Copyrights: What's the Deal? | Tacoma Wedding Photographer

October 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I used to have little black cards. 

These were my copyright cards. Each USB or image order a client placed, got a copyright card. I was insanely anal about making sure EVERYONE knew about the copyrights. Of course, these goofy little cards had a CRUD-TON of words on them... in teeny tiny print. Seriously. I was in my 20s, not using a designer and just wanted everything to fit on the stupid little card. I'm also not sure where I got the bright idea that the stupid little card was the way to go for copyright info. But that's a whole different story. 

By dictionary definition a copyright is: "the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.... Works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1078 are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after their death." (Definition from dictionary.com)

Yikes. That's a lot of verbiage, especially when it comes to something as important as your wedding photos or family memories. The idea that your photos may be exploited is a really scary thought! But here's the thing, most photographers won't exploit you or your precious memories. They choose to retain the copyright so that your images aren't sold to third parties or otherwise used for some random person on the internet to use your images for advertising weird stuff. Plus NO ONE wants to drive by a billboard with their family photo on it, having never heard about the sale of that photo in the first place! 

So, the big question: Do you need the copyrights to your photos?

The truth is no, you really don't. What you need is a solid agreement with your photographer that they won't sell your images without you knowing about it. You'll also need a reproduction/print release, that states you are allowed to make copies, distribute and post your images. In my contract, my clients are provided with an irrevocable reproduction release, giving you the rights to print, reproduce and distribute your images as many times as you want. Want to send copies to Great Aunt Mable? Go for it. Want to post every single one of your 800 wedding images on Facebook? Sure thing! Use your purchased digital images to create mugs, photobooks, placemats, whatever your pretty little heart desires. 

P.S. I love seeing what clients do with their images. ;) Post photos of your gallery walls, instagram pictures of your new photobook, tag me in a photo of your coffee mugs. I can't wait to see what you do! 

 


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