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When does copyright infringment start, does it start on the design and development of the layout or does it start with the click of the shutter. Example lately I was contracted to photograph the cheerleaders of a local high school. after i posed the individual and set lighting using a strobe slave for off camera . one of the girls mother started taking photos of the the girls and the group photo. not recieving any orders from the job i was inform that this individual was suppling all of the photos including the photos for the football program advertising that they were her photos as a photographer. is this legal.
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I wouldnt really describe that as an infringement on copyright, but i am a little confused as to the roles.
If this person was the official photographer for the school (or its football team), what was your role? Or, if you were hired by the school to take specific shots, why did they also have another photographer?
It sounds very suspect - they used you and your expertise to set everything up and this other photographer to supply the images (on the cheap probably!). I hope you were paid for your time and not just for any images supplied!!
If she took the pictures then there hers.
Was there any form of contract between you and the school.
At the very least I think you should at least charge a fee for your time and the studio use.
Make yours look even better than hers and beat her into the ground with your mastery of photoshop!
And sue her for loss of earnings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If the OP has made a "significant contribution" to the shots, then he/she could claim to be a "joint creator" and thus be entitled to share in the rights. There was a recent case where a make-up artist successfully claimed joint authorship of some fashion shots.
But UK and US laws are different.
I'd certainly have a quiet word with the Principal and make my displeasure known.
Would make a great episode of Judge Judy. I'd feel very aggrieved with the situation. You mention the strobe, was other photographer firing that too?
Is it not similar to a wedding when you chase round various family members and group them. there is usually always a member of the party taking photos also. a lot of the time knowing that you can use a camera and can produce better work is a bit of a safety net.
with all these new cameras on the market if does not take much to get a good photograph, and yes we are professionals strive to make a better photograph, with posing and lighting. but when another individual walks in and stands right over you that is assoicated with the individuals that your photographing is this right you as the photographer as set everything up and then someone comes in and steels your images, even thought it with another camera. i know i should of raised hell with this individual but i didn't after fourty years of doing this i ready to quite!
We are not only the photographers but we are the designers,
I think in a case like that the school that booked you should have made it clear to all parents/others involved that only photography from your company was allowed (if you had made that clear to them at the time of the booking).
I dont mean to sound harsh, but really you have to take responsibility too. All it takes is a polite and quiet word to the individual explaining that you have been hired for the job and will (i assume) be selling images. Most people will understand that and let you get on with your job, but if you let someone get away with it, its harder to stop everyone else doing the same thing
" i know i should of raised hell with this individual" this first... but then i suppose that you have to look at it from another point of view. it should be clearly copyright violation. more clear cut if you have shots timed prior to hers. regardless of her using her own camera. especially for comercial gain. as you were the creative behind the idea. there is a famous case in the uk involving a red bus.
quite simply bill the photographer for your time as designer.
Taking the same photograph from the same position is not copyright infringement as far as I know - otherwise Ansel Adams' estate has got Yosemite valley pretty much sewn up.
The court case with the bus is, I think somewhat different: it was considered to be a case where someone saw a photograph and thought 'I want one just like that'. Until the OP had printed their photograph that was not possible (in my non-lawyer's opinion) because the image does not exist in digital format, and you can't copyright an artistic idea, only the output. And for what it's worth, the judge's decision is the subject of much heated discussion even among the photographic community so it is far from clear cut.
I would re-iterate what others have said that your agreement with the school would allow them to use only images from the shoot that were taken by yourself.
To prove copyright infringement you would need documentation of a set of circumstances that show without a doubt that the person was trying to profit from your photo. The case that went to court in the US, and was won by the photographer, was where a band wanted to purchase a particular photo from the tog to use on the cover of an album, but balked at the price. So they hired a photographer to take pretty much the same photo for a much reduced price. The infringement was obvious.
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