Legal advice on breach of contract

Hi all,
Having recently sold some of my work, I have found out afterwards that they were given it by a third party, without my knowledge or permission. I did give permission for the party that handed it over to another, but specified that it was only for their personal use, and I put this in a letter to them, stating no other persons are allowed to use, or store my information etc, without my written permission, as copyright applies to my work.
I would appreciate any advice on the issue.

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Did they agree in writing to your terms or sign anything ?

Where is unauthorised use being shown/used ?

more info needed i think

I initially had no intention of marketing my work, I simply allowed the person who allowed me to use my drone on his site, there was nothing in writing about this, but I did tell him ( and confirmed in a letter to him ) he could have a copy of it for his own personal use ie to look back on his opening up of the site, at a later date, but that he could not pass any of my work onto others, even within his company, he agreed to this, and I thought I would cover myself just in case he did exactly that, stating that use by other persons except yourself is not allowed, under copyright, and permission to use had to be obtained from myself.
He failed to do this, and handed my work over to our local Museum, who have now included it in a major exhibition, yes I have been given credit, and a payment for the work, ( which I have not yet received ) but only after I discovered that the work they were showing was mine. I felt at this stage that I could not stop the exhibition, as it was in very late stages, within 3 days of showing. there has been nothing in writing between the third party and myself regarding showing the work, except for me verbally allowing them to use my work, for this one off exhibition.
The faults I see are that a) the original person who received my work, should not have passed it on without asking me first. b) the Museum should have carried out due dilligence and asked where the work had come from, and taken it from there. I also now have the situation of what should happen next, regarding the Museum holding onto my work, for possible future use, etc.
I hope I have learned a lesson from this, and for other user also, and I look forward to your views on the issue.

Can we see the work

You should be able to get advice from your local trading standards agency, or citizens advice.

For future reference, before handing over any work have a terms and conditions of use document that they sign (or at least acknowledge in writing)

@Drumsagard is probably current on this, as a wedding tog I would presume he deals with this kind of thing on a weekly basis.

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This :point_up:

All my wedding clients sign a contract and a part of the t & c’s is all about copyright and what they can and cannot do with the images. Pretty poor on the museum’s part not to check who had copyright of the images in the first place but since they are now paying you, did you come to an agreement on a fee? Or did they make you an offer?

Send them an invoice and a contract.

I know a wedding tog who had several of his images used by a wedding venue in their new brochure and online marketing. They got high res copies from the bride & groom, but didn’t bother checking copyright or asking permission from the photographer. So he just invoiced them for every image used (probably at an inflated rate) and threatened legal action if they didn’t pay up.


Do you know who the third party is and are you able to contact them?

It sounds like a fairly straight forward copyright issue, the third party are using your work without the right to do so, so contact them and offer a resolution.

The issue of the person you first gave your work to passing it on is a distraction. Worth contacting them to remind them it is not something they are allowed to do, but I doubt there would be much milage in chasing it unless is was resulting in losses you can’t recoup.

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I wouldn’t dwell on this too much. You’re talking about a local charitable trust running at an annual deficit of nearly £200k and with more volunteers than employees. I doubt there was anything nefarious here - the conversation about your footage almost certainly went like this:

Tullie: You know that exhibit we’re doing about the dig? Got any photos or videos we can use?
Landowner: Sure. I took loads of pictures. You can have them.
Tullie: Brilliant.
Landowner: Oh, hey. I’ve got some cracking drone footage too if you want it?
Tullie: That would be amazing. Thanks!
Landowner: No worries

I suspect the answer to this is going to depend on the specifics of what you already agreed with them when you sorted the payment and credit for the work in the current exhibition.

But honestly, in your shoes I’d be inclined to chalk this one up as a lesson learned and focus on the positives. It wasn’t a week ago you were delighted to have your first payment for footage and have it showing in the local museum. Keep hold of that feeling and use it to boost you on to go out and get more for next time.

Perhaps have a Google for template videographer/photographer agreements (that include copyright clauses). You’ll likely have to pay a small fee for the templates but at least you’ll have handy in future and then you’ll know where you stand.

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Thanks for all your comments on my copyright issue guys, I appreciate them, and have learned a valuable lessons, for the future.

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