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Photography Rules/laws

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posted on May, 30 2012 @ 07:02 PM
I am unsure if this is the right area to post this in, so if it's wrong, please move it to the right section, thanks!

My husband and I have been members here on ATS for a while, we rarely post but are always on here reading. We know that ATS members are some of the best at finding how laws work so we're hoping someone here can help us.

We own and run a short track racing website, It's mainly based on tracks in the Triad area of NC because that is where we live but we do have members from all around the world. If any of you are Nascar fans or watched the show on History Channel "Madhouse", you've probably heard of Bowman Gray Stadium, in Winston Salem, NC. Most of our members come to the site because of our coverage of Bowman Gray, it's a historical track due to being one of the first Nascar sanctioned tracks. Lots of big name drivers have raced and won there.

We've been running ItsAllAMile since 2004, we bought an actual domain in 2005 and have been helping the drivers at different tracks but mainly Bowman Gray ever since. Every year we receive an email, message, or phone call from the track photographer or the track PR people making sure we are not selling any pictures or videos. Once we inform them that we are not selling, they leave us alone. We know that by paying to visit a track, we have to follow their rules so we do not try to sell anything nor do we pass out anything at their facility for free.

We do have full race videos minus the caution laps and a few race laps (Nascar doesn't like full video coverage), pictures, and in-car videos from every Saturday night posted on our website. It's there so that the drivers can go back and review the races they were in and so people who want to relive the moment can.

We were informed this Sunday, by email, that we can no longer post the videos nor more than 5 pictures online. They claimed it was because the track photographer is losing money because everyone has a digital camera. I nicely informed them that I have written proof from different people affiliated with the track and from the track photographer himself telling us that what we are doing is not illegal and as long as we are not selling, we are fine. The PR guy who emailed me responded telling me that was a misunderstanding and that we do not have any rights or permissions.

Long story short, we found out the guy in charge of PR is working with another videographer to possibly make their own video production. That is the real reason why they need to shut us and everyone else with a camera down.

I am going to be talking with the stadium's top management soon because the drivers do not believe they know what is going on. Until then though, can anyone help us make sense of how photography and videography laws work? We know that by paying to enter a facility they can dictate if we can use photography or videography BUT can they single us out and still allow other people to post their videos and pictures? We originally requested media credentials from the PR guy (before we knew he was shady and had shady people in his pocket) and was denied. Based on that, could we get away with saying they do not qualify us as media so we're just a personal hobby site and continue offering drivers a place to view pictures & videos? Regular paying fans can still take pictures and videos and post them on sites such as facebook, couldn't we? What if we used our own personal FB profile pages instead of our ItsAllAMile page?

Sorry this is so long, hope it makes sense. Any help or suggestions with this will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

posted on May, 30 2012 @ 07:13 PM
reply to post by itsallamile

If you have permission to tape and photograph there, there is no issue.
Anything you create is your property to do with what you please. Including sell.
Look into intellectual property laws for your state, for better clarification.

posted on May, 30 2012 @ 07:56 PM
Check out ASMP's web site (American Society of Media Photographers). They are straight up legit and have helped alot of photogs with legal issues. Lots of info on their site.

Looks like there is a chapter in your area, maybe you can contact their chapter prez and/or maybe talk to someone in ASMP's legal dept.

It sounds like it may come down to what the property owner of the track says, since although it's a public race, it's still on private property per se and property owner's rules trumps everything else after everything is said and done usually.

If you have written permission from said property owner's to do what you do then there shouldn't be an issue with PR man unless he has some kind of contract with said property owner wherein property owner has given PR man some kind of exclusive video/media/photog rights. Then I would think that'd be an issue btwn property owner and PR man not being on the same page, know what I mean?

I'd want to see said contract to make sure PR man ain't bs his way around the issue just to eliminate the competition. If PR man is legit, I would think that at some point he (or his lawyer) will/would send you a certified cease and desist letter on the lawyer's letterhead. My thinking is that an email won't cut it in court, know what I mean?

I'm not a lawyer, and I would certainly contact one if Mr. PR man gets testy. Maybe you could find one that's into racing could answer questions pro bono???

Good luck and keep on racing!!

posted on May, 30 2012 @ 08:27 PM
We do believe the PR man may be BS'ing us quite a bit so we are planning on talking with head management sooner than later. We've had people tell us that emails are not a legal cease and desist letter so we may continue doing what we do until we receive one or have a chance to sort everything out.

I will check out the intellectual laws here in NC and the ASMP site as well.

Thanks for the replies!!

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