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Stolen photos - how to price them?

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ipecek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ipecek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Stolen photos - how to price them?
    Posted: 02 November 2017 at 17:05
Hi all,

I have a question about pricing stolen photos...

#1

I've shot a concert for a particular band a year ago. They "forgot" to make a contract stating what will the photos be used for but they wanted to use them for a gallery on their webpage, facebook, etc., so we agreed I will deliver mid size photos, with a watermark.

Few months after that, I noticed one on the photos, photoshopped, on billboards across a city, used for their upcoming concerts.

I tried contacting them at the first sighting, they said "sorry, we didn't know" and I asked them to stop or make a contract to licence that usage.
Haven't heard from them since, but I kept seeing my photo on all the upcoming tour announcements.

Total damage:
- 1 photo - photoshopped
- countless billboards + posters + online (no idea about how many)
- 5 different cities, 3 different countries

#2

The last tour concert is coming on soon, and they started selling the live album (2 CD's and 1 Blu Ray) with the same photo on the front cover (photoshopped differently), and 24 more photos used in various places on that live album (back cover, booklet, photos printed on the CD's and Blu Ray). All of them were photoshopped, cropped in different ways and my watermark was removed from all of them.

Bonus: posters announcing the live album, even the TV commercial.

Total damage:
- 1 photo - same as in the first case, but photoshopped differently
- 24 new photos - photoshopped, cropped, removed watermark
- no idea how many live albums were produced or sold

I must stress out that I was not contacted by the band or their PR...or anyone about everything that was going on with my photos.

So, everything's at the lawyer's who wants to give them a chance to make an offer to pay for the licence, so they can continue using the photos, which is fine by me.

The reason I am writing this is the fact that my country doesn't have any standard price list or guidelines for photographers "selling" their photos (rights) for a particular use. Basically, it's all up to the negotiations, so there is no relevant source I could hang on to and prove that my work is worth something. Sucks, I know.

Basically, I have to put a price tag on the whole situation...
Let's say I'd like to define the price like this:

Case #1:
1 year commercial licence (1 photo) with all editing authorized
+
fee (unauthorized commercial use, unauthorized editing)

Case #2:
5 years(?) commercial licence (25 photos) with all editing authorized
+
fee (unauthorized commercial use, unauthorized editing)

Not sure how would I define the licence for the photos used on the live album, it could be around for another decade, or more... it's already on iTunes, Amazon, Deezer...)


If you have any ideas, sources, guidelines, advice...anything...please help. I'd really appreciate it. I need to come up with the price as soon as possible...

Thanks in advance!
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pdeley View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pdeley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 18:46
Are they distributing and performing independently or do they have an agent/contracts with one or more music companies? If the latter, then the company should have some verifiable documentation on their typical rates for imagery licenses according to different uses.

If not, then you might have to do some research on other bands with similar cd/mp3 sales numbers and concert activities, and try to find out what the money amounts were for their advertising and covers etc (more likely from the photographer/s than from the other bands or their agents).

It sounds like so far you've had a pretty amicable interaction with the band though, so another approach could be to settle on reasonable amounts and terms by having them and you + your lawyer sit down and negotiate.

Depending on how much previous imagery you've sold or licensed, it could or could not be a hassle to argue that your compensation should be comparable to photographers who have done more work for musicians, so that adds an extra element of negotiating skills and expectations, beyond any comparables you can document. It gets even more delicate if their side of negotiations would include one or more lawyers representing a music or agency company: coming to an amicable agreement could be a path to future work commissions from that side, but on the other hand you'd want to be careful not to believe empty promises of future work in exchange for a discount on the current issues.

Edited by pdeley - 02 November 2017 at 18:54
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 19:12
Why not a fixed price for the pictures allowing them to use it as they see fit? Much easier. I assume it is a Croatian band, prices from other countries might be of little help. But the time you invested should at least be reimbursed - say, two hours for the event, same time for the PP and an extra hour for different things. And double that for inconvenience and your overhead (your camera, lenses, travel etc.).

Do a search on FredMiranda.com, this question is asked there often. But be aware that the advice will vary widely - there never seems to be a consensus.

You say - They "forgot" to make a contract stating what will the photos be used for - but that is as much your fault as theirs. You "forgot" to exclude this kind of use in the contract. Lesson learned I guess
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ipecek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ipecek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 21:41
Originally posted by pdeley pdeley wrote:

Are they distributing and performing independently or do they have an agent/contracts with one or more music companies? If the latter, then the company should have some verifiable documentation on their typical rates for imagery licenses according to different uses.

If not, then you might have to do some research on other bands with similar cd/mp3 sales numbers and concert activities, and try to find out what the money amounts were for their advertising and covers etc (more likely from the photographer/s than from the other bands or their agents).

It sounds like so far you've had a pretty amicable interaction with the band though, so another approach could be to settle on reasonable amounts and terms by having them and you + your lawyer sit down and negotiate.

Depending on how much previous imagery you've sold or licensed, it could or could not be a hassle to argue that your compensation should be comparable to photographers who have done more work for musicians, so that adds an extra element of negotiating skills and expectations, beyond any comparables you can document. It gets even more delicate if their side of negotiations would include one or more lawyers representing a music or agency company: coming to an amicable agreement could be a path to future work commissions from that side, but on the other hand you'd want to be careful not to believe empty promises of future work in exchange for a discount on the current issues.

The #1 part was distributed by them and / or the sponsors that were mentioned on the billboard design.

Live album is sold and advertised through the record company they signed with.

The problem is that bands here don't usually hire photographers. We have two major photo agencies, that cover every single thing, and then sell the photos through yearly or monthly subscriptions. It's basically shoot and upload to server work. As they're cheap, most of photos you can find in the media are theirs. This was something different because it was a big concert celebrating 40 years of career or something like that.

Negotiations will take place soon, but I need to form some sort of a price to put my conditions on the table.

I tried reaching out and I let them know I am available for shooting future shows, but I never got a word off them afterwards. Funny thing, I haven't seen a single photo from other venues being used for other purposes. So yeah, I don't trust them...

Basically, all the problems are caused by local laws which protect all the artists and define their average prices, but photographers are left alone to figure everything out themselves.

Fellow photographers weren't very helpful so far, seems like all the details are being kept top secret. Nobody wants to reveal anything, but nobody I asked had a similar situation. That's basically why I tried asking here.

Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

Why not a fixed price for the pictures allowing them to use it as they see fit? Much easier. I assume it is a Croatian band, prices from other countries might be of little help. But the time you invested should at least be reimbursed - say, two hours for the event, same time for the PP and an extra hour for different things. And double that for inconvenience and your overhead (your camera, lenses, travel etc.).

Do a search on FredMiranda.com, this question is asked there often. But be aware that the advice will vary widely - there never seems to be a consensus.

You say - They "forgot" to make a contract stating what will the photos be used for - but that is as much your fault as theirs. You "forgot" to exclude this kind of use in the contract. Lesson learned I guess

The thing is, they paid for the concert photos, but I got nothing on paper. They paid for the transportation, hotel, photos that were supposed to be used on their webpage, facebook, and given to the media to cover that particular concert, and that was it.

I was promised that the contract will be ready for me when I arrive, but they "forgot", "there was no time" etc. So, they have no contract, I have no contract, but at least our laws value authorship over everything, so I am safe here. They wired the money directly to me, without paying any taxes, so they broke the law just by doing that in the first place.

Other prices could help, we are the part of the EU, and EU prices have been widely used for this kind of work. At least I could get an idea where to place this whole chaos.
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artuk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 21:50
Do you have anything at all in writing, such as an email, that defines what your terms were for the original shoot and license?

As for prices - I would generally there is no "correct" price, it's down to what the customer is willing to pay and the photographer can negotiate.

They either need to pay for a license for the use they are making, or you need damages to compensate you for the use they have had of your photos outside the agreed license.

If they are using the images to sell concert tickets, CDs, posters then I would suggest you make up a price for each use and multiply by the number of units / instances of use. Make up a big number and negotiate down. If you start low, you will only lose out.

If they are a successful band, and promoted by a successful promoter or record company, they can afford it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote horizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2017 at 23:04
A photographer I know here in Aus, his Billboard Photographs go for $40,000 to $60,000 displayed for the duration of display with an end time of one year / or annual per billboard.

Meaning that if the billboard displays the work for 1 day, its still the same fee, but if they display it for 1 year and 1 day its two years fees.

Personally, I would suggest that you seek legal advice.

Edited by horizon - 02 November 2017 at 23:07
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 06:04
Is there a Croatian Professional Photographers organisation? Maybe they could help.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ipecek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 21:36
Originally posted by artuk artuk wrote:

Do you have anything at all in writing, such as an email, that defines what your terms were for the original shoot and license?

As for prices - I would generally there is no "correct" price, it's down to what the customer is willing to pay and the photographer can negotiate.

They either need to pay for a license for the use they are making, or you need damages to compensate you for the use they have had of your photos outside the agreed license.

If they are using the images to sell concert tickets, CDs, posters then I would suggest you make up a price for each use and multiply by the number of units / instances of use. Make up a big number and negotiate down. If you start low, you will only lose out.

If they are a successful band, and promoted by a successful promoter or record company, they can afford it.

Nothing, they were smart enough to arrange everything by phone calls, and I was stupid enough, and surprised by their interest in me (domestic legends) that I didn't even thing about they could screw me over. They are working with the biggest domestic record company, so that was also why I felt safe doing business with them. Lesson learned, accept future jobs only when they send me everything in writing, in advance.

I found the prices and capacity for 5 venues that were promoted using my photo. Took the lowest priced ticket and multiplied with the venue capacity (and found media statements that they filled it to the last spot).

Calculated approximately 3% out of that profit, and didn't count the profit from the live album since there's no way to find out how many of those were produced, or sold so far. So let's say, that 3% cover everything they did.

Am I going in the right direction with this?


Originally posted by horizon horizon wrote:

A photographer I know here in Aus, his Billboard Photographs go for $40,000 to $60,000 displayed for the duration of display with an end time of one year / or annual per billboard.

Meaning that if the billboard displays the work for 1 day, its still the same fee, but if they display it for 1 year and 1 day its two years fees.

Personally, I would suggest that you seek legal advice.

I think we have like 2 lawyers specialised in that kind of law, and they work on percentage. The last one that I spoke with, works with 20% of what I settle with, which is kinda steep.

Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

Is there a Croatian Professional Photographers organisation? Maybe they could help.

There's no such thing, and that makes things very difficult in setting the right price.
On the other side, there's a music organisation / association, which protects musicians like they're animals facing exctinction.

Basically, we are both authors, so if I bought a CD, made a mess of one of their tracks and published it everywhere, I'd be living on a street right now, and I think I couldn't even afford that.

I found one of their lawsuits against somebody. They rented out the whole sound equipment for one of their concerts. They made a request about specific equipment and they got it. Then, in the middle of the concert, something stopped working, and they lost power for 2 minutes.
They demanded around 70 000 / $ from the company that bought the sound equipment and rented it, for those 2 minutes of silence...

Would it be wrong to ask half that money for what they did?

Edited by ipecek - 03 November 2017 at 21:39
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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 22:09
Originally posted by ipecek ipecek wrote:

Originally posted by artuk artuk wrote:

Personally, I would suggest that you seek legal advice.

I think we have like 2 lawyers specialised in that kind of law, and they work on percentage. The last one that I spoke with, works with 20% of what I settle with, which is kinda steep.

Hire the lawyer (if you still can), have him do the work you're trying to do, and let him take his 20%. The other side has lawyers whose only purpose in life is to totally defeat you. Not a fair fight without help.

On the other hand, if the lawyer you hire is dishonest, he might be bribed by the other side to blow the case. Jeez, I am so cynical ... can't help it, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ipecek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 22:48
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

Originally posted by ipecek ipecek wrote:

Originally posted by artuk artuk wrote:

Personally, I would suggest that you seek legal advice.

I think we have like 2 lawyers specialised in that kind of law, and they work on percentage. The last one that I spoke with, works with 20% of what I settle with, which is kinda steep.

Hire the lawyer (if you still can), have him do the work you're trying to do, and let him take his 20%. The other side has lawyers whose only purpose in life is to totally defeat you. Not a fair fight without help.

On the other hand, if the lawyer you hire is dishonest, he might be bribed by the other side to blow the case. Jeez, I am so cynical ... can't help it, though.

I did hire a lawyer (friend...I know friends and family can be the worst thing to go with, but I trust him). But... neither of us know what to expect, most of these cases get settled before they reach court, so there's no much information to be found... Since we're a small country, these things don't happen often, and people avoid talking about it. Sometimes I hear newspapers or news portals take a single photo off facebook, and publish it without editing, and the fines for that go up to 200-300 (settlement everytime)

everyone...

What's the lowest you'd accept for a situation like this? Just throwing numbers...

Edited by ipecek - 03 November 2017 at 22:54
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artuk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2017 at 22:57
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

Originally posted by ipecek ipecek wrote:

Originally posted by artuk artuk wrote:

Personally, I would suggest that you seek legal advice.

I think we have like 2 lawyers specialised in that kind of law, and they work on percentage. The last one that I spoke with, works with 20% of what I settle with, which is kinda steep.

Hire the lawyer (if you still can), have him do the work you're trying to do, and let him take his 20%. The other side has lawyers whose only purpose in life is to totally defeat you. Not a fair fight without help.

On the other hand, if the lawyer you hire is dishonest, he might be bribed by the other side to blow the case. Jeez, I am so cynical ... can't help it, though.


I would agree that 80% of a good settlement is much better than 100% of a bad settlement. This isn't like most cases (and personal experience) when someone uses your photo on their corporate social media accounts, this is much bigger, and needs professional advice. If you can't afford to pay, then a commission based fee is good, as it incentives them to get the most they can!
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