Couple trying to dictate on use of images

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by JMphotographyweddings, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Hi all
    Let me start by saying that this . . our first professional year of shooting weddings has been a very enjoyable one, we have met some wonderful people, gained lots of valuable experience and have some nice photos now on our website.

    We decided to do our first year for expenses only to build our portfolio and have some real weddings to put on our facebook page and website. Our contract states:
    '10. DISPLAY
    The Bride and Groom grant the Photographers and its legal representatives, heirs and assigns, the
    irrevocable and unlimited consent to use the photographs included in this contract for advertising, web site,
    social media, portfolio, exhibitions, display areas or slide shows and to alter the photographs and/or
    copyright the images.'

    Earlier this year we had the chance to shoot an Indian Sikh wedding. After our consultation we agreed that it was probably a bit too involved for us at this stage and we respectfully declined on the grounds that we didn't want to make any mistakes on such an involved ceremony, they thanked us for our honesty and we went our separate ways. A few weeks later we heard from them saying they loved what we did and they liked us and would we shoot the pre-wedding parties that spanned 2 days, we agreed and drew up a contract that now included video coverage. As per usual we arranged an engagement photo session and we all spent a wonderful day shooting around the south bank and St Pauls in London. I posted a few shots on our facebook page that same day as a "taster" for them and we were surprised to receive a text message asking us to refrain from posting any further photos on the grounds that they were very private people. After some discussion we reluctantly agreed to do this respecting their wishes as she said it would be Ok to put up some images from the wedding parties. We did the wedding parties as arranged and spent 2 days doing what we loved. We shot over 2000 photos and captured some great video footage.
    The problems started to surface last week. I repeatedly had to chase them for the music for the film I was editing I then found out that the music they had on the night was not the kind of music they normally listen to (I had requested some tracks from the DJs set to match up the footage) I kept chasing I even had to contact her sister who was extremely helpful in identifying some tracks so I downloaded those. I eventually managed to start a dialogue with the bride who then decided to send us a different set of music tracks and some tracks for the ceremonies . .adding that she was very stressed by all this and shouldn't have to deal with all this "stuff" adding that it should all be handled by the professionals. They were well aware that we were a start up company from the outset.
    We eventually worked through our little problems agreeing that mistakes were made on both sides and I went back to editing (taking the week off work to catch up) We finished editing the photographs and contacted them saying that we would be sending them out in the next few days . . . we received a text message telling us not to upload any photos to facebook or any social media site or provide links of any sort . . . and that included the video!
    After some discussion my partner decided to reply and wrote a fairly lengthy response by email stating that they had signed a contract that quite clearly says we own the copyright to all images/footage taken and that we were within our rights to use them as we see fit on our website and facebook page and that they had signed that contract in good faith (she is a solicitor). She has replied again stating that they were private people and that we had to respect their wishes as we had done earlier in the year.

    Now I will put my hands up and admit that due to our inexperience and with the addition of hindsight we made some mistakes at the onset of this situation, When they got back in touch we should have gone back to them and set up another consultation that included video, we did mention video in the agreement of services section but there is no dispute about delivering anything here. We have fulfilled our side of the contract, the photos are all done the video is well underway and will be delivered on time as agreed, what im unsure about here is can they dictate to us about what we can and cannot do with our images when we have a signed contract.
    As it stands at the moment we have nearly 500 photos and 2 separate videos that according to our client will simply be shelved and not viewed by all the friends and family who attended those events, who I might add were allowed to share their photos and video of the same event on social media with no censorship. You may ask what do we want from all this? the answer is simple; I want to share our work with all who wish to see it, im proud of the work we did that weekend, we spent long hours editing and making it look great and I wish to use it for promotional purposes on my website and our facebook page and I don't think its right or fair that someone should just assume that they have the right to dictate to us about what we do with our property.

    Can someone clarify our position from a legal point of view
     
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Apropos the Legal aspect:

    Not a throw away comment - As your partner is a Solicitor then surely she would have a legal opinion or at least the access to an expert legal opinion in this area; perhaps a Barrister who specializes in these matters.

    I guess that you are located in England. Our Laws here (AUS) have an heritage in England. If it were me asking my Solicitor (or Barrister) for a legal opinion about this, I would first be asking about the differentiation of Copyright and Usage Rights and then whether or not you have Usage Rights. (Which from the wording of Section 10 of your contract, you probably do have some, in my lay opinion).

    Having established those two points, then I would be asking about whether or not the signatory(Ies) on the Contract have aegis to provide Usage Rights of images of other persons on behalf of those other persons.

    ***

    Apropos the Business aspect:

    Iā€™d drop it like an hot scone - and move on building your business.

    WW
     
  3. My partner is not a solicitor the bride is
     
  4. But thank you for the reply this is something we shall look into this is all new to us I didn't quite expect this so its come as a bit of a shock and yes I may well do what you suggest I just need to be sure of the validity of our contract before I concede
     
  5. I'm clueless about British law.
    For the future I suggest to write up a multiple choice contract. If your clients are handsome charge them an amount you can live with for not ending in your advertising or word it the other way round and offer a discount if they agree to serve your business.
    I'd include a clause that you totally understand changing opinions yada yada and will take down images you are using online, as soon as the extra amount arrived on your account.
    The customer is king. Word of mouth is important advertising too! And you are more a service provider catering your clients, than a great artist supported by them...
     
  6. Thank you I do hear what you are saying and its food for thought its not about money though we need exposure and every other client this year has not given us this problem what annoys us is that all the work we have done and have yet to do is not going to be seen and that means losing potential clients if our contract is not worth it when it comes to situations like this then why have one and that is at the root of our post they agreed to our terms and they signed to that effect now they are trying to change that and I don't agree with that its got nothing to do with ego or money its the principle that matters to us if I find that our only recourse is to drop it walk away and move on then thats ok but I need to know just how effective our contract is
     
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you for clarifying who is the Solicitor. I misunderstood the meaning of para. beginning "

    "After some discussion my partner decided to reply and wrote a fairly lengthy response by email stating that they had signed a contract that quite clearly says we own the copyright to all images/footage taken and that we were within our rights to use them as we see fit on our website and facebook page and that they had signed that contract in good faith (she is a solicitor)."

    ***


    That's the exact reason (the exposure for your business) to make this a business decision and not an emotional decision.
    There is no need to be annoyed. In fact there is very little place for 'annoyance', in business.
    Sure make the effort to get a legal opinion about the validity and construct of your Contract, especially if you wrote it yourself or if you copied it from the web (especially if you copied a template from a website NOT in England) - and I suggest that you use the questions that I proposed as a starting point:- but I suggest that you drop this topic of correspondence with this Clients because if you don't I think that you run the risk of getting exposure for your business but it will be negative exposure.

    WW
     
  8. Seconding what others have wisely said here, you must choose how much of your energy is worth fighting them on this. Yes, you probably did very nice work and having a Sikh wedding in your portfolio would be excellent to have. One possible solution you might consider is to ask the couple if they will give you a list of photographs from their wedding, especially details where there are no actual people in them, that you might be permitted to use for your portfolio. You can tell them that contractually you have every right to use their images, but you also want to respect their wishes for privacy. Let the couple know you want to be able to show other prospective clients that you have experience with Sikh weddings and would like to use a set of images that the couples approves of you using.
     
  9. Thank you mike that is probably the best solution for all concerned we have read all the replies here and have taken on board all that has been said. We have after some discussion reached the conclusion that we will not win this, even though we are within our rights. After all just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. We will select some photos and upload them to our online gallery for them to view and approve, and hopefully we can resolve this amicably.
    Thank you to everyone who posted your contribution was very valuable to us and its gratifying to know there is a resource at our disposal that is wholeheartedly objective we had decided to drop the matter and just concede in light of the bigger picture and put it all down to experience despite being a bitter pill to swallow but your advice takes that one step further and we thank you
     
  10. I, with no legal or wedding experience at all, think this is a wise move.

    Life is too short, anyhow.
     
  11. I have wondered when walking by photo studios about the pictures in the window.

    Yes, I suspect that it is usual to include in the contract the ability to use the photos for advertising purposes.

    As I understand it, you are offering a lower price to get exposure, which requires the use of the images.

    You could offer, for a higher price, a contract that doesn't allow for such use. That gives clients a choice,
    and it is hard for them to argue that they didn't understand that was in the contract. The price difference
    should fairly reflect the cost to you of not being able to use them for portfolio building.

    As noted above, paying the difference later could be used when someone changed their mind.

    I presume in all cases, you wouldn't use pictures that were likely to be embarrassing.
    Also, if the client prefers a small number not be used, you could respect that decision.
     
  12. One thing you should add in your contract is a check box by any part that needs extra attention for the client to mark as read and understood. Bottom line is respect your clients wishes. You will get other opportunities to get sample images from the clients references.
     

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