Copyright Myths

In an age where images, photos, music all seem to abound on the World Wide Web and people are just downloading, uploading and sharing stuff I though I would write a short piece about copyright.

Unfortunately, a lot (most!) people do not understand copyright or intellectual property rights and think that everything can be had at no cost. Typically the copyright of a piece of media is owned by the creator, so in terms of photography that means the photographer. There are exceptions to this such as when you are employed as a photographer by an organisation but I’m not going into all that.

Just because the photographer owns the copyright it doesn’t mean that they can do what they want with the images that they created, there are other factors such as image rights of the subject to take into account.

Some common myths around copyright…

  • They’re on the internet so they are free.
  • I’m in the photograph so I have a right to use it.
  • I’m not using it to make money so it doesn’t apply.
  • There wasn’t a copyright statement on the image so it’s not copyrighted.
  • I gave the photographer credit when I published it.
  • I paid the photographer to take the photos so they must be mine.
  • It was my idea that was created.
  • It’s not a criminal offence though – is it?

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