Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesVisual ArtsPhotography · 2 months ago

Can a friend photographer sue me?

I'm a small brand ambassador for various sport-related brands. My friend, who's a photographer, wanted to do photo shootings with me to help me provide content for my sponsors and to grow his own social media platforms (I have way more followers than he does). After photo sessions, he gave me the photos and told me that I can use them on my social media and that my sponsors can use them on social media as well. Me and my sponsors were posting his photos on social media platforms. He was always tagged as a photographer from my side and also my sponsor's side. Everything was fine until one of my sponsors decided to print a photo on a calendar. When my friend photographer saw that, he immediately demanded to be paid for it and accused me of 'giving his photos around'. We never had a written contract on how and where the photos should be used. When we decided to cooperate, he only told me that his photos can be used by me and my sponsors but not specifically how and where. He now demands a long-term photography contract from my sponsor or a large payment for licensing. My sponsor doesn't want to do that, because I told them that we can use these photos. I'm afraid and don't know what to do. I offered my friend money by myself but he doesn't accept it, because he wants to be paid by my sponsor and also I can't afford to give him the amount of money he wants.

Any pieces of advice?

11 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    To answer your first question, yes, he can sue you.  He can sue anyone, whether he has a case and will win is the real question.

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  • joedlh
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Everybody stumbled. Your photographer friend should have stated in writing that he gave you license to use and share the photos for non-commercial purposes. Publishing one of them in a calendar designed to produce revenue is a commercial use. The camera publisher blundered by not making sure they had the proper license for use of the photo. They should not have taken you at your word that the photos could be used anywhere, any time for whatever purpose without compensation or explicit permission from the photographer. If all parties can't come to a mutually acceptable agreement, see you in court.

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  • 1 month ago

    The photographer owns the copyright to said photo ,unless there's a signed and

    dated contract .Yes , he can ,as well as the guy who stole his photo for profit .

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  • keerok
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It's a verbal agreement that's usually binding even in court. In circumstances like yours, you can use as evidence the fact that you and your sponsors have continued to use his pictures freely without payment. Only when the pictures landed in a calendar did he start making demands. This inconsistency may be enough to prove you have no liability to him.

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  • Frank
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Technically (in the USA) your photographer friend owns the copyrights to all images.  You were given verbal permission to use the images in a specific way.  Your sponsors do not own the copyrights to the image.  Therefore they either need to pay for the use of the photos in the calendar or destroy all calendars.  It's as simple as that.  Regardless of what was said, you and your sponsors do not own the rights to the images.  Your photographer friend made the mistake of not putting all of this in a contract.  Your sponsors "assumed" that they could do with the photos what they wanted.  In the end, your photographer friend is in the right to demand compensation and would EASILY win in court if it should ever go that far.

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  • qrk
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    In the U.S. you can sue anybody for no reason. In the U.S. civil court system, you are guilty until proven otherwise. Not having a contract makes things messy. Make this a lesson.

    The company that used the image for their calendar blundered. They should have sought permission to use the image.

    I would also respectfully distance myself from this person.

    When I "give" away photos to people who may use them in commercial applications, I always give them a written statement that the images can be used for any purpose without recognition. The one time that my give-away images were used for a printed card for sale for a non-profit organization, the organization contacted me for permission. They obviously knew the ropes.

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  • 2 months ago

    And this is exactly why contracts are important. It was all fun and games until . . .

    What do you/he have in writing? That is all that any judge can go by!

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  • Ramona
    Lv 4
    2 months ago

    It sounds like he didn't think that your company would turn such a huge profit and he's now having regrets about not making a more detailed contract where he makes bank.

    This is a bit tricky. Do you have a contract in place between you and your sponsors that any and all content that you deliver will now (upon payment) be the property of said sponsors? I'm guessing you do as it makes sense. They pay you for your creative piece that promotes their business and now that content belongs to them. But this is where the tricky bit comes in. It's a fine line (when legalities come into play) to figure this out which is why you needed a detailed contract that says that the sponsors now own your content that they paid for. It could be that just because you get paid for promoting their company, you might want it that the content still belongs to you which you'd want to detail this in your contract with them. This is important to detail in a contract with sponsors so you know what kind of contract you need to make with people who you use as a selling point. In the contract, you will need to say that all content connected to you will now be mine to do as I see fit. If they sign, the person can't sue you. 

    If your sponsors are the ones who drew the contract between them and yourself, read it carefully to see if there is a clause in there that says all content that we paid for will be ours to do as they see fit with it. 

    If it's true that you are in contract with your sponsors that says they own all your content they paid for, then the feud will be between you and the photographer and nothing to do with the sponsors, so he's dealing with the right person which is you. He should have taken the money you offered because he will not be getting any money from these sponsors IF the facts are what I mentioned above. So now it boils down to what contract YOU have with said photographer.

    Not all is lost even if you didn't draw up a contract with him because all texts and emails including photos he's given through email will be proof that you two had an agreement that he gave you permission to use the content to promote your business and to pull in money. 

    Gather all of your texts and emails (for court) where he said you have permission to do what you need to do to make your content for your sponsors and to make bank. Along with your points of being in the right which I gave you above and you will win. 

    He does have the right to sue you but that doesn't mean he will win. I highly doubt he will win and in a strange world where he happens to win, the money will come from you and not the sponsors as they are covered with their contract which I'm sure they put in that clause. So I think he might not think it worth suing you he knows he can't get residuals. 

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  • Carmen
    Lv 4
    2 months ago

    A wise person sees danger and conceal themselves and even though this seemed like a good innocent thing in the beginning because communication wasn’t clear legally or business wise people want to be paid it will always be about he money especially if corporations or advertising involved get legal advice pray everything works in your favor and learn from mistakes.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Noooooo because you like those girlfriends a lot 🐊

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