Understanding Copyright

With Christmas card season just around the corner, it seemed like a good time to do a quick little Q & A about copyright and how it relates to my photography.  I’ll run through a few common misconceptions, and if you have any specific questions not answered here, please just call or shoot me an email and I’d be glad to talk with you about it.

Q: “If I hire you to take my picture, do I own the copyright?”

A: As the photographer, I am the owner of the copyright for all of the images I produce.  I have the right to reproduce and sell the images to my clients.

Q: “What is copyright infringement?”

A: Copyright infringement is when a person copies, downloads, distributes or publicly displays the work of a photographer without written permission from the photographer. In other words, it is illegal for you to copy, scan, screencapture or otherwise reproduce my work without specific granted permission from me.  If a client purchases a digital file from me, I will grant them a specific license to reproduce that image for personal use. Copying or scanning a photographic print or screencapturing an image from my blog is NEVER okay.  In fact, it is ILLEGAL.

Q: “If I buy an 8×10, can’t I take it to Walmart and have prints made for my Christmas card?”

A:  No.  This would be illegal.  If you would like to distribute copies of your photo to family or friends, you must either purchase individual photographic prints for them from me, or purchase the digital file in order to reproduce them yourself.

Q: “What about FaceBook? Can I share my images with my friends?”

A: Again, if you have purchased the digital file, you will receive a permission card allowing you to share your images digitally, or in print, with your friends and family. This permission card will give you the right to share your image on FaceBook, MySpace, etc.  One exception to this is for images I (Brook Rieman) place on FaceBook. If I have placed an image of you on the Brook Rieman Photography FaceBook page, you MAY tag yourself and or use that image for your profile picture, so long as you are not copying or downloading that image to your computer. By tagging yourself, you are only linking to my image, not reproducing it.

Hopefully this Q & A answered some of your questions regarding copyright. Again, if you have any specific questions please, just let me know 🙂

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MartieNovember 3, 2010 - 9:43 pm

Brook, you do such a great job explaining concepts like this!

Tami AllenDecember 2, 2012 - 9:17 pm

Do you have sample text providing rights with digital purchases?

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