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What is Photography copyright?

You have paid a lot of money for a top photographer to capture the essence of  your brand.

What is Photography copyright?

You have paid a lot of money for a top photographer to capture the essence of  your brand. When you get the photos back, you love them and place them in your local ad. After your ad appears in the news or social media,  you receive a telephone call from the photographer who notifies you of a copyright infringement. Why? Most photographers fail to notify you of the ‘”Right of Use” or in layman terms, the ability to use the photos you paid for when and where you want. What happens with photographers is they conveniently fail to disclose that once you take photographs you are forever in debt to them. As the creator of art,otherwise known as the photographer or  the copyright owner they have the exclusive rights in the art such as for reproduction. Courts have disagreed as to whether taking photos of copyrighted works is a violation. Regardless, the law prevents you from having copyright ownership of anything that is an infringement.


What is Photography Copyright?

In simple terms, copyright for photographers means owning property. With ownership, you get certain exclusive rights to that property. For photographic copyrights, the ownership rights include:

(1) to reproduce the photograph;

(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the photograph;

(3) to distribute copies of the photograph to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

(4) to display the photograph publicly;

Found in the U.S. Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C. 106 (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106)

Here are some resources that you can use to determine if you or your photographer own the rights to your photos:

http://copyrightregistry-online-form.com/

https://www.copyright.gov/

https://www.copyright.gov/title17/

Despite how it seems, Creative Commons has a lot of legal red tape depending on the attribution type. Make sure you follow the guidelines exactly or else your “free” stock image may end up causing more in legal fees.
 

How do I avoid Copyright Infringement?

You can avoid copyright infringement with a photographer by having them sign a photography release form before the photoshoot. You may pay more for the photo shoot in advance but save more money in the long run.  This means that you can use the photos freely without being sued.

Purchase stock photos from reputable companies like Fotolia, Shutterstock or other sources. You can purchase a license that determines how you can use these stock images; whether you can use them in commercial or for personal.

Depending on your needs or budget, you can use Creative Commons, which means you can use the images for free, but there are restrictions: 

  1. Standard Attribution:  You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.Free use of the image as long as they credit the artist.Attribution Share Alike: Same rules as with standard attribution, but any new uses, commercial uses, or modified uses must also be registered as Creative Commons.
  2. Attribution No Derivatives: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Can redistribute the image, even commercially, but cannot modify or edit the image.
  3. Attribution Non Commercial: You may not use the material for commercial purposes  or resale.
  4. Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike: Can use the image for personal use, but any modifications or edits must also be Creative Commons.
  5. Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives: Can use the image for personal use and cannot modify or edit it.

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Despite how it seems, Creative Commons has a lot of legal red tape depending on the attribution type. Make sure you follow the guidelines exactly or else your “free” stock image may end up causing more in legal fees.

Below are some additional licenses

  •  Royalty-free: User doesn’t have to pay any royalties and can use the image free. These include Public Domain (content whose intellectual rights have expired) and Creative Commons (artists choose that their work is royalty-free),  however these may require special attributions.
  • Rights managed: Images are pay-to-use, and can be licensed by individual projects, a period of time, or a geographic location.
  • Extended or enhanced:This provides additional liberties to a standard license, including multiple uses of the image and allowances for resale and commercial use

Using Stock Images and Graphics 

If you are interested in using stock images, be advised that you will not be the only person using that image, especially if the you obtain the images from Creative Commons. You can be “creative”, no pun intended. What we recommend is mixing original graphic design along with stock images. Graphic design is generally “work for hire”, meaning that if you purchase a logo design, for example, part of the terms of the contract is that the graphic designer releases ownership once he / she is paid.

We tried to include as much information that will be a start to your design process. Take advantage of the resources and do some independent research. If you find additional information that may help readers, leave a comment or send us a note. .

DISCLAIMER: The materials appearing on this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. The information contained in this website is not intended to create, and the receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between TCA and the user or browser.

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