PDA

View Full Version : Copyright question



Emily Winslow
08-05-2012, 10:02 PM
I'm gathering photographs for use in an article. All of the photos I want to use were either taken by myself or taken by someone who has given us permission to use them, except for one. That one photo is the one I'm asking about.

A stranger rang our doorbell one day. He told us that he is a local pilot and asked if we would like him to take an aerial photograph of our house, for a fee. We agreed to his fee, and several days later he delivered us some photographs, for which we paid.

I can't remember exactly the format we received them in. Perhaps prints and a CD ROM? The only copies I can find now are on my computer (presumably off the CD-ROM he gave us). I had zero interaction with him over email, and can't find anything with his contact information or even his name.

I would really, really like to use the photograph in a magazine article. When we bought the photo (or perhaps we can be considered to have "commissioned" the photo, since the agreement to pay was made before the photo existed?) did we get with it the right to publish it? I don't recall there being any written agreement.

I presume with a photograph that the right of reproduction remains with the photographer, not the owner of the photo. But, because this image was created for us (not just bought by us), I wonder if perhaps we can justify using it.

If I knew who he was, I would happily contact him, ask his permission, and credit him. I just can't see any way to track him down.

Any advice? Is this picture unusable without contact info for the photog? I fear this may be so. I honestly don't think he would care, but that's not my call to make on his behalf.

WildScribe
08-05-2012, 10:15 PM
He sold you the photo, not the rights TO the photo unless it was explicitly stated in your agreement that he was selling you the copyright. Sorry, you can't use it.

Bufty
08-05-2012, 10:21 PM
If it's not in writing anywhere to the contrary the copyright belongs to the photographer.

The fellow you spoke to could have gone from house to house to house and it wouldn't surprise me if the photos were already taken long before you or your neighbours were contacted. He may just have been one of several area sales Agents for whoever took the photos.

I can't help with tracking the real holder of the copyright - maybe a local photographer or pilot could assist in that regard.


Good luck.

frolzagain
08-05-2012, 10:26 PM
The photo belongs to the photographer. Maybe you should contact your local airport to see if they can help you track the person down. Only a handful of pilots do aerial photography, so they may be able to help you find the right person.

Torgo
08-05-2012, 10:27 PM
Yep, their copyright. The most you could do would be to strive your utmost to contact the copyright holder, and then publish the photo with a notice saying you made all efforts to find them, and for them to contact you if they are reading. We sometimes do this in published books, though I think it's less a legal disclaimer than it is an expression of goodwill - it won't save you from a lawsuit, but it might keep damages down in the event that you do get sued. I would err on the side of caution unless it's crucially important.

(On the aerial photo thing - this is an interesting business - I've heard of this before and often wondered if it's a scam of some kind, but I can't really see how, unless the images are somehow taken from a service like Google Earth.)

Jericho McKraven
08-05-2012, 10:31 PM
Maybe you could capture a similar photo by using a saved image off of google earth? You would have to go here:

http://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html

to see if you could use it though. Good luck!

Emily Winslow
08-05-2012, 11:01 PM
Thanks so much, everyone. Alas, it is as I had feared.

I'm thinking on all the advice regarding finding him. Barring some lightbulb moment, I will leave the pic out.

Again, thank you.

Emily Winslow
08-05-2012, 11:19 PM
Unbelievable.

I've been after this photographer for a long time now, since a previous article could have used this picture as well. An hour ago, I asked my husband to track down checkbook stubs. I've pretty much given up.

Five minutes ago, I went over to our chaotic "memorabilia" shelves, where I've stuffed all the kid stuff (crayon drawings, performance programs, certificates, etc.), to give digging through them all one last try. No lie, the second thing I rested my hand on was a folded piece of cardboard wrapped around a print with a photocopy of a business card.

Yes!!! Phoning him now...

dangerousbill
08-05-2012, 11:23 PM
If I knew who he was, I would happily contact him, ask his permission, and credit him. I just can't see any way to track him down.


He may not have been a pilot at all. Check and make sure the photo wasn't just lifted off the Google Earth site. If it came from Google, you can get a more recent one, as well as (in most places) a street view.

I don't know Google's policy regarding copyright, but there's bound to be one.

To get Google Earth, go to the Google site and find the downloadable program. It's free and easy to use. You can search by street address, mercator coordinates, or place name.

Terie
08-05-2012, 11:35 PM
I realise that the OP has now found the contact details, but for future possible viewers of this thread: another thing to check is the file properties of the digital file. That might have the photographer's or company's name.

Stacia Kane
08-06-2012, 01:43 AM
Five minutes ago, I went over to our chaotic "memorabilia" shelves, where I've stuffed all the kid stuff (crayon drawings, performance programs, certificates, etc.), to give digging through them all one last try. No lie, the second thing I rested my hand on was a folded piece of cardboard wrapped around a print with a photocopy of a business card.

Yes!!! Phoning him now...


OMG! That is amazing!

Bufty
08-06-2012, 03:22 AM
And the result?

Did he say he owned the copyright, or was he just a salesman but can put you in touch with someone who could put you in touch with....?



Unbelievable.

I've been after this photographer for a long time now, since a previous article could have used this picture as well. An hour ago, I asked my husband to track down checkbook stubs. I've pretty much given up.

Five minutes ago, I went over to our chaotic "memorabilia" shelves, where I've stuffed all the kid stuff (crayon drawings, performance programs, certificates, etc.), to give digging through them all one last try. No lie, the second thing I rested my hand on was a folded piece of cardboard wrapped around a print with a photocopy of a business card.

Yes!!! Phoning him now...

Susan Littlefield
08-06-2012, 08:01 AM
Unbelievable.

I've been after this photographer for a long time now, since a previous article could have used this picture as well. An hour ago, I asked my husband to track down checkbook stubs. I've pretty much given up.

Five minutes ago, I went over to our chaotic "memorabilia" shelves, where I've stuffed all the kid stuff (crayon drawings, performance programs, certificates, etc.), to give digging through them all one last try. No lie, the second thing I rested my hand on was a folded piece of cardboard wrapped around a print with a photocopy of a business card.

Yes!!! Phoning him now...

That is way cool! I hope you are able to get permission to use the photo.

Please let us know how your phone conversation went.

Emily Winslow
08-06-2012, 02:36 PM
Yes! :-)

He has granted full permission to use the photo.

Hooray! Truly, *thanks* to everyone who offered advice in this thread. The side convo about google earth was especially interesting. I feel confident that this is a genuine aerial photo, because of the angle and the quality.

Now off to bundle the pics all together...

shaldna
08-06-2012, 03:55 PM
I would really, really like to use the photograph in a magazine article. When we bought the photo (or perhaps we can be considered to have "commissioned" the photo, since the agreement to pay was made before the photo existed?) did we get with it the right to publish it? I don't recall there being any written agreement.

I presume with a photograph that the right of reproduction remains with the photographer, not the owner of the photo. But, because this image was created for us (not just bought by us), I wonder if perhaps we can justify using it.

The photographer owns the rights to his own work so you would need to track him down and get his permission.


If I knew who he was, I would happily contact him, ask his permission, and credit him. I just can't see any way to track him down.

If he's a local pilot then you should check out the local flying clubs - after all, he'll have to keep his plane somewhere. Chances are they will be able to tell you who he is.


Any advice? Is this picture unusable without contact info for the photog?

No. And to use it without permission could land you in a whole heap of trouble.

shaldna
08-06-2012, 03:57 PM
Yes! :-)

He has granted full permission to use the photo.

Hooray! Truly, *thanks* to everyone who offered advice in this thread. The side convo about google earth was especially interesting. I feel confident that this is a genuine aerial photo, because of the angle and the quality.

Now off to bundle the pics all together...


Argh, my first post was too late - didn't realise it was an older one.

Still, Good to hear you found him and he said yes.

Emily Winslow
08-06-2012, 04:07 PM
Argh, my first post was too late - didn't realise it was an older one.


Not too much of an "older" one--Just from last night! ;-)