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Thread: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

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    Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Do you ever give up all your copyrights (in case of a wedding) as a photographer?
    My clients want me to agree to the following terms below. What do you think? Any drawbacks?

    "Intellectual Property Rights – WORK FOR HIRE
    The parties agree that the Services are WORK MADE FOR HIRE as that term is customarily used.
    All artistic, literary, and other material submitted by Service Provider, together with the results and proceeds of the services, in connection with this agreement (the "Material") was specially commissioned by Buyer, as a work made for hire. Accordingly, Buyer is the author and owner of the Material and entitled to the copyrights (and all extensions and renewals of copyrights) in the Material, with the right to use and change the Material in any manner that Buyer may determine. If any of the material is determined not to be a work made for hire, Service Provider hereby assigns to Buyer in perpetuity all rights, including all copyrights, renewals and extensions, to the Material. The forgoing extends to all Materials created by Service Provider but not provided to Buyer, such as but not limited to any pictures that were taken of Buyer or Buyer’s event and kept by Service Provider digitally or in any other format.
    Service Provider hereby irrevocably waives the benefits of any provision of law known as "droit moral," "moral rights" or any similar rights or principals of law in any country of the world which you may now or later have in the Material, and agree not to institute or permit any action or lawsuit on the ground that the Project or any other production based upon the Material constitutes an infringement of any of your droit moral or is in any way a defamation or mutilation of the Material or any part thereof, or contains unauthorized variations, alterations, modifications, changes or translations.

    Service Provider may not use the Material in any manner without express, clear written consent to do so specifically in each instance by the Buyer."

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    1. No.
    2. Hell, no.

    Don't let the crazies run the asylum.

    In my mind, if a wedding client ever approached me with this type of contract, they should be sophisticated enough to understand that a buy-out provision would require a lot of consideration, as in monetary consideration.

    This would be a huge red flag to me because in reality this type of client is probably going to be more trouble then its worth. Don't let the crazies run the asylum. In other words, I don't let clients dictate how I run my business.

    ken

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    So right. +1

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    and a further question, why do they want these rights? what are they going to do with the photographs that they don't want you to benefit from?

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    no idea. They didn't tell me. the problem is that I may not put my heart into my work on that day if I know that I won't even be able to show anybody...and to be proud of it...

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    haring, I have always signed copyright over to my clients (even though this is not fashionable these days) because I believed that if a client paid for me to shoot for them, they own the copyright. And some companies that I have worked for professionally and extensively, like John Deere, have this provision (assigning of copyright to JD) as part of the contract you sign to work for them.

    My reasoning is this: in the old, Kodachrome, days, all work done on a set ended when I handed over the rolls at the end of the day. This assumes that I was hired to do that work. If I was doing my own work, a different story. if it was a BW job, then my darkroom time was explicitly factored in to my quote.

    So, these days, and believing that I will be able to shoot more interesting images in the future, I have always offered copyright to clients—some accept it and are very grateful for it, and some do not want it. I always request that part of the deal of assigning copyright is that I can use any of the images to promote my work (as on a web site) and, so far, that permission has not been withheld, even by big companies.

    For me, the key wording in the agreement above is "Work for hire": I always saw myself as an artisan, like thowing a pot for someone to their loose specifications and contributing what I could to the end result. And on the "I may not put my heart into my work on that day" aspect—for me, that makes absolutely no difference, because all work I do, in my heart and mind, is for me, and an opportunity to refine my craft.

    This is just my way of doing things, of course, and as we can see from the posts above, many people feel strongly that retention of copyright is part of the deal, and I respect that.

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Consumer assignments such as weddings and portraits differ greatly from commercial projects.

    Commercial clients want exclusive control over their Brand image and how their product is portrayed ... (not to mention that the photo is often retouched, so the original may not represent the final manner that the client wants the image appear in reproduction). Plus, some work is covered by a confidentiality clause so trade secrets are not revealed prior to the marketing launch date. I have one of these for General Motors because I am doing photography of 2013 accessories. Whether you can use the work as samples depends on the client, and/or the duration of the confidentiality terms.

    So, "Work for hire" is more of a commercial term where the end product you provide will be used for profit by the company hiring you. However, you retain the copyright so they cannot turn around and sell your image to someone else, unless you have specifically singed away those rights. Some commercial images are done with a specific term of use, where others are done as "buy outs" for longer term use. The latter almost always costs more.


    Shoots for the consuming public, such as weddings, where you choose to turn over the final work to the client on a DVD or Jump-Drive requires some form of release so they can make prints on their own. Most print labs require this, especially larger retail outlets often frequented by wedding clients like Wall-Mart or Costco. They will not print professional photography without a release from the original photographer. This is because they have been successfully sued in the past for this infringement.

    The document I provide clients is a "Limited Release", The client may reproduce any image in any media (prints/facebook, etc.) for an unlimited time with no restrictions in quantity. They may not sell the images or use the images for profit in any way, or allow use of the images for the promotion of, or gain of, any other third party.

    This is reinforced in my "Signing Contract" with the additional inclusion of my rights to use the images for self promotion and educational purposes (classes, forums. etc.).

    I've had a few clients wish that their images appear no where else. A request I usually honor. 98% never ask for this, and in fact some are offended if I do not show their wedding pics on my website.

    I've only had one client ask for terms like you described ... the Groom-to-be was a lawyer. Smelling trouble brewing later, I said no thanks. The Bride went ape/shyt and he backed down and was a nice person going forward.

    Sounds like a lawyer is hiding in there somewhere So, it's up to you.

    -Marc

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    .... because all work I do, in my heart and mind, is for me, and an opportunity to refine my craft.
    It is so true. I agree. This is my approach as well.

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Consumer assignments such as weddings and portraits differ greatly from commercial projects.

    Commercial clients want exclusive control over their Brand image and how their product is portrayed ... (not to mention that the photo is often retouched, so the original may not represent the final manner that the client wants the image appear in reproduction). Plus, some work is covered by a confidentiality clause so trade secrets are not revealed prior to the marketing launch date. I have one of these for General Motors because I am doing photography of 2013 accessories. Whether you can use the work as samples depends on the client, and/or the duration of the confidentiality terms.

    So, "Work for hire" is more of a commercial term where the end product you provide will be used for profit by the company hiring you. However, you retain the copyright so they cannot turn around and sell your image to someone else, unless you have specifically singed away those rights. Some commercial images are done with a specific term of use, where others are done as "buy outs" for longer term use. The latter almost always costs more.


    Shoots for the consuming public, such as weddings, where you choose to turn over the final work to the client on a DVD or Jump-Drive requires some form of release so they can make prints on their own. Most print labs require this, especially larger retail outlets often frequented by wedding clients like Wall-Mart or Costco. They will not print professional photography without a release from the original photographer. This is because they have been successfully sued in the past for this infringement.

    The document I provide clients is a "Limited Release", The client may reproduce any image in any media (prints/facebook, etc.) for an unlimited time with no restrictions in quantity. They may not sell the images or use the images for profit in any way, or allow use of the images for the promotion of, or gain of, any other third party.

    This is reinforced in my "Signing Contract" with the additional inclusion of my rights to use the images for self promotion and educational purposes (classes, forums. etc.).

    I've had a few clients wish that their images appear no where else. A request I usually honor. 98% never ask for this, and in fact some are offended if I do not show their wedding pics on my website.

    I've only had one client ask for terms like you described ... the Groom-to-be was a lawyer. Smelling trouble brewing later, I said no thanks. The Bride went ape/shyt and he backed down and was a nice person going forward.

    Sounds like a lawyer is hiding in there somewhere So, it's up to you.

    -Marc
    LOL!!! There is one, you are right...

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Kit raises some good points:

    for example if you are an employee then almost always the work you make is owned by your employer and they would retain rights. But this is an employer/employee relationship which also carries added responsibilities for the employer, such as withholding, health care, pension, workers comp, etc. You must consider the extra compensation as a trade for the inability to profit from your work going forward.

    You can turn it around too, sometimes the IRS will look at freelancers working under WFH contracts as "employees" because they start to meet the conditions that they consider in these cases. In that case the employer in this rights grab might be opening themselves up to liability in the future when you are deemed an employee and suddenly they have to pay out all that extra compensation.

    You can't say categorically WFH is bad or good, it depends on weighing the factors- is the commission good enough or well compensated enough that you are willing to forego any future rights to the work, and all future profits. In many cases, photographs may not have a whole lot of future licensing potential because of the specificity or nature of the work, so giving up rights is not really a loss. Or if the client benefits you in some other way, either through exposure or publicity or future work, or even an art director going to another firm in the future, it all is part of the equation.

    But overall they should be clear about why they want or need the rights, and why they need to treat you effectively as an employee in this case but not pay benefits. If they are just trying to throw all the rights into a bag because they know that their profit center is in relicensing, foreign editions, translations, etc, or worse, sublicensing stock out for completely different uses, this is money that you are throwing away. So the current payment should address this loss in some appreciable way.

    I think the only issue I have with Kit's analogy to being an artisan- unfortunately an overused word now,- photography is not ceramics. Yes you are making "objects" that are unique but all recorded media/art is different in that it is infinitely reproducible. It is an object but it is also intellectual property. Photographers are creative professionals (and artists, artisans, whatever)- so what you do is also a service and you license the results because as creator you retain ownership of what you create and depending on use, the compensation changes. The photograph in use is a performance and different values are assigned to different performances.

    anyway, if they don't want to tell you whats up, why work for them? At the end of the day bad clients are not worth the trouble. There is enough work out there with good clients that you don't need to create for people who are not good people. Just my two cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    haring, I have always signed copyright over to my clients (even though this is not fashionable these days) because I believed that if a client paid for me to shoot for them, they own the copyright. And some companies that I have worked for professionally and extensively, like John Deere, have this provision (assigning of copyright to JD) as part of the contract you sign to work for them.

    My reasoning is this: in the old, Kodachrome, days, all work done on a set ended when I handed over the rolls at the end of the day. This assumes that I was hired to do that work. If I was doing my own work, a different story. if it was a BW job, then my darkroom time was explicitly factored in to my quote.

    So, these days, and believing that I will be able to shoot more interesting images in the future, I have always offered copyright to clients—some accept it and are very grateful for it, and some do not want it. I always request that part of the deal of assigning copyright is that I can use any of the images to promote my work (as on a web site) and, so far, that permission has not been withheld, even by big companies.

    For me, the key wording in the agreement above is "Work for hire": I always saw myself as an artisan, like thowing a pot for someone to their loose specifications and contributing what I could to the end result. And on the "I may not put my heart into my work on that day" aspect—for me, that makes absolutely no difference, because all work I do, in my heart and mind, is for me, and an opportunity to refine my craft.

    This is just my way of doing things, of course, and as we can see from the posts above, many people feel strongly that retention of copyright is part of the deal, and I respect that.

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Again, it's two completely different subjects.

    Commercial work is for the eventual profit of the commercial client in one way of another. Weddings are for individuals, not companies.

    The commercial rate scale is heavily skewed to usage, and billing consists of an array of line items from the photographers fee, needed rentals, set costs, locations, all the way to fixed costs such as expendable supplies.

    The reason that this is structured by usage is because commercial photographers are subject to the old Yogi Berra quote "So popular, no one goes there anymore." The more exposure a photographer's style gets, the more Art Directors look for something new to cut through the clutter and stand out in the blizzard of communications.

    So, the gesture of releasing all images out of a sense of craftsmanship may be nobel, it just absolves some company, (who WILL make money from your labors and talent), from paying for continued usage should the images produce excellent results.

    Weddings are different in almost every way, and FYI, in general there ISN"T a lot of work and good clients in this crappy economy. So, I wouldn't be so quick to off a good paying client just because the Lawyer half wants a bunch of terms added. Sit down and talk over why they want this ... it may be they just aren't comfortable having their photos out in the public without knowing which ones ... maybe they are self-conscience ... who knows?

    -Marc

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Marc, as always, offers good advice. The real question here is how much do you need their business. A normal wedding usually takes eight hours of hard and stressful work. In and of itself, it is a long, hard day. If you add a difficult client to that mix, one has to make the decision if they need the work that bad. So, as usual, only you can make that decision.

    Your client may just be a little nervous about his pictures being out of his control, or he may just be wanting to show his superior intellect over a lowly photographer. Once, I had a client (the bride's father who was a multi-million dollar lottery winner) who wouldn't even speak to me since I was only "helping" the contract photographer who happened to be my best friend and high school classmate.

    Back in the film days when we had to depend on UPS or FedEx with our precious film, weddings were the most stressful jobs one could accept. Now that we control the digital media, it is easier to confirm that we haven't forgotten to change an f-stop or shutter speed or inadvertently moved them, and we do not have to worry about the film getting lost in transit. So it may be, for you, that a temperamental client will not make that much difference to you. But, again, that is for you to decide.

    There is a huge difference between a wedding and work for commercial entities who have to carefully protect their public image. So any comparison between the two is not relevant to the original question.

    Good luck with your decision and the wedding day.

    Greg

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Tell them work for hire starts at $125/hr.

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    Tell them work for hire starts at $125/hr.
    $125 an hour would generate $1,000 for 8 hours' work. That doesn't sound like a very good deal for the wedding photographer.
    Alan

    Selection of work: http://weinschela.zenfolio.com

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    Re: Do you sign contracts with "Work for Hire"????

    Quote Originally Posted by weinschela View Post
    $125 an hour would generate $1,000 for 8 hours' work. That doesn't sound like a very good deal for the wedding photographer.
    Unless the 15 to 20 hrs of post time is counted in

    -Marc

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