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Old 08-25-2009   #1
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Default Can I sell my photos legally??

Hi everyone! I'm still very new at photography and I'm not sure about the legalities of selling my photos sometimes. I have a question about selling high school sporting event shots.

My daughter is on her high school volleyball team. The school has a contract with a large studio for their yearbook and team sport photos. The studio DOES NOT shoot their actual sporting events. As a parent, I take my camera to the games and have gotten some great action shots of the girls. I was going to post them on my site and sell prints and then take a portion of the sales and give back to the volleyball booster club. The school shot this down if we "advertised" it as a fundraiser, but I think - as a parent - I should be able to sell my photos if they are taken at a public event. I know parents that were photographers have done this in the past. I don't know if they just didn't get caught or if it was their right to do so.

Since it's on school property, does this make a difference?

Thanks for any input!


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Old 08-25-2009   #2
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

School events are not "public", regardless of whether you are at a public school or not. As you said yourself, the event was on school property. These events are considered "closed" even if admission is not charged, and as a parent you shouldn't be selling images unless the school allows you to do so.

The contract with the studio might have some rather comprehensive non-competition clauses in it, which would prevent the school from granting you the right to sell your photos, or at least, scare the school into not allowing you to do so for fear of breaching the contract. If the studio does not actually shoot the events like you said, and such a clause exists, you can probably work something out with them to allay the school's fears or whatever issues there might be. Let's say the studio tells you "Yeah, it's cool, go for it," and tells the school the same thing, then you should be fine. As long as they're comfortable with it (it's not really costing them anything because they're not attending and photographing the events in the first place), the school should be okay with your fundraiser.

This is actually a bit of a gray area in business, as many newspapers sell reprints of published images. Some high school districts (i.e. IHSA in Illinois) try to control access to the events by dictating what happens to the images before granting credentials, and I've heard of athletics departments attempting to demand copies of all images for their use.
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Old 08-25-2009   #3
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Im not a lawyer, but I THINK it would be ok. You arent selling to the school, which is who purchased the rights to the photos. Now if they sell the photos to the students/parents, then you might have a sticking point.

Well, scratch that. See what Cyclo said. You could always contact the company. Being you are in the SE, would I be right in assuming its Brynn Alan? Id say call the school, but chances are they really wont know. They could say yes and be wrong (or say no and be wrong) unless you speak to the right person. For my school, this was the yearbook advisor.
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Old 08-26-2009   #4
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Thanks everyone. This is kind of what I figured. No, the studio is Strawbridge Studios. And I have no idea how strict or picky they are.

I think I'm going to keep on snapping and see what happens. I'll be taking photos anyway because my daughter is on the team. If other parents want to buy shots of their daughters from me, I will let them! I guess if administration at the school says anything, I will deal with it then. The season is over the first week of October anyway.
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Old 08-26-2009   #5
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Sounds pretty shady. How can you gain a respectable reputation without following the rules?

If you were taking pics of my kid and trying to sell them to me, I'd be extremely upset.
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Old 08-26-2009   #6
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Quote:
Originally Posted by willowbridge View Post
Hi everyone! I'm still very new at photography and I'm not sure about the legalities of selling my photos sometimes. I have a question about selling high school sporting event shots.

My daughter is on her high school volleyball team. The school has a contract with a large studio for their yearbook and team sport photos. The studio DOES NOT shoot their actual sporting events. As a parent, I take my camera to the games and have gotten some great action shots of the girls. I was going to post them on my site and sell prints and then take a portion of the sales and give back to the volleyball booster club. The school shot this down if we "advertised" it as a fundraiser, but I think - as a parent - I should be able to sell my photos if they are taken at a public event. I know parents that were photographers have done this in the past. I don't know if they just didn't get caught or if it was their right to do so.

Since it's on school property, does this make a difference?

Thanks for any input!
Sounds like the schools only problem is that you can't call it a "fundraiser." I doubt it would be a problem to have the photos on your site for sale and just let the other parents know via word of mouth. I know several photographers in the area, myself included, that sell our action shots online and most parents are glad to get them.

DISCLAIMER: Contact an attorney to find out for sure. Advice over the internet is worth exactly what you pay for it. Nothing.
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Old 08-26-2009   #7
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olygirl View Post
Sounds pretty shady. How can you gain a respectable reputation without following the rules?

If you were taking pics of my kid and trying to sell them to me, I'd be extremely upset.
Only thing the school said was that she couldn't call it a fund raiser. Why would you be upset if you had a chance to get action shots of your kid? You wouldn't have to buy them...or are you just wanting them for free?
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Old 08-26-2009   #8
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Actually, I AM trying to follow the rules. Thus my posted thread here. The school will not allow us to ADVERTISE a fundraiser for fear of violating a contract with the studio. I just wanted to know what the legal aspect of selling my photos is in this situation outside of the fundraising.

I have some awesome shots of the games, and parents have come to ME and offered to buy them. That's where this all started. I did not go to them. They are excited and cannot wait to see the photos after each game. They are even more excited as I have offered to donate money to our booster club personally from the sales even if we cannot use it as a school fundraiser.

I don't think this is "shady" at all.
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Old 08-26-2009   #9
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

Thanks swampler.
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Old 08-26-2009   #10
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Default Re: Can I sell my photos legally??

I misread it, sorry about that.


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