Q: Hi Jill. I recently returned from a trip to Asia, which was expensed by my friend I was travelling with. I went to assist her with a new venture she is undertaking. We both took photos with our own cameras, but upon return she demanded I send copies of all the photos because she would like to compile a booklet with trip highlights. I don’t have an issue with her intention, but the photos she’s requesting are similar to ones she took as well. Am I obliged to send her my photos or should I have them copyrighted first? I intend to submit some of these photos for a show and would not like them to be published before then.
A: It’s always a great idea to pursue a new venture with someone you know and trust. We’d think a friend would be the perfect business partner. The catch is when we are dealing with friends we don’t always outline formally —read business contract — our expectations of one another and specific responsibilities these tasks entail. From what you’ve sent me, I don’t think you are obliged to send her anything since you didn’t mention any contractual agreement. I’m curious, though, what was your end of the bargain, business wise? Could this have involved you being the official photographer? In any case, I think it best that you have a chat about this new venture and your role in it. Make sure you trust one another’s intentions and then involve a lawyer specializing in entrepreneurship and copyright, and take it from there.
You will also want to confirm with the show’s rules so you don’t end up disqualifying yourself in the process.
jill’s tip of the week
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