Some questions you’d probably ask yourself:
Copyright for photographers is owning a property with certain exclusive rights to that property that generally 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.
Read More: U.S. Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C. 106 (copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106)
The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law. Copyright is secured automatically when a work is created for the first time. In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Read more: U.S. Copyright Office (PDF).
That you pay for a portrait session does not mean automatically that you have the rights of the photographs even when it is you on them. As a general rule, it is the photographer who retains the copyright with the exception when an image (or a series of images) falls within the so-called work-made-for-hire. Work for hire happens in two cases: 1). the photographer is an employee hired to take photographs on behalf of the employer, i. e., a photojournalist; 2). the photographer is hired to provide for specific work and has signed a preliminary agreement that specifically states that the work is to be considered a work made for hire.
As freelance photographers Lost Art Studios LLC are subjected to work-for-hire status only when we agree to it contractually. Whatever the case, we abide by strict ethical and professional norms.
“Newsworthiness” is a First Amendment, freedom of the press interest, and is broadly construed. We respect other people’s privacy and right of publicity even when standing in public and sign a model release and a property release respectively if we may use the picture commercially, not solely for editorial use.
Examples of Copyright Infringement
- Claiming another’s work as your own
- Any manipulation (including editing) that is not done by permission
- Scanning a digital picture
- Downloading sneak peeks from the web