Copyrights - Denis Largeron Photography

Dear Client,

if I redirected you here it is most probably because the words "raw files" or "work-for-hire" have been raised. Please take a moment to read the following. When we're all on the same page it's a win-win. :)

Copyright 101

WHO OWNS IMAGES COPYRIGHT?

International (and American) copyright law is pretty clear: the Photographer is the owner of the images copyright... even if the client pays for every single thing during the shoot (the Photographer's time, equipment, team, prop, location, models...). Thus the photographer is the only one able to use or sell license of his/her images. I'm a photographer, I make a living on my images and copyright is the only thing I create. No professional photographer I know would be willing to give away (and for free) their craft and copyrights. THAT SAID, I do sell the copyright for individual image. Usually the market rate is $1,000 per image (buy-out).

RAW FILES

Raw files (unedited files, or digital negatives) are unprocessed files straight from the camera. I (like all the professional photographers I know) would never provide unfinished products like raw files. The post processing is a big part of quality pictures. Though I am open to sell individual raw files at a premium price to be negotiated. THAT SAID, and as stipulated in my contract, I do give high-resolution files (300ppi).

"WORK-FOR-HIRE"

"Work-for-Hire" contracts allow a firm to own automatically the copyright of all images taken by a photographer on assignment for this firm. This contract is actually very specific and will not stand in court unless it is (1) for a company doing media, magazine or newspaper as their main purpose, AND (2) if the photographer is a full time employee of that company, AND (3) if it is included in one of the 9 categories of allowed work (and event photography is not). I'm a freelance photographer, it is then not possible to have a contract "work-for-hire" with me that will not be turned void by an intellectual property court. Copyright laws prevail and are pretty clear about that (Cf. wikipedia work-for-hire). Several clients on the market try to make photographers sign those type of agreement (often out of knowledge, or advised by websites/lawyers with very little experience in intellectual property).
Their goal is (1) mainly to save on image license as they can be costly (for international advertising use for example) or (2) trying to avoid crediting the photographer for high exposure usage, or (3) make sure the photographer cannot even use the images on his/her own site (in normal business, that's where an exclusivity agreement can be negotiated). "Work-for-Hire" agreements are not-standards, illegal, and unfair for freelance photographers (whose only revenues stand on art copyrights).
THAT SAID, all my images comes with unlimited personal and print licence, and most of my commercial work comes with several years of legal use. I'm certainly not here to police the use of every small image I may have taken. I just need to secure my business and make sure my clients don't make crazy money out of my images without sharing the revenue or credit with me.

PAYMENT FOR DELIVERABLE

I do not deliver the pictures to get the check, I deliver the pictures when/after I get the check. You have to pay for your burger before you can lick it.


I sincerely apologize for not being able to negotiate on any of those points. I don't do this type of photography.
If this is really important for you and your company, I would advise you to go more toward hobbyist photographers or beginners who have a lack of legal and business knowledge (the ones that won't survive more than 2 years business-wise :(

Let's have a win-win.

:-)