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Papers "trading" photos = screwing stringers??
Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 3:20 AM on 11.17.12
->> Tonight I shot the Indiana 2A Semi-State finals locally. In the bottom of my request for the paper it stated:

"Need to email images to the Fort Wayne newspaper. Ideally images of Bishop Luers doing well.
Ok, we would need any photos by 11 our time, which is 10 your time."

My photo editor said they regularly "trade" photos with the paper in Ft. Wayne and that I needed to send photos to them. I complied. However, I'm not staff, if I was, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it as I do as he didn't say I would get paid extra for these photos. My contract is for working for Sun-Times media, not the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette. My PE implied it was "part of the assignment" which I completely disagree with. Yes, I've already submitted the images... but at the same time I think when it's time for next weeks invoicing I should charge them 2x the rate. If I was staff, I would expect the whole "trading" rational, but I'm not staff and I make my money one assignment at a time...

Should I submit to my PE or send an invoice to the other paper????
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David Welker, Photographer, Assistant
Springfield | MO | USA | Posted: 3:33 AM on 11.17.12
->> It all depends on what your freelance contract looks like. Some papers will pay their stringers the extra amount for the "traded" work, while others suggest that because it is a "work for hire", that they own the images and can do whatever they want with the images. Just check out what your contract looks like.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 3:45 AM on 11.17.12
->> From my best recollection, the contract (which I'll have to find) which was very simple basically states that I work exclusively for the Chicago Sun-Times Media Group and that all published works are available for publishing to any of their affiliate papers. The said paper is not owned by the Sun-Times, so it is not within the rights of said contract.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 7:41 AM on 11.17.12
->> Jim, in my humble opinion (depending on the wording of your contract of course) the paper is free to do what they want with the photos....BUT...if they want to share the photos THEIR photo editor should be the one who has to do the extra work of sending the photos.
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James Durbin, Photographer
Midland | Texas | USA | Posted: 3:30 PM on 11.17.12
->> I agree with what Chuck said. When I was a stringer I know that type of stuff happened, but my obligation was to shoot for the publication and submit to that publication.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 4:22 PM on 11.17.12
->> If the contract says only the paper (and its sisters) then your images don't get to be shared with third party publications regardless of what agreement the two papers have between themselves. Your contract rules. However, since you bought into the premise of allowing the Indiana paper to use your photos for free -- and you yourself sent them -- then you've thrown your contract protections out the window and screwed yourself.

The Dallas Morning News and Ft. Worth Star-Telegram have a similar "sharing" agreement even though they are not sister papers. I do occassional work for the FTSW whereupon I got a phone call from a sports editor a couple years ago informing me about their agreement and asking if I would share the Texas Christian-BYU football photos I did for them with the DMN. I said no; that the DMN would have to pay too. The editor's voice appeared happy with the answer and they used my images exclusively in their area.

Also, FYI, it is a matter of practice that if you work for a paper as a freelancer and the paper is an AP member, the wire service cannot automatically pick up your photos as it can with staff images. They must contact you and pay for those transmitting rights. However, if your contract says it is a work for hire deal, then you've thrown your resale protections out the window and screwed yourself again.

I suggest you have a sit-down talk with your paper -- with contract copy in hand -- and explain that it does not allow for sharing with third-party papers and this one time where you did share was a mistake and shouldn't be used as a precident. And the photo editor needs to explain the non-sharing terms to the other photo editors so they don't automatically share your images in the future.

I would also contact the Indiana paper's photo editor and explain the situation saying what they got was a mistake on your part therefore you won't be invoicing them for usage. However, if they want to use your images in the future they will have to pay a licensing fee.

This way everyone is clear on what the procedures are. But first you need to find the contract and read it very carefully.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 4:29 PM on 11.17.12
->> Using 20-20 hindsight, with the sharing request stated on the bottom of your assignment you should have immediately contacted the Indiana paper's photo editor explaining that you're not staff and your contract does not provide for usage by third-party papers. But you would be happy to fulfill their request; all you need is their address so you can create an invoice.

This would have instantly provided you with either more revenue or a thanks, but no thanks answer and the case would be closed.

Now you're in a sticky mess having gone along with the added instructions.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 6:32 PM on 11.17.12
->> Well, I know for damn sure they used the images.. because their team won the semi-state game I was shooting.

I'm planning on sending them a letter + invoice stating I am not staff and just see what happens. If I don't get paid, it's a hard lesson learned. We'll see what happens.

Problem is, my PE always sends the assignments so late sometimes I don't even get a hell of a lot of time to prepare, where as another sister paper sends weekend assignments out well in advance, like Tuesday for a Sat assignment.
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Jeff Stanton, Photographer
Atlanta | Ga | USA | Posted: 7:12 PM on 11.17.12
->> Jim, instead of trying to recall what your contract says, find and read it. Don't guess what it says. If there is nothing in the contract that indicates the ST has the right to do anything else but use your work for themselves, then you have a leg to stand on and you can make an educated argument to be paid by the ST. I don't think the Fort Wayne paper is going to feel they owe you a dime since they believe they have an agreement with the ST to trade, even though you personally have no agreement with them. I think this is a hard lesson.

More and more of these papers just trade and give away work because many of the sports editors, for example, have little idea what it means to maintain rights to work.
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Patrick Fallon, Photographer, Assistant
Torrance | California | USA | Posted: 8:01 PM on 11.17.12
->> What are the terms of the contract.
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 8:14 PM on 11.17.12
->> It is a sticky situation ... and likely a hard-learned lesson ... but I would not be sending anyone an invoice UNTIL I actually retrieved the contract and KNEW exactly what it stipulates ... it could be possible you will lose two potential clients in the process because you remember incorrectly what you agreed to in writing.

It may be in your best interests to wait until you have a full understanding of the exact wording in the contract.
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 8:20 PM on 11.17.12
->> I would think no matter what the contract said, if you sent them the images with their thinking they were free use, you can't come back later and say "hey, those images I sent to you ... I need payment for them now even though I didn't tell you up front that I was charging you."

You have to be open about any charges before you send them and let them make the decision to run or not.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 12:19 AM on 11.18.12
->> If I had advanced notice where I could had called, I sure as hell would had. But by the time I finally received my assignment, the PE at the other paper was unreachable.

BTW, I do NOT appreciate people, one person in particular, Mr. Tim Meed sending me berating messages about how people like me send him laughing all the way to the bank. If you have something to say, say it here... We're all grown ups Mr. Meed, whoever the hell you are.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer
London | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 5:43 AM on 11.18.12
->> It happens all the time in the UK. In order to compete with Getty/PA/Reuters etc photographers at the major national newspapers conspire to sit in different places around the pitch at football (soccer) matches and then openly walk in the photo room walk around with flash drives trading frames with each other so they have all of the goals covered. The images go into the papers credited as a photographer who didn't actually take them or at the very least go in uncredited with no mention of the publication they were actually shot for. In most other jobs if you traded information with a competitor like that you'd be fired on the spot.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 9:13 AM on 11.18.12
->> Jim -

A couple of questions:
1) Is your contract "work for hire"?
2) If not work for hire, does it specify the licensing rights conveyed - or is it just general language?

As an aside - Mr. Meed, whomever he is can't "say it here" as he isn't a member.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 12:13 PM on 11.18.12
->> Jack, I totally cannot believe that nonsense happens at major newspapers. Seriously? Do you have factual information or actual proof this happens? If you don't you just besmirched the reputation of anyone covering football matches in the UK. I can't imagine what would happen to a photojournalist in this country if they made a statement such as yours with no hard, irrefutable, rock solid evidence to back it up. You are right about one thing....if a photographer in the US traded or shared photos with another shooter and attempted to use their credit they would be fired without a second thought. I just can't imagine that happening here.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:40 PM on 11.18.12
->> Jim,

In my not so humble opinion, until you disclose key terms of your agreement with the paper, it is really hard for anyone here to give you useable advice. For this thread, the word useable mean advice that is a win-win for you and the client.

Honestly, the key to dispelling advice of any value in this situation is knowing as Mr. Peters wrote, the specific licensing rights that were agreed upon in the contract.

For example, did you agree to shared rights? Both you and the paper have the right to whatever you want with the photos. Is the submission of an image governed by any exclusivity?

Did you agree to a specific use? For example: the paper would have one time print rights, no reprints (meaning they can't sell prints of the image you provided), no web use.

There are a lot of knowledgeable people here willing to help but to do that you need to answer the question below. The key to whether or not you should bill either paper for additional images will be based on the language of the contract concern rights transfer upon submission.

What rights does the paper have to any image you submit to them?
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TD Paulius, Photographer
Orland Park | IL | USA | Posted: 3:32 PM on 11.18.12
->> Getting back on track, Jim, its important that you look at the contract to see what it says and what you agreed to executing it. Its a very important document that you should at least have scanned so that it is readily available.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer
London | UK | United Kingdom | Posted: 8:02 PM on 11.18.12
->> Chuck,
It shocked me when I first found out just as much as it shocks you to read. I would never post something like that unless I knew it to be completely true. I have seen it happen with my own eyes and spoken with other photographers about it. It is not a secret. Not all of the newspaper photographers trade images - but quite a few do.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 8:37 PM on 11.18.12
->> Jim,

What's the limit? Just Ft Wayne? How about Ft Wayne and Indianapolis? Or all of Indiana? What happens when the editor says, "they regularly 'trade' photos with Ohio?"

Your arrangement should be in writing and clearly limit the usage of YOUR work.

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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 9:18 PM on 11.18.12
->> I have this come up on a fairly regular basis; the paper I work for refers those requests to me. I quote a price - and 90% of the time the other paper is not interested after that.

I talked to the sports editor about it one time because I didn't want them to be in a difficult position. He laughed. He told me not to worry because the folks that wanted the free images never seemed too interested in repaying the favor. In fact, he told me, the one paper in particular was terrible about it.

Check your contract and go from there. "I'm more than willing to give you a reduced price since I'll be there - what are you looking for?"

If what they're looking for is free, which is usually what it is - what have you missed?

I work with 2 other newspapers within a 50 mile radius that are owned by the same group. The last increase I got, we made it part of the deal that they get coverage when I cover them and the local paper. They're happy, I make more as a result it's a win-win.

But the guys that want it for free are pond scum freeloaders. Be professional, but don't be free.

In other words, let them choke on their own poor quality.
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Fred Greaves, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 12:19 PM on 11.19.12
->> Jim,

A couple of thoughts...

When they said you needed to send photos to the other paper, that, right then, is the time to have the discussion with them regarding your written contract and the additional payment for sending images to another paper. If you agreed to do it and didn't object, or bring it up at that moment, then they didn't exactly "screw" you. You allowed it to happen by not objecting.

If a client overreaches and wants more than they are paying for, you can either allow them to do so, and resent them, or open up the dialogue before the shoot so they understand where you are coming from and what you want from them to do what they are asking. Sometimes you just have to walk away and say "no" if they are unwilling to be reasonable and pay a fair rate.

I also wonder if this is a paper you want to have a continuing relationship with? I am not asking if they are bad to work for, but posting here that they are screwing you or doing so in a not so subtle way by asking it as a question is probably not the best way to build trust and come to a fair agreement so that in the future both you and the paper have their needs met.

If I hired someone and they accused me of "screwing" them on a public forum, that is the last time they would work for me.

Again, just a couple thoughts on the topic.
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Thread Title: Papers "trading" photos = screwing stringers??
Thread Started By: Jim Karczewski
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