So continuing another look at my blog post in March, The Corner Store , lets say that you work in a hospital in the education department. You provide education to a wide variety of people on many topics using a variety of media to get your message across. So, you are reading about stock photography and know that some of the images sell for quite a bit of money depending upon the size and number of downloads.
You happen to have quite a large collection of medication container shots that you have made over the years. You feel that the images are pretty darn good. You take the images to the corner store and proudly claim that yes, you did take this images and would like a few prints to publicize your new endeavor. The clerk hesitates a little, but finally the manager gives the clerk permission to print the images.
You start showing the prints to start generating your new income stream and one afternoon your administrator asks what you are doing. You calmly explain, but the administrator becomes very serious during your discussion and asks why you are selling hospital property for your personal income. As it turns out, as an educator, you were HIRED to take images such as what you are trying to sell as your normal course of work for educational purposes. You are technically in a work for hire status and the hospital owns the images and the copyright, therefore you do NOT have the right to sell these images.
But, lets take a look at the same situation, and lets say that you were nurse who was taking these images. Well, the nurse was hired to take care of patients, certainly not specifically hired to educate through the use of various media and this could not be considered hospital property. HOWEVER, she took the shots of just the pill bottles with the name and TRADEMARK of the medication clearly in her shots. If the drug company saw these shots, things 'could' get a little sticky for her. She simply took an image of the bottle and wished to sell it for stock images (Of course a responsible stock image company may not accept a product image with a trademark unless all releases have been submitted).
In the final situation, a therapist shoots images of a patient taking medication. The medication is mentioned, although the bottle is not clearly visible and certainly not the main point of the image. The therapist was not hired to take the image, no trademark symbols are visible. He clearly owns the image, does he have a right to sell it? Well, only if an appropriate 'model release' was obtained from the 'patient'.
Reputable stock agencies often have on-line help that includes guidelines as what you may or may not place on their site for sale or professional agencies such as the Professional Photographers of America may be able to provide guidance.
Bob Barford is a published photographer working out of Southern Pennsylvania.