lantern equipment or resources; or (C) submitted to the Lantern for publication, regardless of whether the materials are actually published.

This means that all Lantern materials shall be solely owned and controlled by the Lantern and that the student may not submit Lantern materials to any other medium without the prior written consent of the Lantern. In return, the Lantern grants to the student a non-exclusive license to use Lantern materials created by the student for any academic or educational purpose. This means that while the Lantern continues to own all Lantern materials, the student is permitted to use Lantern materials that he or she creates for coursework, etc. without the prior consent of the Lantern. The student may subsequently request permission from the Lantern to have the property reproduced in other media.

In the event that any Lantern material generates revenue of $100 or more unrelated to the publication of the Lantern, the student is entitled to royalties in the amount of not less than 67 percent of the revenue for each dollar beyond $100. The Lantern will make all reasonable efforts to locate the student who created the material. When the Lantern cannot locate the student, the Lantern will retain 100 percent of such revenue.

I called the SPLC again and left the lawyer I spoke with a voice mail. I have to meet with the adviser tonight and I'm planning on telling him I own the copyright and will license for free. I actually found a really nice PDF (external link) on the SPLC site for this. At this point the original editor is no longer there so I'm just dealing with the adviser. So I guess we'll see what comes of the meeting later tonight.


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emsjeep
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Nov 03, 2011 13:33 |  #8
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malibubts wrote in post #13348533 (external link)
The Lantern has some policy that the adviser emailed me. I was only made aware of it once the issue was brought up the first time and I never agreed to it, even verbally.

I called the SPLC again and left the lawyer I spoke with a voice mail. I have to meet with the adviser tonight and I'm planning on telling him I own the copyright and will license for free. I actually found a really nice PDF (external link) on the SPLC site for this. At this point the original editor is no longer there so I'm just dealing with the adviser. So I guess we'll see what comes of the meeting later tonight.


You may be required by their policy to do it, but you have not expressly done it and considering their own lack of immediate knowledge of this policy, they aren't going to be able to charge you with knowledge nor is it even a contractual relationship to begin with. The policy is meaningless except in regards to how they will manage your relationship in the future.




  
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malibubts
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Nov 03, 2011 14:42 |  #9

Yeah my plan is to go in and tell them they are incorrect about having the copyright. And from my understanding copyright has to be transferred by a written document with both parties signing. This has never happened. And I've been looking at the works for hire a lot, doesn't really seem that my situation falls under a works for hire clause.


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732NJ
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Nov 03, 2011 17:10 |  #10

interested to see where this goes.


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sspellman
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Nov 03, 2011 17:10 |  #11

Eric-

The other important question here is-what are the consequences of stopping working for the newspaper? Since you are done with your Journalism course, I would guess that the consequences are minimal and you would never agree to give copyright over as a condition of working for them anyways.

Your response then is simple. "US law says that the creator is the Copyright Owner unless there is a work for hire agreement. I never signed the Lantern Copyright Policy and I will not in the future."

You can actually submit the images for Copyright Registration online at any time. You can start here:

http://www.copyright.g​ov/eco/notice.html (external link)

You could do it now and at the meeting say that the images have already been registered with the US Copyright Office. End of story.

-Scott


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Nov 03, 2011 18:58 |  #12

Agree with the above. Just because they have decided on a policy that does not constitute a legally binding agreement. Furthermore the assignment would need to be in writing.

They may want the copyright but they currently don't own it.


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TheBurningCrown
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Nov 03, 2011 19:03 |  #13

Dan Marchant wrote in post #13350289 (external link)
Agree with the above. Just because they have decided on a policy that does not constitute a legally binding agreement. Furthermore the assignment would need to be in writing.

They may want the copyright but they currently don't own it.

This a thousand times over.

"Policy" doesn't mean crap if you didn't agree to it. You own the copyrights.


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Numenorean
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Nov 03, 2011 21:01 |  #14

Register your photos with the copyright office, tell them to pound sand and then send them a bill for using your copyrighted photos.


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HappySnapper90
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Nov 04, 2011 10:38 |  #15

You should consider giving license granting statement with whatever you submit to the Lantern, every time you submit. Making it clear that you retain the copyright but you grant The Lantern the right to publish the photos in which you are submitting.




  
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