Wednesday, September 2, 2009
So. I take pictures for Northern Arizona University's (NAU) sports department. I'm the official photographer of every team, every sport. I take a lot of pictures and they end up a lot of places around campus. I knew from the beginning that they would end up on the sports website (nauathletics.com) and on posters and calendars... pretty much whatever my boss could think to put them on. When I was hired there was no clause in my contract (in fact, I'm not even sure I signed a contract) that stated who retains copyrights to the images I shoot while working for them. What is assumed, is that I retain full privileges to use the images as I see fit, and the university has those same rights.
Here's the tricky bit. A local newspaper that covers the Northern Arizona area has apparently made a bit of an agreement with the university sports department. Whenever the paper doesn't want to send a photographer to a sports event, the university sports department (me) will provide them with a photo from the event. In return, I will receive a photo credit and can have the pride of having my images published in a real newspaper.
On one hand, I'm glad the images are getting seen by a bunch of people and I'm glad I can say I was published in the AZ Daily Sun.
On the other hand, I'm kind of peeved that I'm not getting any real compensation for having my images double-published. The deal with the university is that they pay my tuition straight up (somewhere on the order of $8,500/year), and I take pictures all year for them. The deal they have worked out with the paper is such that whenever the paper doesn't want to (or can't) send a photographer, they get an image for free from NAU (me).
My question is: Do I need a real contract drawn up that explicitly states what the university and I are allowed to do with my photos? It seems to me like the newspaper is getting for free what they traditionally pay decent money for. It has 2 photographers on staff and they don't work for free.... so why should I (or the university) be giving them my work for free?
Drop me a comment below, or find me on Twitter @mattbeaty to let me know what you think!
at 2:35 PM