Photo Attorney

Sep 18, 2007

Alert: REI Grabs Rights to Use Photos for Free and Worse

As an outdoor photographer and enthusiast, I've purchased a lot of goods from REI and have been a member since the 70s. It's therefore disappointing to receive an email from REI requesting photos from its members to use their photos for free on the web and in printed matter. And, you get to indemnify REI for any claims against it for its use of the photos and agree to limit your damages against REI to $50! Here's the overbearing language:

1. I irrevocably grant to Recreational Equipment, Inc. . . . in perpetuity, for no additional consideration, to use the photographs or pictures . . . an unlimited number of times in any manner REI deems . . . without restriction as to changes or alterations, or reproductions . . . . I also consent to the use of printed matter in conjunction therewith.
2. I understand that upon my submission and/or delivery of any Photos to REI, the Photos may be used by REI for any purpose whatsoever. . . .
3. To the fullest extent allowed by law I agree to release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless REI . . . from any liability, claim, damage, judgment, cost, loss, expense (including reasonable attorneys' fees), by virtue of any publication or use of the Photos as previously described. I agree that in the event of a dispute arising out of the use of the Photos, my damages shall not exceed Fifty Dollars ($50.00) and in no instance shall I be entitled to seek an injunction against REI's use of the Photos. . . .

And if you have someone in the photo, the person has to agree to:

. . . grant Recreational Equipment, Inc . . . the absolute and irrevocable right and permission to copyright and use, re-use, publish, and republish at any time any images, photographic portraits or pictures of me or in which I may be included . . . for all purposes REI deems appropriate including, without limitation, for promotional and publicity purposes. As between me and REI, REI shall have the sole ownership in the copyrights in any Photographs of me created under this Release. . . .

It's amazing that REI thinks that the person in the photo can transfer the photo's copyright. This entire mess is enough to make someone stay inside.