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Archive 2012 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright gra...
  
 
tahoedrew
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p.1 #1 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


I'm considering participating in an event in my town that a questionable (by my standards) photographer is putting together. It's an event where he organizes models, makeup artists, clothing manufacturers, location owners and photographers for an all-day shoot. Models, MUA and photogs all pay to participate. I think it's a bit of a rip-off we ALL have to pay (as a photog, he's not providing anything I can't get for free myself and I have to pay him $75), but whatever, I've gotten over that. What I can't get over is his "contract" he makes everyone sign to participate.

Part of me wants to pay, participate, and then just refuse to abide by his "contract." Another part of me wants to confront him directly, get him to delete those portions I object to in my contract and then we're both on the same page, or, if he won't delete those section of the contract, not participate and make it my mission to point out to all the other photographers in town how unscrupulous this is and that he's clearly doing all this for his own benefit, not for the benefit of the photographic community or the models and MUA that participate.

A BIG part of why I want to do option 1 is to then point out to all the other photographers who participate in his little "game" what a sleaze he is for trying to pull this sh*t.

So, here's the parts of the contract I have SEVERE objections too and I'm wondering what you all would do or how you'd handle this. My comments after the quoted contract sections...

Images without RTMP (event name) logos may be offered for sale and distribution on a royalty free basis (stock images) by RTMP on other stock media websites as well. Pricing will be based on intended use. If the photographer or model wishes to put the images on an online gallery on their own website or social networking site profile, they must have the RTMP logo on each image displayed with full credit given to the RTMP. ... Any sale of images or prints on the RTMPzenfolio website that were taken at a RTMP event is sanctioned by the RTMP and profits from the sale of these photos as digital downloads or print orders from RTMPzenfolio will be split with the photographer. As of now the profit split will be 50-50. ... RTMP reserves the right to change this policy and percentage of profit split any time without notice.

Distribution and uploads to social networking and other websites including but not limited to facebook, myspace, twitter, etc., etc., etc., of images taken at a RTMP event will be unlimited so long as the images have the RTMP logo on the image.

Photographers who participate in an RTMP event are not to participate in any competing events for a term of one year after participating in an RTMP event.

Copyright:
By signing this contract I understand that all photographs and video taken at an RTMP event are the property of RTMP, will remain RTMP's property and are protected by United States Copyright Laws (USC Title 17). Participants hereby waive any claims for ownership and editorial control. Violators of this federal law will be subject to its civil and criminal penalties.


Now I don't know about anyone else, but I've never PAID to give someone else my copyright and, despite the contract giving them ownership. I would guess this contract would hold up in a court of law as transfer of rights, but it seems asinine given copyright is explicitly granted to those who CREATE any image and this isn't "work for hire" since I'm not being paid.

Moreover, while I can deal with a 50/50 split (though again, this is INCREDIBLY self-serving to the organizer as I paid to play, PLUS he wants to split profits 50/50?! I could only see this being justified by the fact that he's paying for hosting and is getting all the models/MUAs to come to one place to download/buy the images), but what I can't deal with is the requirement that I display all the images I created with his stupid logo on them.

Another issue I have a hard time with is the "RTMP reserves the right to change this policy and percentage of profit split any time without notice." That SCREAMS of selfishness. If you want to change the terms, I'm OK with that, but then a new contract should be required to be negotiated and if I don't like his new terms (again, because I should RETAIN all copyright) I should be able to pull my photos from the site and no longer available for sale under his new split.

And the whole, "no participating in a competing event for a year...?" Come on, that's just complete self-serving BS again.

I'm curious how you all feel about this situation. I believe he's got VERY amateur photogs signing this thing as no professional would agree to pay someone else to give them their copyright!

Thanks for any thoughts from you all!

Cheers,
~Andrew



Jun 08, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Sheila
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p.1 #2 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


Two words...walk away! They are relying on folk who do not take the time to read contracts.

Sheila



Jun 08, 2012 at 02:53 AM
BruceF99
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p.1 #3 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


Sheila wrote:
Two words...walk away! They are relying on folk who do not take the time to read contracts.

Sheila

+1
I read what you wrote, but I would have stopped reading that contract after the first line or two. It sounds like an event for GWACs.



Jun 08, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Sheila
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p.1 #4 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


I am curious about this "but not limited to facebook, myspace, twitter, etc., etc., etc., of images taken at a RTMP". Was "etc., etc.," in the contract or did you just abbreviate the clause? Awhile back, I was sent a contract by a Russian company who had "etc. etc " in one of their clauses. I pointed out that "etc" should NEVER be part of any clause due to lack of definition! They immediately removed the clause.

Sheila



Jun 08, 2012 at 03:25 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


First ... WELCOME TO FM !!!

FM ROCKS !!!

You could conduct a similar "event" and conduct it in the way that you find appropriate. If his way is the "only game in town" for some ... they may find his "price to play" fair. have you read the fine print on things like "photo contests" ... they get to do anything they want with your work and you don't get jack squat. Yet, people still play by their rules ... even if they are very "one sided". Personally, I don't like their rules ... so I simply don't play their game.

I'm not justifying or condoning (ethics, etc.), in part or in whole ... but the "free enterprise" system isn't one that is guided by "what's fair" for the other guy. Rather, "what the market will bear". If you aren't in the market for what he is offering, at the price he is willing to sell it for ... don't buy it. If others are willing to pay his price, you aren't going to really do much to change it without looking like "sour grapes" ... unless you do so by offering a competing product.

I get that "you can" get your own MAU, etc ... but for some, they will be smitten by the chance for him to coordinate things for them. This would certainly not be the first such event that attracted models, MAU, Photogs, etc. via coordination. It's all fair game ... i.e. what the market will bear, and what you are willing to buy/sell.

Is it "fair" by your sense of standards of "fair play" ... apparently not. Is it one sidedly tipped in his direction ... probably. Is that good business for him? BTW, how much insurance coverage does he have in promoting the event, etc.

I get that it doesn't bode well on paper in many ways for you as a businessman / professional ... but I'd be weary of screaming "sleaze" too loud ... his legal BS that you find so offensive in his contract, might turn its attention to you in the form of libel/slander/defamation.

I would expect that he is doing it to profit ... and maybe even profit very nicely. I had to pay to "experience" walking through Antelope Canyon and the promoters of the tours were making money "hand over fist", but it was a price I was willing to "pay to play". I'd have preferred to have gotten my own permit for professional photographic use, but the time lines to put together the coordination of such didn't fit my agenda, so I paid the asking price for the "tour/experience". How much diff in concept.

The tour companies (of all kinds) market to tourists and people who don't have time/savvy to make such coordinations and have their own "fine print". Short version is it's "his ball & his rules" ... either play with it as such or get your own ball and set your own rules. Some will, some won't ... free enterprise.

If you want to play ... but don't like the rules ... I'd suggest just asking him if he'd be willing to modify the agreement to XYZ. Sometimes people write agreements the way they do as "simplistic overkill", as it is far easier than to be specific to cover the bases in detail ... or they are simply clueless as to what constitutes a well written agreement/contract.

If you present a modification (line out / edit / initial) that he doen'st have to put any "effort" into .. who knows, maybe he says, "sure, no problem" if you aren't "asking for the moon" or blatantly insulting his desire to profit nicely in the process. You'd likely be the "only one" to ask for such a modification, so his risk from "bending the rules" for one person ... ...

If you are just "appalled" at what he is doing ... let it go ... do something more productive and rewarding / beneficial to you or others whom you care about, but don't be surprised if he gets a good response (despite his "fine print") because he is providing a product / service that meets the desires/needs of others (GWAC, fantasy experience or otherwise).

Virtually everything is negotiable ... so if you want what he's offering, but don't like the advertised price ... go negotiate the best you know how. Sly like a fox or on a rampage like a bull in a china shop ... your choice.

HTH

Edited on Jun 08, 2012 at 04:04 AM · View previous versions



Jun 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #6 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


One of the nuttiest "contracts" I've ever seen.


Jun 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
CTYankee
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p.1 #7 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


wacky contract, mediocre photography, horrible website...clearly a scheme to offer some marginally 'professional' event for wannabes to attend thinking they are doing what pros do and somehow benefitting from it. Don't make it your job to warn others, they need to learn their lessons.


Jun 09, 2012 at 02:57 AM
 

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lukeb
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p.1 #8 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


Sheila wrote:
Two words...walk away! They are relying on folk who do not take the time to read contracts.

Sheila


+100



Jun 09, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Ruahrc
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p.1 #9 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


You make some good points Rusty but I think your Antelope Canyon comparison is a little flawed. It is a little more like in the liability waiver for the tour they also included a clause in which they own all photos you take while on the tour, and that you also agree to spend an hour sweeping the parking lot and then are expected to lead the next tour free of charge too. Would you still go if you discovered this?

The issue here seems to be more not that the terms are unreasonable (which they are), but also that the organizer is being apparently deceitful in hiding them in the fine print and hoping to catch his attendees unaware.

Norman



Jun 09, 2012 at 03:04 PM
tahoedrew
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p.1 #10 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


Thanks for all the replies and thoughts on the matter. I've decided not to participate and will approach the organizer (who is a photographer himself) privately and directly and ask him to reconsider some of his language, that it does NOT serve the photo community. If he doesn't agree to change the terms (at least the ones that transfers ownership of copyright to him), I'm not sure what I'll do, but it will likely involve a lot of outreach on my part to educate people that he's actively choosing to deceive photographers.

~A



Jun 12, 2012 at 10:48 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #11 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


+1 @ "less than ideal" / flawed analogy ... just that the free enterprise system sometimes caters to the desires of the consumer ... and if the consumer wants it badly enough (hyped or otherwise) ... they'll pay the price, even if it is a rather high one.

One works all day for a Denarius, another works but an hour for the same Denarius. They both struck their own deal ... neither has grounds for grievance as they both got what they agreed to. If either had not agreed with the terms presented to them, they simply should have not entered into the agreement.

The extraordinarily high price (subjective opinion), in & of itself doesn't make it inherently wrong.



Asking for language change / clarification, I think is worthy ... trying to be the photo community / free enterprise police ... hmmm.

BUT ... my question is this ... if he is "actively deceiving" photographers (as alleged) ... how did you become aware of his "deceptive" practices?
The simple fact that you have published it here, suggests that it was made "available" to you (and presumably others) for review. This could hardly be construed as "deceptive" ... so I would think.

Publicly asserting that someone is "sleazy" and telling others that an individual is practicing "deception" ... that can be some perilous territory if you don't have your ducks in a row and the ability to back it up. Your sense of "right/wrong/ethical/moral" may not line up with legal and free enterprise. I appreciate your spirit of wanting to help "safeguard" others from this person ... but again ... hmmm.

As to the terms ... if you don't like them (and I get that you don't) ... pass.
Caveat Emptor (applies to others as well)

Simple.

Maybe its time you bounced your thoughts on the matter with your local professional legal counsel ... vs. ... cyber-photographers of varying opinions. I'd hate for your zeal "to help" land you in "hot water" of your own, as I think you're "barking up the wrong tree" at the way you're wanting to "go after" this guy.

Sheila wrote:
Two words...walk away!



Again ... WELCOME TO FM !!!

FM ROCKS !!!



Jun 13, 2012 at 01:26 AM
mdude85
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p.1 #12 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


There's not really anything wrong with the "etc etc etc" language (except that more than one "etc" is redundant). The language is pretty clear on what a social networking site is.

That being said, the contract is pretty sloppy and appears to have been written by someone without a background in contract law. I personally would not bother to reach out to the organizer. Unless you're being paid to educate this person, why would you bother? He does not want to hear your opinion about how is contract is destroying the photography community. Move on and the rest will sort itself out in time.



Jun 13, 2012 at 02:14 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #13 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


tahoedrew wrote:
Thanks for all the replies and thoughts on the matter. I've decided not to participate and will approach the organizer (who is a photographer himself) privately and directly and ask him to reconsider some of his language, that it does NOT serve the photo community. If he doesn't agree to change the terms (at least the ones that transfers ownership of copyright to him), I'm not sure what I'll do, but it will likely involve a lot of outreach on my part to educate people that he's actively choosing to deceive photographers.

~A


If he's a photographer, then he already knows exactly what he's doing. I'd just let him know that I knew what he was doing and warn others I was involved with to read the fine print carefully.



Jun 13, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Arka
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p.1 #14 · Looking for thoughts/opinions on this "copyright grab"


RustyBug is correct in that you should avoid characterizing RTMP's rights grab as an act of deception, or refer to RTMP organizers as sleaze. While RTMP has taken an aggressive position on the intellectual property of workshop participants, that position is written plainly on the rather poorly drafted contract. If you are truly upset about it, you can explain the implications of the copyright grab to potential participants. However, it makes little sense to publicly malign the workshop coordinator, or confront them.



Jun 17, 2012 at 07:05 AM





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