today the search of images on the internet and expecially through the most common search platforms is affecting photographers' copyright... many people download and use illegally pictures found on the net. But it's a real problem? Yes it is, because it is copyright infringment.
Red wrote a good article about FINDING THE RIGHT PHOTO.
I want to tell you more about Copyright and its technical notes.
Each photographer invest a lot of energy, money and time to shoot professionally a good photo. Processes it and shares his work.
Copyright is the right of the creator of an original work. The word copyright (a right to copy) indicates what this right is all about. Copyright gives the creator of a work for a certain time period an exclusive right with some limitations to decide of the work. Others must respect this right.
There's a lot of thinking, working and choosing the right effect, and many many coffees and cigarettes before posting and sharing a good work.
Copyright is granted to the creator automatically. When the time period expires the work is said to enter the public domain. It is available for anyone to use for any purpose.But note: ONLY WHEN TIME PERIOD EXPIRES!
A work needs to have some creative nature in order to have copyright protection. A creative work can be a written work or an artistic work. Copyright is given for example to a poem, an article, a book, a composition, a painting or a photograph.
In the HUGE CANYON OF SEARCH ENGINES copyright may be infringed often...
The exclusive right of the creator means that the copyright holder has the right to decide of the work exclusively. He/she can decide for example of the publication, distribution and adaptation of the work. He/she can also have some moral rights for his/her work, e.g. the right to be granted for it. This exclusive right has some limitations (e.g. private use). The copyright holder has the right to sell or assign his/her right to someone else. This means that a copyright or aspects of it may be assigned or transferred from one party to another.
Who has the copyright of a photograph?
The copyright of a photograph belongs to the photographer. The time of expiring of the copyright can vary but in some cases the copyright expires only 70 years after the death of the photographer.
The photographer can sell his/her copyright or parts of it to someone else. In many cases the photographer only sells a photograph without selling the copyright. In these cases the photographer has still the copyright but he/she sells the photograph for private use or some other agreed use. The photographer can also grant a license to use the photograph. In some countries personality rights can restrict the use of photographs. This concerns e.g. photographs of individuals.
And here take place each Dreamstime license when choosing to use an agency to sell your own shoots.
What if my photo has been used without permission?
The best thing to do, if you use an agency as exclusive retailer of your work, is to contact them to take part to the matter. If not, well, you have a big deal with. What channel has been used to download your picture? You should contact the final user to exhibit your Copyright and defend your rights, that is equal to find a needle in a haystack.
So, when choosing to sell your rights, be selective towards your selling channels.
Photo credits: Debora Teresa Gattuso.