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Author Topic: Liability of providing images for commercial use  (Read 846 times)

Keith

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Liability of providing images for commercial use
« on: September 14, 2020, 01:46:29 pm »

I have been approached by a local company asking permission to use one of my images on their product label in exchange for listing me as the photographer and my website on every label. I'm open to this possibility and there are no other copyrights or trademarks on the content of the image to prevent me from doing so. The product is alcohol, which I do not have a problem with; however, if my name and website is on the label, could that infer liability in the unfortunate event of misuse of said product? Should I work out a contract through a lawyer before proceeding, just to limit my liability? I've done print sales through a gallery but no commercial use until now.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 09:18:12 pm »

Why would this be a better arrangement for you than being paid for the use? I get trying to build a brand, but are you expecting this image use to turn into future work? Would you  be the exclusive photographer for the brand, and will it lead to other paying work?

I've never heard of a liquor company being sued for 'misuse of a product', so why would it get to you?  Jim Beam doesn't get sued for product misuse, it's the bar or store that sold it that has a Liquor Liability Insurance policy. IANAL, but as long as you're not serving the product, you aren't liable.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-features/2013/10/07/306779.htm
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Keith

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 12:16:30 am »

Regarding free usage, fair question. I understand the exploitation of photographers by trying to get free images and the devaluation of the commercial market. But this isn't Anheuser-Busch asking for images, it's a local craft brewer in the same small town where I sold prints through a gallery for a couple years. My first thought in reading the email was how to monetize it, but after considering their offer to include my name and website on every label, (which is almost never done in paid commercial work) I recognized the potential to gain additional recognition (free advertising) in the community. I'm more interested in pursuing a few fine art sales than doing commercial work, so this path is more in line with how I wish to move forward. Additionally, the images in question are of a significant (to the local community) historical structure that no longer exists. If I choose to go the money route, it would be easy enough for the company to "put me on hold" while they go through several other artists in the area until someone agreed to free use. Being able to have my work promote the history of the community via free commercial use while receiving a small bit of free advertising in return works for me in this particular scenario. I occasionally get an unsolicited sale from someone who stumbled across my website, so increasing the number of times my site appears in the community improves the odds.
Regarding the liability part, as I said I'm not really into commercial, so not my area of knowledge. I simply recognize the nature of our litigious society in which anyone remotely associated can get sucked into things not of their doing. Could be I'm entirely overthinking that part.
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langier

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 12:33:27 am »

Here's one source for you to peruse:

https://www.asmp.org/resources/legalbusiness-legal-faq/

However, as always, your results may vary. Best bet is to ask an attorney and there are several legal experts who are members of ASMP that may be able to get you a good answer.
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Larry Angier
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tcphoto1

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 10:07:39 am »

I would not care if it was Brown-Forman or some guy making moonshine in the woods, putting an image on a product requires a Licensing Agreement and compensation. As you stated, how on earth can you monetize the arrangement? I would certainly write an ironclad license that limits their use and term of use so you can renegotiate depending on the success of the product. What is to prevent them from simply changing the image every few years and give another photographer or artist this amazing opportunity...see the value of the deal?
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Joe Towner

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2020, 03:05:09 pm »

Don't get me wrong Keith, I don't think this is worth thousands to you.  A nominal fee - even $50 - makes it more transactional, and it's a way you can assist them.  The most important question is if you enjoy their product. :D  A couple of cases goes a long way to getting the chatter going.

I'm going to assume the customer is in the spirits industry, rather than the brewery side of things.  Do a mock up of the bottle, with all their current text and see how much room is left.  It's not a lot - they have legal requirements of what has to be on the labels.  Your image even as a full wrap of the bottle isn't going to be as much a statement as say their in store advertising - where your image can be more prominent.

For beer, the 6pack/case packaging is more important than the on bottle/can stuff.  Have you looked at their current placement at retail stores and had any ideas as to how your images would play into them?

What other images, either of the same subject or similar no longer around topics do you have?  Building out a series of these to offer up variety & build into your local history helps both of you.  Figuring out how to build this into a multiple year marketing plan, with you able to provide paid content for their website & products may be a bit larger than they want to think right now, but why not?
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TeamG

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2020, 01:25:38 am »

use one of my images on their product label in exchange for listing me as the photographer and my website on every label
The chances of making any money through "exposure" are next to nil

The chances of getting $500 worth of their product in recompense for use - now we're talking

If you're not a drinker then you would have Christmas sorted this year :)
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douglevy

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2020, 07:30:37 pm »

Nobody is going to hire you because your name is on the label. Literally nobody. If it were me, and I've worked with a few craft brewers, I'd ask for $500 product and $500 in licensing for a 3-year use, $1,000 for perpetual.

-Doug

gchappel

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2020, 10:40:53 pm »

Been there, done that. 
The value of having your name on the bottle is ZERO. 
We all think there is value in getting our name out.  Ask around.  I have never met anyone that got even a single print sale from having their name on a product
To the manufacturer you are an expense.  If they can get that expense to zero- they will take it.
Heck, I will be surprised if they would give you a couple of hundred dollars worth of product.  What they usually do is find some other sucker that will let them use their work for free. 
But I would definitely get the definitions in writing.  Who owns the copyright?  How long can they use the image for free?  Exactly how can they use the image?  Exactly how is your name displayed?   Is there anything in the contract that will keep you from using this same image for other uses- can you still sell it?  They will likely have a lawyer- you need one as well.  Who pays for that?
We all still get excited when someone likes one of our images enough to want to use it- or better yet buy it. 
If it would make you happy to see your image out and about then do it.  But do it for the right reason, the likelyhood of this generating other sales is awfully small.
Gary
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David Eichler

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Re: Liability of providing images for commercial use
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2020, 05:27:28 pm »

I have been approached by a local company asking permission to use one of my images on their product label in exchange for listing me as the photographer and my website on every label. I'm open to this possibility and there are no other copyrights or trademarks on the content of the image to prevent me from doing so. The product is alcohol, which I do not have a problem with; however, if my name and website is on the label, could that infer liability in the unfortunate event of misuse of said product? Should I work out a contract through a lawyer before proceeding, just to limit my liability? I've done print sales through a gallery but no commercial use until now.

Others have already pretty much said it all above, but I will just add my own comment for emphasis. Do not give away your work. Always get something of demonstrable value in return. Credit is usual not sufficient en lieu of monetary compensation. A small, local business won't have as much to spend as a big one, but that doesn't mean the value of your image is de minimis. If it were me with this kind of company, I would be thinking in terms of three or four figures, depending upon the licensing terms and the scope of the user's business. Also, if the prospect is willing to use generic material, you need to consider stock images as competition, which would tend to set an upper limit to what you can ask. If they are looking for something more unique, and you can provide that, that puts you in the driver's seat more.
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