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General photography questions and answers: Discuss copywrite question...here is a question................ you take some photographs of a band playing on a street. then you publish the images ...
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Old 20-05-2008, 18:44   #1 (permalink)
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copywrite question

here is a question................

you take some photographs of a band playing on a street.

then you publish the images on the internet,
WHO owns the copyright of the images?

Fi
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Old 20-05-2008, 18:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

You own the copyright unless you assign it elsewhere - through a contract, for instance, but you may not have permission to show pics of the band commercially (but can do so editorially - i.e. news)
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Old 20-05-2008, 18:59   #3 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

so if the band are claiming they own the copyright to their image its nonsense?
and if the band was performing in public for free with no signs saying no photography surely the presumption of privacy cannot be used so therefore they can have no say over the use of the images?
after all , a performer should expect their photograph to be taken?

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Old 20-05-2008, 19:07   #4 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

They won't own copyright but they may claim that you can't use the pics without their permission - which is why 'togs use Release Forms giving permission for the subject to be used. You can still use an image editorially (hence news pics of so-called celebs)

Edit: I used the word 'subject' because it can affect things other than people - like buildings, logos, etc. For instance, you can't use an image where the London Underground logo (as in sign) is prominently displayed, without the permission of LU
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Old 20-05-2008, 22:34   #5 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

You automatically own the copyright to the images that you create. Furthermore, if you were shooting in a public place, you were perfectly within your rights to take aim and click away at anything you saw fit to photograph.

As regards what you can do with the images: you are free to use them in an editorial or artistic context. You can't use the images in a commercial manner i.e. for advertising or selling a product unless you have the consent of the persons whom might be identified in the shots. This is what release forms are for - basically written consent from the persons that you can use a photo in such a manner.

So

Print it in a newspaper, magazine or website - yes
Sell it as a fine art print - yes
Publish it on a website for review or critique - yes
Use it to advertise / sell a product or service - not without written consent

Like anything, it's not always so clear cut, but the above will hold true in most cases.
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Old 20-05-2008, 22:44   #6 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

Please note : I am not a lawyer and you should not treat the following as advice. If in doubt, please seek the advice of your own lawyer.

There is no general "right to privacy" under UK law, and photographers are free to take pictures of people in a public place and to use them as they wish (including commercially).

You do however need to be careful, as places you may consider to be "public" may not be - for example a shopping centre or even a "public park" may not strictly be a public place. The owner of a private place (eg a shopping centre) can place whatever restrictions they like on your entry to their property (including for example you not taking photographs, or even automatically assigning copyright in any photographs you do take to them). You should make yourself aware of any such restrictions.

However if the band were performing in the street (being a public highway), even if they put signs up saying no photography, you would be perfectly within your rights to photograph them and use the images commercially if you wish to. A band "performing" in a public place can have no reasonable expectation of privacy !

Release forms are NOT required for persons photographed in a public place in the UK, however most photo agencies would not touch the photographs for anything other than journalistic use without one, as they too are concerned about legal action - defending even a vexacious legal action can cost a great deal of money.

So the short answer to your question Fi is - the copyright is yours, and if they were truly performing in a public place you can exploit the photos how you wish (including for commercial gain).

BTW - just to be clear, I classify selling prints etc as "commercial use". Use to advertise a product or service is an entirely different matter of course as you are inferring the subject's endorsement of a product, for which you obviously need their consent.

Also note - the laws in Scotland are slightly different in some areas to those which apply in the rest of the UK.

Last edited by PeteT; 20-05-2008 at 22:50.
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Old 20-05-2008, 23:08   #7 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

Think we've all said pretty much the same thing!

Will add an anecdote: we were asked whether we could help get back a camera that had been 'confiscated' at a concert by security, as the person entered the auditorium (I'm not sure why person asked us as we had no influence). They never saw it again. By no means legal but that's how serious/determined some of these organisations can be
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Old 21-05-2008, 00:23   #8 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

okies , thanx all, i think that clarifies it perfectly for me.
To let you understand, i took images of a tribal band last year at Edinburgh Fringe, they were performing at the bottom of the mound on a public street.
I posted the images here and on my own website.
As a default setting ( unless i specify it for a certaint portfolio) all the images on my web site are offered for sale.
They are in no way endorsing any product nor offering any service.
I got a email from the band in question thru the website ( written in a nice way ) saying that they actually owned the copyright to their own image.
They did not ask me to take the images down nor did they ask me to remove them from sale. Before i respond to the email i wanted to clarify what i already suspected so what better place to ask than here.
So thanx very much, all i need to do now is to word an email very nicely and tell them where they stand re copyright issues.

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Old 21-05-2008, 06:40   #9 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

It would be interesting to know what happens eventually in this case Fi. Keep us informed if you can.
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Old 21-05-2008, 13:04   #10 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

yes watching with interest....
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Old 21-05-2008, 22:37   #11 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

Regarding the tale above where the person had their camera taken, I guess the moral of the story is don't part with your gear. No-one can force you to hand over your camera, if they try to do so it is theft and assault. They can bar your admission though.

If it was a choice between handing over my camera and walking away from the venue I know which my option would be!!
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Old 22-05-2008, 18:02   #12 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
....I got a email from the band in question thru the website ( written in a nice way ) saying that they actually owned the copyright to their own image.
Now is that heading into Trademark territory?

I've had a couple of similarish things come up with shooting 'local' bands but never really got to the bottom of copyright / people having a 'trademark' image.
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Old 23-05-2008, 11:43   #13 (permalink)
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Re: copywrite question

Quote:
"A photograph of a trademark may infringe the rights of the owner of the mark, but generally only where the photo might give the impression that it was produced by or belongs to the trademark owner."
From UK Photographers Rights

I would also be inclined to ask for evidence that they have registered their 'image' as a trademark. I suggest reading the document linked below - that has a very good explanation of the relationship between Trademarks and Photographs.

http://www.bapla.org.uk/resource/file_1184177058.pdf

My understanding from reading this and other sources is that you can have a 'trademark photograph' of a person (and presumably of a band) but in order for you to be infringing on their trademark your photograph would have to be sufficiently close to their registered image. If your photograph is different (different angle, lighting, composition) then they should have no grounds.
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