Former Employer Asking For Images From Several Years Ago

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by truc_a, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. I'm wondering if I could get some insight and advice on how to respond to a request from a formal employer that has asked me to provide photos that I took over the period I was there for their new website.
    I am on good terms with them, and there were no expectations written or expressed on anyone else owning the photo other myself. I shot with all of my own equipment, 90% of the time as informal as pulling out a cell phone and snapping a picture. There were a few rare times that I shot under a fully organized photo shoot.
    The biggest questions I have are:
    1) Under what situation/stipulation would I have to oblige?
    2) Because the photos are basically archived at this point, I would have to comb through my thousands of images to find exactly what they're looking for. Should I, or do I have the option to charge them for my time?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. I've been in your shoes. One could say that if you
    took the pictures when they were paying you, then
    it was part of your job. One could say that you own
    the copyright and should protect that right. But
    unless these images are something your using to
    make money, then why not be a good guy and help
    them out? If it really is going to take extraordinary
    effort to access what they desire or if that effort is
    going to cause loss of income, then ask to be
    compensated. No matter, ask that you get a photo
    credit on the website if your images are used. Life's
    too short to not be a decent human being. In the
    end, your not obliged to do anything... You can
    always say they are inaccessible etc etc. But you'll
    feel a lot better about helping someone out than
    you would trying to squeeze a few dollars out of the
    situation. I would, especially because a long time
    ago I didn't and u still feel like a heel about it.
     
  3. "Under what situation/stipulation would I have to oblige?"

    http://copyright.gov/circs/circ09.pdf

    The more formal critria is fairly clear cut. The tricky scenario is if your shooting were within the scope of your employment. A review of many factors is required to show whether, on balance, there was sufficient control by the hiring party. Using your own equipment is just one factor which goes in the lack of control column. We don't know the whole story so its impossible to say if the activity was within the scope of employment.
    "One could say that if you took the pictures when they were paying you, then it was part of your job."

    Not really. But, it may be one of the factors.

    "No matter, ask that you get a photo credit on the website if your images are used."
    Eschewing a discussion over whether credit actually has any meaningful value, if the employer owns the image that's all that can be done to get it. To ask.
     
  4. Maybe a non-legal consideration is important here too: you're on good terms with them. Is it worth preserving that, and in the light of good terms how reasonable will they react if you tell them that finding all images will cost you quite some time; informal probing to see if they're willing to arrange some solution there to cover your effort.
    While it is important to know/understand your obligation and rights, just finding a reasonable, mature solution that shows good will goes often a longer way that pointing to the law and contractual terms.
     
  5. Thank you everyone for providing some insight. I appreciate hearing your advice and to the very least, to know that I'm not the only one to have been though this (not that I actually thought I was the first in the world to experience this, but it's always nice to have a support group).
    I plan on letting them know that it'll take some time to find the images and that I'd like to be compensated for that time to dig through my archives. I've done a lot of contract work for them after I've left, so I think they'll be amicable to the idea of using my photo credit as well.
    Another interesting point to consider is of the 99% of images I've taken there, and probably all the ones they'd like to have, were taken before the business was sold to another owner. I left a couple months after the sale.
     
  6. What kind of pictures? What kind of business? Plant/facilities? Personnel? Social/wedding? If archived and hard to find for you, then that suggests they aren't moneymakers. Maybe a reasonable time charge for the effort?
     
  7. A review of many factors is required to show whether, on balance, there was sufficient control by the hiring party. Using your own equipment is just one factor which goes in the lack of control column.
    Thanks
    qwiknumbers.com
     

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