Copyright

Which types of work are subject to copyright?

Copyright ownership gives the owner the exclusive right to use the work, with some exceptions. When a person creates an original work, fixed in a tangible medium, he or she automatically owns copyright to the work. Many types of works are eligible for copyright protection, for example: Audiovisual works, such as TV shows, movies, and online videos Sound recordings and musical compositions Written works, such as lectures, articles, books, and musical compositions Visual works, such as paintings, posters, and advertisements Video games and computer software Dramatic works, such as plays and musicals

Is it possible to use a copyright-protected work without infringing?

Yes, in some circumstances, it is possible to use a copyright-protected work without infringing the owner’s copyright. For more about this, you may wish to learn about fair use. It is important to note that your content can be removed from an online platform in response to a claim of copyright infringement, even if you have...

  • Given credit to the copyright owner
  • Refrained from monetizing the infringing content
  • Charged for a copy of the content in question
  • Noticed similar content that appear elsewhere on the internet
  • Purchased the content including a hard or digital copy
  • Recorded the content yourself from TV, a movie theater, or the radio
  • Copied the content yourself from a textbook, a movie poster or photograph
  • Stated that “no copyright infringement is intended”

What is the difference between copyright and trademark? What about patents??

Copyright is just one form of intellectual property. It is not the same as trademark, which protects brand names, mottos, logos, and other source identifiers from being used by others for certain purposes. It is also different from patent law, which protects inventions.

What is the difference between copyright and privacy?

Just because you appear in a video, image or audio recording does not mean you own the copyright to it. For example, if your friend took a picture of you, she would own the copyright to the image that she took. If your friend, or someone else, uploaded a video, image or recording of you without your permission, and you feel it violates your privacy or safety, you may wish to File a privacy complaint

Questions

Photography and Copyright Law

Q: The term “Copyright” is often misunderstood. Especially when it comes to art and photography. The first and most obvious question would therefore be; What is Copyright?
In simple terms, copyright for photographers means owning property. With ownership, you get certain exclusive rights to that property. For photographic copyrights, the ownership rights 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;
Found in the U.S. Copyright Act at 17 U.S.C. 106 (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106)

Q: what is Copyright in photography?

Copyright: Under U.S. law, copyright in photography is the property of the person who presses the shutter on the camera — not the person who owns the camera, and not even the person in the photo. A photographer will own that copyright throughout their life and 70 years afterwards.

Q: What is creative commons?

Creative Commons: is a type of licensing meaning that you grant others limited rights to your work. For example, you may allow a company the ability to reproduce or change your image for use on the website. By law you still own the copyright to the photograph, you just allow the company the ability to use a part of or the full image for their gain.

Q: How does a creative commons license work?

When using Creative Commons there are different licensing packages that can be applied to different packages. Sum packages allow commercial use of the work with pay and other allow the use of work without pay. It also determines whether the artist require certain attribution, such as their name or website to be used when an image is used.

Q: When an image is taken, who owns the copyright?<br>
The ownership of any image always defaults to the person who took the photo; unless the photo was taken under contract, which means the image was made under work-made-for-hire” (also known as “work for hire”) category. A work-made-for-hire relationship is created in two situations: (1) the photographer is an employee hired to take photographs for the employer—an example would be a photojournalist who is an employee of a newspaper but not a wedding or portrait photographer who is hired for one event; or (2) the photographer is hired to provide photographs for collective works or compilations and signs a written agreement that specifically states that the work is to be considered a work made for hire. Therefore, freelance photographers are subjected to work-for-hire status only when they agree to it contractually.

Q: If I don’t register my copyright, do I still own the copyright to my photos?
Yes. When a photo is not registered with the US Copyright Office prior to an infringement (or within three months of the first publication of the photo), a copyright owner may recover only “actual damages” for the infringement (pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 504 (b)), instead of statutory damages. Courts usually calculate actual damages based on your normal license fees and/or standard licensing fees plus profits derived from the infringement, if not too speculative. One source for standard license fees is a software program called Fotoquote.

Q: What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), enacted in 1998, implemented treaties signed at the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva conference. It addresses many issues, one of which affects photographers directly. The DMCA states that while an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is not liable for transmitting information that may infringe a copyright, the ISP must remove materials from users’ websites that appear to constitute copyright infringement.

Your copyright does not have to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office for you to take advantage of this provision. If you find a website that is using one of your images without permission, contact the hosting ISP and report the infringement. The DMCA also provides for certain damages when your work is infringed. If the infringer has removed your copyright management information, such as your name, contact information, or copyright notice, from your work in an attempt to facilitate or conceal its infringement, the infringer may have violated the DMCA. Section 1202(b) of the DMCA prohibits the removal of “copyright management information” in certain circumstances. It states in pertinent part:

No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law—(1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information . . . . knowing, or, with respect to civil remedies . . . having reasonable grounds to know, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement of any right under this title.

The statutory award for each violation of Section 1202 ranges from $2,500 to $25,000. The DMCA is another important tool in the photographer’s legal toolkit.

Q: Do I need a model or property release to own the copyright in my photograph?
Copyrights and rights of privacy for people are different rights. When photographers take photos of people, they must be careful to not invade their privacy. This happens when someone enters a person’s private domain in a manner that would be considered offensive to the average person. As a photographer, the act of going on someone’s land without permission would be trespassing and also may violate the person’s right of privacy. You don’t have to take a photo or publish an image photo for the action to be unlawful. Some courts have found that a photographer has violated privacy rights even when photographing someone in public. Instances would include cases where the photographers harass their subjects, use hidden cameras, or wait for a woman’s skirt to be blown at a fun house. It also is unlawful to view and photograph people inside of residences or other places where privacy is normally expected, even when the photographer is standing in public.

After the photo is taken, however, the photographer should be concerned with the person’s right of publicity. You violate a person’s right of publicity when, without permission, you use a photo of a person for your own benefit. The “editorial” use of a photo is not considered a use of the person’s image for your own benefit. “Commercial” use is different because the use benefits the photographer, so you need the person’s consent to use their image. If you get a model release signed by the subject, you are free to use the image commercially, i.e., for advertising.

If an image is used in a newsworthy item then that constitutes an editorial use. In such cases, a person’s rights are evaluated in light of constitutional interests. “Newsworthiness” is a First Amendment, freedom of the press interest and is broadly construed. Courts traditionally have defined public interest or newsworthiness in liberal and far-reaching terms, not limiting it to the dissemination of news in the sense of current events. They have extended it well beyond that to include all types of factual, educational and historical data, even including entertainment and amusement and other interesting phases of human activity in general.

Commercial use of a photograph usually occurs when the picture of the person has been used purely for “advertising purposes.” While the photograph of a person may be used for something that is sold for profit, such as for use in a book or as a photographic print, selling the photo is not the test for a commercial usage. Using a picture of a person in advertising or for trade without consent may violate the person’s right of publicity, especially when it injures the economic interests of the person due to commercial exploitation. If someone looking at a photograph would think that the person in it is promoting or endorsing a product affiliated with the photograph, then the use is commercial. When the photo of a person is incorporated into a product such as a tee shirt, the use is commercial. At times, it is difficult to determine if a usage is considered commercial or editorial, so it is always safer to get the model release.

In general, if property is visible and can be photographed from a public place, you don’t need a property release to use an image that depicts the property and you may use the photo in any manner. Copyright law provides an exclusion for photographing buildings located on property, but not for statues or other items that may have separate copyrights. There also are restrictions on some governmental property. These include federal seals and insignia as well as military or nuclear installations due to security concerns. If the statue or copyrighted item has minimal presence in your image, your photo may fall under the exclusion due to fair use. Otherwise, you must get permission to take an image and to use it for any purpose.

Nevertheless, some companies have tried to prevent the use—both commercially and editorially—of photographs of their buildings or objects via trademark protection or contract law. Examples include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Lone Cypress tree on the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, CA, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the “Hollywood” sign. While these attempts have been unsuccessful, it can be expensive to litigate them

Q: Do I need to put the © notice on my photos?
You’ll often see a copyright “notice”—the familiar © or the word “copyright” with a date and name of the copyright owner—posted on creative works. A proper notice has three parts: the first part is the © (the letter “c” in a circle), the word “Copyright,” or its abbreviation, “Copr.” Some people use a “c” within parentheses like this: (c), but it has not been designated to be part of the official copyright notice. The second part notes the year when the work was first published. The third required part of a copyright notice is the name of the copyright owner. The final form looks like this: © 2020 Jhon doe. Including a copyright notice is no longer required for copyright protection, but it is a good idea to use it.

When you use the copyright notice it may stop someone from stealing your photographs, either because it serves as a reminder that the work is protected or because the notice interferes with the use of the work when it is part of the photo. Also, it helps to post a copyright notice on your photos because the infringer then cannot say the use was innocent. Further, you may be eligible for DMCA damages if your copyright notice is removed to hide an infringement (see above). You may use the copyright notice without registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.