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Photos & Copyright: What You Need to Know

  • If an employee takes photos during a work function, then Extension owns the photos and no license agreement/assignment of copyright by the photographer is necessary.
  • Photos taken on an employee’s personal time, outside of work, not in the scope of employment, are owned by the employee.
  • Photos taken by UMaine Extension volunteers at events are owned by the volunteer.
  • The University should not use such photos in any way without the written permission of the photographer.
  • To use such photos, staff have two options:
    1. the photographer needs to sign off on a COPYRIGHT LICENSE AGREEMENT (PDF), or
    2. the photographer needs to sign off on an ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT (PDF)

Photo Releases

  • Required for all individuals in the photos
  • Releases are kept for as long as the images are being used.

 Copyright License Agreement

  • Photographer retains ownership, but allows UMaine Extension the right to use said photos.
  • Requires compensation of some sort to the photographer (to be determined by Extension administration).
  • The Director of UMaine Extension will sign the Copyright License Agreement on behalf of the University.

Assignment of Copyright

  • Requires a check request for one dollar ($1.00) — the owner of the photos needs to be made a vendor in Market Place. The chart field to charge the expense will be Dept. 5400983, fund 12, project, 5600011
  • The Director of UMaine Extension will sign the Assignment of Copyright on behalf of the University.

All signed agreements should be sent to Tracey Ferwerda.

Best Practices

If you are the photographer:

  • Send a signed COPYRIGHT LICENSE AGREEMENT (PDF) or ASSIGNMENT OF COPYRIGHT to Tracey Ferwerda to be signed by the Director.
  • Scan signed photo release(s) (if applicable).
  • Upload image(s) and scanned photo release(s) to the PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY STAFF folder in BOX.
  • Tag your image(s) in BOX using general descriptive terms (i.e., garden, livestock, insects, 4-H, robotics etc.) so that others can find them in a search.
  • When adding your image(s) to your website’s Media Library:
    • Give the image a short, meaningful title (to help with searches)
    • Add ALT text to ensure ADA compliance (mandatory)
    • Add a caption (optional)
    • Include a description: Name of the photographer, where and when the photo was taken, and any other useful information, to let other staff know the origin and history of the image.

If someone else is the photographer:

  • Get written permission from the photographer to use the photo. Use Extension’s Permission Requests Form Letter
  • If the photos are from volunteers that want us to use their photos, follow the same procedure listed above in “If You Are the Photographer.”
  • Upload image(s), photographer’s signed permission form, and photo release(s) (if applicable) to the PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY STAFF folder in BOX.
  • Tag your image(s) in BOX using general descriptive terms (i.e., garden, livestock, 4-H, etc.) so that others can find them in a search
  • When adding your image(s) to your website’s Media Library:
    • Give the image a short, meaningful title (to help with searches)
    • Add ALT text to ensure ADA compliance (mandatory)
    • Add a caption (optional)
    • Include a description: Name of the photographer, where and when the photo was taken, and any other useful information, to let other staff know the origin and history of the image.

What Makes a Good Photo?

Good photos include the following elements:

  • Purpose. Photos should convey information, tell a story, cause an emotional response, or communicate a message.
  • Sharp focal point. If a photo is blurry, too dark or too light, don’t use it.
  • No distracting details. These might include unrelated objects that dominate the picture, identifiable names, images or logos on apparel (other than UMaine, Extension, and 4-H), photo bombers, oddly-placed background objects (is there a plant or a lamp growing out of someone’s head?), etc.
  • Engaging. Subjects are expressive or detailed enough to make the viewer understand or feel something.
  • Good composition. Crop out unnecessary details. Consider the Rule of Thirds.

If your photo doesn’t meet the standards above, please, do not use them on Extension websites, social media, or printed items.

FAQs Photos

Q. Can we use photos that our volunteers give us?

A. Photos taken by UMaine Extension volunteers at events are owned by the volunteer. To use the photos, the University needs written permission from the photographer.

Q. Can we set the “Assignment of Copyright” up so that it covers a 12-month (or longer period) to have it as part of the re-enrollment process for volunteers.

A. Yes, you could create an Assignment of Copyright form that covers future photos taken by the volunteer during a certain period of time, if the Assignment of Copyright form contained the dates and language to indicate what rights were being assigned. We recommend not exceeding a 12-month period.

Q. Do we need to get permission to use photos from our partners when they supply us photos, or do we as partners and the grant funder own the copyright to said photos and as such can forego permission?

A. Yes, we need to get permission to use photos from our partners.

Q. If we have permission to use a photo, and later on the person decides they don’t want the University to use the photo any longer, do we need to remove it from our print and online resources?

A. Legally, no we don’t have to remove any photos that a volunteer originally signed off on. However, to maintain good relations with the volunteer, you may want to remove as many of them as is practical. It’s almost impossible to completely remove photos from social media; you can remove them from your website, but if they’ve been shared by others, they’ll still be available online on others’ pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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