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Rights on property photos

By 14 February 2014 22

Hello Rioters,

Does anyone knows about who has the rights of the photos taken by property agent. I thought we have the rights because it’s our property and we paid for the photos taken through the agent. But the agent said that the photos are belong to them and we can’t use them. Thank you.

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22 Responses to Rights on property photos
#1
Holden Caulfield3:03 pm, 14 Feb 14

I would have thought the photographer would own the rights, but if they’re in the employ of the agent, then yes, the agent probably does own the rights to the images.

Not many people understand copyright laws and I’m certainly no expert, but it’s generally there to protect the expression of an idea or concept, not the idea itself.

So while you might own the house you had nothing to do with the photo being taken and it is the image itself that copyright protects, not the content of the image.

Just the same as the photographer would own the rights to wedding photos and is in effect selling the married couple a licence to print those photos for personal use.

#2
M0les3:33 pm, 14 Feb 14

Holden Caulfield said :

I would have thought the photographer would own the rights, but if they’re in the employ of the agent, then yes, the agent probably does own the rights to the images.

Not many people understand copyright laws and I’m certainly no expert, but it’s generally there to protect the expression of an idea or concept, not the idea itself.

So while you might own the house you had nothing to do with the photo being taken and it is the image itself that copyright protects, not the content of the image.

Just the same as the photographer would own the rights to wedding photos and is in effect selling the married couple a licence to print those photos for personal use.

+1

You’re paying for your listing to feature photos, Not paying a photographer to take photos on your behalf and give you the rights to those photos (Typically professional photographers retain the rights over photos they take, even when on commission).

The deal through your real estate agent is probably not unusual. It’s also likely more expensive than commissioning a photographer directly yourself (but similarly less hassle to get someone who takes good property photos).

#3
Shinta3:34 pm, 14 Feb 14

Thanks for your reply. That helps :)

#4
Mysteryman4:57 pm, 14 Feb 14

Real estate photos are a bit of a racket. Many agents usually have a photog that does all their work, and are resistive to having an “outside” photographer provide photos because they make less money that way.

The others are correct, though. The photographer and/or agent will own the photos unless otherwise written in your contract with them.

#5
Mysteryman5:00 pm, 14 Feb 14

Holden Caulfield said :

I would have thought the photographer would own the rights, but if they’re in the employ of the agent, then yes, the agent probably does own the rights to the images.

Not many people understand copyright laws and I’m certainly no expert, but it’s generally there to protect the expression of an idea or concept, not the idea itself.

So while you might own the house you had nothing to do with the photo being taken and it is the image itself that copyright protects, not the content of the image.

Just the same as the photographer would own the rights to wedding photos and is in effect selling the married couple a licence to print those photos for personal use.

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise. There are a LOT of “photographers” (read: people who bought an SLR and think that makes them a photographer) who don’t know this and don’t have proper contracts in place.

#6
howeph5:29 pm, 14 Feb 14

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise. There are a LOT of “photographers” (read: people who bought an SLR and think that makes them a photographer) who don’t know this and don’t have proper contracts in place.

By default copyright protects the rights of the creator of creative works.

In this case, the photograph is the creative work, and the photographer is its creator. So by default the copyright is owned by the photographer.

If the photographer is being engaged under a contract then the contract between the photographer and the client must explicitly transfer the copyright ownership from the photographer to the client, or otherwise detail the client’s license to use the photograph(s).

#7
howeph5:32 pm, 14 Feb 14

^^
P.S. I am not a lawyer. But as an enthusiastic amature photographer this is an issue I have looked into in some detail.

#8
Grrrr6:11 pm, 14 Feb 14

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise.

Would be interested in you pointing out which law that is.

Also, I suggest people with some technical nouse and creativity spend $1k on a cheap DSLR body, / flash / a decent wide lens, and take their own photos. You’ll spend a bit more than hiring a photographer for a couple of hours, but still have a nice camera on the shelf afterwards!

#9
Masquara7:58 pm, 14 Feb 14

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise. There are a LOT of “photographers” (read: people who bought an SLR and think that makes them a photographer) who don’t know this and don’t have proper contracts in place.

Creators’ rights continue in tandem with the copyright holder’s rights unless they have been specifically signed over.

#10
deye1:23 am, 15 Feb 14
#11
Mysteryman8:16 am, 15 Feb 14

howeph said :

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise. There are a LOT of “photographers” (read: people who bought an SLR and think that makes them a photographer) who don’t know this and don’t have proper contracts in place.

By default copyright protects the rights of the creator of creative works.

In this case, the photograph is the creative work, and the photographer is its creator. So by default the copyright is owned by the photographer.

If the photographer is being engaged under a contract then the contract between the photographer and the client must explicitly transfer the copyright ownership from the photographer to the client, or otherwise detail the client’s license to use the photograph(s).

howeph said :

^^
P.S. I am not a lawyer. But as an enthusiastic amature photographer this is an issue I have looked into in some detail.

Masquara said :

Creators’ rights continue in tandem with the copyright holder’s rights unless they have been specifically signed over.

There is a specific section relating to photography as it’s treated differently when it comes to commissioning for private purposes.

From the Australian Copyright Council:

For photos taken on or after 30 July 1998, the general rule on ownership depends on the
purpose for which the photographs were taken:
• if the photos were taken for “private or domestic purposes” (such as family portraits, or
wedding photos), the first owner of copyright in them is the client, unless the photographer
and client agree otherwise; however
• if they were taken for any other purpose (e.g. commercial shots), the photographer will be
the first owner of copyright, unless the photographer and client agree otherwise.

#12
Mysteryman8:20 am, 15 Feb 14

Grrrr said :

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise.

Would be interested in you pointing out which law that is.

Also, I suggest people with some technical nouse and creativity spend $1k on a cheap DSLR body, / flash / a decent wide lens, and take their own photos. You’ll spend a bit more than hiring a photographer for a couple of hours, but still have a nice camera on the shelf afterwards!

You won’t get a decent wide angle and camera for $1k. You also won’t get good architectural photos without a tripod. And without skill and experience you won’t get good photos.

I recommend people spend the money on a good photographer. The difference it can make to the sale price of a house far exceeds the initial cost.

#13
thatsnotme9:45 am, 15 Feb 14

Grrrr said :

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise.

Would be interested in you pointing out which law that is.

Also, I suggest people with some technical nouse and creativity spend $1k on a cheap DSLR body, / flash / a decent wide lens, and take their own photos. You’ll spend a bit more than hiring a photographer for a couple of hours, but still have a nice camera on the shelf afterwards!

Umm…the law in question is Australian Copyright Law?

http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/Documents/ShortGuidetoCopyright-October2012.pdf

In the case of commissioned photographs, the photographer is the copyright owner, subject to any
agreement to the contrary. Where the commissioned photographs are of a private or domestic nature, the commissioning party owns the copyright, subject to any agreement to the contrary.

Wedding photography falls into the ‘private or domestic’ nature described above, and so the commissioner of the photographs owns copyright on them by default, unless they waive this right – normally via a contract.

I’m sure there would be plenty of photographers who don’t understand this, who would be inadvertently breeching their clients copyright by continuing to use the photographs without agreement!

#14
Battlecat11:36 am, 15 Feb 14

I love photography questions, everyone gets in on them!
Some good advice here, I was a bit rusty on copyright, but unless you signed some agreement to the contrary either the agent or the photographer owns the copyright, depending on the agreement between those two people.
Having said that, if the question is about whether they can now use them for whatever they want, I don’t think it’s reasonable that they should, especially the interiors (even if it’s legal). I know that Allhomes will be happy to remove previous photos of your house if you ask them nicely.
Also having said that, if all you want is some photos to keep for yourself, it would be a pretty tighta$$ agent to not let you. Of course if you want them to give to another agent to sell your house instead then I wouldn’t blame them for firing up.
The only bad advice is to buy a camera and take them yourself. You can clearly see the difference on Allhomes between a specialist house photographer and the people/agents that take them themselves. Look especially at the for rent photos where they often save a few bucks – the photos are crap.

#15
astrojax3:14 pm, 15 Feb 14

Mysteryman said :

Grrrr said :

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise.

Would be interested in you pointing out which law that is.

Also, I suggest people with some technical nouse and creativity spend $1k on a cheap DSLR body, / flash / a decent wide lens, and take their own photos. You’ll spend a bit more than hiring a photographer for a couple of hours, but still have a nice camera on the shelf afterwards!

You won’t get a decent wide angle and camera for $1k. You also won’t get good architectural photos without a tripod. And without skill and experience you won’t get good photos.

I recommend people spend the money on a good photographer. The difference it can make to the sale price of a house far exceeds the initial cost.

+>1, up to ‘many’

amazed at how many people take good photography for granted, assuming they could do it themselves with ‘the right equipment’. yes, let’s see how many could lap bathurst near track record times even if given the wheel of a lowndes car; or… well, i’m sure you have your own examples.

if you want a professional job of any sort done, here’s an idea – use a professional…

#16
mutley5:47 pm, 15 Feb 14

astrojax said :

Mysteryman said :

Grrrr said :

Mysteryman said :

I believe Australian copyright law determines that a photographer doesn’t own photos commissioned by a client for a “private” purpose – such as weddings or birthdays – unless agreed upon otherwise.

Would be interested in you pointing out which law that is.

Also, I suggest people with some technical nouse and creativity spend $1k on a cheap DSLR body, / flash / a decent wide lens, and take their own photos. You’ll spend a bit more than hiring a photographer for a couple of hours, but still have a nice camera on the shelf afterwards!

You won’t get a decent wide angle and camera for $1k. You also won’t get good architectural photos without a tripod. And without skill and experience you won’t get good photos.

I recommend people spend the money on a good photographer. The difference it can make to the sale price of a house far exceeds the initial cost.

+>1, up to ‘many’

amazed at how many people take good photography for granted, assuming they could do it themselves with ‘the right equipment’. yes, let’s see how many could lap bathurst near track record times even if given the wheel of a lowndes car; or… well, i’m sure you have your own examples.

if you want a professional job of any sort done, here’s an idea – use a professional…

I just wish they wouldn’t put the HDR settings to maximum, which makes it look like a clown vomited.

#17
gazket6:03 pm, 15 Feb 14

Take your own photo’s it’s not that hard.

#18
thatsnotme8:08 pm, 15 Feb 14

gazket said :

Take your own photo’s it’s not that hard.

Cut your own hair. It’s not that hard.

#19
Mysteryman8:58 pm, 15 Feb 14

gazket said :

Take your own photo’s it’s not that hard.

Would you say it’s easier, or harder than correctly using apostrophes?

#20
Sproogle773:10 pm, 16 Feb 14

gazket said :

Take your own photo’s it’s not that hard.

Very true. With modern digital technology, computer designed optics, accurate autofocus and autoexposure algorithms, it’s not hard at all to take photos. Any smartphone or cheap point and shoot camera will do it. A $1,000 digital SLR kit will do it better.

If you’re talking about good photos, that’s a different story. For the sake of the reply, I will assume you are not an experienced photographer. I am, but not in real estate.

Good real estate photos take specialist skills and equipment. You would need a good quality camera – probably a Digital SLR though some of the better mirrorless cameras would do nicely. You would want a fast (as in, large maximum aperture) ultra wide angle lens (the kit zoom that comes with the camera would do a mediocre job at best) and they are expensive. As mentioned, a tripod and a lighting set-up with a couple of off-camera flashes and probably softboxes or reflectors (and the associated wireless triggers and stands). Rather than $1,000 you should be budgeting more like $4,000 for this gear.

Then you would need the skills to cope with the very difficult mixed-source lighting, some very low light levels and wide dynamic range – don’t underestimate how difficult it would be to get the quality of professional real estate photos. High level post processing skills (and associated software with a large learning curve) will help. On top of this you will need a good sense of the kind of composition that works well in this specialist field.

If your property is unique and desirable enough that it will sell well regardless of what the photos are like and regardless of what else is on the market, then it may be worth doing it yourself. But if you are trying to compete with other properties that are at all similar or equally desirable, then IMHO it is worth investing in a professional. Your property is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A good set of photos might end up getting you a quicker sale and maybe even quite a few thousand more on the sale price – that seems worth it to me.

#21
Az11:54 pm, 16 Feb 14

Sold a house via agent at auction in December.

Professionally done shots were shopped to the shithouse. Lawns greened and smoothed, cracks and marks removed from walls and other surfaces, fires added to fire-places. Online, it looked like a super-shiny version of the federation original.

Considering the ethical reputation of the real estate industry, I assume the practice is standard.

#22
zorro2911:21 am, 17 Feb 14

Check the advertising agreement you entered into. If you paid for the advertising package seperately (which includes a full fee for the photography), the photos are yours and you can ask for the originals (un-watermarked).

I terminated a sales agreement but asked for (and got) the photos because I paid for them already.

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