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Paid Drone Work (UK)
2307 32 2017-2-6
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helidan
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United Kingdom
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Why hasn't anyone legally challenged the rules that state unqualified operators may not charge for aerial work?
If a family (for example) wanted some nice aerial shots of themselves at say a very quiet beach miles away from everything why SHOULDN'T I be able to go down there and charge a small fee to capture the footage for them?
This is all assuming that I can conduct the flight safely and stay within the general rules governing susa operations and also assuming that I have some form of public liability insurance.
I could (as an unqualified pilot) legally charge all day long if I were doing it inside a building so what jurisdiction do the CAA have to say that I cannot charge for aerial work flying outside in areas that they are perfectly happy for me to fly in?
If this was tested in court how would it likely stand?
2017-2-6
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Phantom-Paul 7
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One of the the biggest hurdles would be finding be finding an insurer who would provide you with suitable insurance . Here in AUS if your not a qualified UAV or RPAS pilot nobody will touch you.  
2017-2-6
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helidan
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That's the thing, I've already got insurance that covers me all day long for flying in areas I'm legally entitled to be but as it stands I couldn't charge a penny if someone were to ask me to pop down to some isolated beach somewhere and take a photo of some interesting rock! The nearest person/town/building etc. to me could be 100 miles away, it wouldn't make a difference.  If someone wanted that photo they'd be forced to go to the pros who would charge a fair amount for the privilege.  Supposing a farmer wanted a shot of his farmhouse to hang on the wall.  With his permission I can take off from his land, film all day long and as long as he didn't pay me it would be above board and my insurance would cover me. So what's really changed if he paid me for my time?
2017-2-6
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s0
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I think the logic of such rules is twofold:

- if you are being paid then you are likely to fly more hours (= more risk) than you would otherwise

- if you are being paid you can afford to pay for training and licensing

Not so different to the rules on receiving payment from someone to whom you give a ride: if you run a taxi pr private hire service there are more rules and insurance requirements than for private driving.

2017-2-6
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Labroides
Captain
Flight distance : 9991457 ft
Australia
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s0 Posted at 2017-2-6 02:59
I think the logic of such rules is twofold:

- if you are being paid then you are likely to fly more hours (= more risk) than you would otherwise

There's no logic at all to it.
You can fly and take photos legally but can't sell those photos.
The core business of CAA is aviation safety but this rule is not about aviation safety, it's about restricting trade and determining who can and who can't sell photos.

Ideas that commercial flyers are likely to take more risks make no sense.
You take less risks when you make money with your drone.

The rule is a hangover from CAA trying to see everything in the air through their old rules which require a higher standard of training for commercial aviation.
That makes sense with real planes but no sense with drones.
2017-2-6
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allanart
First Officer
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United Kingdom
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This is the subject of a current UK CAA Consultation on Benefits of drones to the UK economy.
Anyone can repond by 15 March 2017.
See https://www.gov.uk/government/co ... s-to-the-uk-economy

Kind regards
Allan
2017-2-6
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Upthedowns
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helidan Posted at 2017-2-6 02:11
That's the thing, I've already got insurance that covers me all day long for flying in areas I'm legally entitled to be but as it stands I couldn't charge a penny if someone were to ask me to pop down to some isolated beach somewhere and take a photo of some interesting rock! The nearest person/town/building etc. to me could be 100 miles away, it wouldn't make a difference.  If someone wanted that photo they'd be forced to go to the pros who would charge a fair amount for the privilege.  Supposing a farmer wanted a shot of his farmhouse to hang on the wall.  With his permission I can take off from his land, film all day long and as long as he didn't pay me it would be above board and my insurance would cover me. So what's really changed if he paid me for my time?

Does your insurance cover you for commercial work?  If not then you aren't insured for paid work.  The insurance industry considers pilots who haven't been through a recognised (and closely defined) training course to be a higher risk than those who have.
2017-2-6
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helidan
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Upthedowns Posted at 2017-2-6 05:33
Does your insurance cover you for commercial work?  If not then you aren't insured for paid work.  The insurance industry considers pilots who haven't been through a recognised (and closely defined) training course to be a higher risk than those who have.

I wouldn't have thought so but nothing specific is mentioned in my paperwork.

Regarding risk, I might disagree with you up to a point there.

I'm unqualified and supposedly a higher risk but I don't fly over or within congested areas etc. so if something happened the worst outcome should be nothing more than a broken drone.

Now, if I was qualified, I'd possibly be flying over and within congested areas all the time and with that there is an increase in risk.

Is it possible the risks sort of balance out?

Personally, I think the law ought to allow at least basic paid aerial work by unqualified pilots providing they stick to the drone code.  It could be a nice little earner for someone but without having to jump through some rather expensive hoops in order to be able to provide the service.

Again, why shouldn't I be able to accept paid work from friendly Farmer Giles if all he wanted was a quick land survey, photos of his sheep etc?
2017-2-6
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helidan
Second Officer
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Some interesting points Labroides!!
2017-2-6
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freelanderuk
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Give them the photos as a gift then get them to give the photos back to you and pay you for editing the photos, possible work around
2017-2-6
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helidan
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freelanderuk Posted at 2017-2-6 06:43
Give them the photos as a gift then get them to give the photos back to you and pay you for editing the photos, possible work around

Ha ha, I mentioned this exact thing in another thread!!  I'm sure the CAA would have an answer for it though.
2017-2-6
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Odan
Second Officer
Flight distance : 182913 ft
United States
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I'm not sure about the UK, But here in the colony's It's not just cash that is considered payment.
Any thing like paying for gas. buying meals, trading for anything is considered payment or compensation for work.
Even if you have the 107 you still aren't allowed to fly over people, cars or congested areas.
Why press your luck ?? It's too easy to do it right so why take the chance ?
Straighten up and fly right
2017-2-6
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Upthedowns
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helidan Posted at 2017-2-6 06:38
I wouldn't have thought so but nothing specific is mentioned in my paperwork.

Regarding risk, I might disagree with you up to a point there.

I'd love to have the ability to fly over congested areas with the greatest of ease but as ever it's not quite as simple as that.  I can in theory fly over a congested area but the main issue is taking off and landing.  This needs a 30m clear radius (assuming I'm going straight up and down) and I would need to get at least 50m plus the height of the surrounding buildings into the air.  Take a look at your local town centre or even village and you'll find it isn't that easy.  I would say that the majority of congested area flights you see on YT are being made by non-permit holders - illegally.  You may be safe flying at your local beach or field, or you may not.  If you haven't done the training then you are guessing yourself.  The theory course and practical test, together with the 6 weeks or so writing your Operations manual - which requires regular review and updating by the way, is the way that you show you are serious and have the full knowledge to make safe flying decisions.  There's quite a lot to the course - it's intensive stuff!
2017-2-6
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Dav 0
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helidan Posted at 2017-2-6 06:38
I wouldn't have thought so but nothing specific is mentioned in my paperwork.

Regarding risk, I might disagree with you up to a point there.

However, the drone code hasn't legally binding. It's just some good advice that if you comply you're less likely to be breaking any laws.  
2017-2-6
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Dav 0
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Dav 0 Posted at 2017-2-6 16:01
However, the drone code hasn't legally binding. It's just some good advice that if you comply you're less likely to be breaking any laws.

*isn't legally binding
2017-2-6
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Dav 0
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Is the insurance reference relevant when there is no requirement for liability insurance in the U.K.? ( I do as it happens )
2017-2-6
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Cabansail
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Flight distance : 136686 ft

Australia
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When I was actively flying on a Private Pilots Licence we were not allowed to charge anyone. I think that it now allows for cost sharing, which is what many pilots did anyway. I recall being on a trip with friends and we were at Ularu (Ayers Rock) and we were all cost sharing. My friend asked me if I would take some people he met on a scenic flight over the Rock and Olgas. I let him do the talking and I did the flying. Later they wanted to pay me. I explained that I could not possibily accept a cent for the flight as that would not be legal, however if you see my friend he will sell you a very interesting piece of rock. They bought a lovely pebble instead of picking one up themselves.
2017-2-6
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Dav 0
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What I would like to see challenged in court is the likes of the Forestry Commission and National Trust etc prohibiting the use of activity through bylaws. It's rare that I would embrace the Human Rights Act, but I believe such bylaws could be challenged. Every law or action by a public authority has to be necessary and proportionate. In addition, part 2, article 1 states every Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. The argument is that drone activity would be detrimental to other's enjoyment of such parks. I believe though that the prohibition is disproportionate given the size and population density of such areas. It's difficult to argue that a small drone at 400ft would be more disruptive than a helicopter at 500ft. As it happens, I don't believe such bylaws have jurisdiction over air space, only from where the drone is 'operated from'.  You can work out what will happen here!
2017-2-6
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Dav 0
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Cabansail Posted at 2017-2-6 16:18
When I was actively flying on a Private Pilots Licence we were not allowed to charge anyone. I think that it now allows for cost sharing, which is what many pilots did anyway. I recall being on a trip with friends and we were at Ularu (Ayers Rock) and we were all cost sharing. My friend asked me if I would take some people he met on a scenic flight over the Rock and Olgas. I let him do the talking and I did the flying. Later they wanted to pay me. I explained that I could not possibily accept a cent for the flight as that would not be legal, however if you see my friend he will sell you a very interesting piece of rock. They bought a lovely pebble instead of picking one up themselves.

I believe this is covered by the 'Ways and Means Act' ;)
2017-2-6
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Nigel_
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"If this was tested in court how would it likely stand? "
I'm not sure what it is that you are challenging?

The CAA have a duty to regulate our airspace, given to them by our government.  
They also have a duty to make a charge for their activities since they are funded by the people they regulate, not from our taxes via the government.
If you want to use our airspace for commercial photography then you need to get permission from the CAA, which is reasonable since they can't regulate people they know nothing about.
You don't currently need any qualifications to get permission, just need to show that you understand the rules and have some experience, which normally means going on an approved course.

"I could (as an unqualified pilot) legally charge all day long if I were doing it inside a building "
I had assumed that that they also regulate indoor flight?

They could, and maybe will, require registration for all drone users.  Currently they don't for consumer drone use and I suspect will continue not to since they don't actually do much that justifies making a charge, they have passed responsibility for policing drone use to the police force which are paid for through our taxes.

I don't see any reason that your use of a quadcopter for photography is any different to any other commercial use of quadcopters such as farmers surveying their fields, so why should you not have to register when they do?
2017-2-6
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Cabansail
Second Officer
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Australia
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Dav 0 Posted at 2017-2-6 16:28
I believe this is covered by the 'Ways and Means Act' ;)

That's the one.

Ways and Means Act of 1902. Ammended 2012

Part 16 Section 9a and 12b
2017-2-6
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Phantom-Paul 7
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Labroides has some good points and while I don't like the way we are over governed I do think that if your going to be flying drones around for a living there should be some formal training / or skills testing before being allowed to do so just so that everybody can feel confident the operator has some idea what he is doing. CASA is in the right position to be issue these "work permits" based on some minimum standards .  A person flying commercially is more likey to be seen by the general joe public regularly and hopefully some training / testing / vetting would help weed out the cowboys and monkeys who just bought their P3S from JBHiFi yesterday.
The general public already thinks the average drone pilot is either spying on their neighbours , perving on kids or casing propertys for burglary we dont need a bunch of unqualified drone operators upsetting them and having all public drone flying banned.

RE the insurance issue its not just about covering the drone operator re liability but also the person engaging or hiring the operator . If something goes wrong on your shoot and heaven forbid somebody gets injured its not just the drone pilots backside that needs covering.   Its unfortunate that is the way society is these days everybody needs to cover their own ass.
2017-2-7
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helidan
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@Nigel_ I really don't think the CAA have any powers regarding indoor flight.
2017-2-7
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Matt-and-Riley
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Phantom-Paul 7 Posted at 2017-2-7 01:34
Labroides has some good points and while I don't like the way we are over governed I do think that if your going to be flying drones around for a living there should be some formal training / or skills testing before being allowed to do so just so that everybody can feel confident the operator has some idea what he is doing. CASA is in the right position to be issue these "work permits" based on some minimum standards .  A person flying commercially is more likey to be seen by the general joe public regularly and hopefully some training / testing / vetting would help weed out the cowboys and monkeys who just bought their P3S from JBHiFi yesterday.
The general public already thinks the average drone pilot is either spying on their neighbours , perving on kids or casing propertys for burglary we dont need a bunch of unqualified drone operators upsetting them and having all public drone flying banned.

So you think paying some cash and spending a few hours in a class room turns the 'monkeys and cowboys' into respected members of the community.

I've watched 2 of these so called professional flyers at work, both were crap at flying, got into dangerous situations, broke most of the rules, they just liked wearing hi viz and telling me I was under their control. They were so focused on their ops manual, taping off the cordon, shouting 'engines live', they forgot all about basic safety or getting the shot they needed. It was a funny day

So much elitist 'us and them' BS

2017-2-7
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Nigel_
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helidan Posted at 2017-2-7 02:25
@Nigel_ I really don't think the CAA have any powers regarding indoor flight.

It seems that they think they do, from the CAA:
"The Air Navigation Order makes no distinction between flights made indoors or in the open; the
drone safety criteria continue to apply. Notwithstanding this, certain hazard factors are heavily
mitigated in that the aircraft is flying in an enclosed environment and access to the venue can be
controlled. Persons within the building, and who may be exposed to a hazard by the flight, should
meet the criteria for ‘persons under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft’ or else have
safety precautions taken on their account (e.g. safety netting, tethered drone, etc). Minor indoor
recreational use of a very small and light ‘toy’ drone is not generally regarded as having the same
safety implications as for larger drones used outdoors or in commercial service. "
2017-2-7
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broadlandboy
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Also think the rules have been overtaken by the technology. Drones today are too easy & cheap to fly so anyone just about can. In the past it took real skill to fly so deemed cautionary to have register of commercial pilots, also number of pilots low. I believe this is the main reason for the present consultation mentioned earlier in the thread. If you look at it one of the proposals is for all drones >250g to be registered.
2017-2-7
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helidan
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I'd like to see what a judge would make of that! How could the ANO possibly apply inside a building? And who would reasonably expect it to?
2017-2-7
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Phantom-Paul 7
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Matt-and-Riley Posted at 2017-2-7 02:36
So you think paying some cash and spending a few hours in a class room turns the 'monkeys and cowboys' into respected members of the community.

I've watched 2 of these so called professional flyers at work, both were crap at flying, got into dangerous situations, broke most of the rules, they just liked wearing hi viz and telling me I was under their control. They were so focused on their ops manual, taping off the cordon, shouting 'engines live', they forgot all about basic safety or getting the shot they needed. It was a funny day

No paying some cash and attending a classroom isn't going to do anything but hopefully putting them through some sort of skills and safety based assessment  and following up with some regular inspections of the industry might .

I hate to say it but I believe there is so called "professional" qualified operators out there that don't meet suitable standards but they were able to buy the credentials required.   Which supports your comments but I still believe we need a regulated / controlled environment to try and weed them out.

Paying a licence fee to fly your drone profesionally is no differant to paying a licence fee to drive a taxi or a fishing licence to be a profesional fisherman.  All of these things need some control and regulation to protect both the operators and the clients/customers.  Usually the licencing is supposed to support that process.
2017-2-7
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embayweather
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Bottom line, are we against having qualifications to fly?  I am not, but I am against what seems to be the original licence to make money.  I bought the drone, not just for myself so I can continue taking images as my legs fail, but also so I could help others, like charities, to get images they would not be able to do otherwise. I try and fly as professionally as possible, but I cannot afford to double the outlay by taking a course and exam.At current prices some esitmate the cost of the licence anywhere between £1500 and £2500. As an ex pro photographer I can tell you that would require an awful lot of image taking to reap that sort of return.
I do believe that making the course more accessible (which I note for many of us on wheels quite a number are not physically), by reducing the pricing , or perhaps having a two tier system that will allow for ordinary folk to obtain a licence, and at least cover their costs.
I should add at this point that I did contact the CAA about taking images for a charity and giving them to the chairy for free. They eventuallyr responded by saying they were too busy to answer my question, and I should look at the website (this says to contact the CAA if you have any questions). They did suggest that what i proposed they thought was a commerical venture and I should be qualified first, as the pictures may be used to raise funds directly or indirectly.
A final thought. How many of the pro done photographers have actually qualified as a photogapher, or even trained as one? There are some amazing images and movies created by 'amateurs' on the net with their drone, yet for the want of an expensive bit of paper, are not allowed to suue them for any commerical purpose whatsoever. Sheer waste.
2017-2-7
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Dav 0
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None of this really means anything.  Acts, codes, regulations, orders etc don't mean anything until they are tested in course and case law is in place. This is probably why the CAA won't answer your question; they have no authority to until it has been tested in court - in short; they just don't know the answer. Something else to bear in mind is when these rules are tested in court, the 'spirit of the act' is taken into account, i.e. The ANO is not intended to deal with the kids playing with a micro drone in the living room under the payment terms of them getting their dinner lol.
2017-2-7
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Dav 0
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I think the OP questioned why hasn't anyone challenged these rules in court; I think in reality it will be the opposite of that, when someone is prosecuted it will be the defendant testing the validity of the law.
2017-2-7
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Phantom-Paul 7
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Australia
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It seams the UK CAA and AUS CASA are taking similar approaches , things are evolving faster than they can keep up so its safer/ easier to avoid detailed answers.
When you ask them questions that should really have black and white answers they either refer you to thier web site or are too busy .

2017-2-7
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Derlisz
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Flight distance : 178806 ft
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I have received confirmation from CAA today that I can sell my footage so long as it wasn't commissioned by the other party.  "Dear Mr D.



Thank you for your email.



From the information you have provided I can confirm the TV company may purchase your footage and your actions would not be deemed commercial. I believe the situation you describe falls under the example below:



Advertising revenue received as a result of persons visiting a website or social media page where video or photographic stills shot from a drone are displayed/posted.  This is because these types of web-pages may be legitimately used to post recreational video material that was not commissioned by another party but was conceived and wholly funded by the poster.


Please note however this would not apply if the photographic material had been directly commissioned by another party for the purposes of display or marketing on their website.



Regards,"
2018-9-5
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