Who owns the copyright to the photos taken during the photo shoot?

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An Iryna

Head of Commercial and Civil Law Practice

Lawyer, specialist in intellectual property. Specializes in registration and protection of copyrights, inventions, patents, trademarks, as well as development of intellectual property transfer agreements, license agreements.

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Who owns the copyright to the photos taken during the photo shoot?

Reading time: 3 min.

In the age of digital technologies and social networks, photos have taken a central place in our lives. An important issue that often arises in the context of photo shoots is the issue of copyright. Who ultimately owns the rights to the photos taken during a photo shoot? Let's consider this issue from a legal and practical point of view.

 

Photographer and his copyright

According to the general rule, the author of the photo is the one who created it. In the case of a photo shoot, this is usually a photographer. The main criterion for granting copyright is the photographer's creative contribution.

Exceptions are commissioned works and paid photo sessions.

There are cases where copyright can be transferred to another party. For example, if the photos were created to order or within the framework of an employment or copyright contract.

If the photos are created as part of work for a specific company or as part of an agreement, the copyright may pass to the customer.

In most cases, the customer has the right to use the photos to the extent specified in the contract, but the rights to the work remain with the photographer.

In some cases, there may be a shared copyright agreement where both the photographer and other parties (such as models) have rights to use the photos.

Copyright for commercial and non-commercial uses

It is important to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial use of photographs. Commercial use, including the use of photographs in advertising campaigns or the sale of licenses, may require additional permissions and payment to copyright holders.

 

Consent and agreements

To avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, it is important to establish relationships and rights in advance. Consent to a photo session does not always mean consent to the use of photos in certain contexts. Often, the photographer and model can come to an agreement regarding who will own the copyright and to what extent the photos can be used.

The main advice for avoiding conflicts during and after the photo shoot is to draw up clear contracts between the photographer and all participants.

A written agreement is a key element in defining the rights and obligations of each party and may include the following important aspects:

  • Rights to use photos. The agreement should clearly define the purposes for which the photos can be used. This can be a stipulated part of an advertising campaign, a photographer's personal portfolio or other uses.
  • Commercial Use and Licenses. If commercial use of photos is envisaged, the agreement should specify the scope and conditions of this use.
  • Privacy. If the filming involves the disclosure of confidential information or private details, the agreement should include a confidentiality clause and determine the conditions for processing and storing this information.
  • Payment and settlements. The agreement must determine the amount of payment for the photo session and the terms of its calculation.
  • Terms and deadlines. The agreement should determine the terms of the photo session, as well as the terms for processing and transferring the finished images. This allows you to avoid misunderstandings and define a clear framework for the completion of the project.
  • Intellectual property rights. The agreement should include provisions on how the copyright in the photos is distributed and whether the participants can use the images for their own purposes outside the context of the photo shoot.

If you have any questions, contact the Prykhodko and Partners law office. Our experts are always ready to advise you.

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