Using my photo? Did I inadvertently give rights away by posting it online? Reply

It’s so easy and fun to share photographs online that folks often give away rights to their photographs without even realizing it.  HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?  The terms, conditions and licenses that the photographer agrees to when posting a photograph to various social media and photo-sharing websites often grant other folks broad rights to use posted photographs.  Keep in mind that every social media and photo-sharing website has different terms, conditions and licenses that are agreed to automatically simply by USING the website and POSTING photographs and other content.  These terms, conditions and licenses are modified and updated frequently.

teen's flicker photo

Photo: Justin Ho-Wee Wong

Here is an interesting and fairly haunting example:  A photograph of a teenager was taken by her youth counselor and posted to his to Flickr account under a broad Creative Commons license that allowed others to use his work in any way, including for commercial purposes, if they credited the photographer. (See the inserted photo).  A slightly edited version of the photograph ended up in an advertising campaign for Virgin Mobil Australia. A lawsuit followed.

THE TAKE AWAY: Read the terms, conditions and licenses that you are agreeing to when using and posting photographs and other content to social media and photo-sharing websites.  Most popular social media and photo-sharing websites, including FACEBOOKPINTEREST and TWITTER have fairly broad terms, conditions and licenses that change frequently.  Websites post their terms, usually at the bottom of the webpage. These same terms that often give other folks broad rights to use posted content,  also contain the steps to follow if your photographs or other content are being used without your permission on the site and you want to request that it be taken down.

This post was inspired by my friend Mel and a host of social media comments about a photograph that ended up on a series of KEEP CALM shirts.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Articles about the Virgin Mobil example above from the Sydney Morning Herald and The New York Times; photo of a Virgin Mobil Ad; Flickr’s Creative Commons licenses at https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/; other blog posts on photo copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/copyright-photos; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Federation Bells Call For Compositions (nice ring to their Terms & Conditions) Reply

The Federation Bells park in Melbourne has launched an open call for composers to submit compositions to be Fed bells picplayed on a fascinating instillation of 39 bells.

The Federation Bells are a (recently refurbished) collection of 39 bronze upturned bells mounted on poles in a grid arrangement at Birrarung Marr in central Melbourne. They can be played using a sophisticated electromechanical system, in which internal hammers strike the bells, triggered by simple MIDI commands.

Submitted compositions can be heard daily on an evolving weekly schedule that is posted online.  My friend Rob Waring’s composition titled, Daybreak at Birrarung Marr, is currently scheduled to play daily. (Bravo, Rob!)

To encourage folks to submit compositions, the Federation Bells website features an online composition tool that lets folks compose music for the 39 bells.  A composer’s manual and guide is also posted on their website at http://federationbells.com.au/media/Federation-Bells-Composers-Manual.pdf.

The Terms and Conditions for submitting a composition also have a nice ring to them.  By submitting a composition folks agree to: 1)  grant a license allowing their composition to be played on the bell instillation for one year (composer retains ownership) and 2) submit their composition freely without seeking any further consideration.  Additionally, some folks may earn royalties if they are a member of APRA (or an equivalent society) and there is no promise made that submitted compositions will be performed.  (Terms and Conditions are always subject to change).

Federation Bells Terms and Conditions

An image of the Terms and Conditions from the website

Evidently, over a hundred compositions have already been submitted.  As I type this, I am singing to myself, “ding dong merrily on high in heaven the bells are ringing.”  The melody and lyric of this carol are fitting.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Rob Waring’s website http://home.broadpark.no/~rwaring/; Information about composing for the Federation Bells at http://federationbells.com.au/play-the-bells/composing-for-the-bells; http://federationbells.com.au/media/Federation-Bells-Composers-Manual.pdf ; and http://composer.federationbells.com.au/FederationBells.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Getting Paid for… Co-Creating awesome stuff like the game Twister and Superman Reply

Getting paid for creating wildly successful stuff can take many forms and is an important part of the creative process. Often stuff that becomes wildly successful (like the Superman comic and the game Twister) start out as humble creative endeavors created by two co-creators. For example: superman

  • SUPERMAN was created by Seigel and Schuster who created a comic book out of four weeks worth of comic strips that they couldn’t sell. They sold the comic book along with their rights to the creation for $130. (long-running litigation has ensued regarding the existence, validity and scope of an agreement transferring the rights to Superman).
  • TWISTER was created by Foley (a game designer) and Rabens (an artist) who were awarded a twisterUS Patent (No. 3,454,279) for their invention of an “apparatus for playing a game wherein the players constitute the game pieces.” Evidently Foley did not receive royalties for the game; however, he did negotiate a buyout and sold his rights. (According to a Mr. Foley’s obituary this past week, he accepted about $27,000 in a negotiated buyout).

It’s interesting to compare these deals. Did the creators have any idea that their creations would become iconic? Probably not. At least not in the case of Superman. If Superman’s co-creators had known how famous their creation would become, they probably would have negotiated a higher price, residual rights, royalties and possibly reserved merchandising rights.

Personally, I am a big fan of both Superman and Twister! I am in awe of the creative minds who created these gems… and I encourage folks to negotiate creative deals to maximize revenue from their creations. You never know…. your creation could become a cultural icon.

For more information on the ongoing Superman litigation, see also, http://dockets.justia.com/docket/california/cacdce/2:2004cv08400/166317/; http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2013/03/superman-legal-battle-isnt-over-yet-siegels-try-a-new-strategy/; http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-13/marc-toberoff-supermans-lawyer; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Understand How You’re Getting Paid – ROYALTIES on GROSS vs NET REVENUE and an ADVANCE 1

Publishing contracts include terms for how musicians and writers get paid for their work and understanding these terms helps you figure out how much you are getting paid and when you will see the money.  Most publishing contracts include an ADVANCE and ROYALTIES that are based on either NET or GROSS revenue.  These three little words ADVANCE, NET and GROSS mean very different things.  Let’s break it down:

ADVANCE:  An advance is a set amount of money that is paid upfront when the contract is signed.  The advance can be paid in one lump sum or may be divided in to multiple payments.  Generally royalty payments will not start being paid until the publisher recovers the cost of the ADVANCE.

ROYALTIES based on NET vs GROSS revenue:  Publishing contracts generally grant a percentage of the royalties to the writer or musician and this % will be based on GROSS or NET sales revenue.   A royalty % that is based on the GROSS revenue means that the writer or musician’s cut is calculated from the money made from the sale of the work BEFORE any deductions are made for the publisher’s business overhead costs.  On the other hand, a royalty % based on NET revenue means that the publisher makes deductions for its business overhead costs before calculating the royalties owed the writer or musician.  The writer or musician makes more money if a publishing contract is based on GROSS revenue; however, basing royalties on NET revenue is more common.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

LEARN MORE: Another important and common contract term to be aware of  is ‘All Media’ –> https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/all-media-contracts/