Copyright – It’s a free for all

These days we are bombarded by images, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook etc. Millions of pictures are published to these platforms every hour from every corner of the world.

Copyright is an issue which is becoming more complicated by this process, people don’t care where the image comes from and they often appear to pass it off as “in some way” their own by “sharing” it without the owners’ knowledge or permission.

When we are commissioned by our clients to create a picture, Ikon Photography owns the copyright on that image. As the creator of the image the copyright automatically resides with us. As professional photographers, we can either grant a license to use the image for a period or sign over the copyright to our clients to use as they wish (on settlement of the invoice) or for an agreed fee.

In this social digital landscape, and environment of “fake news” we should be cautious as to who is professional and who is an amateur. There is no real way of knowing without an established business and professional track record.

These days many people can give the impression that they are a professional in any given field by posting and sharing content sourced from the internet. For example, you might write an article about a particular car, search the internet, find a picture and download it and put it onto your social media channels with your article or comments. The next thing is you are a “bona fide” motoring journalist. Viewers of your feeds could be given the impression that you are an authority, professional or expert in that area. Using somebody else’s work to in some way “enhance” yourself or your business is plain deception and wrong, not to mention illegal.

Copyright images photography

The problem is that this is so easily done and it cannot realistically be prevented with some unscrupulous individuals passing it off as their own work. Reproducing the work without the owner’s permission is in breach of copyright.

Over the years we have been required to provide evidence for our clients to use in court against companies who are using material in this way, against or without their knowledge to advertise or market their business.

Just because an image is in the public domain on the internet, does not make it free to use. You are required to obtain the owner’s permission to reproduce the work and at the very least ask them and give the correct attribution.

Social media has changed the creative landscape and it is important to keep in mind that someone has taken the time and the skill to create the picture, respect their copyright. Why not pick up a camera and go create your own work, it’s much more rewarding.

For more information on the copyright of digital images, photographs and the internet from the Government Intellectual Property Office click on this link

If you have found this useful and need a professional photographer just give us a call and we will create something just for you.