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Selling a photo without a property release - who takes the rap?


Contemporary Dave
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I'm  a newcomer to stock libraries and have recently joined Alamy & Shutterstock.

 

As it states in the rules, any shots I have submitted to Alamy with contain recognisable property with no release have been set to editorial use only. An example being this shot: https://tinyurl.com/ukxakq4. This shot was initially rejected by Shutterstock, because I had set the usage to Commercial and not editorial. Indeed, Shutterstock appear to be paranoid about this rule. When I look at other similar shots on Alamy, I've noticed that the majority of them have been set to commercial use, despite the author of the photo stating there is no property release. So hypothetically, if a photographer was to sell a photo that contained recognisable property for commercial purposes without a release and the property holder complains, who takes the rap? Is it the photographer or Alamy?

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Contemporary Dave said:

I'm  a newcomer to stock libraries and have recently joined Alamy & Shutterstock.

 

As it states in the rules, any shots I have submitted to Alamy with contain recognisable property with no release have been set to editorial use only. An example being this shot: https://tinyurl.com/ukxakq4. This shot was initially rejected by Shutterstock, because I had set the usage to Commercial and not editorial. Indeed, Shutterstock appear to be paranoid about this rule. When I look at other similar shots on Alamy, I've noticed that the majority of them have been set to commercial use, despite the author of the photo stating there is no property release. So hypothetically, if a photographer was to sell a photo that contained recognisable property for commercial purposes without a release and the property holder complains, who takes the rap? Is it the photographer or Alamy?

 

 

 

Hi Dave, I play it safe and always set to 'Editorial'. In my opinion it is not worth the hassle, and potential legal fees, of setting usage to 'Commercial'.

The Alamy guidance is here:

https://www.alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/model-property-releases-stock-images/

<< When do I need a property release?

If there’s recognisable property in your image you’ll need a property release in order to sell for commercial use.
Property is not just limited to buildings, it’s anything identifiable that’s copyrighted/trademarked e.g. logos and branded items. This release must be signed by the property or brand owner.>>

Hope that is of some use.

 

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I think the default answer (this has been discussed many times here of course) is that on Alamy provided you go into the optional tab and state how many people and if there is property and that you have no releases for either then it is for the buyer to decide how to use it, and so whether to buy it. 'Editorial Use' seems to be reserved for particularly sensitive images by most contributors.

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1 hour ago, Contemporary Dave said:

Is it the photographer or Alamy?

Neither. If the image is correctly annotated and not misrepresented, it's the publisher.

In any case, it's not clear that there have ever been any legal consequences from the publication of an unreleased image property. It is a huge exercise in playing safe.

I think this was as near as it got

https://propertyintangible.com/2010/08/houses-right-of-publicity.html

and that's in the US where suing is a participant sport.

As long as you tell the truth- that you don't have a release- you're in the clear. Even if you don't bother to annotate fully- and I don't always even tick the "property" and "no release" boxes in AIM nowadays- the individual image page will say " Releases: Model - no | Property - no " by default with a link to "Do I need a release" next to it. Have a look- it's under every image.

An example of mine:

 

Contributor: Mark Dunn / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: DC87Y8
File size: 
33.7 MB (1 MB Compressed download) 
 
Dimensions: 2901 x 4057 px | 24.6 x 34.3 cm | 9.7 x 13.5 inches | 300dpi
Releases: Model - no | Property - no   Do I need a release?
 
Date taken: 11 August 2013
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This is something else you should be aware of, Dave. Alamy says:

 

Art in images

Images of artwork/murals/graffiti must be taken with wider context to the image (i.e. as part of a street scene). They should also be marked as available for editorial use only. Images that are solely of artwork could be seen as a copyright or trademark infringement and shouldn’t be uploaded to Alamy as stock photography.

And I will point out that all my images are RM editorial images with no model or property releases. 

 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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To address some of the other points you raise in your question. While the publisher would be first in line for any misuse of your images, assuming the information about releases you supplied is correct, the buck stops with the photographer and not Alamy. Have a look at paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Contributor Contract.

 

Some microstock agencies are more 'paranoid' about putting up images as commercial because they provide some indemnity to the end customer that the photo concerned is properly available for commercial use. Hence their QC people inspect releases as well as content and  image quality to make sure everything is as it should be. They are also more likely to decline images for commercial use which may infringe copyright or trademarks, even when ity is borderline. Alamy doesn't inspect images in the same way. They only check techincal quality. Issues regarding content and releases are down to the contributor. 

 

Some contributors to Alamy do mark images showing  people and property as RF with no editorial restrictions, as you have spotted. This may be through carelessnss or ignorance of the issues involved, or it may be a considered reasoned choice. I suspect the former is likely in many  cases. Even though the likelihood of being held to legal account may be small, as Spacecadet suggests, it does exist. 

 

Alamy's guidance is to mark any image with people (even unrecognizable) or property as RM or RF with Editorial Only box ticked. RM is the safer option, in my view, as the customer has to specify what kind of use the image is going to be put to. With RF you lose all control on subsequent uses once the image licence has been sold. Where artwork is involved, as Ed says, it is prudent to invoke belt and braces, shoot with a wider context and make the image RM and  Editorial Use Only. 

 

At Alamy it's the contributor's choice at the end of the day, but it is wise to have made a considered and reasoned decision on the matter and assessed the risk to oneself.

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5 hours ago, Contemporary Dave said:

I'm  a newcomer to stock libraries and have recently joined Alamy & Shutterstock.

 

As it states in the rules, any shots I have submitted to Alamy with contain recognisable property with no release have been set to editorial use only. An example being this shot: https://tinyurl.com/ukxakq4. 

 

 

 

 

 

curious, where is that in the rule?  only rule I have seen is for images that include art work (which i would include the scallop btw)

Edited by meanderingemu
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5 hours ago, Contemporary Dave said:

When I look at other similar shots on Alamy, I've noticed that the majority of them have been set to commercial use, despite the author of the photo stating there is no property release. 

 

 

 

 

 

i do not have any image set as commercial use on Alamy, except where i indicated i had release for any property and people included in the image.  

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