HyBrid Foto enjoys paintball in every essence. One of our proudest moments has been the fact we have been able to bring Russian paintball into the spotlight. The people we have met, the fans and of course our Russian paintball family. Its amazing to see the outpour of support from this community. However there is a time and a place where one must stand up and say no. This is one of those times and places.
Its quite unfortunate that we have made such a difficult decision. Souly based on the fact that contractual demands placed before us, not by the owner or the arena nor the president of the Russian Paintball Federation (whom may or may not be privy to this information) but with a Russian paintball publication. Orginally it was not my intention to name them, however enlight of new information I feel that we have been treated unfairly and singled out. The problems steming from Headshot Paintball and Life Magzine are not small nor revelant to go into great detail with all issues. It was our decision to no longer work in cooperation with Headshot. It was due to this decision that the following situation has come to light.
In preparation for the Arena Moscow Girls Cup 2013, contractual agreements were placed before us to sign. Keep in mind that no other media representive has received the same terms and some have not even received terms at all. Being the experienced professional that I was, I began to read over the papers. I had not got passed the first paragraph and knew this was going to be unacceptable on many levels. Here are just a few things we could not and would not agree to and the reason why. Maybe its not conveyed in the right manner however several other professional photographers, editors and magazine owners have also looked at this agreement and agreed the same as my first thoughts. This particular agreement is so loosely written that if signed in haste we could have stood to loose a great deal and preformed a great deal of work that we would have not benefited from in any way.
- 1.3 The Contractor shall give his consent to publishing the results of the works under clause 4.1 of this contract, at the discretion of the Customer, including the print media. - Last year when we submitted a photo for an article it turned up in an advertisement in the magazine and later popped up on one of their Facebook pages. They have told us as well that they have a photo bank that has photos to use whenever needed. Again not stating for what purpose they will be used. This a very loosely written point in the contract that potentially gives them the power to use your photos in advertisements that they sell to their customers. And as for you, you do not benefit. We have sent Headshot a invoice for the sum that is determinded by the Swedish Photographers Union (since we are Swedish citizens these terms fall under Swedish copyright law, which in itself falls under the Berne Convention which Russia is a member of and are to follow the same guidelines and mandates for Intellectual Property Rights)
- 1.4 Under this Contract, the property rights to the results of works shall be owned by the Customer, the copyright shall be owned by the Contractor. This is one of the biggest points in the agreement that I had a problem with. Even though it says we (contractor) retain the ownership of the copyright. However in regards to “property rights”, that is a different story. According to the CEPIC and WIPO “property rights” doesnt really exist, however Intellectual Propterty Rights does. IPR is an umbrella term that protects industrial rights and copyright. So if I had signed the agreement they in fact could push the envelope and actual claim my work for their own and there would be nothing I could do. They could use the work as they wished even using the work to create and sell advertising.
- 2.1.10 By an additional agreement of the parties, assist in the renting photo and video equipment. The rental fee for the equipment shall be paid by the Contractor. Its a bit difficult to accept this. If additional equipment is needed to carry out a task that they require, why would I have to pay for it, considering we are doing this event for free in order to promote woment in paintball?
- 2.3.1 Provide the Customer with the necessary and accurate information on the offered work, types and peculiarities of the materials used, as well as inform the Customer on his request of other information relating to the Contract and relevant to the work. Why would I provide the customer with all the information of how where and what I do with the work preformed?
- 2.3.2 Transfer all the results of the works performed to the Customer, as well as the Delivery and acceptance certificate for the results of the works performed signed on his part in the manner and within the timing provided for by this contract. A bit loose on this point as it says “transfer all the results of the works preformed”.2.3.3. Perform the works with proper quality. This point comes into play shortly.
- 2.3.7 The Contractor shall transfer not less than 50 high-quality photos without Customer’s logos from each tournament of each division for the use in print and electronic media. Photos and videos shall be delivered to the Customer via FTP servers within the timing established by the Customer in accordance with paragraph clause 4. -With a previous incident where the “Customer” used a photo that was for an article only turned into an ad that was sold to another customer I was a bit gun shy here. Videos and to a certian point photos can take a bit of time. This is where 2.3.3 comes into play (comes into play several times) If you are given a unreasonable time period surely mistakes will be made and the work would not be of proper quality according to the customers standards.
- 2.3.8 The Contractor shall create a photo album from the tournament, in accordance with clause 2.1 for the public access of Internet users. Each photo album shall contain at least 100 photos of various teams participating in the tournament. - if anyone like ourselves live on the work that we do, why would we upload these many photos of a unique event such as this only to have someone else steal them for their own use.
- 2.4.2 The Contractor assures the Customer that at the time of transfer of the results of the works performed the Contractor will have all the necessary rights to this transfer, and that their transfer to the Customer will not violate any rights of any third parties, including employees of the Contractor. - This goes back to point 1.4 To me this violates our rights, so its a bit redundant for me to assure them that the “transfer of the results of works preformed” when its my own rights that have been violated.
- 3.1.1 In case of non-performance of the obligations by the Contractor under this Contract, the Customer shall have the right to demand compensation for the expenses incurred, and the Contractor shall reimburse the expenses incurred by the Customer in accordance with section 2 of this Contract by the payment of funds to the settlement account of the Customer or in other manner within 30 calendar days from the receipt by the Contractor of the claim in writing. Along with the claim letter, the Customer shall provide the Contractor with the documents proving actual expenses (invoices, checks, receipts, certificates). How can non-preformance of obligations apply here when you are already doing the work for free? Who determines non-compliance for said work that was done for free? So if non-preformance is claimed for work that was done for free, does that mean I have to compensate them for “non-preformance” for work I preformed for free? (Do you see a trend here)
- 4.1 As the result of the works performed, the Contractor shall provide the Customer with photos in electronic form. Selection of the photos shall be conducted independently by the Contractor considering the correspondence to the technical quality and the standard norms. This goes back to 2.3.3 about property quality. Who decides this point? Like with most other arts of any types each person has their own understanding of “technical quality and standard norms”
- 4.4 In case of finding faults or defects, the Customer shall send the Contractor a reasoned refusal to sign the Delivery and acceptance certificate for the works with the requirement to correct it. Goes back to points 2.3.3 as well as 4.1 then could result in violation of 3.1.1 and have to compensate said customer for non-preformance for work I did for free for promotion for a sport I love so much.
- 4.5 Correcting faults and defects shall be performed by the Contractor within three (3) business days from the date of receipt of the specified request. Fixing faults shall be carried out by the Contractor at his own expense. Goes back to points 2.3.3, 3.1.1 and 4.1. Who can determind if there are faults in this type of work considering everyone has different tastes and no two photographers have the same style and skill. So goes back to the point that I have to correct faults for work I did for the sole promotion of woment in paintball and said work was done for free and do it at my own cost plus now I have 3 days to fix them. Well what then if the work is not considered “proper technical quality and standard norms” does that men it falls under the non-preformance clause and I might be held liable for compensation to them for work I did for free?
- 5.1 The parties shall seek to resolve any dispute arising out of this Contract or in connection with it, including the dispute over the right to conclude the Contract, its validity and obligation, making amendments and additions to it, its termination through negotiations and submitting a written complaint. The Party which received the complaint shall respond to it within five (5) business days. After this period, the Party having sent the claim may take legal action. So now not only may I be liable to compensate them for non-preformance and then have to correct faults at my own expense for work that was preformed for free for sole purpose for promotion of women in paintball, that now I run the risk that if for some reason that they still complain and there is no solution that they can take legal action which in the end can resolve in the loss of not only time but even more money.
Due to the fact that we refused to sign this agreement we were told that we could come to the event but without signing this agreement we could not go out onto the field and take photos or film. So what would be the point of us spending money to travel to an event, spend money on flights, hotel, taxis and food only not to be able to do what we do best and promote paintball and not be able to do our job. Sad that we wont be participating but rather pointless. Its like going to a job that you are not getting paid for only to stand there and do nothing. These same rule apply to any event that Headshot organizes or is a sanctioned RPF event as according to the piece of paper that they have waived at us several times is the general media and PR partner for the RPF. The paper states that they have the right to allow or diallow any accredation for any media wishing to participate in these events. Thus forcing their photography and work onto the paintball community. Their work is limited to their mgazine that is only printed in Russian 7 times a year plus one issue each year that is translated into English. It baffles me beyond belief how this helps the development of Russian paintball. Many of the players in Russia agree.
I have no animosity against the RPF and I applaud them for assigning duties to a media professional. We respect the RPF in every way possible as well as the owner of the arena. He has brought a great deal of opportunities to the Russian paintball communities. However I don’t know and cannot say that they know what real media promotion and contracts look like. I don’t even know if they have seen these contracts. It is my understanding that other media coming to Girls Cup did not receive the same contracts that we have received. It seems that we have been singled out and to me feels that the assigned general media partner isn’t concerned with promotion of Russian paintball outside of Russia. This to me is a hindernce of the development of Russian paintball both inside and outside Russia.
It is my hope that the email that I have wrote to the President of the RPF and owner of the arena that the assignment of Headshot and its owner and PR manager to the general media and PR partner for the RPF has gone to their heads and sent them into a power trip. It is also my hope that by us standing up for what is our rights as media against this publication will also bring awareness to the players, teams and series organizers that in order to promote their series and players one must look outside the box and support the media, whether it be HyBrid Foto or any other publication, with the exception of Headshot, in their goals to promote Russian paintball. I ask you, photographers and other professional media, would you sign an agreement such as this one?