APA’s photography insurance professionals know that Copyrights can be very valuable (if not the most valuable) assets belonging to a professional photographer.
Yet, in the days of social media and online photo sharing, it’s becoming more and more difficult to determine what qualifies as copyright infringement.
The Copyright Act of 1976 made it very clear that photographers are the copyright owners of their images, unless the images were made as an employee or when the photographer conveyed copyright to another party in a written and signed agreement.
However, the gray area keeps growing and it’s becoming more and more necessary for photographers to take precautionary measures when copyrighting their own photos, or using outside content.
A copyright is a right, granted to you by the law, that controls the copying, reproduction, distribution, derivative us and public display of your photographs, and to sue for unauthorized use (aka, infringement) of your work.
This right begins at the instant you fix your photographic expression in a tangible form. In other words, when you create a latent image on film. Copyright ownership is automatically bestowed when you make the image. It does not depend on the registration with the copyright office or placement of a copyright notice on the image.
While most images are copyrightable, some are not.
In order to obtain copyright, your image must be original. This is required. If you exactly copy a photograph, it cannot be copyrighted since it wasn’t the original. If the original photograph is copyrighted, you would need proof of consent from the original photographer to copy it.
Copyright infringement insurance is advantageous to photographers who may unknowingly copy someone else’s copyrighted image without authorization. While it is usually required that the infringer had access to the original work, legal speculation may prove otherwise.
If you’re looking to secure a policy that will protect you from copyright infringement, you’ll more than likely need an additional policy. Our photography insurance agents caution clients that adequate copyright infringement coverage is not usually going to be included in their Errors and Omissions policies.
Request a FREE indication of cost and custom coverage by requesting the Photography Insurance portion of our Quote Request website! We’ll build you a custom photography insurance package unique to your business and exposures.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor should it be viewed as legal advice. No one should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information in this website without seeking the appropriate professional counsel on his or her particular circumstances. Additionally, no one should secure or dismiss insurance coverage on the basis of any information in this website without seeking an appropriate professional counsel on his or her particular circumstances. Although every effort is made to provide accurate and useful information, APA Insurance Services, Inc. or any third party contributor, assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information disclosed on this site.
Source consulted: Weisgrau, Richard, and Michael Remer. “COPYRIGHT GUIDE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.” PhotoStop(SM). American Society of Media Photographers, Inc., 1991. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. <http://photostop.istep.com/Legal/asmp.txt>.
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