Intellectual Property- Wedding Suppliers & Styled Shoots – the legal issues? PART TWO.

So last week we looked at some of the issues around styled shoots and setting the rules out when collaborating with other suppliers. This week we are concentrating on one of the most contentious areas of styled shoots – and one of the most complex – intellectual property rights.

So I could give you a really complex precis of the law on intellectual property rights but I’m not sure how helpful that would be, but I suggest if you want to know more , this is a good basic guide: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview

In practical terms here are the key issues to think about in a styled shoot context:

The photographer will own the images that are taken at the shoot. He or she will need to give each other supplier involved a license to use the images – and this license may be conditional. Typical conditions would be:

  • Non-exclusive – so others could also use the images as well under similar license arrangements
  • Non-transferable or non-sub-contractable– so you cannot grant a license  to someone else to use them without the photographer’s consent.
  • Within a territory – so this may be England and Wales, UK wide, EU wide _ be careful here with Brexit changes afoot… or world wide .

Photographers providing services to wedding couples often grant licenses to use their photographs to their  clients which are NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE – but clearly in a styled shoot arrangement, this IS PURELY for commercial use so make sure the license terms are clear about what that may – or perhaps may, not entail. For example: the license may give you broad rights to  use on your social media feeds but you may have to get different permissions from the intellectual property owner if you want to submit the photos to Hello magazine.

What other conditions might there be? It’s a good idea to agree the way to tag or acknowledge the photographer when publishing  by agreeing the wording and the hashtag or the account to be tagged – this sounds obvious,  but there are instances of the wrong account being credited which is never good.

So what about the content of those photos? Obviously the issue of tagging the correct supplier account and the hashtags they use should also be agreed.

This shouldn’t require pages and pages of legal speak and notes – a simple bullet pointed list of likely situations or scenarios should be drawn up and then agree what can or cannot happen. Set the expectation again with something in writing. You can NEVER hope to cover off every possible things that might go wrong, but deal with the obvious risks.

And for help on this sticky problem, read on below……..

The question that often next arises is ‘Can you protect the designs the photographs show, the original and unique goods you want to sell, the creative and artistic products that you hope a styled shoot will show off so well, from copying or passing off as another’s work?’

A creator of goods will own the original design, they may also have copyright, and if copies were made of an original idea – in principal the owner of the original idea may have a claim for damages against the creator of the fake. However you might need some substantially deep pockets for this type of ligation (it ain’t cheap) and evidence of your original creation ( which means drawings, prototypes, evidence of design, the evolution of the products and the original creative inspiration)  if you want to pursue someone for copying ( breaching your intellectual property rights) or passing off. Take advice from an IP expert on these points if you think you have a potential claim.

A cease and desist letter (what’s one of those?editorhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cease_and_desist) may be a good starting point. There are lots of google results for templates if you search these terms but take care it is one for a UK based claim (not a US one – the law is different) and it’s not a panacea of all ills, and needs to be used sparingly.

BUT, I hear you cry, “Legal Fairy Godmother – where do I start with this stuff??”

A solution beckons. SGOL have created a template for styled shoots. Its not a contract. Its not even Heads of Terms – it’s designed to be written Rules of the Game – a simple template to use as an aid memoir to guide you through the questions you need to ask and the agreements you need to come to prior to a styled shoot to help reduce the risk for everyone involved..

For the rest of February 2020 this is available as an exclusive offer to YLFG Facebook group members at a discounted price of £24.99 by emailing us at heather@stanfordgouldonline.co.uk QUOTING ref YLFG and requesting your copy of the template. Non members can also get a copy, priced at £49.99. Email us for details.

It can be used multiple times by the same buyer but is subject to its own T and C’s which are sent on request.

If that sounds like something you could use – get in touch.