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Employer stole my image!


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#1 Neil Fisher

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 12:06 PM

To start I work at a well known Aquarium. Anyway my employer has a policy for all visitors -stating:

You are welcome to shoot still photos, video or film for personal use only. Any reuse or reproduction for commercial purpose without written consent of the ######## Aquarium is strictly prohibited.

For employees things are a little different, and this is what I received from the HR department when requesting the most recent policy.

POLICY
1. All Photographers please note: You are welcome to shoot still photos, video or film for personal use only. Any reuse or reproduction for commercial purpose without written consent of the ######## Aquarium is strictly prohibited.

2.Pursuit of personal photography, video or film on location at the Aquarium is done on personal time.

PROCEDURE
For those interested in obtaining written consent from the ######## Aquarium please
contact the ######## Aquarium Public Relations Department.


Now this is the information I've found from the Government of Canada website.

Canadian Copyright and Moral Rights in Works

1) For the purposes of this Act, "copyright", in relation to a work, means the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part thereof in any material form whatever, to perform the work or any substantial part thereof in public or, if the work is unpublished, to publish the work or any substantial part thereof, and includes the sole right

(a) to produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work,

Ownership of copyright

(1) Subject to this Act, the author of a work shall be the first owner of the copyright therein.

Work Made in the course of employment

(3) Where the author of a work was in the employment of some other person under a contract of service or apprenticeship and the work was made in the course of his employment by that person, the person by whom the author was employed shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright, but where the work is an article or other contribution to a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical, there shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be deemed to be reserved to the author a right to restrain the publication of the work, otherwise than as part of a newspaper, magazine or similar periodical.


Cole Notes:
So,the story goes. I took a photo of a sea horse during personal time Ė wasn't working! Legally I believe this photo is MY property. I sent the photo to the guy who takes care of the sea horses - this may have been my mistake?


The f@#ing marketing department asks for the photo from this guy and then proceeds to plaster on the front on a thousands of marketing brochures. This pisses me off because if the marketing department knew who the photographer was, they used the photo without consent and even if they didnít know who the photographer was they, used a photo without knowing who the owner was!!! I seriously am considering legal action, but my thinking is the only thing I can fight is lost exposure as the photo was printed without my name crediting it. I donít think I can claim lost revenue because I could not have sold the photo for any other use with consent from my employer. Or is it my mistake for send the photo to some else?

This is not the first time this has happened. The same thing happened three or four years back, and when I tried to address it, they simply ignored me. I've work at the same place for ten years, have a great relationship with my co-workers, and don't really want to jeopardize my employment.

Iíd love to hear what others think, and what course of action you'd suggest?

Edited by Neil Fisher, 13 November 2010 - 12:10 PM.


#2 decosnapper

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 06:16 AM

[color="#000000"] I donít think I can claim lost revenue because I could not have sold the photo for any other use with consent from my employer. Or is it my mistake for send the photo to some else?

This is not the first time this has happened. The same thing happened three or four years back, and when I tried to address it, they simply ignored me. I've work at the same place for ten years, have a great relationship with my co-workers, and don't really want to jeopardize my employment.

Iíd love to hear what others think, and what course of action you'd suggest?


Here's my quick thoughts based on the above:-

1. The copyright belongs to you.
2. To commercially exploit the image you would need permission from the aquarium
3. The aquarium cannot commercially exploit images you create in your own time without your permission

Mistake to send it? Perhaps, but it does not absolve the fact they have used it without your permission. Next time slap a big © thought the middle and render it useless for this purpose.......then they are forced to ask first.

In my opinion you could have successfully negotiated payment for this use - it was, after all, shot on your time, not your employers. Wether they would pay is an altogether different matter but they should have sought permission first.

It really depends how much fuss you want to make. What is at risk if you make a big stink? Overall, I would suggest that either a) the aquarium are not well informed with respect to copyright or b) know exactly what they are doing with copyright and playing a defensive position knowing you won't push it.
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#3 Chud

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 03:22 AM

Have you spoken to your manager or the marketing department yet?

This may be easily resolvable with minimal fuss...
Negril, Jamaica 2009 -
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"Underwater photography kills the diving and turns you into a self-absorbed, humourless, depressed, monomanical weirdo. You develop a strange fetish called O-Ringphilia: the obsessive cleaning and greasing of O-rings. Do you seriously think the buddy system works with underwater photographers? That an underwater photographer would drop his camera to save his buddy? Forget it! An underwater photographer would never even know if his buddy was drowning." - Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch


#4 JackConnick

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:17 AM

At a "well-known" Aquarium just to your south, we volunteer employees are told, hey shoot what you want, but we have the right to use them ok? In other words I'm granting them the right to use the photos (usually with permission) in trade for the opportunity to shoot there. And that's the other side of your equation - you wouldn't of had the opportunity to shoot there or otherwise shoot a seahorse in Vancouver.

Commercial brochure? If it's for the Aquarium they are a non-profit foundation anyway, aren't they? Are they really making anything off the usage? I give usage all the time to non-profit, scientific agencies and museums.

Certainly the relationship changes with a paid employee, whether on your time or theirs. I think there is a lot of gray area in their interpretation/rules. And they don't own the images, unless you're on the clock. And yes they should of asked and given you attribution. But I'm not so sure there's really any "damages" to get too excited about.

Anyway that's just my take.
Jack

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#5 Steve Douglas

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 12:52 PM

Watermark Everything. PHoto or video
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#6 james

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 08:08 AM

I had the same issue at my previous job (no UW photo related though). They thought they owned every image I ever shot even though I wasn't working for them as a photographer. I shot the images on personal time - but I guess they considered I worked there 24/7 lol.

In any case I discussed it w/ them and got a new laptop and a copy of Photoshop and LR out of it. Worth asking - just depends how you ask for it!

Cheers
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#7 furby076

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 05:50 AM

I had the same issue at my previous job (no UW photo related though). They thought they owned every image I ever shot even though I wasn't working for them as a photographer. I shot the images on personal time - but I guess they considered I worked there 24/7 lol.

In any case I discussed it w/ them and got a new laptop and a copy of Photoshop and LR out of it. Worth asking - just depends how you ask for it!

Cheers
James


Was the laptop payment/gift for previous pictures they used or is it a company loaner? If it's a company loaner note that any photos processed on it could legally be argued as their property. Did they agree to ask you for your non-work time photos in the future?
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