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Posts tagged ‘copyright’

That Belongs to Me – More on Copyright

Track Worlds

With Accreditation to the UCI World Track Championships I could photograph everyone riding and I retained the copyright for all images.

When I was photographing some cycling events there was a rider that would say to me “you can’t take my photo, I haven’t given you permission”.  In response I would say, “I don’t need your permission”.  He thought I needed his permission because I was photographing him.  Then many riders, mainly juniors, would think they owned the images because the images had them in them.  This is a common problem and one that was brought up last week as well.  I thought today we might have a look at Copyright ownership, or who owns the copyright on the photos.

Again, most of what I am going to say will refer to is Australian Law.  While much is similar from country to country, state to state, it is something that I recommend you all find out about in your own country.

So, according to our laws, the first owner of copyright is the photographer, the person who took the image, and not necessarily the person who owns the camera.  So if you lend your camera to someone, and they take a photo, then that image will belong to them, not you.  However, for most of us here, it means if you take a photo, then the copyright belongs to you and you can do what you wish with that image.  Of course there are always going to be exceptions.

The rules are different again for photos that are commissioned for newspapers and magazines.  I am not going to go into them here, as I don’t think it is of major concern to us here, but if you are taking photos for magazines and newspapers then you should be aware of what your rights are and what you are allowed to use the photos for.

But what happens when someone commissions you or pays you to take photos?

In Australia the laws vary according to the date that they were taken.  For the purpose of this blog we will look at the law as it stands now and has done since 1998.

Briony - My ChoiceIf you are paid to take photos for private purposes, such as wedding photos, family portraits, child portraits etc, then the ownership and therefore copyright will belong to the client, or the person who has paid you to take the photos.

The image above, as most of you know, is of my daughter.  It is a portrait and would be considered an image taken for private use.  If this was not my daughter, and her family had paid me to take this image then I wouldn’t be able to put this image here without the parents permission and for my own protection I would get a model release form signed as well.

I know some photographers have it as part of the agreement or contract with clients that they can use some images for publicity.  Though, I am sure if you said you didn’t want that they would still take your photo.

If, however, you are paid to take photos for commercial purposes then the images still belong to you unless you come to an understanding with your client.

if they were taken for any other purpose (e.g. commercial shots), the photographer will be
the first owner of copyright, unless the photographer and client agree otherwise.sced20121125-0124

It is quite interesting to read.

In November, you may recall, that I went to the BMX State Championships at Knox.  I was being paid to be there and my job was to photograph the women and girls at the racing.  As the images are to be used for commercial purposes, I would suppose that the images still belong to me.  However, I would assume that they aren’t mine to sell.  The image on the right was of the men racing, I took some while waiting for the women/girls, so I am pretty sure I own the copyright on them.

Another area that can be confusing is when you are taking photos in a building that you think is public but isn’t.  Many sports stadiums are thought to be public, but they aren’t.  Usually the people who own the building, the government organisation or private owners have the say on who can take photos in their buildings.  Generally if you have the owners permission to take photos in that building then you don’t need the permission of the individuals.

At the beginning I talked about the kid who said I couldn’t photograph him.  As it was a cycling event, in a velodrome, he may have been able to make a case, but since I had the permission of Cycling Victoria to take photos for myself and them, I didn’t need the kids permission.  Of course, you have to be reasonable and if someone really doesn’t want you to use their images, then why would you?  It will be better in the long run not to use that image and use another one.

I have only ever had one person say I couldn’t photograph their child or put photos of their child up on my website, I obeyed, even though the images were taken on public roads, it was easier to exclude them and not put them up.  In the end, the parents gave their permission after it was obvious that their child was the one being blurred out of images.

Track World Cup - Hisense Arena 2012I hope this has cleared up some questions, and helps some.  I know this wasn’t asked for, but after last weeks post I felt it was warranted to do.

For links to various countries copyright organisations then please go back to last weeks post, The Public in the Copyright Issue.

The Public in the Copyright Issue

While I was photographing the cycling for the Bay Crits, I received a question, Brad said “I’d like to see your thoughts about the ‘ethics’ of publishing photos that identify individuals”, and then Heather said that she also wanted to know and asked if I could do a post on it.  So for those of you are interested, I thought I would do a post on Copyright and taking photos in public.

More CorneringThis is one of the photos that came into question.  The riders can clearly be identified, so can I publish them without their permission.  The answer to that question is yes.  The race takes place on a public road, and, according to our copyright laws (Australian) “A personʼs likeness is not protected by copyright.”  It is generally considered fine to take photos of people when they are in public.

The only time this becomes as issue is if you are going to use that image for commercial purposes, which would mean making money from it.  If you are going to do that, they you probably need to get a model release to cover yourself.

There are different rules if you ask people to sit for you or pose.  Did they pay you? Did you pay them?  Who owns the copyright of the photo?

Daylesford Market - 3Another area to consider is what is considered a public area.  You can take photos of people out in the street, streets are generally considered public, but a shopping centre (mall) aren’t usually, they are owned by private companies and they allow the public to enter.  I know many shopping centres don’t allow photography.  The image above was taken at a market.  The market is held in a public area, so it would be safe to assume that it is okay to take photographs.  Though, it is nice to ask people first, but having said that, I don’t think you should feel obligated to.

Some buildings are owned by the federal, state or local governements, and would be considered public buildings, but that doesn’t mean you can go in there and take photos.  Often buildings have rules about the taking of photographs and you should find out what they are.

The place Brad was concerned about was cemeteries, are they private or public?  Good question, I would have thought that most are public, well the ones in this country.  We don’t have many private cemeteries.  By law everyone has to be buried in a public cemetery, unless special permission is gained.  So you would assume that you don’t need permission to take photos of people in them, however this then raises other ethical questions, is it okay to photograph people in times of grief?  Or when they are visiting people who have died?  I can’t answer those questions.  By law, it is probably fine, but ethically, it is a grey area.

Peoplesʼ likenesses
People and peopleʼs likenesses are not protected by copyright. Sometimes, however, other areas
of law, such as defamation, can affect the circumstances in which a personʼs likeness can be used.

That is according to the law here.  To find out what the Australian Copyright laws are you look up the Australian Copyright Council.  They are have lots of information on copyright in Australia.  Another place to check out is “Australian Street Photography Legal Issues” the legal isssues are more for NSW, but most of the laws aren’t that different from state to state.

So, for those of you who aren’t in Australia, where do you go?

U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright Act of Canada (Wikipedia page, sorry, couldn’t find the gov office)

UK Copyright Service

Copyright Council of New Zealand

You get the idea.  It is a very good idea to find out what the laws are and make sure you know them.  Even if you aren’t doing commercial photography, you should know where you stand as far as copyright goes.  You should also know how to protect your own copyright, or that of your images.

To Brad and Heather, I hope this has helped you to understand a little about copyright laws.

It is Everywhere

Can you guess what I am talking about?


The above image is my first attempt at doing one.  Jason over at O’Brien’s Pix has been trying to get me to use it for a while.  The first problem was that I don’t have an iphone, but they have brought it out for Android now, so I had no excuses.  Took me a while to work out how to get on it and today I finally worked out that I had downloaded the wrong thing.  I have it now.

You can apply some pretty jazzy special effects, though you don’t have a lot of choice with the basic app that you can download. I know that there are other people who use instagram all the time and have downloaded other apps to help with the manipulation of the images.  I haven’t gone that far yet.  This is my first day.

I thought today I would try playing around with it and tried to remember to take photos throughout the day.  The above image was taken at the supermarket.  I wanted to take something else, but forgot all about it until we were at the checkout, so this was close.

One of the things I’ve found is that it isn’t quick.   I also found that after you have done the image, you don’t seem to be able to save the images to your phone.  After you work on the image you have to upload it to something, facebook, twitter etc.  I find that a little annoying.  If you don’t upload it, then you lose the work you have done.  I’m sure there must be some way of uploading the photos to wordpress, but haven’t worked that out yet.

Remember the sunflowers from a few weeks back, well I still have them and this is what they look like now.  Well, with help from Instagram.

I was discussing it with my husband and I was telling him how you have to upload the images, he suggested I check out the copyright terms.  He thought that I might lose the copyright of my images, so I check out the conditions and found this

By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

So it looks like he was right.  If you put instagram images up, then the instagram company can do whatever they like with the images and there is nothing you can do about it, because you have agreed to the terms when you started using it.  That is a worry.  If you have an amazing image, they could make millions using it for advertising and there would be nothing you could do about it.  Sounds like, you would still own the copyright, but you would share it with them.  I could be wrong, but that is how it reads.

Just to be on the safe side, I would only use fun photos.  I wouldn’t be giving them access to any images that I thought were fantastic.  I am sure you can do a lot of the stuff that they do on Photoshop.

Another thing that concerns me is the terms you have to agree to if you want to sell your images through their gallery.  You only get 20% of the sale price.  That is crap.  I don’t care if they are doing the marketing for you, or whatever, it is a rip off.  I have had work in galleries and the most they take is 40%, so you get 60% and you decide the price.  I don’t know if you can decide the price on instagram.  I also have to wonder how many images they sell when people are putting up 100’s.

This is for Amanda from Wannabephotographer87.  Amanda this is our cat Tiddles, don’t laugh at his name.

Time will tell how it goes, perhaps it will be like polaroid images from the 70’s.  It is certainly a craze right now.  I have to wonder how long people will keep doing it.  Also, as more people start doing it, it also becomes very common.  I am not going to say that I am not going to do it, I will, I know I will.  I will have fun with it, but my DSLR will always be number 1 for me.