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04/26/2010 04:37:16 PM · #1
A friend of mine has run into some issues shooting a pro sports team
and posting the photos on his personal website. They are in no way
for sale. Just representing his own work, nothing more. Apparently,
the team/staff photographer saw his work and was a little pissed. So they
are threatening him with lawyers, stating that if he does not turn over
all copies of the photos he has taken they will press charges. Is he
infringing on their rights?
04/26/2010 04:58:30 PM · #2
Well the team staff should have made arrangements to prevent people from taking pictures or atleast stating no pictures allowed ...etc
in addition hes not using the picture for commercial or personal gain i dont think these guys have a case!

but im not a lawyer :)

perhaps your friend should consult who knowledgeable with the law, maybe a lawyer or photojournalist.
04/26/2010 05:34:56 PM · #3
Off the top of my head I would say check the ticket stub and see what it states regarding the taking of photos. I would also check the team website and see if there is anything on there regarding the taking of photos at games (assuming it has not since been changed).

What's his website, I'd love to see the photos.
04/26/2010 05:48:08 PM · #4
I think (and this is just my opinion) that they can have him take down the pictures on the web but he shouldn't have to hand them over. Our photo club here in Calgary had some rodeo shots on the website from members. The PRCA saw them and told us to take them down. There were some shots of rodeos that weren't PRCA events but without knowing for certain our web master took them all down.

Here is there media release info (and I honestly think its garbage but that's still just my opinion):
//www.prorodeo.com/PR_Archive.aspx?xu=4

Actually it was the CPRA (Canadian Pro Rodeo Association) who contacted us. Same spiel:
//www.rodeocanada.com/media_guidelines.html

Perhaps the sports team in question has a similar statement on their website

Message edited by author 2010-04-26 17:51:44.
04/26/2010 06:33:43 PM · #5
It's pretty simple. The team/league own their trademarked material i.e. uniforms, logos etc. Also, if your friend attended the event as a spectator, by using the ticket to gain admission, he consented to obey their photo/video policy. If they don't like they way he's using it, it's too bad for him, he needs to comply with their wishes. If he was there as media, he should review the media agreement he signed. Most sports organizations are pretty aggressive in protecting their image, so if he intends to refuse, he should plan on getting a good lawyer and paying him well.

I do agree that he should simply have to take them down, not hand them over (whatever that means).
04/26/2010 07:05:46 PM · #6
just out of curiosity, what's the team, sport, and level of play? i don't want to get involved (nor would i recommend anyone else), but i'd be curious to see if this is more of a tempest in a teapot or something more serious. typically, at the higher levels, pro teams (as spork mentioned) don't want their trademarks or their credentials abused. at the lower ends, it's usually a matter of a poor photographer fighting to protect his turf...
04/26/2010 07:17:00 PM · #7
I have been taking pictures of the Giants and 49ers for years. There are no restrictions, in fact when Barry Bonds was on his record breaking season the announcers would always talk about all the flash photography going off. Never once was there a mention of the cameras not supposed to be there.
04/26/2010 08:16:38 PM · #8
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', '/') + 1) . ' alanfreed shoots the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe shoot him a pm and see what he thinks.
04/26/2010 08:41:48 PM · #9
Originally posted by karmat:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', '/') + 1) . ' alanfreed shoots the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe shoot him a pm and see what he thinks.

if i recall, alan got some firmly worded communications from the steelers about submitting game images here. it had to do with their perception that he was using his media credential outside the constraints for which it was intended.

nascar is the same way. you can post your images, but you cannot include the nascar logo or colors. a friend of mine that shoots for an NC paper found out the hard way when someone from nascar corporate stumbled across the newspaper's nascar web gallery. he was told that if they had not used the colored nascar logo, probably nothing would have happened.

years ago, i had an idiot come after me because i had just set up a smugmug account and hadn't quite figured it out yet. i made some kind of across-the-board update that made some photos for sale that weren't supposed to be for sale. he alerted me to it and i fixed the gallery instantly...but he went on to raise hell with everyone who would listen. fortunately, no one took him seriously.

you never know just how someone's going to react...
04/26/2010 09:58:21 PM · #10
You could send them your photos, wait and hope they use one and sue them for copyright infringment. just a thought
04/27/2010 07:05:31 AM · #11
It was the NHL. Unfortunately all the photos have been taken down. It rattled his cage pretty good so
he has pretty much taken everything down. Sad part is, I think he had some better shots than the
team photographer, but I guess that's just my opinion. I figure that's why the other guy had a fit...

**edit typo**

Message edited by author 2010-04-27 07:06:44.
04/27/2010 07:25:00 AM · #12
I would believe that there'd be issues with unauthorized images posted, sold, or published, but I have a hard time believing that the pro team would ever be awarded those images, even in court, not that anyone would want to spend the money with a lawyer to find out. I would certainly delete them before I'd turn them over in this situation. If I can't have them, I'd be damned if I'd give them up.
04/27/2010 07:28:52 AM · #13
Originally posted by superdave_909:

A friend of mine has run into some issues shooting a pro sports team
and posting the photos on his personal website. They are in no way
for sale. Just representing his own work, nothing more. Apparently,
the team/staff photographer saw his work and was a little pissed. So they
are threatening him with lawyers, stating that if he does not turn over
all copies of the photos he has taken they will press charges. Is he
infringing on their rights?


Dave,

Did he shoot his photos with a media credential or with an ordinary ticket? Where were they posted?

Message edited by author 2010-04-27 07:29:07.
04/27/2010 02:12:28 PM · #14
Originally posted by superdave_909:

It was the NHL.

they're among the worst. they've had a contract with getty that makes getty their 'official' photographer. a media credential will get you in, but you can't do anything beyond the scope of the publication you're shooting for. what happened to your friend is typical, sadly.

another one is clear channel. i don't even go to their events, their credential contract is so ridiculous...
04/27/2010 03:45:40 PM · #15
If its the NHL then I might take them down but would be a cold day in hell before I would turn them over...
04/27/2010 03:56:40 PM · #16
Originally posted by PhotoDave:

If its the NHL then I might take them down but would be a cold day in hell before I would turn them over...

Exactly.
05/09/2010 10:39:44 PM · #17
Originally posted by Skip:

Originally posted by karmat:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/3102.gif', '/') + 1) . ' alanfreed shoots the Pittsburgh Steelers. Maybe shoot him a pm and see what he thinks.

if i recall, alan got some firmly worded communications from the steelers about submitting game images here. it had to do with their perception that he was using his media credential outside the constraints for which it was intended.


Sorry to revive this thread a week or so late... didn't see it while I was on vacation.

Skip's recollection is close to correct. Somewhere along the lines, someone from the Steelers had found that I had posted some game shots on my photography web site. I wasn't selling them, and frankly, I didn't think anything of it (I had seen numerous others doing the same). That is until they denied my credentials for the playoffs that year (2005). Yoink!

After that, I yanked any of the entries I had submitted here as a precaution, and I've been very careful about where the shots end up. The problem with putting them on my web site was that I was essentially using them to advertise my photography, since my web site is geared toward generating photography business. That goes beyond the "editorial usage" the NFL permits.

Thankfully, I yanked the shots off my site immediately, and I was allowed to continue to shoot the games the following season and ever since.

The major sports leagues are very protective of imagery produced at games, obviously. That's why most leagues have restrictions on what kind of camera equipment you can take into games as a fan, and why we as media photographers now sign agreements when we receive our credentials.

Message edited by author 2010-05-09 22:40:40.
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