> This is a long story, but I will try and keep it simple. I'm curious what you'd do
> in my situation.
> I am a yearbook HS teacher. At the beginning of the year I was asked by the booster
> club to take my schools sports photos. I said yes if I could keep the profit and
> this was an ongoing thing. They agreed. I took the Fall sports pictures. Everything
> went good. Parents gave me compliments.
> The only complaint I got was from a booster club member asking for a discount. I
> told her that would be improper and everyone had to pay the same price. She was very
> upset over $6.
> I was originally asked to take these photos because the previous photographer took
> really crappy/blurry photos. Lots of parent complaints. Because of the extra anticipated
> income I bought a new car.
> A couple days ago I got an email from booster club claiming I was no longer allowed
> to take photos. The photographer who was originally fired for being crappy was rehired.
> They claimed I was fired because of prices/packages. None of which was ever communicated
> to me from the group. No discussion. I was also told that no formal meeting/vote
> took place. Because of this I told the booster club they could no longer use any
> of my photos I take at sporting events in their pamphlets/flyers/calendars.
> My boss is very angry over this. He claims the school owns all of my pictures. These
> pictures are taken hours past my duty day and with my own equipment. I argued he
> might own what's taken during the school day but not after the duty day.
> I get a small stipend for Yearbook, but I was under the assumption it was for supervision
> and not from taking pictures. He hypothetically told me he'd write me up/fire me
> if I didn't continue to supply the pictures. Shouldn't I have a say on how my images
> are used? Especially when they are used for profit? My presumption is I should have
> final say when it comes to profit.
> I feel like I've been treated very unfairly. I tried to offer compromises.. I was
> told no. He said he wasn't even sure if he could give me photo credit.
> Told me I needed to think of the kids. I asked who's thinking about me? My job pisses
> me off from time to time, but I've never been more offended. If you were in my shoes
> would you just let it all go?
Just a quick question: what is a booster club? Is it separate from the high school? Is it a unique entity or is it run by the HS?
So initially the Booster club approched you and you made a verbal agreement that you would take team sports photos for no cost, and in return you could take those files, upload them and parents could purchase either files or prints depending on what they want, right? And the Booster club verbally agreed to that?
So now someone isn't happy with your pricing that is a Booster member, and has decided to complain. Welcome to the world of photography.
• Did you sign any kind of contract for the photography services with the Booster Club? It sounds like you didn't, but I'm asking anyway.
• Does your existing contract with the school indicate anything within it about owning any inttelectual property that you create on school grounds? You might need to dig through this to see. Some companies will state that anything you devise, create or brainstorm on premises becomes outright property; physical and intellectual of the school. I have a friend that has a recording studio a few towns over. Music students from Berklee College in Boston come to him to record because in the student handbook it states that any compositions, songs, etc that the students create, compose or write on Berklee campus becames sole property of Berklee. Crapty, right? Totally.
If you asked me, if there is nothing in your contract stating that, and considering you were using your OWN equipment; not equipment provided by the school district specifically for school-related happenings, the inttelectual property of those images belong to you. You own them. You took them. Your finger pushed the shutter button, and IP states that IP ownership belongs to the photographer the second of creation.
You have no written contract with the Booster Club. It was an agreement on good faith, and they reniged from that verbal agreement.
If you have any kind of union representative available to you, I'd advise contacting them and requesting a meeting. They could probably help you search through your employment contract to see if that particular thing is covered/not covered.
I think regardless, you need to put your hands up and back away from the situation, and let them know that you won't be covering any more sports events. Have the yearbook students start covering sports events. If they don't have cameras, request the school submit a grant to supply students with cameras. You DO NOT have to supply your own camera gear; it's wear and tear for something work related. That is your personal stuff.
Years and years ago I worked for a wine vendor in their graphics department. About six months in to the job, they discovered I was a photographer and started sending me home with bottles of wine to photograph for shelf talkers and POP sales materials. I did about six of them and then told them this wasn't part of my contract. They wouldnt' offer me any outside pay (I was doing this on off-hours, off-premises) and I told them no.
A year after I left the company they started contacting me asking if I'd photogrph bottles, which I happily did at my full product photography rates.
You gotta get this kind of crap on paper, with signatures, etc. Otherwise this stuff happens and it becomes he-said, she-said.
Photos of students playing sports are a dime a dozen. There is no resale value on this stuff. If they are strong-arming you for the files, just hand them over (the price for a hard lesson learned) and walk away from this agreement.
But check with a union rep. Talk it over with them.