The Copyright Act gives the author of a photograph the exclusive right to reproduce their photograph. This includes the right to control the making of copies. It is illegal to copy or reproduce photographs without written permission, and violators of this Federal Law are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
What is a copyright?
The exclusive right to make, distribute copies of, publicly display or publish a photograph.
When are photographs copyrighted?
As soon as they are created by the photographer.
Who owns the copyright to a photograph?
The photographer who created it.
What is copyright infringement?
Copying a photograph without written permission of the copyright owner. This includes copying, using a photocopier, a photographic copy, a digital copy stand, or scanning into a computer.
If I buy a photograph, don't I have the right to copy it?
Absolutely not! Copyright can only be transferred in writing by the photographer. The sale of a print does not include the copyright to that image. Simply stated, someone who purchases a professional photograph is in much the same position as someone who buys a book. They own the physical book, but they do not own the copyright, and they do not have the right to have additional copies made.
Do photographs have to be marked with a copyright notice to be protected?
No mark is required anywhere on the print. If it looks professionally done, and is, under the law, it is copyrighted.
How long does a copyright last?
Protection from copying lasts the life of the photographer plus 70 years.