So you may have heard of this thing copyright, but what does it actually mean?
Well, the legal definition of copyright (©) is -
‘Copyright is a legal right created that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution’
It’s not always clear that when a client pays a photographer for their photoshoot, the photographer still owns those images. This is called copyright, and it is in place to protect the photographers work from being exploited and allows them to keep creative control of their work.
Copyright is automatically attached to an image as soon as it is taken by a photographer, it’s not something that needs to be filed legally, its an automatic right.
Every photographer will have slightly different ways of working with copyright in their business and these should be explained to the client in their terms and conditions.
By default, images should be treated as if they are under copyright from the photographer, this means that they cannot be sold for profit or used without the photographers permission, as they own that image.
Think of it like this, normally the images from a shoot are licensed to the client for their personal and business promotional use (things like spotlight, casting websites, personal and agent websites, your business cards etc), but would not be permitted for commercial use, this means if a theatre show wanted to use your headshot on their promotional poster, it is out of the licence and they would need to contact the photographer directly to get permission, and there may be a fee involved.
Whenever a photo is used, it should be credited to the photographer regardless.
If in doubt about anything regarding copyright, always contact the photographer and ask first. If you don't adhere to copyright laws, the worse case scenario is you could be taken to court by the owner of the material you misuse and be left with an expensive bill!
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