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3 Facts about Pictures, Photography and the Law
you may not know.

How to Make Hollywood Portraits

3 Things about Pictures, Photography and the Law you may not know.

Copyright Law states “Copyright is a property right. Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 (effective January 1, 1978 and amended when the USA joined the Berne Convention in 1989), photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.”

  1. Did you know: You cannot take a photograph that was taken of you and get it reproduced?
    That is unless the photographer gave you specific rights to do so? Did you know that even if you are in the photo, you have no rights to that photo whatsoever, unless the photographer stipulates that. It is protected under the federal copyright law and is the property of the photographer, even if the image is of you.

    Copyright 2009 - Darkmans Darkroom

    Copyright 2009 - Darkmans Darkroom

  2. Did you know: A picture on the Internet is protected by copyright law too?
    If I post some pictures on the Internet and someone takes them and uses them on a website, t-shirt or a magazine, and I find them, I can take them to court for copyright infringement. That means that even though I put my pictures on the Internet they are still protected by the same copyright laws that protects my printed material. It means if you take an image from a website and use it, it is called stealing.
  3. Did you know: If you were photographed by photographer, the photographer can’t use that picture for anything without your permission?
    Even if you gave your permission to be photographed they still cannot use your picture without a signed release from you. You have a right to privacy and even though it is the property of the photographer, they have to have you sign a release in order for them to be able to use the image.

When I went to my friendly neighborhood Walmart to pick up some photos that I had them print, they wouldn’t give me the photos, They said they were made by…”A Professional” “Duh” I thought to myself as I tossed my business card on the counter. They said I had to sign a photographers release stating that I was either the photographer that shot them or that I had permission to print them from the photographer who did. Huhmmm!

I had not had that happen before and when it happened to me, at first I was a little miffed. As I was standing there waiting for a manager to come and explain things to me, I actually started to get a little bit of gratitude. Why you ask? Because that means that when someone who scans the images that I took and tries to have them reprinted without my permission or without paying me for them, they won’t be able to. AHhhh! Nice!

Not all places are like that though, take your local drugstore, try taking in a photo and ask to scan it. Or ask them to reprint it. See what happens and come back and comment on here for me.

PPA, Professional Photographers of America, is one of the organizations responsible for having places like this made aware of this discrepancy by having them fined and legally reprimanded for such actions. It is also another reason why I am a member of PPA. They take care of the good guys, the photographers who make a living from taking other peoples pictures, for creating memories that last a lifetime, for creating that one in a million Kodak moment. OK gag. No but seriously, it’s for real and that is one of the reason I belong.

Have a great evening folks…


Larry L Clark
PPA Member #5154485

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3 Responses to “3 Facts about Pictures, Photography and the Law
you may not know.”
  1. James Campos says:

    hi…. yes… I liked your post….

    my site is actually DOWN right now. I ‘Locked it Out’ because I need to research all the legalities. My galleries mainly consist of local events like Car Shows, Cars racing at the local drag-strip, performances at the county fair, performances at Grand Openings of stores etc.

    I even photographed a young woman at a car show wanting to be a model…..

    Now I am just concerned about Releases…..

    Getting one from the girl will not be an issue… she wants more pics done.

    But.. what about all the cars I photographed…. will the owners have a problem with that?

    The motor cycle stunt team at the Power Sports Grand Opening….. I shot their performance.

    The ‘live play’ at the annual local fair. Will the actors have an issue with me posting their pictures online????

    Can you recommend a good source that could answer my questions?

    I am not so much worried about people using my pics without permission because THEY are the ones that could l SUE….

    I just don’t want to get Sued myself for posting a pic on the internet of someone in the ‘live play’ at the fair or someones car or they stunt team doing a performance.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Darkman says:

      Hi James, I would suggest looking into several sites, one of which is PPA.ORG. Professional Photographers Association. They are an Excellent source for legal issues such as this, and the have a legal tea, and insurance if you are a member. Another site to check into is modelmayhem.com in the forums. There’s a lot of knowledgeable people there as well, just take the cocky responses with a grain of salt. Usually if you have the go ahead from an event to photo it, such a s a racetrack,. they say you can photo the event, you pretty much have an open ticket to shoot and post what you want, since the performers are also saying they are ok with being photo’ed for being there. Usually. I do a lot of concert and club photography and if you read the fine print on concert tickets, you are usually agreeing and consenting to being photographed in the concert events. Read your next concert ticket. 🙂

  2. How does this work with google images? I usually give photo credit by attaching a link but who knows where the image came from in the first place? Kinda crazy to think about how many of us are infringing on people’s copyrights. I guess that’s what watermarks are for.

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