Photo Copyright Agreement

By Holly Cameron

Photo copyright agreements set out the terms for using or distributing photographs. Copyright laws in the United States give photographers exclusive rights to use, reproduce and distribute their photos; the law penalizes anyone who violates these rights. Copyright agreements usually set out the conditions for use by others of photos taken by a photographer. The specific terms of each agreement vary according to circumstances.

Photo copyright agreements set out the terms for using or distributing photographs. Copyright laws in the United States give photographers exclusive rights to use, reproduce and distribute their photos; the law penalizes anyone who violates these rights. Copyright agreements usually set out the conditions for use by others of photos taken by a photographer. The specific terms of each agreement vary according to circumstances.

Ownership of Copyright

Section 102 of the Copyright Act provides that copyright protection applies to original pictorial works. Copyright exists as soon as the image is produced in a fixed form. The photographer, therefore, owns the copyright for any photos that he takes, even if he subsequently uploads the image to a blog or a social media site. Anyone who uses those photos without his permission may have to pay damages for breach of copyright.

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Photo Licensing Agreement

A photographer can earn money by licensing the use of a photo, for example, if he allows someone else to insert the photo in a publication or publish the photo on a blog. To protect his own rights, the photographer should enter into a formal licensing agreement to specify the terms of that use. For example, he may limit the license to a single use for a particular purpose, or may charge more for unlimited use. Once signed, the agreement stands as a permanent record of the agreement; it can be referenced in any subsequent legal dispute.

Transfer of Exclusive Copyright

A photographer may transfer his exclusive copyright to another person or organization if he chooses to do so. This transfer is not valid unless it is set out in writing and signed by the photographer. To avoid any future legal disputes, the new copyright owner may record the transfer with the United States Copyright Office. The Copyright Office does not require any specific form of document for recordation.

Wedding Photograph Agreement

If a couple pays a photographer to take photos of their wedding, they usually enter into a written contract. The contract sets out not only important payment terms, but will also make it clear who owns the copyright for the photos. The agreement may, therefore, state that the photographer retains the copyright in the photos and will specify the conditions that apply to their use. Photographers often want to use wedding photos that they have taken in their own publicity material; it’s a good idea to allow for this in the agreement.

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Who Owns the Copyright on Wedding Pictures?

References

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How to Know if Internet Images Are Copyrighted

Potentially all internet images qualify for copyright protection. The instant the image is created in a digital form, it qualifies for "common law" copyrights. Common law copyrights come from the old English system of law. Under common law, original works of authorship fixed in a tangible form automatically secure copyright protection. Tangible forms for internet images include digital files, emails and webpages. Therefore, all original internet images in a digital format are copyrighted; the owner is not required to apply for federal copyright registration. Federal registration is optional. The public may still have be able to use the copyrighted images if fair use applies. The fair use doctrine allows others to use the copyrighted work, under restricted conditions and not for profit.

Rescinded Use in Copyrights

United States copyright law protects artists and ensures them control and profit from their work. In an Internet age where new and exciting ways of exploiting artistic creations on a worldwide scale seem to evolve almost daily, it is more important than ever that artists understand how to grant and terminate permission for a third party to use their creations. Legally rescinding permission to use a creative work gives the artist another opportunity to sell the rights in the work under more favorable terms.

Personal Photos Copyright Laws

The development of inexpensive digital cameras and cameras incorporated into cell phones has placed personal photography within reach of just about everyone. Like other creative works, photographs are protected by the intellectual property law called copyright from the moment they are taken. Copyright protection for personal photos is limited by the privacy and publicity rights of the individuals in the photos and the legal rights of anyone purchasing a license to use a picture.

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