do you copyright ( or non- us equiv ) ?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jnanian, May 14, 2014.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    singular image (tintype &c ) or negative do you copyright ( or non- us equiv ) ?

    do you REGISTER the copyright your work ( or non-usa protection of work created ) ?

    i have copyrighted my assignment/commerical work on and off for a long while
    after a deadbeat company i worked with decided they had the right to
    take my work and not for pay using it ... its a long sad story about crafty lawyers, strength, and ignorance
    but you learn the hard way that without the certification from the LOC/copyright office you are pretty much screwed
    so this isn't a thread about the benefits and need of copyright for commercial work ...

    the reason i ask is because soon i will be harvesting a group of photographs and the finished work
    will include the negatives as well as the finished print/s and i worry a little bit that if the negative is included
    some joker might attempt to use it, and claim that it is theirs to make prints from, when it isn't ...
    yes, you heard/read me right, i will be including the negative ( the first generation photograph ) because
    i don't do editions and after the prints are made i really have no use for them, and i am too-lazy to cut or burn them ...

    you probably don't, but if you include the negative with the finished work ( tintypests, ambrotypists, daguerreotypistts, antotypists, luminists &c ) would you copyright it? would you copyright each individual image along with the negative?
    would you copyright the finished work ( 4-5-6 images together) ?


    thanks!
    john

    ps. i know i put this in the ethics/philosophy forum, not really sure where it would go, so if the mods want to move it, please move it.
     
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  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Don't you mean, do you file a copyright registration..? Or do you mean, do you put a copuyright marking on your images? The copyright itself is inherent in the creation of the image.

    If the first interpretation, then no, I never have and probably will never need to since I'm not earning income directly from images I shoot (or have shot). If the second interpretation, then yes... almost always.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Not quite:
    Varying between nations there are two legal approaches to that matter. One places emphasis on the creator and grants him automatically right on his creation and considers the interest of society second. The other approach puts society first and urges the creator to explicitely claim his right. Until 1989 the USA stuck to the second approach.
     
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  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi brian

    i mean do you REGISTER the work with whichever governing body handles owner/creator registration ( LOC/copyright office here in the states).
    yes, while it is inherent in creation of the image, unless it is registered there is no real point in putting the ©
    and the name next to it, seeing if someone grabs it, and uses it the creator won't have a leg to stand on if he/she try to
    bring the pirate to court for damages ... since ownership is so murky &c lawyers won't take cases and judges won't hear cases
    of infringement if the alleged owner doesn't have a registration .. it ends up like a he-said / she-said argument
    with the true owner ends up, well, without damages, and wondering why he/she didn't pay the $35 dollars to register the images.

    john
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    see post #2.
     
  6. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    If you are going to include the negative, you should scratch a big X from end to end on it to cancel it, just as a printer cancels a printing plate.

    I'm not sure what country you are in, but in the US, signing and dating the work copyrights it. I'm sure every country has their own ideas on this. Actually, you do not even need to sign the piece, but I certainly recommend doing so. The following link is for a painting, but the same applies to any created piece of imagery.

    http://painting.about.com/cs/artistscopyright/f/copyrightfaq2.htm
     
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  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I was speaking from a self-centered viewpoint as a citizen of USA. Thanks for addressing the rest of the world. :smile:
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have automatic copyright in the UK/EU on any images I take for myself, commissioned work for individuals or companies is usually joint copyright but then I don't have a right to use or sell the images to anyone else. If commissioned or sponsored to produce new work of my own I retain the right to use the work in any way I wish and the commissioner/sponsor will have a right as per the terms of the agreement for non commercial use.

    I have had to threaten legal action on more than one occasion where images have been used without permission, but things were settled amicably. I had 2 images used for CD covers and a number used on websites.

    Ian
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    ian, brian and agx ..

    if you sold the NEGATIVE ( or singular positive, where no negative existed ) as part of a work of art would you register it ? :smile:

    thanks!
    john
     
  10. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Art, or commercial? What reproduction/usage rights went with it?
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I have no means to register any photograph as there is no register.
    What of course puts me in the situation to prove that I'm the creator. (Hardly a problem in times of analog photography.)

    (The only register that exists is for pictorial (trade-)marks, at the patent office.)


    Concerning your actual question:
    Selling commercial photograhy typically involves negotiating about what rights adherent to a photograph to be transferred.
    Selling a photograph as work of art typically does not include any further rights.

    At least that is the situation here in Germany.
     
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  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    it would be ART ...
    but, if the negative is sold along as part of the final image/s ... the owner of the artwork
    would then be able to reproduce them ( i am guessing, since i am not a lawyer i am in the dark )

    so in order for me to say " hey, i own the rights to the negatives ... i made them DON"T MAKE PRINTS FROM THEM " i'd have to register them with the LOC/CO ?

    thanks AgX !
     
  13. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    As I understand it:

    In the US, an image is copyrighted when taken. However, unless the image is registered with the Copyrighted Office (it can be done in bulk), you will be limited to the 'fair use' value of the image in any legal action. This means someone can use your image and only pay you what they would have with your permission. If the image is copyrighted, you qualify for triple damages, making if far less attractive to use your image without your permission.

    You may have given up your copyright rights if you have a 'work for hire' agreement with your employer.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi professor pixel
    you are correct ...
    but i was thinking about ART, not commercial work that is copyrighted.
    i know the copyright office allows artists to copyright 3d and 2d artwork, not just
    commerical / non-"for hire" assignment work .. and my questions could probably be distilled down to this:

    if someone buys a negative from you as a piece of artwork, do they get usage rights to reproduce that negative transfered to them
    at the time of purchase or do the usage rights still belong to the creator?

    thanks !
    john
     
  16. ROL

    ROL Member

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    "do you copyright ( or non- us equiv ) ?"


    You do if you're professional: Photo Biz –> Copyrighting
     
  17. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    Interesting question. The studio that does the photography for my kids' school pictures will sell a CD to you with the school picture on it. Along with the CD (which in the digital times we live in is like a negative) they include a release granting you rights to reproduce the picture. So I would lean towards the copyright remaining with the photographer/studio, while the rights to reproduce the image may or may not be licensed to the purchaser depending on the terms of sale.

    Personally (and I am not a lawyer so this is just my opinion), if I were you, and included the negative in the sale, I would spell out whether or not the rights to reproduce the image are transferred to the purchaser. This makes it clear to both parties exactly what rights, (if any) are being transferred to the purchaser of said image.
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'm not a lawyer either but I think it is important that the rights being assigned, transferred, given, or sold be specified clearly enough that you know what you are assigning, and the recipient knows when he will be violating that agreement.
     
  19. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Practically speaking, the registration seems only useful if you intend to *use* it. The deterrent value of a clear specification of rights, as BrianShaw suggests, is probably at least as good as the deterrent value of registration. So the question is, if you get the rights documented, and you find that the customer has run off and abused your negative anyway, are you going to follow through on it legally?

    -NT
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi ROL

    i am a professional, have been since 1986, but i have never sold a negative or 1st-generation image ( or digital file ) as "art"
    i have also been selling "art" (whatever that means) that isn't commercial art but sold through galleries &c since around the same time
    -- portraits &c and things i called "hybrid" photographs made back in the 1990s which were assemblages and things that existed for only as long
    as i enlarged the image and after the SINGLE IMAGE was made the assembled camera made+non camera made negative ( that is the hybrid part )
    was removed + disassembled so the print couldn't be made again ... but again, i have never sold a NEGATIVE as part of the artwork ..
    just like i have never sold a transparency, just images made from them, and they had limited use, not full use, or full transfer of ownership,
    i have also sold full on complete negatives and prints, but i still retain the copyright so i am permitted to reuse print, publish &c the image
    ===

    thanks for your questions and comments, i think i just answered my own question in answering this post.
    i will copyright the negatives and treat them like they are a transparency ... and even thought if/when i sell the work/s
    and explicitly explain there are no rights granted &c if i find they did/do i will go after them as i would a commercial client
    who uses without permisision ...

    john
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You need to stipulate what rights the buyer has at the time of sale. If it's a unique piece of art as opposed to something that can be replicated many times or as a limited edition once you sell it it's no longer yours to exercise any control over.

    It's a bit like some of the early 20th C painters who struggled to survive and sold their paintings to live, later seeing them sell on later for very high prices and getting nothing.

    So you need to make the highest possible quality copy before you sell it and retain the right to use the copy as you wish, perhaps stipulate the new owners of the image can't use it for commercial purposes. So essentially you want to retain the reproduction rights.

    Ian
     
  22. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I believe you are talking about licensing of a copyrighted image. Finished photographic works (e.g., positive images ala prints and transparencies) are no longer copyrighted as such, because the technology is and has changed over the years. Images are. These days, image registration over the net makes copyright establishment easier than ever, as I'm sure you're aware. That's obviated snail mail registration packages of facsimiles, actual photographs and transparencies, previously representing image copyright.

    Many licensing contracts are worded cryptically to include transferal of copyright. Photo contests can be egregious in this regard, and is one reason I never take part in them. Once copyright has been transferred, or runs out, that is the end of the story for the creator. You can do whatever you like if you retain copyright, although that may be at odds with moratoriums in any licensing agreements. I further don't believe that your apparent discernment between 'art' and 'commercial' has anything to do with U.S. copyright law.

    FTR, I make no judgements as to who is professional and who is not. I, for one, do not consider myself to be a 'professional', even though my work may say otherwise. The important thing (regarding copyright) is that the USCO does consider work to be professional (if registered), and any attorney consulted to remedy infringement will almost certainly only take a case if he considers you to be professional – because the works are registered.
     
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  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    +1
     
  24. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I tried buying negs once - the photographer of my wedding was going out of business and offered to sell them to us for more money than I wanted to pay... so it never happened. But the interesting thing is that he wanted to retain his copyright and assign all other rights - print, duplicate, destroy, venerate, fold, spindle or mutilate, etc - to me. I think he intended that to include both personal and commercial purposes but can't recall exactly if that wasmentioned. It seems as though, had I bought them, I could do whatever I wanted to do except falsely claim that I was the cerator of the image.
     
  25. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'm sure you are right. I may have introduced that question/issue thinking that it might make a difference in the licensing implications more than the implications on the copyright itself.
     
  26. Dave Ludwig

    Dave Ludwig Member

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    If you wish to register the image, suggest you collect digital images and make a collective singular file with all images combined. This will save you money as you could have 20 or 30 images in one and by registering the lot as a singular work of multiple images you are registering all images.

    Commercial photography has basically 2 work conditions. (1) photographer retains rights (negatives) therefore your client theoretically should return for more prints. Image can not be used by anyone else. (2) "Buyout" client pays extra, maybe double, and receives negatives and all media created. You may have the right to use the imagery to promote your business but that is where it probably ends.

    Possession is 9/10's the law. Unfortunately clients do not always see it that way and feel they can do anything they want with it, and usually do. Problem is if you want them to remain a client do you make a stink about it? Typically I like the buyout. I make more money
    and usually the negatives will get mishandled and become unusable, or lost. Where do you think they will go.

    Any digital image of a print that I put on the web I put a copyright on it. People, especially polliticians love to surf looking for images for campaign flyers, etc. (gotcha) Whether you register now or when the infraction takes place it should not matter. Internet law has a "fair use" clause whereby you can copy the image as long as it is not going to be used for financial benefit, or used to denigrate a person, business, culture, etc. publicly.