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Copyright of Retouched Photos

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  #1  
Old 01-18-2010, 11:52 PM
gby gby is offline
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Copyright of Retouched Photos

In America, who owns the copyright of a retouched photo? The photographer and the retoucher? While retouchers are usually paid well for their work, What happens when a client does not pay and/or make the retoucher sign off they there work was for hire and they specifically do not own any of the copyright?

I read in the UK the ownership of the new retouched image goes both to the photographer and the retoucher. Has anybody ever had to press this issue with a high profile client to obtain payment in the US?

Thank you in advance for any insight.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:54 AM
slash-5 slash-5 is offline
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Re: Copyright of Retouched Photos

The photog.

The retoucher is only providing a service for which he/she is paid. Much like paying a framer to put a frame on the print.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:44 AM
gby gby is offline
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Re: Copyright of Retouched Photos

Slash, I don't quite agree with this concept. Much the same as music copyright law. If an artist remakes somebody else's song, they own a portion of the copyright to their version of the song. Retouchers do not push this point since they are usually well paid and do not want to upset the photographers they work for. Much like a painters assistant does not get credit for their work on a painting. However in my case I have not been paid and looking for legal recourse.

Below is a relevant clip from a UK book about photography copyright put out by the Business and Patent Information Services.

What if the photograph is altered significantly?

Any retouching of some one else’s picture or photograph without permission infringes copyright. If retouching is carried out with the permission of the original copyright owner and as a result the picture is changed significantly from the original this could create a second – and separate - copyright in the retouched work. This would not affect the copyright ownership of the original work. In order to use such a work permission would have to be obtained from both copyright owners. Simply a change of medium does not justify copying.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:03 PM
slash-5 slash-5 is offline
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Re: Copyright of Retouched Photos

That makes sense. So, the photog would own all rights to the original image, but the retouched image would be a shared copyright.

I was thinking that both were the same thing, but now I see that they are actually two separate images.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:08 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Copyright of Retouched Photos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work
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