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I used to be a professional athlete. Gettyimages has many photos of me but want $500 per photo for a digital download. Do I have to pay for rights to the photos in which I am featured?

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    As a professional athlete, you almost certainly had as part of your contract a release in which you agreed to give up your rights to control the use of your images. You may want to go back and read it. – Nate Eldredge Feb 20 '17 at 18:30
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Your presence in an image doesn't give you automatic property rights to the image. Copyright is held by the person who took the picture (or whoever they work for). However, there are also personality rights, whereby a person has to have permission of the subject whose image they are commercially exploiting (and this is a matter of highly variable state-level law). A person who is incidentally visible in a photo does not gain an interest in the photo, but the person who the photo is about may. Then the question arises whether the subject gave permission for her image to be used commercially: if so, the terms of that agreement would control the outcome (for instance there could be a royalties clause, or a waiver of royalties; there could be a "2 free copies" clause, or not). The photographer would then have licensed the photo to the image-vendor (subject to such agreement). However, if there was no permission, and if the right state is involved (for instance California), then you would need the sage advice of your attorney.

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