BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Dan j. Hillis

Copyright law: Selling photo's on your Web site

Can you take photo's at pro events like Indy or Nascar or Team Sports, and sell them on your Website?

Example: I go to the Speedway take a few hundred shots of the cars racing around the track. I come home post some on my Website for sale lets say 14.95 a shot. Mr Jones from Whereversville buys it. Is that a copyright infringement?? thanks dan

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4/23/2004 6:39:42 PM

Joe Jarosz   Hi Dan, did you ever get an answer to this? I'm interested as well.


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2/5/2005 6:51:35 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Technically yes.
Video and photo are always licensed with limited use according to their say so. Likewise NBA,NFL,MLB.
You can sell them to Getty, Iconsports, other sports stock/editorial stock agencies if they are allowed to.

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2/5/2005 8:14:02 AM

Joe Jarosz   But could you sell them outright as photo's, not to an agency without getting a release? In otherwords to individuals for their personal use? The performers (drivers and their race cars) are clearly in public view and you see photo's like that published all the time in magazines, newspapers, even at stands at the race track people have for sale. I understand the newspapers and magazines are probably editorial, but how about just selling for wall art, if you consider a race car driver or race car art :) an example would be these

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2/5/2005 12:15:10 PM

Todd E. Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2005
  Hey Joe-

I am not a lawyer, but maybe this can help a little. I cannot walk up to you and take your picture without written permission. Then, on-top of doing it without your permission, I am going to sell photos of you and make money (potentially a lot depending on your popularity, i.e., your photo of Jeff Gordon.) and not share the money with you. Not fare huh? You in turn would sue me for using my likeness for finacial gain without proper compensation. There are hundreds of cases we see in the news about a famous celebrity suing someone about making money from photos.

I am not sure if I would try it, but I don't think NASCAR is gonna hunt you down for their share of the profits...

Just my 2-cents

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2/11/2005 8:56:53 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  "I cannot walk up to you and take your picture without written permission"
Way off on that.

As to stands at the track, you can't set one up without a permit, so you or anybody who wants to do that would get clearence from track officials, which is part of nascar. Now friends who are fans buying a few here and there, the illegalness of that I would compare to you helping friends with car repairs and not reporting what they pay you as income.
Now take it to the extreme, say you ended up with a nicely going business of selling nascar photos all across the country. Nascar could bring a cease and decist for non-licensed nascar items.
Now if you got your pictures by having a pass to the pits, it probably says on the back about secondary use of photos is prohibited. Major sporting events won't allow people to take pictures with anything that may get a decent picture from the stands. A small camera, or a camera with a small lens would be allowed, and with the safety fence at a track being in the way, I'm sure all kinds of pictures are encourage.
When I was at the college cup, a security person told several people sitting close to the front not to photograph or video the game. That's the ncaa's rules.

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2/12/2005 3:11:16 AM

Joe Jarosz   Thanks Todd and Gregory,I think this clears it up. You can buy pictures all over the place of things like NASCAR drivers and cars, hard to believe they are all licenced but it's possible I guess. Either way points well taken.
Interestingly I've been going to races for years and taking my 35mm with 300 zoom to the track and no one has ever said anything. I'm not in the front row, but you can see from some of the shots on my web page of the cars I get pretty good shots. The close ups of drivers are from the pits with a pit pass, and I just read the back and all it talks about it proper dress code, and illegal to give it to someone else.

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2/12/2005 5:53:47 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Well nascar is still very fan friendly for a major sport. So far it's never had a reason not to be.
But if you plan on selling stuff at the track, and if you actually can just set up a booth, then by all means go for it. Could depend on the event, or organization. I would really, really be surprised if during an nfl game, or march madness, you could just try selling some merchandise on site, out of the blue.

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2/12/2005 9:44:11 AM

Joe Jarosz   ah, maybe misunderstood. I wouldn't necessarily be selling these at the track. I think I used that as an example. I might want to sell off my web page as prints for example. sorry for the confusion on that. I did notice however when looking through Alamy's web page, I searched on Jeff Gordon for example, and a bunch of pictures came up, many with no release. How can they do that?

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2/12/2005 11:03:35 AM

Wilson H. Valentin   You need a license from NASCAR! pick up the phone and call them and work out a deal. will not hurt to make this phone call. if they tell you is ok and you don't need a license, ask you want that to be written to cover your behind.

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2/12/2005 3:36:47 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  alamy is a stock photo agency. Same search brings up pictures of Tony Blair having a meeting with some guy who's first name is Gordon.
A stock agency can have pictures of Brittany Spears in concert, if they have a stock of entertainment photos. It's not a place for ordering an 8x10 of somebody. It's for using the photos in editorial purposes. Or if rights managed, possibly some other uses if the rights use allow it.

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2/12/2005 6:33:13 PM

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