Staying legal is an important aspect of using imagery, whether it’s personally or for business. Getting entangled; in copyright issues can be costly and bad for your reputation.
This blog is for guidance only and is as far as we are aware, correct at the time of posting. However, the law is ever changing and we encourage everyone to seek legal guidance from a suitable qualified person.
Firstly you own the copyright of any image you have taken. And that copyright stays in place for your lifetime and 70 years beyond your death. The exception to this, is if you take an image as an employee, for your employer. The copyright then belongs to your employer.
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You have to be careful, using your images on social media. Always read the full terms and conditions, for the social media platform you’re posting to. Terms and conditions do vary between them. For most platforms, once you post an image online, although you don’t give away your copyright; you do grant a licence to that particular platform to use it and possibly other people to use it. Again check terms and conditions for full details.
Just because you found it on the web, doesn’t mean you have the right to use it.
You need to check who owns the copyright and what type it is. The majority of images won’t have contact details. However; before using the image, you should make every effort to contact the copyright holder. Tell them what you want to use the image for. They may not mind you using it, they may ask for a credit line or a fee. But, you should ask, if you don’t it is stealing.
You may come across the Creative Commons licence (CC). This is one of several public copyright licences; it enables free distribution of a copyrighted work. The copyright holder uses a CC licence to give people the right to share, use or build on a work, which is under copyright. These are images you are free to use. But again, read the terms and conditions related to the individual picture.
Copyright is a very complex. Be 100% certain you have the right to use that image. It could be very costly if you don’t.
Protecting your images is important. You can add a simple watermark to your images. Either with your name or your name and the copyright symbol ©; a common copyright notice looks like this.
© 2017 A N Other
You could add the words, All rights reserved, but this is not absolutely necessary. Have a look at the app store for watermarking apps to use on your smartphone.
You can also watermark your images electronically, using a product called Digimarc Guardian for images, https://www.digimarc.com/
If you are photographing people, you should ask their permission before taking the picture. Ask if they mind being in your image and tell them where it is going to be used, e.g. newspaper, social media, etc. Be extremely careful when children are involved. If they are in the image make sure you have asked permission of their parent or legal guardian.
You must check with the owner. Do not assume you have the right to take an image which includes their home or possessions. As ever, there are exceptions. If you are standing on the public highway, e.g. on the pavement, and you take a picture of the outside of a hotel; that is ok and legal. But if you are inside the hotel and take a picture, you should check with the hotel. Most places are not going to mind, it’s good promotion for them. However, it is a good idea to always check.
With the UK’s departure from Europe, copyright laws may change. It is always advisable to stay up to date.
More information is available on the government website, below is a good publication to read.
That’s it for this one. Short on time but want Maximum impact on social media – look out for our next blog in our “How To” series. Can’t wait that long? Our personal training covers all aspects of photography helping you make a good first impression and click here stand out from the crowd.
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How To: Take better landscapes
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