UK Law states a Photographer owns the copyright to a photograph they take unless a contractual agreement states otherwise. This means that the photographer has the rights to publish and distribute the images they have taken as they see fit. They own the photograph and the rights to it and it is their property for 70 years after their death.
“The photographer has the rights to publish and distribute the images they have taken as they see fit”
Copyright laws are the same for me as they are for you. Put simply, if you take a photograph on your iPhone, camera, iPad or anything else, it is yours because YOU clicked the shutter. Just because I am a professional does not mean that I have special rules applied to my images, it is the same for everyone but because my images are my livelihood. I have to take this seriously and protect them.
“My images are my livelihood. I have to protect them”
So, the fact that I clicked the shutter, that image(s) belongs to me, and always will unless I surrender ownership. By owning the image(s), this means I can use them for promoting my business as I see fit (online, in magazines and enter them into competitions), which is vital for me (although if I am specifically asked not to by parents, I always respect this).
For most people who snap selfies and holiday pictures and upload them online, these laws do not affect you. We all upload our phone pictures to Facebook and if other people copy them we aren’t concerned by it.
But can you imagine if your livelihood was dependent on it? After all I have invested considerable skill, time, talent and overheads into my work. Being a professional photographer who sells images to clients, it is important that clients can’t simply copy images from my website and reproduce them and anyone that does this is carrying out copyright infringement.
“Clients can’t simply copy images from my website and reproduce them”
What does this mean for you?
All professional images are protected by copyright. The photographer owns them. When you purchase a print or a canvas, you have bought one copy ONLY and cannot reproduce it in any way.
When you buy digital images from me on a USB or instant download, you are buying a print licence ONLY, NOT Copyright to the images – I will always own this.
By buying a licence with “Printing Rights” this means you can print, copy (back-up to your computer or CD) and reproduce the images BUT with restrictions. It does not mean you own the images outright. You can only share and print them for immediate family, you CANNOT sell them, enter them into competitions, upload them to the internet or alter them in anyway (this includes adding Instagram filters to the images).
“Copyright remains with the photographer”
If you purchase a digital image with printing rights from me. I ask that you do not alter the image or apply Instagram filters or such like to them. This is not only copyright infringement; it is not a true representation of my work and can be damaging to my business.
If you are a business that I have had the pleasure of working with, possibly at a Wedding or event, I am more than happy to provide quality images for you to use to promote your business, and ask that you please do not copy images from my website or anywhere online or contact brides and grooms to obtain images from them, as you are asking them to break copyright law.
I hope this explains a few things about Copyright that are often misunderstood. If you would like any more information, please get in touch.