Photographers, time to stand up for your rights!

In support for Philippine photographers.

DO NOT SIGN!!! Photographers! Time to stand up for your rights!

Both international and Philippine laws recognize the photographer's right over their images. If a magazine or newspaper commissions a photographer for a shoot,
the copyright belongs to the photographer. The only rights the magazine or newspaper has is the right to publish it for one issue only.

Even if the magazine pays for the film or cd and owns the material or media they do not own the copyright of the image. They can only use the image once. That is the law!

It is a law that photographer's should appreciate and fight for.

Within the past few days, a major local publishing company that carries several of the top glossy magazines has issued a contract which they are requiring photographers to sign if they are to shoot with them.

The stipulations of the contract are terribly one-sided and are designed to rob photographers of ALL their rights to their images. It is said that no one will be allowed to shoot if they do not sign the contract.

They are requiring the photographers :

- To relinquish all moral rights over the authorship of their images, here or anywhere in the world – that means that you do not even have the right to claim that the images are yours, you do not have the right to claim that you took the photos

- To relinquish ALL rights and copyrights over the images –
which means you don't own them anymore, you have no say in how they will be used, etc –

- Need to get permission to use for our own portfolios - you cannot include the images in your portfolio or website without their permission

All of these are unacceptable!
It is not only degrading, it is insulting!
The local publications severely underpay photographers as it is.
Now this publishing company is treating the works of photographers as cheap merchandise.

What are the repercussions of this agreement if photographers sign

1. The publishing company pays photographers pathetic editorial fees yet they can sell the images to advertisers at advertising rates. The photographers lose out big time.

2. They can even market packages to advertisers that will include photography. So instead of advertisers hiring photographers for their print campaigns, they can get a cheaper package through the publishing company. The publishing company can offer a package wherein they include our photographs which they get for barya!

3. If the publishing company chooses they can build their own stock agency and sell our images with no benefit to us. Mind you that stock agencies all over the world act as agents for photographers. They market the images, and if sold, they earn a
commission and the photographers earn. But with this contract, if the publishing company chooses to sell our images, all the profits are theirs because they fully own the images.

4. The publishing company can commission us under the guise of editorial photography but may intend to use it for any commercial venture anywhere in the world. For all you know they are paying you P2000 for a shoot of 5 layouts and then they are selling to someone else for P50,000.

5. You do not own the images. Imagine that you cannot even claim that the images are yours. Imagine that you cannot even include it in your portfolio unless they grant permission.

Is this in anyway acceptable?
The answer is obviously a big resounding NO!
To agree to such a thing is allowing ourselves to be slapped in the face.
It is an insult!
It is an utter disrespect for photographers.
It is bad enough that the fees for editorial photographers are pathetically low, now they want to rob us of everything we have. For a photographer… your images are part of your soul. They are trying to buy our soul for loose change.
Is that all we are worth?

Many professional editorial photographers are outraged at this and our initial stand is DON'T SIGN.

So if you are an editorial photographer, don't sign. Once you do, as a photographer, you have sold your soul and have betrayed the industry.

If we allow this to happen, it will be a precedent, and soon everyone else will follow suit. We cannot let this happen.

What's the plan of action?

First, DO NOT SIGN. Don't be afraid even if they threaten that they will not hire you. Many of the top and most sought after editorial photographers have stated they will not sign and are planning to meet soon to take a stand. If nobody signs, the publishing company will have to rethink their contract.
Remember the images are yours! It is you that should make the demands on them! If you sign, then you are forever a slave to them. There is strength in numbers. If the majority stands up to this, this injustice cannot prevail.

Second, if you are an editorial photographer, please send me your contact info so that we can contact you for the plans of action. A major meeting will soon be called to discuss our stand. You can email your contact info to or

DO NOT SIGN!!! If you have any respect for photography, DO NOT

From Louie Aguinaldo:

The posting regarding this issue has already reached the concerned publishing company. I have already received a call about an hour ago and we had a very good initial discussion to clarify matters. They didn’t mean to antagonize the photographers and would like to work things out so that everything would be beneficial for all parties concerned.
It seems the contract is on hold already due to the strong reactions of the photographic community. The publisher did have some concerns that we need to discuss about.

Here are the points that they brought up

1. We (the publishers) do not need to own copyright.

2. But there should a time frame one year where pictures belong to the magazine they originally shot for. After that re-use fees apply. One of the editors was asking, “What if we do, say, a 10-year retrospective of our bet photographers’ works, we need to pay all of them again?” Maybe we can talk about it?

3. After one year, copyright reverts to them but cannot be used in a competing magazine or publishers. Eg. FHM versus Maxim, Mega versus Preview

4. For outtakes, we can use them at any time, but only for magazine that commissioned the work.

5. For promotional purposes like posters, websites, re-use should be okay.

6. Payment and approval of other people involved in shoot (models, makeup artists, stylists, plus clearance of celebrity subject) is their responsibility if image is used for commercial purposes. If re-used for commercial purposes like advertorials, we will pay them (as we already do).

So we have to meet to discuss this soon and come up with a set of guidelines that are agreeable to both parties. The meeting of editorial photographers has been set for Monday, Oct 16 at 9pm. at DPI

This is a good opportunity for all of us to come up with guidelines that we can present to all publishers to avoid confusion and violations of copyrights.

I am glad to say though that the discussion today went very well. I
am convinced that they would like to maintain a good working relationship with photographers and I believe we will be able to resolve the problem soon. But let’s not get complacent, let’s see this through.


if you're really against this company, you should've posted their names and actual contact info to make the warning more factual....

Popular Posts