Stock Photography - Images taken on Employers time?

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Name
Andy
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#1
Just a quick one here, I've been cleaning my catalogue up at the moment and looking at some images and i've got a huge range of images I have taken for work (I do their website/marketing at work) and I am paid an hourly rate for my website work and marketing etc... As part of the website, I have done product photography of some of our items (or our suppliers items). As a result I've got hundreds of pictures of door locks, door handles, door hinges etc, all high resolution images...

I have taken these images in works time, edited them in works time but taken by me, on my equipment.
Who has rights to these images? I don't have any form of contract with these... I was wondering where do I stand if I was to post these on shutterstock etc... I figured if they are my images, why not use them to see if they do anything, for the time it takes to upload them?

Whats your thoughts on this?

Many Thanks
Andy
 
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#3
I am paid an hourly rate for my website work and marketing etc... As part of the website, I have done product photography of some of our items (or our suppliers items). As a result I've got hundreds of pictures of door locks, door handles, door hinges etc, all high resolution images...
So what makes you feel that you can profit from these images without your employer's permission?
 
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Jamesev
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#4
I'm guessing that the company turned a blind eye to you using your own equipment as they were happy not to have the expense of buying equipment and training someone to use it or buying in those services (unless it is a part of your job capabilities). Did you at any point suggest to the company they purchase equipment?
 
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#5
"why not use them to see if they do anything, for the time it takes to upload them? " you mean like sue you for damages ?

Firstly are are you an employee that is then invoicing the business for this different work ? you confused the issue by saying you get paid per hour to do this work, but did it all in the employees time ?
 
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189
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#7
A quick Google search found a page on the UK Copyright Service which seems to confirm that, under the circumstances you describe, copyright lies with the employer.

See here
We haven't ascertained if he is employed yet ?

Lets assume this was done under a self employed basis then the copyright will be his end of story, and with the lack of a licencing agreement, he holds the legal high ground, although a judge may see common sense and swing towards the employer, depending on length of service, it could be simply deemed that despite a self employed status, in reality the "job" could be classed as an employee.
 
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331
Name
Andy
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#9
So what makes you feel that you can profit from these images without your employer's permission?
I wasn't entirely sure how this worked, If i had a contract with the company saying I've taken these images exclusively for you then I know this would be different, however I wasn't sure as this isn't actually my job description, but it is something I've done as a favour for them to not require a professional photographer... I've provided over 200+ images with editing for around 16 hours work.

id you at any point suggest to the company they purchase equipment?
This is indeed on my list of requests, but my job as their website developer it looks so much more professional to use my consistant images, other than a range of inconsistent images from numerous suppliers.

"why not use them to see if they do anything, for the time it takes to upload them? " you mean like sue you for damages ?
This wasn't meant to sound like that... I meant to see if the images make anything, not if my employer would do anything if I did it...

Firstly are are you an employee that is then invoicing the business for this different work ? you confused the issue by saying you get paid per hour to do this work, but did it all in the employees time ?
I am employed per hour to work on the website, provide graphics for marketing and in house IT maintenance.
Prior to me doing the website the images have been provided by manufacturers, suppliers, taken on a mobile phone or sourced by any other means.


A quick Google search found a page on the UK Copyright Service which seems to confirm that, under the circumstances you describe, copyright lies with the employer.

See here
Thanks for the clarification.
 
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#10
Sounds like it to me ...
"and I am paid an hourly rate for my website work and marketing etc " that bit confused me, it sounds like this is "extra" work, hopefully he can let us know, if he is indeed employed as you suggest, then that is the end of that, copyright is the employers.
 
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#11
I wasn't entirely sure how this worked, If i had a contract with the company saying I've taken these images exclusively for you then I know this would be different, however I wasn't sure as this isn't actually my job description, but it is something I've done as a favour for them to not require a professional photographer... I've provided over 200+ images with editing for around 16 hours work.


This is indeed on my list of requests, but my job as their website developer it looks so much more professional to use my consistant images, other than a range of inconsistent images from numerous suppliers.


This wasn't meant to sound like that... I meant to see if the images make anything, not if my employer would do anything if I did it...


I am employed per hour to work on the website, provide graphics for marketing and in house IT maintenance.
Prior to me doing the website the images have been provided by manufacturers, suppliers, taken on a mobile phone or sourced by any other means.




Thanks for the clarification.
Are you self employed or PAYE ?

"I wasn't entirely sure how this worked, If i had a contract with the company saying I've taken these images exclusively for you then I know this would be different, however I wasn't sure as this isn't actually my job description, but it is something I've done as a favour for them to not require a professional photographer... I've provided over 200+ images with editing for around 16 hours work. "

You didn't do them a favour, you were paid :) the question is were you paid as an employee or contractor.
 
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1,711
Name
David
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#12
Just a quick one here, I've been cleaning my catalogue up at the moment and looking at some images and i've got a huge range of images I have taken for work (I do their website/marketing at work) and I am paid an hourly rate for my website work and marketing etc... As part of the website, I have done product photography of some of our items (or our suppliers items). As a result I've got hundreds of pictures of door locks, door handles, door hinges etc, all high resolution images...

I have taken these images in works time, edited them in works time but taken by me, on my equipment.
Who has rights to these images? I don't have any form of contract with these... I was wondering where do I stand if I was to post these on shutterstock etc... I figured if they are my images, why not use them to see if they do anything, for the time it takes to upload them?

Whats your thoughts on this?

Many Thanks
Andy
Almost certainly, they are the employers images; it's the same basis that Intellectual Property (IP) is retained by employers when you perform an R&D function, in fact many contracts include clauses that still pass rights to the employer even if you performed the task in your own time, if it's in connection with your employment.
 
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#13
I would suggest if you took them in works time, whilst being paid by them, and acting for them, that they own the rights to the images.
 
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#15
Two things catch my attention?

You mention taking product photographs of both your employers products but also the suppliers products...............no idea but does that complicate the question.

Also, is this perhaps covered in your Contract of Employment?

Remember, I don't think there are any employment lawyers here at TP and even if there were I doubt they would be in a position to advise on an open forum???

Hence whatever insight offered here, it perhaps would make sense to consult with a solicitor who specialises in Employment Law & IP matters.
 
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Steven
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#16
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
"(2)Where a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work [F5, or a film,] is made by an employee in the course of his employment, his employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work subject to any agreement to the contrary."
 
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Steve
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#17
Most contracts of employment have a clause covering anything that you develop during your employment is their copyright. I have had to get this clause changed on a number of jobs to state that any images I make on my own time are my copyright. One potential employer refused so I turned down the job....
 
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#19
Two things catch my attention?

You mention taking product photographs of both your employers products but also the suppliers products...............no idea but does that complicate the question.

Also, is this perhaps covered in your Contract of Employment?

Remember, I don't think there are any employment lawyers here at TP and even if there were I doubt they would be in a position to advise on an open forum???

Hence whatever insight offered here, it perhaps would make sense to consult with a solicitor who specialises in Employment Law & IP matters.
No need for a solicitor, the law is clear.
 
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22,918
Name
Richard
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#20
Anything you do in connection with your job as a PAYE employee almost certainly belongs to your employer, even if out of work hours. It may not be mentioned in any contract as that's the legal default position. Most people are surprised by how extensive employer's rights actually are.

The grey area, and it's not clear, is your employment status when doing this work. If you were paid separately or additionally for photogrsaphy, it could be argued that you were a freelance in that role. Just a hunch, but reading between the lines I think you might struggle to make that stick, should it come to that. Shouldn't be hard to check and if needs be, get a clause added to your contract to make everything clear.

But over and above all that, and regardless of the law, how are your employers likely to react when they see you're trying to make a few quid and possibly exploiting their products in an unwelcome manner? If you value your job and good relations at work, that's the kind of thing to consider the most carefully.
 
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Phil
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#21
I'm guessing that the company turned a blind eye to you using your own equipment as they were happy not to have the expense of buying equipment and training someone to use it or buying in those services (unless it is a part of your job capabilities). Did you at any point suggest to the company they purchase equipment?
So if I write up notes to a meeting with a pen I bought is that different to if I wrote it with a pen supplied by my employer?
What if I’ve travelled to the meeting in my own car - do my employment rights change?

Of course not - it’s completely irrelevant.

And the answer to this simple issue is contained in every ‘who owns the copyright’ thread on the internet.

The photographer automatically owns copyright to their images... provided they’re not taken n the course of their employment and subject to an employment contract.

So the answer is - ‘what does the OP’s employment contract state?’ And the answer ought to be that the employer has done the ‘standard’ thing aaand owns the copyright.
 
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780
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Jamesev
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#22
So if I write up notes to a meeting with a pen I bought is that different to if I wrote it with a pen supplied by my employer?
What if I’ve travelled to the meeting in my own car - do my employment rights change?

Of course not - it’s completely irrelevant.

And the answer to this simple issue is contained in every ‘who owns the copyright’ thread on the internet.

The photographer automatically owns copyright to their images... provided they’re not taken n the course of their employment and subject to an employment contract.

So the answer is - ‘what does the OP’s employment contract state?’ And the answer ought to be that the employer has done the ‘standard’ thing aaand owns the copyright.
If you travel to a meeting in your own car you have to have business insurance on your car, and if you do drive business mileage your employer should check that you have valid mot, insurance and a taxed vehicle else they have some liability in allowing you to travel for the company without due diligence.
 
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#23
Anything you do in connection with your job as a PAYE employee almost certainly belongs to your employer, even if out of work hours. It may not be mentioned in any contract as that's the legal default position. Most people are surprised by how extensive employer's rights actually are.

The grey area, and it's not clear, is your employment status when doing this work. If you were paid separately or additionally for photogrsaphy, it could be argued that you were a freelance in that role. Just a hunch, but reading between the lines I think you might struggle to make that stick, should it come to that. Shouldn't be hard to check and if needs be, get a clause added to your contract to make everything clear.

But over and above all that, and regardless of the law, how are your employers likely to react when they see you're trying to make a few quid and possibly exploiting their products in an unwelcome manner? If you value your job and good relations at work, that's the kind of thing to consider the most carefully.
“Even if it’s out of hours”, sorry that is rubbish, you are suggesting that my employer owns the copyright to images i take on holiday, or on a night out with friends etc? Simply not true.

Edit above, apologies, I misread the comment, disregard the above :)
 
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11,520
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Toni
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#24
“Even if it’s out of hours”, sorry that is rubbish, you are suggesting that my employer owns the copyright to images i take on holiday, or on a night out with friends etc? Simply not true.
But if you were responsible for creating a web page and taking photos of the widgets your employer makes, then took some widgets home with you to photograph in the evning and used those pictures on your employers web page, your employer would reasonably expect to own those images.
 
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Phil
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#25
If you travel to a meeting in your own car you have to have business insurance on your car, and if you do drive business mileage your employer should check that you have valid mot, insurance and a taxed vehicle else they have some liability in allowing you to travel for the company without due diligence.
Mmmm
So even if it’s my car, they still shoulder some responsibility. ;)
Can you see my point now about the gear?
 
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Phil
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#26
“Even if it’s out of hours”, sorry that is rubbish, you are suggesting that my employer owns the copyright to images i take on holiday, or on a night out with friends etc? Simply not true.
It seems you either missed, or misunderstood this.
Anything you do in connection with your job as a PAYE employee almost certainly belongs to your employer,
 
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#27
But if you were responsible for creating a web page and taking photos of the widgets your employer makes, then took some widgets home with you to photograph in the evning and used those pictures on your employers web page, your employer would reasonably expect to own those images.
Yes, misread the comment, the bit that said in connection within, must read more carefully :)
 
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Steve
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#28
“Even if it’s out of hours”, sorry that is rubbish, you are suggesting that my employer owns the copyright to images i take on holiday, or on a night out with friends etc? Simply not true.

Edit above, apologies, I misread the comment, disregard the above :)
Some contracts do state that... I used to work in the IT industry and every contract I have had states that the company own copyright on anything a produce whether in work hours or not. The clause is essentially there for programming & software, but it never says that. Which is why I have always asked for a standard change to cover any photography I do that is not related to work.
 
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Phil
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#30
Why would it be relevant that the OP used his own camera? When many of us use our own pens, cars, desks at home etc regularly for our employers.
And if you haven’t got it yet - it is completely irrelevant, the OP shot the images for his employer - ergo they belong to his employer - just like any spreadsheet he created, dinner he cooked or whatever else he got paid to do in the course of his employment.
 
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Richard
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#31
Why would it be relevant that the OP used his own camera? When many of us use our own pens, cars, desks at home etc regularly for our employers.
And if you haven’t got it yet - it is completely irrelevant, the OP shot the images for his employer - ergo they belong to his employer - just like any spreadsheet he created, dinner he cooked or whatever else he got paid to do in the course of his employment.
Yes.

While this might sound a bit nonsensical, the reason copyright exists is to protect commercial interests, not to bolster anyone's moral indignation or human rights or whatever. So when push comes to shove, that's the way the law is applied.

I used to work in asset management for a large publishing company with millions of images that cost mi££ions of company money to originate. With journalists often using their own cameras on assignments to shoot basic stuff to support their articles, questions like the OP's were not uncommon. As I said earlier, employer's rights are more extensive and far reaching than you might think.

A simple test is 'would I, as an PAYE employee, be taking these pictures if it wasn't for my job?' If the answer is no, regardless of the circumstances, then it's almost certain that your employer owns copyright. That might not be a 100% watertight test (there are always exceptions to everything) but it's a pretty good one. Even if the answer is yes or you're not technically a PAYE employee, your employer could still own copyright. If that doesn't suit you, then get a clause added to your contract clearly stating the terms. If there is no clash of interests, most employers will agree to something reasonable if it doesn't set any kind of risky president.
 
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Steve
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#32
Aside from the copyright issue, if you intended to submit the images as stock for commercial use, you would likely need property releases for each item photographed. You could submit as RM Editorial, but I doubt there would be any interest. A lot of hassle for microstock pricing.
 
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Steve
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#34
I take photographs for my employer. Before I started doing it we had a discussion about whether providing photographic services were part of my normal job requirements and agreed that it wasn't. Consequently I produced a licensing agreement which clearly stated that the copyright to the images would remain with me but the company had a perpetual license to use them in any way they wanted, including the creation of derivative works. The agreement also stated that I would not receive any additional pay for this but that my camera equipment would be added to their insurance whilst I was doing the photography.
 
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