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Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

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  #1  
Old 01-16-2009, 09:37 PM
dreicheneker dreicheneker is offline
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Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

I'm so confused about copyrights. Some places I read say the photographer owns the photo and the subject (i.e. senior photos) has to get rights of ownership from the photographer. Other things I read say the photographer has to get a release from the subject being photographed (i.e. model release forms). If a person's image is being used, don't they have equal rights or co-ownership of that image along with the photographer? I'm particularly interested in this for senior portraits, pageant headshots, wedding photos, etc. Don't the subjects have any rights to their image being captured?
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:15 AM
Macint0sh Macint0sh is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

It usually goes like this:

You own the pictures you shoot. If your subject were to get hires versions of the pictures, they would not legally be able to go to some other photographer to make enlargements, have them retouched etc. You own the image. You decide what they can do with it.

On the other hand, without a model release, you cannot sell the image for use in, say, a commercial, and would be on thin ice if you were to include it in a mass mailing campaign of yours.

You own the image, but you can't do with it as you please.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:31 AM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

I believe there is some exception for "man on the street" type photos that may include people.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:38 AM
Macint0sh Macint0sh is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

If people are just part of the scene (e.g. street shooting), with no particular person the subject, you don't need a release.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:36 AM
broo broo is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

I did some research, and it looks like this:
photographers are pretty much free to take photos of people except on private property while subject is not aware of being photographed. Usually photos of people can't be used for commercial purposes without model release, but most of them can be published. There is a bit from some website, which corresponds with the other sources:

http://www.weddingphotographydirectory.com

"Distinguish Between Commercial and Editorial Use – In most countries you may publish any photography (not obscene) for newsworthy, editorial or journalistic purposes. For such occasions, you as a photographer are protected by freedom of press, or “fair use”.

To elaborate on “fair user” further, the "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. However, such practice should never harm the commercial value of the work.

When your photography subjects are people, you should take their “rights of publicity” into consideration. Editorial usage however is not classified as personal or commercial beneficial usage.

Photo Usage on the Web – Private individual may post pictures on the web without a formal model release. However such photos may not be construed as any form of commercial advertisement. Certain model releases also have restrictions on permitted distribution channel and media. It’s always best practice to get your self covered in writing."
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:34 PM
Ausimax Ausimax is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

I always have a bit of difficulty with the concept of the photographer owning the copyright to a photo when he/she has been employed by me to produce those photos.

If I work for a company and am employed to create something, the company owns the copyright/patent not the employee, why is it different when the photographer is employed by me?

Ausimax
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:19 PM
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lurch lurch is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

Hi, Max - welcome to RTP. I've learned a lot here; you will too.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:53 PM
Ausimax Ausimax is offline
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Re: Rights of Ownership by the subject in Photo

Thanks Lurch, Been a member here for quite some time, not a very active one though, do a bit of lurking occasionally - always seem to busy at OPR.

Max
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