© COPYRIGHT – Part 2
In Part Two of my ongoing sees on Photographer’s Copyright, I’ll be sharing some valuable information about the subject of copyright and how it affects photographers. I’m hoping to help educate not only photographers, but also those people who use photography with the work that they do.
Copyright law can be difficult to understand at times and my goal in writing this series of articles is to get you to understand the way copyright works, and how we as visual artists rely on copyright protection to earn our living. This series should help you dispel many misconceptions about the laws on copyright, but I’d urge you to seek legal advice from an attorney if you are facing any legal issue with copyright violation.
Part Two will consist of information gleaned from several photography and copyright organizations and associations. Credit will be given where it is due, after all this is a series on copyright, and i did get permission to use this information from all the individual groups. For more information I encourage you to follow the links I provide throughout the article.
Please note that this information applies to United States copyright laws and may not apply to other countries.
From PACA (Picture Archive Council of America)
Copyright Education – Copyright Commandments
1. The moment a photograph is created, it is protected by copyright. Use the copyright notice (©, year of publication, name).
2. The photographer has the exclusive right to authorize use of a photograph during his/her lifetime plus 70 years.
3. Written permission to use a photograph should be obtained in advance to avoid infringement.
4. Infringement is any unauthorized use of a photograph, absent some exemption such as fair use or limited classroom use.
5. Exceeding the terms of a license is an infringement. You should obtain a new license before making any new uses of a photograph.
6. Penalties for infringement are monetary and can be severe.
7. Combining or altering photographs may require permission from the copyright holders.
8. Creating a painting or a sculpture from a photograph is an exclusive right of the copyright owner and you should obtain permission first.
9. Reshooting or replicating a photograph is an unauthorized copy and requires permission from the copyright owner.
10. Using all or some of a photograph as reference for a second work may require permission from the copyright owner.
Copyright Education – Legal Seminar with PACA Counsel Nancy Wolff
This video presentation uses images from cases to explain what copyright protects with respect to visual images, when permission is needed and when fair use may allow certain uses without permission. Just click on the photo below or the link above to watch the video on the PACA site.
Nancy has also put together a Power Point presentation that you can download here:.
Copyright Education – PowerPoint
The PowerPoint presentation is intended as an overview to teach the basics of copyright and how it applies to image licensing. It is complete with speaker notes and visual samples supplied by PACA members. A section at the end discusses the enforcement of copyright on the Internet.
For more information relevant to photographers, I suggest that you read Nancy’s book:
The Professional Photographer’s Legal Handbook
For Additional Resources on Photographers Copyright from:
- The United States Copyright Office
- American Society of Media Photographers
- Copyright Alliance
- Cornell Copyright Information Center
- Editorial Photographers
- FA©E (Friends of Active Copyright Education)
- Library of Congress
- The Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
- PAPA International
- Advertising Photographers of America
- Professional Photographers of America
- Photographer Registry
Please check out the Copyright Education – Additional Resources page
From the ASMP (The American Society of Media Photographers)
ASMP has launched a new initiative called Registration ©ounts to create awareness of copyright issues, to encourage all photographers to register their work, and to provide the tools and information needed for registration.
Copyright and the New Economy
On April 21, 2010, the American Society of Media Photographers presented an important symposium in New York City addressing the sweeping changes in the way images are used and distributed. The symposium, Copyright and the New Economy: Issues & Trends Facing Visual Artists, was a big hit with the packed TimesCenter audience. According to ASMP President Richard Kelly, “During the coming year, ASMP plans to lead in moving forward on copyright issues and identifying sustainable business solutions for our changing world.”
If you weren’t able to attend, videos are linked on the ASMP website here: http://asmp.org/content/registration-counts
I’ll highlight some of the most important points that you will find on the ASMP’s Copyright Tutorial Website but I’d urge you to visit their site as well to get all the information that they so kindly share.
Why register your photos with the Copyright Office?
- You have the full weight of the law on your side if you are infringed.
- You can file an infringement suit.
- You can more easily secure an attorney to take your infringement case.
- If you register your work prior to infringement (or within three months of first publication), you can ask for statutory damages and attorney fees if you win an infringement case.
- You can use your registration as leverage to get paid by defaulting clients.
- You have added protection against anyone claiming your work is an “orphaned” work.
- You are adding value to the services you provide your clients by protecting the investment they have made.
Click here to watch the Registration Podcast
Make sure to read the PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT FAQ PAGE for a wealth of pertinent information
From the APA (American Photographic Artists)
Licensing, and the Value of Copyright
Mark Getty gets it. Bill Gates bet the bank on it. And our clients — the big corporations, the advertising agencies and the publishers – they all benefit significantly from their understanding of this very simple, yet all important concept: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS THE CURRENCY OF THE 21ST CENTURY (And by extension: Those who own and/or control intellectual property, control the marketplace) There has recently been considerable discussion among photographers and their trade organizations on the subject of copyright transfers. Some in our industry have asserted the benefits of owning and retaining copyrights, while others have recommended that photographers transfer their copyrights to their clients. The Advertising Photographers of America (APA) position on copyright ownership is and always has been:
The copyright to your photographs is yours under the law.
You own it.
The APA offers eleven pages of incredible information on copyright on their website. All visual artists should read the article titled:
Licensing, and The Value of Copyright
You can order a PDF copy of the document here: APA Order Form
From the Copyright Alliance
Copyright in the Classroom
The Copyright Alliance Education Foundation and YMI have developed a free online video, Copyright in the Classroom, to provide a quick explanation of copyright, identify “teachable moments” in the classroom, and review all the free teaching resources available at the Alliance web site.
If you are a teacher or would like to educate yourself or anyone else about the history of copyright and the basics of how copyright works in the United States, please take a few minutes to watch this video.
Another valuable resource from the Copyright Alliance Education Foundation is available in their 13-page guide is designed for teachers of all grades and subject areas and includes: an overview of copyright, FAQ section, glossary and standards charts for all the classroom curricula available on their web site.
Download the Educator’s Guide
For Artists: How to Copyright Creative Works
The Copyright Alliance is developing short, easy-to-read documents for artists and creators that explain how to obtain registered copyright protection for creative works. Find documents relevant to your work below, and check back often for new additions!
Copyright Basics for
The Copyright Alliance has also produced a document that addresses 10 myths of copyright in relation to technology and innovation.
More terrific information from the Copyright Alliance can be found here:
Copyright Q & A
I’ve been generously granted permission to reprint all the information contained on this page by the following organizations:
The American Society of Media Photographers is the premier trade association for the world’s most respected photographers. ASMP is the leader in promoting photographers’ rights, providing education in better business practices, producing business publications for photographers, and helping to connect purchasers with professional photographers. ASMP, founded in 1944, has nearly 7,000 members and 39 chapters.
Special thanks to:
ASMP Director of Communications
The Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to the value of copyright as an agent for creativity, jobs and growth. They are committed to promoting the cultural and economic benefits of copyright, providing information and resources on the contributions of copyright, and upholding the contributions of copyright to the fiscal health of this nation and for the good of creators, owners and consumers around the world.
Special thanks to:
Copyright Alliance Director of Communications
APA’s mission is Successful Professional Photographers. Their goal is to establish, endorse, and promote professional practices, standards, and ethics in the photographic and advertising community. They seek to mentor, motivate, educate, and inspire in the pursuit of excellence. Their aim is to champion and speak as one common voice for advertising photographers and image makers to the advertising industry in the United States and the World.
Special thanks to:
APA National CEO
PACA, the Picture Archive Council of America, is the trade organization in North America that represents the vital interests of stock archives of every size, from individual photographers to large corporations, who license images for commercial reproduction. Founded in 1951, its membership includes over 100 companies in North America and over 50 international members.
Special thanks to
PACA Executive Director
This is a helpful guide. Thanks Ken!
Don Faust says
Ken – great overview with lots of helpful links. Will have to bookmark this.
Excellent piece Ken! Beth and I were just talking about copyright law the other day. Thanks for putting this together; it’s truly an invaluable resource.
Ken Kaminesky says
Glad to be of service! I’ll have Part 3 coming up in the next couple of months. In this next part, I’ll have some solid solutions for photographers. Stay tuned!
Cam @ Traveling Canucks says
Helpful and useful guide Ken – I shall return for future resource!
So grateful for this series! Am just at a stage where I might need to know this stuff. Serendipity! Thank you.
Really helpful, thanks for compiling the info for us! *bookmark!
John Caruso says
Thanks a lot for posting this, it looks really informative, however, I’d like to start with part 1 but can’t find a link.
Ken Kaminesky says
John, take a look in the sidebar of my blog on any page and you’ll see the PHOTOGRAPHY & COPYRIGHT header. Under that you will find links to all the pages in this series.
John Caruso says
Ah, I see it now. Thanks Ken, really looking forward to the read.
Still curious. I purchased original slides – who owns the copyright?
I am a public performer, a musician. i have a question. When someone takes my photo do they own it? If I find a photo of myself can i use it? They take photos of me while I am on stage and also in public. Then they expect me to include their copyright logo… but they did not consider my rights… at least that’s how I see it. if there is a photo of myself floating around here or there on the internet , i feel i have every right to copy and paste it wherever I want. Am i right or do I have to expect that when a person takes a photo of me then they own my image (in that photo) Somehow this would seem like ‘image slavery’ to me , if this is the law it should change. I need to know my rights. can you help? Thank you , Valerie
Ken Kaminesky says
Valerie, you’re a PUBLIC performer and thus photographers have the right to use editorial images of you but commercial use requires consent. To further clarify the situation I would highly recommend that you speak to an attorney.
William Yarbro says
I wrote a coffee table book and want to use a photo I saw in the on a website (and it turns out many websites. My graphic designer thinks it is a stock photo. How do I find out the copyright owner and get permission to use the photo?
Victoria Smith says
Recently a friend took some photos of me and gave me a copy of the images and verbal permission to post the on Facebook etc. We subsequently fell out and the person has asked me to take the pictures down. Do I have to comply as I really like the pictures? I did not sign any model release forms etc.
Never give up, Never lose the opportunity to succeed
One needs 3 things to be truly happy living in the world: some thing to do, some one to love, some thing to hope for.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ( Voltaire )
Great information. Copyrights and ownership of an image is a very tricky subject, but you’ve provided a good set of resources. As a new blogger/photographer it’s been a concern of mine. Most people seem to think if it’s on the web it’s free game. I want to present my best work online, but there is the concern of it being used without my permission. Thanks
As an avid photographer, I see that many love to take my photos [even with a watermark] from my virtual album [Facebook], and use it for their monetary purposes. With this tool, I can defend and get compensation of my work. Thanks so much for this :D
Rick Crank says
I would like to know if photography copyright laws pertain to family ictures you hired an independently owned photo studio to take and you payed them to take the photo’s. I guess my question is do they own copyright to my families pictures that I paid them to take or do I own the rights to the photos of my family that I payed them to take.
I am a bit confused. I understand that I am the copyright owner, even if someone paid me to shoot the pictures. I’ve been trying to clarify if I can use photos I shot of a portrait client (nearly 20 years ago) on my facebook page. Or website. If no written agreement was made, can I use them in any kind of promotional way to promote my photography?
Gary Urra says
Can one use an image on one’s social network page when there are no credits given? If there is no way to find the photographer?
If I hire a private investigator to take photos of someone, and I give those photos to a newspaper to use as part of a story (for free- the paper isn’t paying me) , does the newspaper have to give an attribution to the private investigator?
Philip Bailey says
What excellent interviews. And so much clear information.
I’m publishing a biography of the great classical violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. I want to use a number of early photos now stored in the Menuhin Archive at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
I note that under US law, for images taken after 1988 copyright on photos lasts for 70 years from the date of the creator’s death.
Question: does this mean that photos taken prior to 1988 are now out of copyright?
Sandi Miller says
I have a photo I took a couple years ago.. I had a local artist paint it for me.. He liked the response on facebook and he took it for scanning to make prints.. then he ask would it be ok and apologized for not asking me first.
I hesitated and then told him exactly this ( Its ok .. I hope you can make a fortune from my picture, but if you do, remember me…lol.).
Now I\’ve noticed someone bought a print from him and selling chances on it for $ 5.00 to some lucky person to win.. My question is this.. Can they do that without my permission? being I\’m the ower of this picture…is this legal?
There are 3 photos that I took and had the one painted so far.. but I really don\’t want him selling anymore copies.. is there anything I can do? sure appreciated your help.
David Stevens says
For those people who are having issues with their photographs being used on Facebook without permission I suggest that you read their copyright policy and if appropriate report the infringement to them. They have been very helpful to me by removing photographs that were not authorized by me for use. In my case I would fine with their being used had they properly attributed them instead of telling me to stop whining and that they did not give a crap about my rights.
Dale Voorhees says
My wife and I are amateur photographers and we take photos of our kids at winter guard (e.g. spinning flags and wooden rifles) events. We have become pretty good at it and we have begun taking photos of other teams at the performances and make them available for purchase on our SmugMug site. The problem is that the association that organizes these events – FFCC – has told us we can’t sell the pictures we take at their events because the directors of the various teams have signed a release giving FCC the rights to take photos. These are public events held at public facilities – school gyms and we pay to attend as any other spectator. Our question is, do we have the right to take and sell photos of these performances or does the FFCC have that right because of a contract they have with the various team directors?
Tricia Sluder Cason says
In looking for our ancestry, I found a picture of a relative taken in 1800’s. The relative who either had the picture or a copy of it, put on the picture it could not be copied. Please explain, can they do this because I know they don’t own the copyright. Tricia Sluder Cason
Photograph is created as reference for a second work may require permission from the copyright owner. Photographers to register their work presented an important symposium and helping to connect purchasers with professional photographers. So it is great.
rita granberry says
has part 3 to this article ever been published, im looking for it thanks:)
Ken Kaminesky says
There is no part three. No plans on it at this time either.