Visual Communications



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This weeks task was to explore Copyright in a photographic context.

As a working professional photographer you have noticed that someone has used one of your images on their blog. They have not credited you for being the original photographer, but have not said that they are the photographer either. It is just a personal blog showing interesting photographs from around the world.

I would have to work out where it was they got the picture from and whether it was clear that they couldn’t just take it without permission. If I did not authorise copyright to the clients or anyone else at all then I would first give the person the benefit of the doubt and ask them kindly to remove the picture, or if I was happy to have it there I’d ask them to credit me as the photographer. If they did not follow through with this I would then seek legal advice as to whether my copyright and been breached or not. I would then give them a certain amount of time to remove or credit the photo,and if they didn’t I’d follow up with legal action. Under copyright law I have the legal right to assert my moral rights.

As a wedding photographer you notice that at the local shopping centre one of your images in the window of a “QuickPrint” printing shop. After talking to the shop owner, he tells you that a couple came in and got some enlargements done and agreed to let the shop owner display one of the images in the shop window.

I would first ascertain from a lawyer if indeed my copyright had been infringed upon in this situation, and I would take a picture of the photo in the window as proof to show the lawyer. If it was decided that yes my copyright had been breached, and it was I who held the rights to the images, not the couple who had purchased them, I would explain to the shop owner that I did not agree to this scenario, and would they kindly remove the image from the window. I would give them a reasonable time frame, say 48 hours to remove the picture, and advise them that if they did not I was obliged to take it further.

As a working advertising photographer you take an image of a building and cityscape for a regular client. You agree on usage and a price. It is agreed that the image can only be used for 12 months and printed up to A3 for brochure, internal marketing and on their website and not to be used overseas. Six months later you notice that your image is being used on the side of a tram, covering the entire tram. Once you start investigating this you notice that your image is also being used for advertising in international magazines.

If there was a signed contract by both parties as to the usage agreements of the images, then yes I would have legal grounds to seek compensation for this being broken. If not such contract exists and it was only a verbal agreement than I amy not have any leg to stand on.  The Copyright Council of Australia “Australian Copyright Council Information Sheet G035v11 Photographs – Copying Photos You’ve Paid For” document says “When you are commissioning a photographer, it is best to put a written agreement in place about who owns copyright and who is entitled to prints and digital files, as well as what each party is allowed to do with these, in order to avoid uncertainties.” So ultimately it would come down to what was written in the contract.


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