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Retouching permission

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Old 02-13-2011, 10:30 AM
justarookie justarookie is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 12
Retouching permission

Photographers: what is your stand on retouchers editing your pictures? I mean, I see retouchers asking clients (such as models) to provide permission from the photographer before starting to work on them. Is it really the retoucher's responsability? I mean, it's the client that's going to use it without asking for it. I am asking you guys this because I am trying to figure out the ethics and rules of this trade. Can I as a retoucher, retouch any photo regardless of who the copyright holder is as long as I don't personally post it anywhere (as long as it's just on my computer it's irrelevant anyway), or do I have to ask for permission even if it's the client that will use it? Again, I'm asking this because I saw this issues being addressed on some retouchers' profiles.

Thank you
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:30 AM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Birmingham UK
Posts: 104
Re: Retouching permission

I am no expert on copyright law but the photographer, not the model, owns copyright. The photographer would need to give permission to the retoucher, either directly or indirectly (eg by giving permission to the model to have the image digitally altered).

As you have said, if it just stays on your computer then it hardly matters but if you were to use it on a website or commercially I believe that is a breach of copyright law.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:22 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
Posts: 683
Re: Retouching permission

You may be sticking your hand into a hornets nest here. I do not know where you are, but it is my understanding that copyright laws change a bit from country to country. Best to check in your country.

Usually the creator of the image owns the copyright unless that person signs it over to someone else. There is the concept of making derivative of the original, this is a very very gray area and can cause you a lot of trouble. In my non lawyer opinion retouching an image would not really qualify as a derivative copy.

Many photographers will give the model a license to use the image for a list of uses, but usually this license does not include the right to retouch. So basically the model who does not hold the copyright cannot give you permission to alter the image.

If you where to alter a copyrighted image without permission and make some money for doing so, then the copyright holder has even more incentive to come after you.

My last thought is that in any of this, GET IT IN WRITING!!!!
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