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#1 Timmoranuk

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:03 AM

Here's an interesting story...

A while ago an important Marine Nature Reserve (for whom I have a great deal of respect) suggested I may wish to enter some images in their annual competition. Somewhat flattered, I sent a few low - res examples which I had shot in the reserve the previous year. Blimey! I won... Best in animal category and overall winner. Subsequently, my and other entrant's images made quite a splash in the BBC and in two page spreads in the national daily newspapers. Plagerised or syndicated images have cropped up in strange places like Nigeria, albeit, very well reported.

Setting aside the commercial implications, I felt that bringing the quality and diversity of the marine life in the UK before, frankly, millions of the public was a more valuable motive that a pocket full of shekles.

Now other parties have jumped on the bandwagon with the expectation of getting something for nothing. A significant commercial publisher of nature books wishes to include my images in a new publication and for the princely fee of "a credit"...

I have taken the view that they may use my images for the sole purpose of inclusion in a specific publication and only on condition that they make a donation to the Marine Nature Reserve commensuratate with their commercial value. Copyright is to remain with me.

I'm comfortable with this concept but I'd be very gratefull to learn of any caveats or comments from follow Wetpixeler's.

Thanks, Tim

Edited by Timmoranuk, 07 July 2010 - 02:35 AM.

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#2 TheRealDrew

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:51 AM

Setting aside the commercial implications, I felt that bringing the quality and diversity of the marine life in the UK before, frankly, millions of the public was a more valuable motive that a pocket full of shekles.



I think that is a good idea. Of course people will think free images etc. etc. will harm photographers. But once in awhile if images can do good, trying to help protect the things we are passionate about to me is important.


I have taken the view that they may use my images for the sole purpose of inclusion in a specific publication and only on condition that they make a donation to the Marine Nature Reserve commensuratate with their commercial value. Copyright is to remain with me.

I'm comfortable with this concept but I'd be very gratefull to learn of any caveats or comments from follow Wetpixeler's.


See comment above and if they truly are going to donate the money equal to the value of what they are getting, it is not like they are getting them for free. You are just directing where the payment will be sent effectively. You would need to make sure the agreement is clear, as you would for any other license of your images, and build in some mechanism for payment timings and proof of payment (no "Oh yeah, we paid the money out" without checks being sent.) You could say you need a cc on payments with a copy of the check, if the check is not sent by x date, the rights are void etc. Not sure if there is any tax implications depending on how things are written, is it somehow considered income and you do not get the offset deduction (not sure of UK laws or how things are set up for you), but that may be more theoretical/non-concern than anything else.

Well done on taking an opportunity to help out. Like you said, disregarding the commercial aspects for a moment and at what point giving away things, a little bit to try to help out now and again and forsaking payment, or even better having payment sent like you have set up, hopefully will help out for the larger cause. If we ever meet, I will get you a couple of beers for what you are doing in this case :notworthy:

#3 Timmoranuk

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:07 AM

and build in some mechanism for payment timings and proof of payment (no "Oh yeah, we paid the money out" without checks being sent.) You could say you need a cc on payments with a copy of the check, if the check is not sent by x date, the rights are void etc.


Excellent suggestion! A 'slippery bastard' clause... Thanks muchly
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#4 Poliwog

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:23 AM

That was very gracious of you to defer the income and have it presented the Marine Nature Reserve.

I think it might have been much simpler though, just to request payment for publication be sent to you directly, than make a donation in the same amount of the check to the reserve.

My reasons for this is as follows:

  • You actually know that a donation has been made
  • A donation has been made to a cause that you obviously feel strongly about
  • You gain a tax receipt for charitable donations instead of the publisher (You should get at least a little something for your efforts)
  • It is easier to “really know” that a donation was made and that you have not been just taken advantage of. Think of a paper trail so to speak.
  • It makes more work for the publisher to complete a more complicated type of payment for the use of your images (increases the chances of non-payment)
  • You also preserve the notion that photographers need to be compensated for their efforts when others seek to use photographic images for commercial purposes.

I have found that relying on the good intentions of others can lead to disappointment.

Again, congratulations for your actions.
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#5 Timmoranuk

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 07:35 AM

I take your points well Paul. Thanks.

My rationale for asking for a direct donation to the Marine Reserve is this (and is one I should have aluded to in my original post). The book is about the Marine Reserve and of course closely involves the Reserve's management team. To have charged a commercial fee may have resulted in my image(s) being set aside in favour of other (cheaper / free) images. However to ask for a donation to the Reserve may at least ensure the publisher's play fair with the organisation which has been instrumental in ensuring the existance of the very subject of their publication.

Other than that and frankly, money is a sordid subject which finds little merit with me... :notworthy:

Edited by Timmoranuk, 07 July 2010 - 09:11 AM.

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#6 decosnapper

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 10:38 AM

........ To have charged a commercial fee may have resulted in my image(s) being set aside in favour of other (cheaper / free) images. However to ask for a donation to the Reserve may at least ensure the publisher's play fair with the organisation which has been instrumental in ensuring the existance of the very subject of their publication......


The publisher is not in it for the glory, the kudos or warm feelings of making a book - they are in it for the money. Charging a commercial fee is not to be sniffed at. By saying to the publisher "a donation" then a swift £5 in the donations box and they have met their side of the deal and you may end up wondering if they have any morals (not when it comes to free images....I wager they don't).

1. Commercial rates should apply - the book is commercial.
2. Payment should be to yourself. Make it a point to demonstrate to the wildlife organization why they are getting a cheque. It guarantees payment is forthcoming and the commercial transaction is between yourself and the publisher.
3. License the image carefully - PM me for details if you want.
4. Do not sign any publishers contract without careful reading. It's not uncommon to find "all rights" as a clause.
5. Don't rely on the publisher to play fair. Make it clear what the images can be used for, how much it will cost.
6. Tell the publisher you assert your moral right of attribution. This means the right to a credit is enshrined in law and therefore it's something they must do, as opposed to consider it worthy payment.
7. Remember, they want your images, not images from someone else. There must be something important (subject, location, style, composition) to them to make them want to use yours over another photographer. They already value your work, just talk them up money-wise from the assumption of zero.

Good luck. The cause and your intentions are admirable, just don't let a third (commercial gain orientated) party change it.
Simon Brown

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#7 TheRealDrew

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 12:34 PM

1. Commercial rates should apply - the book is commercial.


As mentioned above he is looking for commercial value

I have taken the view that they may use my images for the sole purpose of inclusion in a specific publication and only on condition that they make a donation to the Marine Nature Reserve commensuratate with their commercial value.


2. Payment should be to yourself. Make it a point to demonstrate to the wildlife organization why they are getting a cheque. It guarantees payment is forthcoming and the commercial transaction is between yourself and the publisher.


What are the tax implications of doing it one way or the other? Just curious. Very well there could be some limit on the charitable deduction being made, compared to the income, and have to wind up paying taxes based on the structure of the transaction. I would think it would be worthwhile to ask a UK accountant a quick question about that aspect, no? Interesting questions in there.

#8 Timmoranuk

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 12:48 PM

Tax? We're only talking a couple of hundred pounds (gross) here... If it were a business, sure, I'd be there on this angle. For me, who dosn't earn outside of my established core revenue its a positive move to keep stuff like this out of the equation. But thanks all the same. Its all valuable advice and adds immeasurably to the amassed resource of Wetpixel.
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#9 DDT uk

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 01:30 AM

I am not an expert on direct taxation but my understanding is that only income earnt with a trade or an activity carried out along business lines in subject to taxation. The UK law has a number of badges of trader with things like "carried out on normal business principals" and "on a regular or frequent basis". One off income from the sale of pictures will not be within the scope of income tax.

The advantage of getting the money yourself and paying it over to a UK charity is that it can be gift aided. The charity claims back the equivalent basic rate tax that you would have paid on the donation and you can also claim that amount as an extension to your higher rate threshold. It does not matter that you have decided to donate the money from non-business income that you have received as long as you have paid sufficent UK tax.

So, it is worth it for the charity at least, for you to get the money yourself and gift aid it to the charity.

Daniel

#10 Paul Kay

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 01:53 AM

The book is about the Marine Reserve and of course closely involves the Reserve's management team. To have charged a commercial fee may have resulted in my image(s) being set aside in favour of other (cheaper / free) images.


This is a real problem with promoting a healthy marine environment. We all have to be flexible with our attitudes to photo usage - simply because motives and money vary - however the marine environment (and many others) have been poorly represented because many users have used poor and cheap images to do this. So you are in a difficult position in some ways.

With some publications (including the Welsh fish book which I produced for the Marine Conservation Society last year) funding IS tight BUT eventual profits from sales by MCS will go direct to MCS, so whilst fees were low/payment was sometimes in copies there is a real (financial) advantage to the conservation organisation from the book. That said, as has been commented already, the 'significant' commercial publisher is in it for the money - or wouldn't be publishing the book, and will be well aware of commercial rates that SHOULD be payable. Personally I would try to agree a fee or donation which represents a commercial figure and if the publisher is unwilling to pay this then name and shame them here and on other diving forums - to ensure that target audiences are aware that this is how the book is being produced - on the cheap to maximise profits.

I was recently asked about another similar 'significant' publisher who was offering £20/photo to include copyright and/or all future uses by that publisher! I am unfortunately not at liberty to name the publisher for various reasons but needless to say they will get my images only at a commercial single use rate if I am ever approached by them again. As a pro photographer I can't make a living from fees which are that low!

DDT to 'gift' aid the money, tax must have been paid on it or at least it must be subject to taxation. Your scenario is the best of both worlds and calling photo usage 'non-business' income is a tricky one and UK taxation doesn't work that way as far as I am aware. Imagine doing a plumbing job for someone instead and you'll see what I mean - "what you were supplying paid for plumbing services as part of your hobby sir?". I would suggest that a donation would be a better solution.
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#11 DDT uk

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 04:22 AM

DDT to 'gift' aid the money, tax must have been paid on it or at least it must be subject to taxation. Your scenario is the best of both worlds and calling photo usage 'non-business' income is a tricky one and UK taxation doesn't work that way as far as I am aware. Imagine doing a plumbing job for someone instead and you'll see what I mean - "what you were supplying paid for plumbing services as part of your hobby sir?". I would suggest that a donation would be a better solution.

Paul
There is a danger here of going well off post and so I won't say much. If I help a neighbour out with plumbing, as a one off, and he gives me £10 does that mean that I am, for tax purposes, a professional plumber? No. Not unless I do it regularly and along established business lines. Similarly, if I sell a picture taken as part of a hobby rather than as a business, is it business income? No. For the same reason. HMRC actually spend a lot of time arguing things like photographing aren't by way of business because otherwise Tim would owe a hundred pounds in tax but then claim for all of his camera equipment as business expenditure. That would lead to a nice repayment.
If gift aid contained a clause that said that the individual sums donated must have derived from a business or employment income the system would be unworkable. What matters is that Tim has paid sufficent income tax to cover the donation. Whether that donation is £10 his granny gave him is irrelevant.

Daniel

#12 TheRealDrew

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 05:56 AM

There is a danger here of going well off post and so I won't say much.


Though it is a bit off post to some degree, I have found the things you and others posted interesting since, as mentioned, I am not familiar with UK tax law and how it could come into play. Sounds like the U.K. system makes the U.S. system seem clear :notworthy:

#13 decosnapper

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 07:16 AM

Though it is a bit off post to some degree, I have found the things you and others posted interesting since, as mentioned, I am not familiar with UK tax law and how it could come into play. Sounds like the U.K. system makes the U.S. system seem clear :notworthy:


We had an advert here in the UK entitled "Tax - it doesn't need to be taxing" and featured a nice jolly chap saying how easy the self-assessment (a bit like the US tax return system I think) tax process is......

I did wonder if a group of concerned taxpayers could ask the Advertising Standards Authority look into that claim.......because its very misleading in my view......

(off topic........sorry)
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#14 Paul Kay

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 11:52 AM

If I help a neighbour out with plumbing, as a one off, and he gives me £10 does that mean that I am, for tax purposes, a professional plumber? No. Not unless I do it regularly and along established business lines. Similarly, if I sell a picture taken as part of a hobby rather than as a business, is it business income? No. For the same reason. HMRC actually spend a lot of time arguing things like photographing aren't by way of business because otherwise Tim would owe a hundred pounds in tax but then claim for all of his camera equipment as business expenditure. That would lead to a nice repayment.
If gift aid contained a clause that said that the individual sums donated must have derived from a business or employment income the system would be unworkable. What matters is that Tim has paid sufficent income tax to cover the donation. Whether that donation is £10 his granny gave him is irrelevant.

Daniel

Daniel. In order to save sufficient money to go freelance I worked for both the Inland Revenue and a major International accountancy firm to make some money (~20 years ago). All I will say is that I personally know no-one who does plumbing as a hobby and would help a neighbour as a one-off for money - though I probably know many who would help their neighbours at no cost. I do though know many amateur photographers who sell photographs and who claim to be 'professional'. The Revenue may look at each individual case on its merits BUT if they decide that accounts are needed because someone is selling a service or product, then they do have the right to first fine anyone who has not told them of any form of self-employment within three months, and then require that proper accounts are supplied. I fully appreciate where everyone is coming from but would honestly state that as I said before, your scenario tries to retain the best of both worlds and unless you would be prepared to argue it out with them and risk causing yourself grief, its better not to accept a payment - but to have a charitable payment made direct. I'm not sure that this is off post because the information here should allow anyone facing a similar situation to decide what scenario is best for them. Accepting payment for image usage is a 'grey' area in that it can quite reasonably be argued that it is income for tax purposes.
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#15 John Bantin

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:02 AM

I have recently had some expensive income tax training delivered by the Compliancy Department of HMRC. As far as they are concerned, it seems that any income is taxable, however derived!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#16 TheRealDrew

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:35 AM

. Accepting payment for image usage is a 'grey' area in that it can quite reasonably be argued that it is income for tax purposes.



I have recently had some expensive income tax training delivered by the Compliancy Department of HMRC. As far as they are concerned, it seems that any income is taxable, however derived!




It is what I thought could happen when I mentioned the tax considerations as part of the way of setting up the agreement.

#17 Paul Kay

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:45 AM

I have recently had some expensive income tax training delivered by the Compliancy Department of HMRC. As far as they are concerned, it seems that any income is taxable, however derived!

Ahh John. Style doesn't cut it with the IR huh? :) From what I remember, Compliance checks out data received from people such as publishers against their supplier's declared income!

One more thing. Whatever the Inland Revenue think, if equipment is insured as amateur equipment and the insurers discover any image sale by the owner then they will have a valid reason for refusing a claim on the basis that you should have professional insurance.

Edited by Paul Kay, 14 July 2010 - 08:45 AM.

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#18 John Bantin

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 09:57 AM

Ahh John. Style doesn't cut it with the IR huh? :) From what I remember, Compliance checks out data received from people such as publishers against their supplier's declared income!

One more thing. Whatever the Inland Revenue think, if equipment is insured as amateur equipment and the insurers discover any image sale by the owner then they will have a valid reason for refusing a claim on the basis that you should have professional insurance.


I enjoyed an eight month long enquiry staffed by two people that rented an office in Twickenham. They collected a little money from me but I learned a lot and I know that HMRC lost a lot of money funding the enquiry. ;)

By the way, You think I can afford equipment insurance? I just pay for O-ring grease!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#19 decosnapper

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:14 AM

Just a thought;

If you charge the publisher a decent fee and then Gift Aid the money to the charity, they will get more........
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#20 Timmoranuk

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 11:15 AM

Just a thought;

If you charge the publisher a decent fee and then Gift Aid the money to the charity, they will get more........


Surely a direct donation from the publisher will have a similar benefit and it takes me out of the loop.
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