I am a professional photographer. I would like to go onto the Naval Academy Yard and take photographs of events open to the public and events that are viewable by visitors. The taking of these photographs has been approved by the Naval Academy. I wish to put these images on my website and give them away free as a digital file. It is my hope that the customer will then order prints and other products such as coffee table books from me. They can go anywhere else to do so. Is this legal? Does taking photograph on a military base as a photographer for commercial purposes include only selling pictures? I am not doing this. Would it include my ultimately making money by a customer choosing to have me make for them a Coffee Table Book?
State/Country relating to question: Maryland
contacting PAO at USNA
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QUESTIONS: "Is this legal? Does taking photograph on a Military Base as a photographer for commercial purposes include only selling pictures? I am not doing this. Would it include my ultimately making money by a customer choosing to have me make for them a Coffee Table Book?"
ANSWER: First of all, please allow me to take a moment and wish you every success with this most interesting sounding project! Here is how this works. You obtained permission, which was absolutely the proper starting point. Nothing you have described is one bit unlawful, but to protect your interests you do need to proceed carefully. That means making sure that you have written authorization specifically giving you rights to take the photographs and use/disseminate them in your sole discretion, in other words without limitations on any purposes, commercial or otherwise. As long as you secure such permission, you will be on solid ground to proceed as outlined. I am really not so much concerned at all with your taking the photographs, posting them on your own site (or social media, etc.), or sharing files for free. But, when you cross the line into making money, that is where I would want to see you covered by such written acknowledgment and consent.
I truly hope all works out for you.
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Your answer is very helpful. I am afraid the USNA will say no as I am indirectly "making money." If they say yes, I will be surprised and happy. I will certainly get it in writing.Your answer implies that the indirect making of money from photographs would be the same as if I were to make money directly by selling the photographs. Or is this a gray area, not clear in the law?Couple of additional related questions: 1) I am photographing the plebes at the Naval Academy during their summer "boot camp." Can I photography them and include those photographs on my website as my opening page? I would not be selling these photographs but would give them away. I would be using this slide show as a Promotion to get parents on my website to promote a portrait sitting of their son/daughter. This portrait would be taken in the Fall on the Academy grounds. Do I need to get permission to use the photographs to promote my site to to sell this sitting which I do charge for?2) Can I use the same photographs to promote my website in a second scnenario? In this case the website would be providing information about the plebe's "bootcamp?" This information is from my personal knowledge and from the previous 30 years of photographing the "boot camp." Is there a military law prohibiting my charging for information about the "boot camp." This information was gathered during a period when I did have a contract to photograph the "boot camp."3) Can a photographer take a family photograph on a military base without permission from the base? He is doing so for commercial reasons.4) Can a wedding photographer or videographer provide services for a wedding without getting permission from the military basis. This is also a commercial purpose. Hope this covers everything.
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It was a pleasure interacting with you. I would like to wish you all the best and truly hope you see this matter resolved.
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