Friday, June 15, 2018

Intoxicated by the Beautiful Game – 6 tips on using images around the Football World Cup

Author: Sophia Höttinger  © 2018 | Copytrack.comTranslator: Ute Krebs © 2018 | 
The Football World Cup is upon us and it’ll be difficult not to get caught up in the excitement. As soon as the first whistle sounds, there will be an abundance of photos covering everything from fans, players and events which spread like wildfire across social media, websites and blogs. Retailers, online shops and service providers are also getting in on the act advertising special lines, offers or World Cup related special offers via all channels of communication. It pays to be aware, however, that using World Cup related material can bring with it a risk of written warning or high claims for compensation. COPYTRACK finds 1000s of infringed images a second, often where the image user was unaware that their action is illegal. To make sure that the World Cup doesn’t turn into a nightmare but is fair and worry-free we have put together a few important tips so that nobody runs foul of image, personality or trademark rights: 
One: Caught up in the moment: photos of the public gathering of fans
Photos as well as videos of fan areas or open-air viewing are part and parcel of the World Cup. A word of caution on any people depicted: everybody (including football fans) has the right to their own image and also over whether a picture of him/her is published. There are exceptions to the law – if the person depicted belongs to a larger group as part at a public event and not central to the image, approval from that person is not needed. That means they may be recognisable as part of the larger spectacle but not the focus of the image. The event itself and not the person should be central to the image. Even though these kinds of images are seen again and again, a single person must not be the focus of the image without prior approval. Caution is also advised if the person is recognisable and depicted in a derogatory way or a very private situation. In such cases even the taking of the image could be seen as violating that person’s personality rights. If the person depicted is in a helpless situation this could even be seen as a criminal act. As a rule, you should always ask if you want to take a snap of a person or maybe just refrain from taking a photo. 
Two: Beware of using images of players
Professional footballers, even if they are famous, also enjoy personality rights and the rights to their own image. As a rule, every player is allowed a say over the publication and exploitation of their own image. For some players this is a lucrative business – Christiano Ronaldo for example can easily command six-figure sums for the use of his image. In some case it is not just the image but also the name of a player which is protected and can only be used in a restricted way. Franz Beckenbauer’s name for example is protected as a trademark.
Name and image rights are an extension of personality rights. As with everything there are exceptions – an image and name of a player can usually be published non-commercially without the player’s prior approval. Another example would be the reporting of an event such as a football match as public interest and news reporting. Using the image of a player is also allowed if the player is part of a larger event as described above. Any images taken or published outside of the public game of football, however, such as in the changing rooms is not allowed without prior approval of the player(s). Don’t be tempted to use any player’s image or name commercially or for advertising without a valid contract with the players or their management. COPYTRACK’s software can even detect images if they are used partially, are coloured, mirrored or distorted. 
Three: Taking photos inside the stadiums
During the World Cup, the Bundesliga or other countries’ league seasons there is an abundance of amateur stills and footage clips uploaded and shared through social media channels. Taking photos or video isn’t always permitted inside the stadiums, however. The organisers of an event usually have the right to exclude people from taking images or grant exclusive rights to others, decide on where and how images taken inside can be used or published. It is also worth noting that most public buildings have their own house rules which govern the rights of admission for individuals. They are usually made public such as here for the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
Using images or videos of a game in private or sticking photos into an album is no problem as a rule. Uploading such material on Facebook, Instagram or even using it commercially without prior permission could, however, depending on the house rules incur penalties. Checking out the house rules of the particular stadium is always worth it in case they do not allow camera equipment to be taken inside. Mobile phones or small digital cameras are usually okay but professional photography equipment, including tripods and an array of photographic lenses might have to be handed in at the door. 
Four: Images of merchandising?
At every World Cup there is a huge number of official merchandising sanctioned by FIFA and the 2018 event is no exception. T-shirts, caps and the official mascot are bound to be immortalised worldwide in a whole array of photos and videos. As with all other images, the rule of thumb is that unless these images are used in a commercial way, a private use is unproblematic. Phrases, words, titles, symbols and logos which are trademarked have been put under very strict rules for usage by FIFA. None of these can be used without prior permission to advertise products that suggest a commercial connection to the World Cup or even to give the impression of an official partner- or sponsorship of the World Cup. FIFA also does not allow to pass off products as official FIFA products or World Cup merchandise. FIFA will take legal steps against such uses in order to protect their intellectual property and the officials sponsor from incurring any financial or reputational damage. To be on the safe side, it is worth keeping the official FIFA rules and regulations in mind. 
Five: Showing the games in public – a few tips for organisers
Viewing games together with friends (or strangers) in public has become a staple of the World Cup. While some invite friends home to watch the games, there are also the numerous beer gardens, pubs, bars and even restaurants provide fans with the opportunity to watch the games in public. As with all aspects of modern sporting events, there are legal pitfalls and we have put some together. Please note that this is according to German law, in other countries different laws apply! Paragraph 87 of the German copyright law concerns the so called “pub or bar privilege”. German law differentiates between public events which charge no admission and those that do whether directly or indirectly. If any kind of admission is charged and the event is accessible to the public outside of private residences, the organiser must have a valid license from FIFA to show the game, without it they can cancel an event. License applications are also available on FIFAand the rules for showing the games must be adhered to. Privately held, in-house (i.e. in companies) non-commercial events can usually be held without paying a fee to the World Cup organisers. If visitor numbers exceed 5000, FIFA sees the event as a “special non-commercial” event for which the organisers will need to obtain a license – this doesn’t cost any money, though. German law does not differentiate between these different types of events as FIFA does, a FIFA license only needs to obtained if the organisers charges an entrance fee. Anyone thinking of organisers a public event should also check if a license from GEMA is needed (GEMA is the German collecting society for music rights). GEMA offers a special license for the World Cup. 
Six: Watching the World Cup at work
Many of the games take place during working hours and for the ardent football fan this can be torture. The temptation to follow the games during office hours surreptitiously via the internet, mobile phones, live tickers or live radio is enormous but beware: employers are under no obligation to allow any of this and so it is advisable to check with your boss beforehand. If you are lucky he or she is as much of a fan as you are! Some might even use the World Cup as an opportunity for teambuilding and motivation by arranging a viewing of the games together. Any transmission device specially set up for such an occasion might need a license from GEMA as not just the music but also journalists’ reports are protected by copyright and are liable to fees.
Don’t score an own goal – get informed! We wish you all a successful World Cup with fabulous games and many goals.

About Copytrack:
COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. The company now consists of a team of around 25 colleagues from legal, IT, to customer service, and finance. The service is offered to photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers, and includes a risk-free search of the Internet worldwide. Photos uploaded by the users are located by COPYTRACK with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers can then define if images are with or without a license, and even determine the number of subsequent fees, supported by an automatic license calculator on our portal. COPYTRACK is fully responsible for out-of-court resolutions in over 140 countries, as well as legal resolutions in the relevant areas of copyright law. If the post-licensing process has been successful, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The search function is free of charge.

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