Works For Hire Without A Contract Or Money - Who owns the photos?

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Cjoy34 New Member • Posts: 5
Works For Hire Without A Contract Or Money - Who owns the photos?

I'm in an extremely confusing situation regarding the ownership of my photos and videos.

I am a journalist first and foremost but also take professional photos during the assignment for my own personal use, as well as for the article (I use around 5 photos in the article out of the 300+ I take for myself to build my portfolio), however, using my own photos in the article is not a requirement of my assignment, it is something that I choose to do.

My 'employer' claims that they have ownership to every single photo that I take, because they are the one who sent me on the assignment. However, the assignment is purely for journalism, not photography. The only way this would make sense is because the media pass provided for the assignment allows me to bring a professional camera into the event whereas a regular general admission ticket that you have to purchase does not.

In addition, they claim that any videos I take on my iPhone (usually for fun or to share on social media) are also their property and cannot be posted anywhere without their permission and must state full credits to them. They even go as far as to say that any photos or videos taken by my friends or other people at the event who then send their content to me for my own personal use, automatically becomes their property as well, which makes absolutely no sense to me.

I want to point out that:

1. My 'employer' does not pay me for my work. While the assignment is technically works for hire, there is no monetary exchange, so would the laws regarding works for hire still apply? The exchange is that the employer will provide a media pass/free ticket to the event in exchange for a written article post event.

2. There are no contracts (verbal or written). The closest thing to any type of solidified information is the employee handbook, which only outlines what I am required to provide  or the assignment and on journalistic assignments, I am not required to provide any photos. On top of that, in the photographer section of the handbook, it states that the photographer is allowed to post anything that has not been used by the employer first. Upon bringing this up, they continue to insist that they have ownership to any and all content that comes from the event, photo or video; and that I cannot post them anywhere.

So who has ownership of the photos/videos?

And if it is in fact myself, can I take any legal action against the 'employer'?

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