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A win for the little guys here. Interesting chain of events around this photo, via +PetaPixel.

#photography
In case you missed our earlier post, let's get you up to speed: in the internet age, the argument is that you don't own anything anymore. This is relevant because yet another copyright infringement la...
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Alfie Goodrich's profile photoDon DeCaire's profile photoChris Summers's profile photoMartin Bailey's profile photo
9 comments
 
Seems to be a classic case of assumption versus actually signing a contract, vis a vis his being a staffer of the paper or not. I had this at Glastonbury Festival one year: they thought my being there and shooting meant they got to own all the photos. I was presented with a contract at the end of the week, to sign away the copyright. I argued that I'd never had gone to shoot had the contract been shown to me before. I got to keep ownership, they said 'you'll never shoot for us again if you don't sign'. So I never shot for them again.......
 
Sigh, remember when photography used to be about creating the images, not the legalese.
 
However +Don DeCaire creating anything has always been, at the point someone wanted to distribute/exploit it, about legalese. It's just that distribution is so much easier now. Copyright may well be an outmoded model but part of the issue is always because people assume too much, rather than asking first...
 
Good point, but do you think worrying about the legalese can ruin the experience if taken to extremes?
 
I wish people just honored the idea that if you press the shutter it's YOUR image until you decide that it isn't...I know it's simplistic but sometimes simpler is better.
 
Not sure how it works in other countries but in the USA he owned the copyright as he was the creator right from the start and would be due compensation and even damages if he took it to court but if he had had the time to actually register it with the CR office he would be owed a whole lot more. This happened to me once with an image I had taken and was picked up and used by an aspiring politician running for office and found a way to use my image to bash his opponent in a campaign ad. We settled out of court but I got close to $5000 (40% to my lawyer) but could have gotten $20,000 if it had been actually registered with the CR office. As per journalists, the photo that made case law was the famous photograph taken by Hans Wendt, a San Diego County photographer who was taking pictures for his job with the county and looked up only to see the ill fated crash of PSA flight 182 as it went down in flames not far from Balboa Park. The county argued that they owned the CR as he was working for them (work for hire argument) but he sued and won on the grounds that he was the sole creator and the image was his under the argument of "intent to copyright."
 
I understand what you are saying +Don DeCaire, but as +Alfie Goodrich points out, when something is going to be published or distributed, there is always going to be a contract. How else would a publisher and a working photographer ensure that they did right by each other?

In a work for hire contract, they would probably have every right to use and charge for images shot by the photographer, as a staff photographer is usually duly compensated. It seems though that in Duann's case, he joined the college newspaper late in the semester, and never signed a contract, so the images was still legally his.

It is sad that this sort of thing crops up from time to time, but it should also be a lesson that as working photographers, we have to make sure we dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s before we proceed with a job or assignment. Consider it part of the business side of being a photographer, just like keeping your accounts straight, and filing tax forms. It's a pain, but we gotta do it.
 
+Chris Summers for sure, he owns the copyright, but had he actually signed a contract, they would have been within their rights to use and license the image for money. Some contracts might also include transferring copyright to the employer, in which case he would have lost it, but I didn't see anywhere that this was the case. He actually said that he didn't even want paying for the image. He just wanted to be recognized as the photographer.
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