Every day, internet usage is increasing. In addition, most photographers are using online storage facilities to keep their own creations, thus copyright issues are becoming a problem for most photographers. Today, it is very easy to get your work online be it through submitting images through picture libraries, having them on your own website or just using free storage networks. With the digital age, it is easy to create images as people no longer need to worry about the processing cost any more.
In fact, people are only worried about the storage space available to hold the creative content. However, just as it is easy to put our content online, there is a risk the images being exploited without your permission. Thus, there is a need for photographers to understand the basic law that guards them against infringements of their rights.
What is copyright?
A copyright refers to an exclusive right to publish, reproduce, sell or distribute in the matter and form of something such as artistic work, literary or musical work including photographs. Once you take a shot, the process of registering photos for copyright is easy, although it depends on the country you are in.
Notably, most photographs are protected by the copyright act just like any other piece of creative work. In UK, it is protected through the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of the year 1988. The general policy of this act is to prevent unauthorized individuals from copying an actual piece of work, but not the use of information or the emotional expression of it. The copyright act not only protects an individual against the reproduction of their images but also entitles them to economic benefit by seeking a fair balance between the creator and the user.
In addition, copyrights are always established from the time of image creation. The only qualification required here is that the work must be original. This is a right that is granted to the photographer and comes into full force immediately. The rights are always held by the photographer to a period of 70 years and it can be passed to your heirs thereafter.
Just like any other law, there are exceptions in this case. For instance, if you are an employee and the photos are taken on behalf of the employer, then it means the copyright rights remain with the employer and one cannot claim them unless you have signed a contract that states otherwise.
Although most people like to protect their pictures against any infringement on copyright, there are some situations and aspects of the law that deals with fair practices and fair dealing, such situations when copying of protected material is allowed without the requirement to obtain permission from the copyright holder. Such situations include.
- -Copies take by an individual for private study or research.
- -Copies used for reviews, criticism of the image itself, provided and accreditation is offered.
- -Advertising the work for sale
- -Public interest such as evidence in court.
How to reduce image theft online
There are different ways you can use to protect your images online. The most secure ways to achieve this is by using third such as Copysafe, Artist Scope or DigiMarc. Using complex codes to guard your images online can be one of the safest ways to patent your images. In addition, there are some of the other methods which are affordable to most photographers including:
- -Adding your name to all the photos you post online. Most photographers add their name, companies or address.
- -Watermarking your images.