Here’s a startling reality - you’re probably guilty of copyright infringement or at minimum, know someone who is.
Today, I want to talk you about Copyright - something that most of us don’t know much about and hopefully offer a bit of education for both photographers and everyone else.*
What is Copyright?
"Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.” That means that at the moment that shutter clicks - whether it’s on your phone or a $3000 camera, you own that photo - pretty cool right?
If you reproduce an image that you did not create, whether on social media, your website, or physical print, and you do not have permission from the owner - it is theft.
How does that apply to me?
Whether you’re a photographer or not, you may have very easily committed this crime or have had it committed against you without realizing it.
Alright, you’ve convinced me, I’m a thief. What do I do if I’m not a photographer who can create their own images?
- Hire a photographer to do some branding photos for you.
- If you see a photo you want to use, ASK for it. Many photographers want the exposure and are more than willing to let you use their image. Personally, if I have worked with vendors at a wedding, I am more than happy to share those images with them. It helps all of us in the wedding industry.
- Expect to pay - if you ask for an image, they may let you use it, but if you’re a business trying to sell something and you want free images for advertising, that may not happen. If you’re making money off of someone else’s work, they need to be paid too.
- Use stock photography (not google images) - there are many stock photography websites out there - some even free.
Someone has stolen my images - HALP! What do I do?
- Screenshot the image for your records.
- Ask for payment (you set the price) or for them to remove the photo. As photographers, we make our living off of our photographs and we can’t afford to live on “exposure”… but that’s another topic…
Have anything you think I should add? Have any experience with this yourself? Let me know in the comments below!
*I’m not a lawyer, but would encourage you to reach out to one if you’d like a deeper understanding of copyright laws.
All images from our Minimalist Styled Shoot.