Board index Photography Technical Questions permission for use of photographs

Technical Questions

permission for use of photographs

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Posts: 7

permission for use of photographs

Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:15 pm

ok, this is not technical but maybe someone can give me some advice. I do dog show photography for profit etc etc and try to control all my images.... recently someone took a photograph I did for them, and had it reproduced in a dog magazine in a personal section (brags etc etc) They did not have the digital image so they either scanned it or the magazine did...when I questioned its use, the customer told me they were advised the the magazine they did not requre persmission from the photographer since the customer "owned" the photgraph (as opposed to the digital image I guess)... I was going to email the magazine and ask them what transpired but thought I'd ask pbaser's their opinions first... Is permission requred for anything.

Brian Cook pbase/qdogs

Posts: 2276

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:12 pm

You took the photo, you own the copyright, unless there was something in the contract that gave the customer rights to the copyright. If you sold only the photo, and did not grant any rights with the sale, then the customer cannot do anything with the photo except display it. The customer and the magazine are wrong, and should not have printed the photo without your expressed permission. This assumes the magazine said & did what the customer claims.

It sounds like there was no financial gain for the magazine in publishing the photo, so you’re not likely to have any recourse of value with the magazine. Is it likely you will have future business with this customer? Or the magazine? You could consider advising the customer that you own the copyright, and suggesting he/she purchase or license it to permit additional use of the photo. Contacting the magazine is a good idea, at least to advise them of the copyright violation. It's possible they were told by the customer that he/she owned the copyright.

I assume you use at least a simple contract with customers that defines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. If you do not have something like this in writing, perhaps as part of your quotation, you should consider doing so as it will help avoid these types of issues.

I’m not a lawyer, so this advise has about the same value as you paid for it. Good luck!

Posts: 2276

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:22 pm

Not to get your hopes up...

Here is a new court award of $US 12 million to a photographer for copyright violation.

Posts: 135

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:33 pm

All of the above is good info. When I deliver my work to a client, the invoice I give states clearly who owns what. Usually I permit the client to use the photos in a specific way... anywhere, one time usage, print only, etc. I ALWAYS clearly state that I retain the copyright and may use all photos for promotion, advertising, etc.

It's a good habit to get in to.

Good luck,


Posts: 181

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:06 pm

The photographer always owns the copyright to a photo unless it is specifically signed away by contract.

To be able to pursue an infringement in court you need to file for copyright with the copyright office. This can be done after the infringement. A court will always ask for a copy of the copyright filing before they can grant you compensation.

It is the publishers (the magazine) responsibility to make sure copyright is granted to them. In this case they did clearly infringe on your rights.

If you want to pursue the matter and think it is worth the effort:

1) File for copyright.

2) Contact the magazine, and present them with an invoice based on your regular fee schedule. Tell them that if they do not pay, you will take them to court.

3) If you did not get the payment you asked for (or were willing to negotiate), hire a copyright lawyer and take them to court, and you will get your legal costs plus fees paid at a minimum.

I am not a layer, but am quite sure about my knowledge here. Always consult a lawyer for any legal matter.

Posts: 2

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:42 pm

I wondered the same thing about someone having one of your photos and doing just that. I recently found two different articles that addressed copyright which I found helpful. Here are the links. It certainly softened me on feeling that I had to protect my photos like Ft. Knox.

This one in particular made a compelling argument about damages you can retrieve if someone uses your photo without permission:

Here's the original article about copyrighting photos I thought was interesting which lead me to the article above:

Posts: 479

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:01 am

From your Yahoo .ca address, I'm guessing your Canadian? If so any of the advice or asumptions based on US law aren't likely to be that useful. One of the provisions of copyright law in Canada is that if you are commissioned to take the picture, that party owns the copyright once paid for.

"The person who commissions a photograph, portrait, engraving, or print for valuable consideration (which has been paid) unless there is an agreement to the contrary;"

You'll want to look at a Canadian site dealing with photographic legal issues to see if what you did when taking the picture for them fits this clause. There's more info at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office site.

Posts: 154

Re: permission for use of photographs

Post Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:39 am

gillettecraig wrote:From your Yahoo .ca address, I'm guessing your Canadian? .

However, Dan Heller is in California, United States. And, I believe Dan and I know the same Intellectual Property lawyer, and we know each other. Small world :-)


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