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Photography Question 
Elizabeth R. McNeil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2004
 

should I copyright?


A couple of weeks ago I took a bunch of pictures of a friends little girl, after they saw the pictures they showed them to everyone and know I have several people who want me to photograph there children. My question is, should I copyright my photos, or should I just give them the photos? I am really at a loss of what to do. And if I do copyright them, should I just write it on the back of the photo, or but it on the front in Photoshop.
Thanks,
Elizabeth


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11/2/2005 5:13:13 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker  
Legally, when you shoot the pictures they are copyrighted. You might want to buy a stamp and put it on the back so others will know. Or, you might want to use a professional lab that will put it on there for you when they print.


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11/2/2005 8:30:29 AM

 
Elizabeth R. McNeil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2004
  thanks so much Kerry!


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11/2/2005 1:37:56 PM

 
Lisa B. North
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Hi Kerry,

I am just starting out with my photography business. I make photo greeting cards and am about to put up 12 framed 8x10 photos in a local general store/deli (nice place) for sale. I do not currently have any copyright things printed on my cards or photos. Are you saying that legally, even if I don't have copyright logos on my work, they are still copyright protected? I guess I worry about people scanning my photos.


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11/18/2005 8:21:08 PM

 
Nick Milton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/25/2003
  hey elizebeth,

I would simply charge for the photoshoot,include a cd with images,(make sure you charge enough).

lets face it,the images are of someones little girl,why would you want them,just the satisfaction of taking and selling them would be enough for me?you get paid,they get pictures.everyone happy?

Nick.


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11/19/2005 8:20:43 PM

 
Elizabeth R. McNeil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2004
  hm yeah makes sense...thanks Nick!


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11/20/2005 6:38:15 AM

 
James Nichols   The copyright would be so anyone who gets pictures from you. Could not just go to Walmart or another source and have them make copies. That is now illegal and they would have to come back to you if they want more pictures. This is just my opinion, so please don't take this for the letter of the law.


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11/26/2005 10:34:41 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I guess this response is for both Lisa and Elizabeth. Under the amendments to the federal copyright act of 1976 and 1978, when the image is created, i.e., you release the shutter, then unless the work is for hire, joint works, or another contract applies, you own the copyright.

As to placing your copyright notice on the image or prints of the image, the purpose of that is to convey actual notice that the work in fact IS copyrighted by you (or whomever), and that your permission is required before the image may be duplicated in any manner or form. While it doesn't prevent unauthorized duplication, conveying actual notice AND then registering the work with the Copyright office makes it easier to collect damages if your copyright is infringed upon. To bring an action for infringement, which would have to be filed in the u.s. district (federal not state) court, the work MUST be registered with the copyright office, I believe within a year of when it was created.

Forms and how to use them are available at http://www.copyright.gov/register/visual.html

And, without going into the different types of infringements that can occur, by placing your mark on your photographs, you help prevent someone from raising what I call the "dummy defense" or "I didn't know", thus claiming what's called innocent infringement.

As for Lisa's cards, you can copyright and register your photos in bulk. (See the web site). With that and your notice on the work itself, you're pretty well protected from anyone duplicating your work without your consent, including individuals or, for example, some greeting card company that wants to pirate your work without paying you for the privilege of using it.

And, your copyright mark also serves proper notice on the labs or processors. So, in Elizabeth's case, since you control the rights to use or duplicate your images, in a technical sense, if you sell prints with your copyright placed on them to the kid's family and they go down to Walmart and the store duplicates them, in any way, without your consent then they're on the hook for infringement along with the kid's parents. See what I mean??

Now, since the copyright is initially yours (in most situations) like any other property right, you can sell or transfer it to someone else whether for a fee or not. So, let's say you want to sell it to the kid's parents. You could draft a single paragraph agreement that grants them co-extensive usage of the image, for any non-commercial purpose, and you retain the right to use the image for self-promotion, stock photography (with an appropriate model release from the parents), or whatever else you guys agree on. Remember, that any image, may, at some point, acquire commercial value, say in an advertisement or illustrating a magazine atricle. Keep that in mind for the future and your own kid's college tuition fund. :>) Okie dokie? Take it light.
Mark


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11/27/2005 6:12:01 PM

 
Elizabeth R. McNeil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2004
  thank you all so much!
it defiantly makes sense now.
God Bless,
Elizabeth


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11/28/2005 5:48:58 AM

 
Lisa B. North
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Mark,

Thank you so much for your detailed response! I appreciate the info! And the kids college fund is one reason why I'm getting in this crazy racket! Will keep it light!

Lisa


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11/28/2005 8:34:43 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  My pleasure, Lisa ;>). My stock images contributed about 75% to my kid's college dough for 7 years. Yikes !!!
Mark


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11/28/2005 1:49:50 PM

 
Lisa B. North
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Gee, Mark! That's a whole other thread that I'd love to pick your brain on how to get started in that aspect of the business (stock photos)! I've had great response from my photos from everyone. In a short span, I've sold a lot. But at some point, I'd love to get beyond the "greeting card & enlargement" thing and get into a different arena. Just trying to get as much knowledge about the business as I can to be in a better position down the road! Would love to hear your thoughts!

Lisa


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11/28/2005 6:51:37 PM

 
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