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picture rights with ICRC

hi folks. For an upcoming project, I contacted ICRC for some logistical assistance and help in finding the kinds of people I want to talk to, visiting facilities they run, etc. They are amenable to helping me out but want the right to use some of my photos. I would of course keep the copyright, but where’s a fair place to draw the line here? Ideally, if ICRC wants to use my pictures, they should pay to license them like everyone else, but of course they’re providing me with the opportunity to take the pictures in the first place. What have people done in similar situations, both with ICRC and other humanitarian NGOs?

by Brendan Hoffman at 2006-07-07 21:03:50 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Washington, DC , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I have been living in the Maldives for 7 months and there are many aid organisations over here including the sister org of ICRC. Frankly, I am sick to death of multi million dollar organisations squeezing photogs for photo rights in exchange for logistical support.

IMHO, there is ABSOLUTELY no way you should be licensing them photos for free. Instead, you should be convincing them that ‘payment’ (for lack of a better word) for their logistical support is actually in you getting the images and getting them published – so the world wide audience sees your pics from those areas. So, DON’T DO IT!

Another thing to consider is the organisations management of your images once they have them. I have already seen practices over here with one of the organisations (again, multi, multi million dollar size), that has no image library or image management system at the local level. It can be as bad as organisations swapping imagery which wasn’t even licensed to the other organisation and then having the receiving organisation making lots of prints for brochures etc… (I have seen this here). Basically, if you aren’t dealing with an org that has their shit sorted with a proper image library; people that understand licensing; what it means; doesn’t mean and most importantly of all, the value of your photography, then DON’T DO IT.

If you aren’t convinced and decide to go this route, write up an IRON-CLAD licensing agreement and DEFINITELY agree on the number of images and for what usage and for how long – at a minimum. Make sure you do the selection and YOU provide the final images. Whatever you do, don’t give them a DVD full of images – they will end up god’s know where. And of course, don’t give them your best out takes. Basically, don’t assume anything and educate them about licensing etc…

Ultimately, they are trying to get something for essentially nothing. Logistical support? Sure, that is worth something to YOU. For them, it is just a matter of another person tagging along on a trip and while it does cost a bit of money it is NOTHING compared to the budgets of an org the size of ICRC – Know what I’m saying?

Don’t get me started!!

by Thomas Pickard | 08 Jul 2006 04:07 | Male', Maldives | | Report spam→
well put thomas.

by Michael Bowring | 08 Jul 2006 07:07 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
Thanks Thomas, your point about their probable lack of understanding, especially among field staff (as opposed to press folks in Geneva), of licensing restrictions is well taken. Even with the best of intentions on their part, the pictures are pretty likely to get loose. I will proceed with a hard nose and a healthy dose of caution.

by Brendan Hoffman | 08 Jul 2006 19:07 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→

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Brendan Hoffman, photographer Brendan Hoffman
New York, Ny , United States
Thomas Pickard, Photographer Thomas Pickard
Rarotonga , Cook Islands
Michael Bowring, photographer Michael Bowring
Belgrade , Serbia


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