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Photography Question 
J..S. & J.A. Cowell
 

Selling photos of a professional sporting event


We have been taking photos of our local minor league baseball team for the past two years, and would like to make a little money selling our images. The managment has denied us selling the images based on player contracts. Has anyone heard of any contract restrictions with the players that would not allow you to sell an image? How does one get permision or licensed to sell professional sports photos?


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3/19/2007 5:27:32 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  You might try taking some of your better images and selling them directly to the team. Edit your images shrewdly. Show them only the best. Offer your services for a modest but adequate fee to the team at future outings. You have images. Now target your market for them. Wanna sell them, sell them to those who are permitted to buy them.


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3/19/2007 5:33:13 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  The player contracts, in turn, likely contain clauses regarding publicity and commercial use of photographs or images or likenesses of them. These were probably carefully drafted by the team and /or player lawyers, and by their lawyers before them. Layers of lawyers.

The league management said "no". If you were going to get permission, that'd be the source unless you went to the league itself, in writing, to see if they would override the team decision and that isn't at all likely. And if word gets back to the team(s) that you've done that, you may find yourselves banned from their games, for obvious reasons. Then you're in for real problems. Why risk it when it's absolutely their right to control how their images are used or not used, as the case may be.

My suggestion J&J is when they refused permission, they meant it and if you persist and those images they're refusing releases on somehow get published, electronically or otherwise, you could find yourselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit. If you want to do as Chris suggested, you'd better get consent of the team management before you approach any players for individual sales or again, you may be headed for very shallow water and the possibility exists that you may run aground. ;>)
Take it light.
Mark


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3/20/2007 8:57:18 AM

 
J..S. & J.A. Cowell   Thanks for the input. We have submitted a proposal and are hoping for the best. From what we understand, this won't be possible without some sort of license from the league. If you have any suggestions for that, we would appreciate it.

Jason


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4/11/2007 7:24:11 PM

 
Shirley Fairley   You need to find out what the privacy laws are in your area, especially relating to minors.
What about talking to the management team about doing a cruise ship kind of thing at the end of the season at the final awards dinner?


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4/12/2007 6:58:22 AM

 
J..S. & J.A. Cowell   Thanks for your response, Shirley. We kind of did something similar last year with a slideshow of our best shots and gave them to the players and some of the staff at the ballpark. That slideshow was used at the sponsors dinner at the end of the season with our blessings. We had hoped for a foot in the door type of response.


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4/12/2007 5:15:54 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  This may no longer be a privacy issue but rather appropriation of likeness for commercial uses. It depends on a variety of factors and this isn't really an appropriate forum for the kind of specific legal advice you need.

What I strongly recommend is that you buy some time from a lawyer where you live, one who specializes in intellectual property law AND commercial use of images for sports figures. This can be a very very tricky area depending on a myriad of factors including the nature of the players and team contracts, what league they're signed to, minor or major, and who else may or may not have exclusive rights to photographing the various players or teams, separately or collectively.
M.


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4/12/2007 6:07:34 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  BTW, if you do as Shirley suggests, you're still going to need specific permission to sell the images you produce in any way, from the parents of every kid you photograph who is under 18 years old. Or if they're over 18, from each player you shoot.

Lastly, it's completely within their rights, as ball players (kids or not, regardless of their league) to refuse to allow commercial use of their images OR to charge what the traffic will bear for the use of their images.
Take it light.
Mark


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4/12/2007 6:12:19 PM

 
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