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Trelyon
09-23-2006, 02:55 PM
For copyright purposes, 17 U.S.C. §101 says that
A ''work of visual art'' is -

(1) a painting, drawing, print, or sculpture, existing in a single copy, in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author; or

(2) a still photographic image produced for exhibition purposes only, existing in a single copy that is signed by the author, or in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author.


when a photog... takes a picture... he/she becomes the owner of the copyright... on that photograph... this we all know ;)

now if a photog takes a picture... of a copyrighted character... let say Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy... does Square Enix have any legal rights?

*Shiva*
09-23-2006, 03:15 PM
A picture of a drawing of Tifa or of a cosplayer dressed as her?

Either way, I would imagine the photographer owns the photo itself, while the creator - designer, artist, or costume maker, retains ownership of the materials in the photo. I'm no expert at this, but that would seem like common sense. I mean, you don't take a photo of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and claim ownership of the painting, do you? Da Vinci (or the Louvre, in this case) owns the painting, you own the photo.

However, if you blew up said paiting to 24x36 and started selling it as a poster, you'd probabaly be in trouble with the museum as you're profiting on their investment...it really depends on what you actually DO with the photo, I'd imagine.

In the costume sense, Square Enix holds the right to the character's design/artwork, which a cosplayer is copying. Therefore you own the photo, the cosplayer owns the physical costume, and Square owns the design.

Admin
09-23-2006, 03:30 PM
Not a lawyer, only my opinion, etc: Square Enix would have legal rights in some form, but I doubt they would as to the ownership of the photo itself. For example, I doubt they could yank the image from you and use it without your (or the model's) consent. Their rights would be more likely to influence *your* distribution of the photo after the fact. So even though you own the photo, they could probably send you a cease and desist to stop publishing it. The fact that this never happens is most likely a by-product of the lack of financial incentive, as well as the fact that photographers rarely, if ever attempt to profit directly from their cosplay shots.

This is also the reason a US-based cosplay magazine can never get off the ground. It would take licensing, and licensing requires capital investment. Little blurbs about cosplayers in magazines are one thing. But an entire magazine focused on cosplaying licensed characters and containing photos and other discussion would be a huge target, mostly on account of the price tag on the cover.

staereo
09-23-2006, 04:29 PM
Admin hit the nail on the head here.

To expand about copyright, SE *owns* ffxi. As a photographer, in order to profit from the prints, you would need a release from SE (and perhaps usage rights agreement for that intellectual property?), a release from the model that is modeling the cosplay, and a release from the person that owns the design and clothing that the model is wearing. In addition, the one that designed the costume would ALSO likely need rights from SE for the production of the garment if they were to make any money from it as well.

Not that any of this is actually done, and I will openly say that I've been published without gathering a majority of these documents. I find that the whole cosplay section of the photography world is lax and low pay. Nothing ever seems to matter.

Until someone decides to make a large enough print run that you can draw dollar signs out of SE's eyes, theres likely to be no problems.

HEH, I gotta say though, the clients for which I charge all sign a SESSION terms and conditions, and in that session terms it DOES list that I'm not responsible for any releases, property or otherwise, and that the client is completely responsible and liable for any damages resulting from lack of these documents. heh... NOOOO way am I going to get sued over a the hobby side of my photography.

Bruce

photoworks.ws
09-24-2006, 05:08 AM
....HEH, I gotta say though, the clients for which I charge all sign a SESSION terms and conditions, and in that session terms it DOES list that I'm not responsible for any releases, property or otherwise, and that the client is completely responsible and liable for any damages resulting from lack of these documents. heh... NOOOO way am I going to get sued over a the hobby side of my photography.

A point of clarification... The statement you have the client sign isn't going to prevent someone from suing you if they want. It may have some bearing on your defense in such a case. However, my understanding is that regardless of such a statement, if it becomes clear that you understood that you were participating in an infringement of IP, you could be drawn into the case. The statement is a reasonable thing to do but it's important to understand its limitations. You really can't reasonably expect that there is "NOOOO way" you'll get sued. If someone w ants to sue you they can. The best you can hope for if this happens is that it is tossed out of court by the judge. The best way to protect against this is to have professional liability insurance. And the advice of a good attorney with photography and IP experience. That's the best counsel I can get.

staereo
09-24-2006, 08:08 AM
.....The statement you have the client sign isn't going to prevent someone from suing you if they want. ........
Very true, i had meant successfully winning a case against me.

It may have some bearing on your defense in such a case. However, my understanding is that regardless of such a statement, if it becomes clear that you understood that you were participating in an infringement of IP, you could be drawn into the case.
Not exactly true. My paperwork puts the client in charge of getting all releases, etc. So I have a signed document that assures me that all releases needed for the job will be gathered by the client, not by me. This means that I knowingly (both the client and myself knowledgably signed this document) put the legal responsibility onto the client and off of the photographer. This is a common practice for assignment photography in the professional world. It does, in fact, absolve me from any culpability in the case. HOWEVER, as was said, this is for a client. As in, I can't do this on stock work or any sort of venture which I would like to sell myself. This would be under work that I did for a client.

The statement is a reasonable thing to do but it's important to understand its limitations. You really can't reasonably expect that there is "NOOOO way" you'll get sued. If someone w ants to sue you they can. The best you can hope for if this happens is that it is tossed out of court by the judge.
Right, like I said, I used the wrong words. I meant that they couldn't WIN a case. Of course, I would countersue for the expenses brought before me in defending the case. Furthermore, the contracts I use also state that any legal issues relating to the shoot will be covered by the client, and they will also be responsible for any costs that I encounter in my own defense. My apologies for a bad word choice. :bigtu: Note, anyone can sue anyone. Its a matter of if they can SUCCESSFULLY sue, something I kind of left to assumption in my word choice. My mistake.

The best way to protect against this is to have professional liability insurance. And the advice of a good attorney with photography and IP experience. That's the best counsel I can get.

I always have a lawyer on retainer. In fact, thats where I get many of my contracts. Plus, having a nice retainer on my lawyer helps to cushion the cost of a legal battle, because they already have a good chunk of money to get started, allowing me to take swift and firm action without worrying about how Im going to pay her.

:toothy:

Bruce

Trelyon
09-28-2006, 08:48 PM
good info... as always

thx
-Alex

Suzushichan
10-03-2006, 12:18 PM
what about OUR rights as a cosplayer? some people take our pictures (like in groups of photographers at once) we find it on a website, and we save it, alter it, and then print/post it elsewhere, yet some of those people bitch at us for using the photo of ourselves (cause of teh elimination of the water mark in the editing process) even though they didn't even ask in the first place. i think that that's kinda' messed up. >_>

edit: notice my avatar, picture taken by andy, no water mark cause i cropped it, he ain't bitchin' at me, i give credit where it's do.

staereo
10-03-2006, 01:10 PM
there is no rights for subjects in pictures, unless the photographer is benefiting from the use of their likeness. IF it is editorial or journalistic coverage of a public evnt, subjects photographed have no expectation of privacy.

If someone is gaining from the images, OR if a person is being defamed by the image, THEN the subject has recourse.

Either way, the subject does NOT have a right to alter, publish (online or otherwise) nor print or duplicate a copyrighted work by the photographer. All work taken by a photographer is copyrighted upon capture.

The only way around this is if you have permission from the photographer expressly giving you the rights to do any of these things.

IF someone is selling (or otherwise benefitting from) your likeness, or you are being defamed or youre being portrayed in a negative light, then you have rights. Other than that, you expect to have this happen in public.

Even IF they are benefitting from your likeness, your recourse can not be to violate their copyright on the image. Then you will be sued every bit as much as you could sue them.

If you signed a model release for the images that were taken, that document dictates more specifically the rights to images and likeness.

No matter how you FEEL about that, it IS the law.

Bruce

*Shiva*
10-03-2006, 01:30 PM
some of those people bitch at us for using the photo of ourselves (cause of teh elimination of the water mark in the editing process)

You really shouldn't ever be removing the watermark or even editing (cropping, color changing, etc) another photographer's work without permission. I don't know of ANY photographer who would be okay with a cosplayer doing that unless they've been asked -- some may just not be aware of that happening.

Suzushichan
10-03-2006, 03:11 PM
well, they shouldn't take pics without asking. >_>

staereo
10-03-2006, 04:36 PM
LOL, and thus a moral debate over photographers rights to take pictures of people in public ensues.

Without getting into the morality of photographers' taking of pictures in public, as of my writing this, they have the legal right to do so.

Bruce

Inuyasha_Kun
10-03-2006, 07:57 PM
LOL, and thus a moral debate over photographers rights to take pictures of people in public ensues.

Without getting into the morality of photographers' taking of pictures in public, as of my writing this, they have the legal right to do so.

Bruce

I agree with Staereo......I have been taking my camera to A-kon since A-kon 14....a couple of months a go, I was making a video for a contest on CMT.com for Faith hills new song "Sunshine in summer time" I was adding my nephews in the video.. and I was told that I had to ask his mom if he could be in the video.. but I didn't (didn't get the video done in time) And then I was using footage that I had of my mome taking of my sisters belly dance class...

See.. even though I didn't ask anyone to be in the film, my mom said I didn't have to ask because its in a public place...and it was taken from my equipment... Same thing with me taking footage of A-kon.. its a public convention, and its legal for me to take pictures of people dressed up in costume... I was a bit confused at first, but I see what my mother is getting at... thats the way I look at it.. if its a public place.. I can shoot video as much as I want to...

Suzushichan
10-04-2006, 01:50 AM
yeah, so would the said subject (s) have any right to the material (photographs being the issue here) i mean, i kinda' get angry when people take pictures with out asking, especially when they think that i have no right to the subject matter when i AM the subject matter. like "you can't use this photo cause it's mine" but i'm like "okay, that's a picture of ME. you didn't even ASK to take that photo so now i don't have any rights?"
seriously.so they can put a copyright on an image that captures something that I'VE created. if it weren't for us making a costume and wearing a costume, then COSPLAY photographers would have nothing to take pictures of. it takes but a few minutes to take a photo, it takes hours, days, even weeks to construct a costume. and who has the rights? i don't get it. :/

Admin
10-04-2006, 03:16 AM
Watermarks are a claim of copyright to the photo itself, not what is contained in the photo. I would assume 99% of the world understands that when they see an image posted online.

jtnishi
10-04-2006, 10:43 AM
yeah, so would the said subject (s) have any right to the material (photographs being the issue here) i mean, i kinda' get angry when people take pictures with out asking, especially when they think that i have no right to the subject matter when i AM the subject matter. like "you can't use this photo cause it's mine" but i'm like "okay, that's a picture of ME. you didn't even ASK to take that photo so now i don't have any rights?"
seriously.so they can put a copyright on an image that captures something that I'VE created. if it weren't for us making a costume and wearing a costume, then COSPLAY photographers would have nothing to take pictures of. it takes but a few minutes to take a photo, it takes hours, days, even weeks to construct a costume. and who has the rights? i don't get it. :/
The answer is no in terms of any ownership rights, especially in a public location. You have civil rights to prevent them from harassing you, but ownership of a photo is clearly in the hands of the photographer, unless specifically yielded. That's the 1st amendment freedom of the press you're running into, and it's why paparazzi are allowed to exist.

stefaniecat
10-04-2006, 03:54 PM
Originally Posted by Suzushichan
yeah, so would the said subject (s) have any right to the material (photographs being the issue here) i mean, i kinda' get angry when people take pictures with out asking, especially when they think that i have no right to the subject matter when i AM the subject matter. like "you can't use this photo cause it's mine" but i'm like "okay, that's a picture of ME. you didn't even ASK to take that photo so now i don't have any rights?"
seriously.so they can put a copyright on an image that captures something that I'VE created. if it weren't for us making a costume and wearing a costume, then COSPLAY photographers would have nothing to take pictures of. it takes but a few minutes to take a photo, it takes hours, days, even weeks to construct a costume. and who has the rights? i don't get it. :/


You're also missing out on the concept of what photographers are doing with those pictures of you: posting them to the web so you and others can enjoy your workmanship. 99.9% of photographers at cons are not gaining any revenue from the use of your picture - its not like they're taking your pictures and making a living off the use of you without your permission.

Most photograhers at conventions are there shooting because they like anime/manga/etc. and appreciate good costumes.

And I also want to point out that you're dressing up in a costume who's character is copyrighted by the anime/manga/etc. company...yet you don't seem too concerned about their rights...

Suzushichan
10-04-2006, 08:37 PM
like i said in my previous post though, a lot of the photos don't do the costume justice as far as details and such (bad lighting, angles, etc..).
also, most of my costumes nowadays are original designs, thanks. :)

skypirate
10-04-2006, 10:41 PM
like i said in my previous post though, a lot of the photos don't do the costume justice as far as details and such (bad lighting, angles, etc..).
also, most of my costumes nowadays are original designs, thanks. :)

I think everybody has a reasonable understanding of what to expect at a con. You're probably going to get your picture taken and it's probably going to end up on the internet. Some of the photos will be pretty good and some of them will be pretty bad. Some photographers will ask permission, some won't.

If you're really concerned with having control over photos that do the costume justice on the internet, one simple solution would be to get the costumes photographed at a studio and avoid cons.

Now, I'm very much in agreement with what the other photographers have said supporting copyrights, but, let's try briefly living in a world where the person or designs in the photo owns those rights. Hmmm... so I take a picture of you and your original costume, and some bozo in the background, who had skipped work that day, says, "Hey, I'm in the photo too, this photo is mine!"

Are you ready for some football?
Let's say you're at a football game and you take a picture of somebody making a catch. In the background is the visiting team's coach, players on the bench, there's a logo on the side of the helmuts that somebody designed, the waterboy, some cheerleaders (somebody designed their uniforms), several hundred people in the stands and way up in the pressbox, ten pixels make up the sillouhuette of Troy Aikman covering the game for some sports channel. Who owns the photo?

Who are you wearing?
One night, you just happen to end up at the Oscars and there's Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet wearing a design by Isaac Mizrahi. Her quilted gold strap suede stilleto shoes are by Christian Louboutin, jewelry designed by David Yurman and loaned to her by Tiffany's, her handbag is Louis Vuitton, watch by Cartier and somebody styled her hair. Her date is wearing a suit by Armani, Converse sneakers and he's wanting to take credit for the stylish mismatch. Some magazine paid for your airfare, hotel accommodations and meals. Who's going to own that photo?

Oh well, I can still take photos of squirrels, flowers and bees. Unless, they've been genetically engineered.

stefaniecat
10-05-2006, 01:28 AM
like i said in my previous post though, a lot of the photos don't do the costume justice as far as details and such (bad lighting, angles, etc..).

Oh, you're concerned about disposable camera shots (and the like) and copyright issues? Your complaints about the lighting, angles, etc. that come from bad (or just not professional concerns) photography mean that those shots are even less likely than that of a professional with training who tries to get 'better' shots to have copyright issues. Mainly because they're not even going to be thinking about profiting from the photos: they took them as a personal souveneer of the con, the people/costumes they saw, etc. I'd say a large number of the 'souveneer' shots never wind up on the internet in the first place and probably spend their lifetime in the developing envelope after being shown to friends and family.

And the photographers in the 'semi-pro' to 'fully pro' range that are shooting there... besides post the photos on cosplay.com... won't be selling the images off to all those numerous anime/manga/etc. cosplay magazines that flourish in the US... (If you're asking 'What magazines?' then you're on the right track).

And if there was use of your costume/self in editorial situations, I would think you'd want to snag every copy of the paper/magizine you could get to send to family, etc. Sure, you're not getting paid, but if they need a shot of a cosplayer for the newspaper, wouldn't you rather it be you than the SNJ girl in cottonballs next to you?





Who are you wearing?
One night, you just happen to end up at the Oscars and there's Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet wearing a design by Isaac Mizrahi. Her quilted gold strap suede stilleto shoes are by Christian Louboutin, jewelry designed by David Yurman and loaned to her by Tiffany's, her handbag is Louis Vuitton, watch by Cartier and somebody styled her hair. Her date is wearing a suit by Armani, Converse sneakers and he's wanting to take credit for the stylish mismatch. Some magazine paid for your airfare, hotel accommodations and meals. Who's going to own that photo?


That list of designers just made my head hurt lol...

staereo
10-05-2006, 05:26 AM
Oh well, I can still take photos of squirrels, flowers and bees. Unless, they've been genetically engineered.

....unless of course they are someone's pets. In America, pets are considered property of their owner, and would require a release as well. (Since we're in a hypothetical world that doesn't allow likenesses) :toothy: :bigtu:

And the photographers in the 'semi-pro' to 'fully pro' range that are shooting there... besides post the photos on cosplay.com... won't be selling the images off to all those numerous anime/manga/etc. cosplay magazines that flourish in the US... (If you're asking 'What magazines?' then you're on the right track).

Yep. And the difference between 'pro' and 'semi pro' is only whether they make their only/primary income from photography. Personally, cosplay makes NO money for me whatsoever. I have my cosplay photography published in magazines, webzines, and even soon enough a book. But cosplay photography is in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM a profitable genre of photography. I have yet to meet a cosplayer willing to pay a day rate for my services, and I have yet to find a cosplay oriented publication willing to pay market usage rights. Both of these potential clients feed on amateurs, the cosplayers never expecting to drop more than a c-note on images (a waste of time, business wise), and cosplay/anime oriented publications offering 25-100 bucks for an image, which is LAUGHABLE. So at this point, cosplay can only be looked at as a hobby genre, as it is not AT ALL profitable enough to be worthwhile for any photographer in the professional category.

Now as far as the usage rights that I offer out to publications of my images, this gets interesting. Because I am not profiting, I do not let anyone else use my images for profit. If they want to use an image for profit, then I expect to profit as well. Usually my idea of profiting and a cosplay publications idea of me profiting are FAR apart.

Sooo, this does not happen. What DOES happen is editorial usage. Luckily, I don't need a model release to grant rights to publications for editorial usage. And my usage agreements typically remove liability from myself in the event that a subject tries to sue over their likeness. (Not that they would win, as this is allowed.) HOWEVER, being as legally careful as I try to be, I usually have releases from the subjects that I intend to publish ANYWAYS. Sort of a double protection. These releases even allow me to sell the images. Not that this is something I plan to do, but if the situation arises, I would be happy to fill my pockets with a little more cash.

In any event, if you could not use images in an editorial respect without releases, you would no longer ever see photos in the newspapers, or video on the news, etc. Because every building in the background, every tree, every pet running around, every bench, every car, every person, every fence... all would need releases from their owners. Hope we all like the text more than the pictures. :toothy: :eek: :toothy: :crest: :bigtu: :rockon:

Suzushichan
10-05-2006, 10:27 AM
word. :cool:

staereo
10-05-2006, 11:31 AM
I just wanted to make a small point, as we are all sitting here telling it like it is. (This is generally the way I like it.)

I didn't want any confusion towards Suzu. I think you'll find that about every photographer here that shoots cosplay is willing to ask for permission either before the shot, or if attempting for a candid shot, will ask after the shot, if it is ok to capture the image. I normally don't find candid cosplay that useful, so I tend to ask in advance if I may take someone's picture.

The only reason that everyone is all over this, is because the subject of the thread revolves around COPYRIGHT, and rights to modify and use another photographer's images.

Putting the copyright aside, I think we all support moral photography, as noone wants to be the 'dingbat' photographer that makes the rest of us look bad. These being the 'upskirt' sites, things like that. People that diminish the reputation of reputable photographers are huge irritations to photographers. We all work hard at being polite, considerate, respectful, and usually helpful to cosplayers by offering copies of our images for web use.

Unfortunately there are always the chumps that either dont know better, or don't care. The best we can do as reputable photographers is to make them look bad by BEING polite ourselves, and having talent that surpasses their, rendering their work less remarkable than better photographers.

Soooo, I think everyone agrees with the thought of immoral photographers being wrong.

It's just that to keep our rights as good, moral, respectful photographers, we need to enforce and stand behind our freedoms and rights... the same rights that the immoral photographers tend to hide behind.

So.... poo on the naughty photographers and power to the nice ones.

I wanted to make sure Suzu, etc. knew that our support for our rights was NOT a support for the immoral actions of ill reputed photographers.

AND, as a photographer, I apologize for the photographers that do cosplayers disservice.

Bruce

jtnishi
10-05-2006, 12:35 PM
I'm ditto with Bruce on this one. In dealing with the field of what photographers should publish versus what photographers can publish, we need to treat the two subjects differently. Legally speaking, copyrights are as stated as above in the thread. From an etiquette standpoint, though, the community usually enforces a behavior that tends toward favoring the subjects rather than the photographer, by choice. Most people are reasonable, and if you ask them not to publish a picture, or to take them down, they normally will. Normally, the stigma of not being accepted within the community of cosplayers outweighs any belief that photographers have the right to publish what they want. If someone publishes an unflattering picture of you that really bugs you enough, just ask. More often than not, we're going to work hard to try to keep you folks happy.

PS: If you guys do see photographers who are clearly acting out of bounds during a convention, please take note of who they are. If their actions are clearly unreasonable, point it out to them. If they don't stop, if it's an especial nuisance, point it out to convention staff. That's what they're there for: to make the convention experience enjoyable. Most of the cosplay photographers out there have a lot of fun taking pictures of cosplayers, and we want as much as possible for the cosplayers to have fun cosplaying.

xanderman
10-12-2006, 05:26 PM
Philosophically speaking "copyrights" are just an invention. They don't exist outside of our civilization. They are just another kind of agreement that helps give form to our society. The consequences of ignoring those agreements can be unpleasant so knowing about them can be helpful.

There are other agreements, not as painstakingly codified, that also matter. One of those agreements is mutual respect. What makes the alliance of mutual respect difficult as it regards this subject is the temporary nature of the community formed at a convention.

People, most of them strangers, come together for a brief time, a few days at most, and form a con-community. Everyone must bring their own values into this con-community. Luckily there is some form of continuity between these temporary gatherings provided by websites such as this one. These allow the community to endure even if our physical bodies are vastly separated.

This topic also exposes the gap between actions that are acceptable by the existing body of laws and actions that are considered honorable. Acting with honor is the higher standard. The photographers with the highest level of professionalism will strive towards excellence in being honorable. Yet the camera is merely a tool and there will long be fools who misuse tools.

Any community must maintain and strengthen its ties of relationship to encourage honorable actions.