My first run in with copyright / trademark issues with architecture

old-pr-pix

EOS RP
Dec 26, 2011
425
64
yorgasor said:
old-pr-pix said:
All speculation and few facts... It's quite possible the school has very strict requirements regarding what they would consider professional photography on campus. Potentially the director actually violated their policy by inviting the OP...

I suspect those ideas are mostly irrelevant...
You missed my point, or I made it poorly. The infraction may have been on the part of the director by inviting you on campus to undertake an effectively "forbidden" activity by shooting a performance without the proper license or permit-- i.e. something in violation of school policy. I was on-staff at a University as a PR photographer. Commercial photography, or anything viewed as "professional" photography on-campus was prohibited without a permit (e.g. a wedding photographer using a campus building as a backdrop). The permit included the rules. When permitted, usually a representative of the university observed the shoot to insure proper protocol was followed. Even as staff I had to have a permit if I did a freelance job on-campus like ads for a car dealer or local clothing store (which I have done featuring "iconic" structures in the background). Ironically, there was a theater company on campus. While I had blanket permission to photograph essentially everywhere, the theater was the one place I needed to get agreement from the artistic director/theater manager as well as an assignment sheet from my boss before shooting PR shots for the university's use.
 

leGreve

Full time photographer and film maker omnifilm.dk
Nov 6, 2010
308
0
Denmark
vimeo.com
Trade marking and copyrightin photos of buildings, within or outside private property, but still available to a larger group of people, is beyond stupid.
It's very clear that laws like that only exist for one purpose and that is to generate extra income to those who would exploit the selfproclaimed copyright infringement.

If anyone from the college is reading this thread... take your buildings and stick them up your ass... seriously.
 

yorgasor

EOS RP
Oct 23, 2013
323
2
old-pr-pix said:
yorgasor said:
old-pr-pix said:
All speculation and few facts... It's quite possible the school has very strict requirements regarding what they would consider professional photography on campus. Potentially the director actually violated their policy by inviting the OP...

I suspect those ideas are mostly irrelevant...
You missed my point, or I made it poorly. The infraction may have been on the part of the director by inviting you on campus to undertake an effectively "forbidden" activity by shooting a performance without the proper license or permit-- i.e. something in violation of school policy. I was on-staff at a University as a PR photographer. Commercial photography, or anything viewed as "professional" photography on-campus was prohibited without a permit (e.g. a wedding photographer using a campus building as a backdrop). The permit included the rules. When permitted, usually a representative of the university observed the shoot to insure proper protocol was followed. Even as staff I had to have a permit if I did a freelance job on-campus like ads for a car dealer or local clothing store (which I have done featuring "iconic" structures in the background). Ironically, there was a theater company on campus. While I had blanket permission to photograph essentially everywhere, the theater was the one place I needed to get agreement from the artistic director/theater manager as well as an assignment sheet from my boss before shooting PR shots for the university's use.

Ah, I see what you mean. When photographing an event, it is supposed to be cleared with their marketing & events dept, and when I go to shoot the final production, I expect the director will take care of that. This particular visit was just to meet the theatre group and get some teaser photos out to promote the play later on. I also suspect the cast will need to sign photo release forms. This is probably the director's first experience using a photographer this way to promote his plays, as I don't think he's been aware of the school policies either. I was referred by a student when I photographed a play she was in over the summer with a different theatre group.
 

Northstar

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 31, 2012
1,673
0
106
US - Midwest
PBD has given the best advice thus far.

If you care about the relationship you should remove every photo you've posted, including the photo in this thread. It's a small world, it's only a matter of time before someone at the school sees this thread and reads your posts. No, you haven't been disrespectful or inappropriate, but you could easily be perceived as someone that could cause them grief or frustration.

I like your photo though! (Although I think you should remove it asap)
North
 

takesome1

EOS R
Aug 23, 2013
1,495
130
100
None your business Alaska
unfocused said:
If you wish to challenge their right to prohibit you from profiting from the pictures, you need to see a lawyer and take them to court. A court will then determine all of the facts in the case and rule either for or against you.

I think you have this reversed. If he wishes to challenge their right he should just continue to sell his pictures.
It is up to the school to hire an attorney and stop him to enforce their rights.
 

yorgasor

EOS RP
Oct 23, 2013
323
2
Ok, I have a response from the school that answers many of the questions and advice that has been offered here:

"It is ok for you to continue to take photos for the theater department of their productions. That is a contract between you and that department. But we ask that you limit your photography to just taking photos of the theater production unless permission has been given from marketing or events for you to take other photos on campus.

Moving forward if you would like to come on campus and take photos of our campus or buildings then we request that you ask permission from marketing or events. We make this request to protect the college and our students, faculty, and staff from being photographed without permission.

If permission has been granted for you to take photos of campus, than scenic photos can be used for a personal portfolio or website portfolio. But please ask before posting or displaying any photos that have students, faculty or staff.

We request that any current photos of campus are removed from any of your sites where they are for sale. If you want to sell images than you should contact our licensing agency."


So, they have not insisted that I take down the photos on flickr or facebook, only on sites that I offered them for sale. They still want me to get permission before taking more scenic photos, and they want to approve any photos with people in them before I post them.
 

old-pr-pix

EOS RP
Dec 26, 2011
425
64
Seems like the next step would be to contact their "licensing agency" to see what terms they offer. That almost sounds like a third party the college has contracted to manage such. I assume any licensing terms would be open to negotiation based on the potential value to both parties.

I don't know the college so the following may not make sense; but, here's what I'd do... Using PBD's outline back on page 1 of this thread... contact the college to see how they handle PR photography and press releases - do they have staff photographer or just use anyone's cell phone shots. Can you get agreement to cover select events beyond theater? The fact that people asked to purchase your prior shots implies such quality shots aren't generally available - or are available at too high price (you need to know which it is). Can you get bookstore to carry some prints? Do they already have dumb stuff like mouse pads, etc. w/images?

Clearly none of this makes sense if there isn't a market for the product... on the other hand, why do they feel they need to "license" things if there is no market. Cost of the license should be driven by value of the market.

You may not feel it worth the investment to pursue this potential market; but if you don't check, you won't know.
 

yorgasor

EOS RP
Oct 23, 2013
323
2
Tinky said:
That's not my reading.

My reading is you should take the images you haven't sought prior permission for down.

"We request that any current photos of campus are removed from any of your sites where they are for sale. If you want to sell images than you should contact our licensing agency."

I can't see how this could be interpreted as requiring me to take down photos from sites where they aren't for sale.
 

unfocused

EOS-1D X Mark III
Jul 20, 2010
5,895
3,074
67
Springfield, IL
www.mgordoncommunications.com
yorgasor said:
...We request that any current photos of campus are removed from any of your sites where they are for sale. If you want to sell images than you should contact our licensing agency."

College's response seems very reasonable. And, I would add, almost exactly what I told you back on page 1 of this thread:

unfocused said:
There seems to be a key statement that you are overlooking:

All vendors must have a license from our licensing agency in order to sell any image of the college. We ask that you remove the photos from your website until you have become a licensed vendor of the college.

In plain English, this means the college has signed a contract with a third party to review and approve anything connected with the college that might have a financial value: the college's name, logo, sports mascot, buildings, etc. etc. This licensing entity reviews any request to use any of these items and secure a percentage of the profits for the college. One aspect of this is that the agreement with the college probably requires the college to take necessary steps to protect the value of the college's image.

Perhaps next time, you can save yourself some time and trouble by listening to someone older and wiser.
 

Sporgon

5% of gear used 95% of the time
CR Pro
I've done a lot of work over the years for private schools and colleges. Personally speaking, now I'd rather pop my wedding tackle in a lion's mouth and flick his love spuds with a wet towel whilst shouting "dinner time Fido", rather than shoot for these places.
 

privatebydesign

EOS-1D X Mark III
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
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4,728
Sporgon said:
I've done a lot of work over the years for private schools and colleges. Personally speaking, now I'd rather pop my wedding tackle in a lion's mouth and flick his love spuds with a wet towel whilst shouting "dinner time Fido", rather than shoot for these places.

Now that, I'd like to see ;D
 
yorgasor said:
Tinky said:
That's not my reading.

My reading is you should take the images you haven't sought prior permission for down.

"We request that any current photos of campus are removed from any of your sites where they are for sale. If you want to sell images than you should contact our licensing agency."

I can't see how this could be interpreted as requiring me to take down photos from sites where they aren't for sale.

try the previous paragraphs.
I don't care enough.
You seek vindication, you seek loopholes. Nobody gives.

You are in the wrong here. And your arrogance is compounding your error.

Get a lawyer.

They'll usually tell you that you could win. They'll never tell you that you will win.
And they'll still get paid.

yorgasor said:
"It is ok for you to continue to take photos for the theater department of their productions. That is a contract between you and that department. But we ask that you limit your photography to just taking photos of the theater production unless permission has been given from marketing or events for you to take other photos on campus.

...

If permission has been granted for you to take photos of campus, than scenic photos can be used for a personal portfolio or website portfolio. But please ask before posting or displaying any photos that have students, faculty or
staff.
 

tpatana

EOS 5D Mark IV
Nov 1, 2012
1,546
269
Whenever you need to involve lawyers, you already lost.

One time I had idea on how to use one cool picture by a local photog. I sent him email asking if that would be ok, and I was thinking I'd give him six pack of beer or something for that. He responded "Yea, sure, sounds good. Please forward me your lawyer information, and I'll have mine to contact yours for the licensing agreement"

;D

Wasn't the response I was expecting.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
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yorgasor said:
Tinky said:
That's not my reading.

My reading is you should take the images you haven't sought prior permission for down.

"We request that any current photos of campus are removed from any of your sites where they are for sale. If you want to sell images than you should contact our licensing agency."

I can't see how this could be interpreted as requiring me to take down photos from sites where they aren't for sale.

I think that their concern is merely money, as others have said. They need to enforce their rules about selling images. If they don't, one day, images may sold to magazines, individuals, whoever, and they want their share.

If you think that there is a market for high quality images of the school, then it is worthwhile to play by their rules. If its not worth the hassle, and Alumni want prints, tell them to contact the school, because you are not allowed to sell them.

However, be careful about trying to research laws and legal cases. Even high priced lawyers with large staff can miss some very important nuance that costs them a case. Obviously, you are not going to spend money on a attorney, and the school is being pretty civil about it, the first step is to let you know their position, and they have done that. You can ignore them or challenge them, but no one wins, except, perhaps attorneys, and we would hope it does not come to that.
 
tpatana said:
Whenever you need to involve lawyers, you already lost.

My advice to get a lawyer, immediately contradicted by my subsequent paragraph, was of course in jest.

My actual advice to the OP is "let it go, and try and learn something from it"

You can play semantics with their civil reply all you want, you are only going to worsen the relationship and get yourself a bad reputation. You've made a mistake as has been roundly pointed out to you from all angles. If you don't wish to accept that then fill your boots, plough your own furrow. The college has fired a warning shot across your bow. We've all urged caution. It's in your hands.

All the best.
 
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