We just published a new issue of our magazine, which has been running for a few years and is well-established in our industry. After covering an event which we have covered many times previously, we had this message exchange.
Client: Hello, we didn’t know [photographer] was going to publish the photos in your magazine. Please show us what he sent you, at the time we didn’t fully understand that it would be published.
Me: What is the problem here? If you have a press photographer attending an event, then if course the photos will be submitted for publication. You can see the finished issue on our site.
Client: No, that’s not how it works, it doesn’t give him the right. We didn’t want to be featured in any magazines this year.
Me: Then please take it up with [photographer] as we cannot control what is submitted to us if we’re told it has been cleared for use.
Client: But having a press photographer at your event doesn’t give them the right to send pictures to a magazine!
Er, yes, yes it does. That’s exactly what it does. A much longer conversation ensued in which we had to remind them again and again that our policy puts liability on the photographer, and they should talk directly to him; ask them if they had a contract asking for non release of the images or giving them copyright over them, which they did not; explain copyright law and laws of consent; and finally ended with us politely letting them know we would be happy to add a note in customer files that their events were never to be published again. And now that’s one less nuisance for our team to deal with in the future!