How can I use photos I took of a youth sports team?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by ed_lemko, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. I'm in the northeast US and my kids are on a sports team where I take pictures and have sold prints to parents who are very happy. I made arrangements with the coach and parent board to give back half the profits to the team as a fundraising aspect.
    I'd like to sell some of the really good shots I took to some magazines, or at least try to, and my question is what responsibility so I have to the kids or parents if a magazine decides to buy and publish? (or make me go thru an ad agency and the same results happens)
    The photos are taken at practices and games, and the teams is about 120 families. There is no agreement between anyone other than verbal that I give over 1/2 the profits, which is less than 100 bucks so far.
    But requests are coming in for more shots and things are picking up. And these are not blurry action shots but actually moodily-lit captures with attractive post-processing that has punch.
    What I've read around here already is that if I use the shots in my own advertising, say "Northeast Sports Photography", then I'd definitely need to go back and get model releases. But what about just selling a shot to vendors or magazines for the sport for the cover, or the (small) vendor's own PR use? Does that require more in terms of getting signed permission?
    Thanks
     
  2. I've seen some authority for covers being "commercial use" even though sports magazine use is ordinarily editorial. I have been meaning to find actual cases on that issue but have not got around to it. Sports shooters can advise on what their publishing customers typically require when buying licenses to use photos.
    Vendor's promotional use can vary and, depending on the jurisdiction and particular method of promotion, could amount to commercial use. Ultimately, it is the displayer of the imagery that is liable for any misappropriation claims. Some publishing customers may buy images without releases, others may not. Other than that, its not your concern technically.
    Sometimes parents get very protective about their children and can cause hassles even if the use is permitted without restriction.
     
  3. Rules for model releases are different for editorial than for commercial use but you're talking about minors here and I bet there's a lawyer or two among the parents. You want a model release for every identifiable person and for minors it has to be executed by a parent or the minor's legal guardian.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  4. If it's a legitimate magazine or newspaper, that's editorial use and you don't need a model release. The rest of what you describe would most likely require a release.
     
  5. As an unsolicited party to photographs, technically, (each and every kid or parent doesn't physically agree to me prancing around with a camera, the coach and parent board did in general), do people generally ask for something in return (like money) to sign the model release?
    In other words, have you gone back to say, "hey, a mag was to buy this shot and slap it on the cover, and they want to pay me 1000 bucks, please sign here so I can get my 1000 bucks". I imagine some parents might say "hey, I didn't sign up for you taking shots of my kid" or "OK, how much does my kid get of the cover shot seeing as they were 1/2 the package as the model"...
    Anyway, I believe some indeed are lawyers, at least 2-3 of the parents are.
    The retrospective model release doesn't have to include verbiage about the sports cover or whatever, since that's second base, right? First base is " I hereby release my kid's image and co-sign as their legal guardian for sports shooter guy here to use in his portfolio or whatever business purpose his copyright allows him"
    I don't want to morph this thread into a model release thread, there are plenty of those, I just have to find the right one...


    Thanks so far for the comments-
     
  6. " I hereby release my kid's image and co-sign as their legal guardian for sports shooter guy here to use in his portfolio or whatever business purpose his copyright allows him"​
    You will probably have a hard time finding people willing to sign a release containing the last eight words considering how vague it is. The level of specificity may be an legal issue for the user of the image as well. I gather you are just paraphrasing here and do not anticipate using any of this this language since its inartfully articulated.
     
  7. John, you absolutely gather correctly...
     
  8. In other words, have you gone back to say, "hey, a mag was to buy this shot and slap it on the cover, and they want to pay me 1000 bucks, please sign here so I can get my 1000 bucks". I imagine some parents might say "hey, I didn't sign up for you taking shots of my kid" or "OK, how much does my kid get of the cover shot seeing as they were 1/2 the package as the model"...​
    Perfectly understandable. Most models get paid (either money or with photos they can use in their portfolio) and in return are willing to sign a model release so that the tog can make money. The parents/kids aren't being paid so aren't likely to see the benefit. The best way to handle it is to formalise your arrangement with the team so the parents can see the money you pay the team as clear benefit for their kids.
    Sign a contract with the team giving them 50% of the profit (feel free to deduct your costs first before sharing) from any sale of images. Then have the team include a release in with the paperwork the student's parents sign when they join the team. For those already on the team have the school/team announce this great new way they will be benefiting the kids through the new deal with [insert your name here] and get them to send the necessary release.
    The retrospective model release doesn't have to include verbiage about the sports cover or whatever, since that's second base, right? First base is " I hereby release my kid's image and co-sign as their legal guardian for sports shooter guy here to use in his portfolio or whatever business purpose his copyright allows him"​
    Model release has nothing to do with copyright so your wording wouldn't work. You own the copyright on the image but the individual controls the use of their likeness for commercial use. The wording of the release must be them granting both the photographer, and unknown third parties, the right to use their likeness. You should look at various example model releases to get proper wording. Here is one example http://asmp.org/tutorials/model-release-minor-child.html. I'm sure Google will throw up many more.
     
  9. Editorial use and commercial use are much different. Check with ASMP for a lot more on it. No advertising use without solid model releases is the rule here. Magazine and newspapers have a lot more leeway.
     
  10. If the kids are on a public play field, would there be any reasonable expectation of privacy?
     
  11. If the kids are on a public play field, would there be any reasonable expectation of privacy?
     
  12. Thanks, Dan.
    I do have a verbal agreement on 50% profit sharing, not revenue, which is then echoed in writing on the team website where the link to my pic gallery is. "If you want great shots of your little snookums, click here for pictures by roaming around photo guy".
    Unfortunately, there's another photographer who's also doing what I am, so the team has 2 photogs, and he was there before I was. It's all a big, friendly, backslapping kind of group, so I presume if I start getting "contracty", there might be some eyebrow raising from the team, or the other photog. (Like I"m getting too fancy, too formal, too legalese, too serious about it). It's not like this is some massive money maker.... But still, I have a nagging feeling that I don't want to go too far in marketing the pictures which resulted from covering the team, without a proper paper trail of permission...
    Kind of stuck in indecision land. So far I've set up a blog where people can buy the photos, which 8-9 families already did. I also put them up on facebook, and the assistant coach, the head coach's wife, many player/parents already "liked" the photos, and made positive comments. It's considered more an ad-hoc friend thing at this point, than a "formal service" as such, that's my problem in terms of the motivation to ratchet this thing up in legal seriousness...
     

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