The Copyright Question : The Office : Raleigh, NC Photographer

I know.  Boring topic but it has come up over the past few months a few times so why not address it in a post!  Legal stuff is never fun but is necessary.  We have you sign a contract BEFORE each session for a reason.

Here is the down and dirty with Copyright.

So, we have long, always and always will be company that offers the option of purchasing a USB or disk of the images from your session, wedding or event.  That is not going to EVER change.  There is a huge divide in the photography industry as it is as to whether allowing clients to purchase digital files should even happen at all.  It happened years ago with transition into the digital age.  Well, we side with allowing you to be the avid scrapbooker, Pinterest crazed and/or Facebook sharing person that you want to be and have allowed the purchase of digital files all the while seeing a marked decrease in the amount of profit that we could ever get from print purchases.

What needs to be addressed though is that when you are purchasing this option, you get with it a print release.

So – print release. Same thing as copyright?!?!  RIGHT?!?!?  Uh, no.

Print release means you can print the original image(s) as they are delivered to you.  In many forms (prints, canvas, announcements, mugs, t-shirts) WHATEVER you want to print them on – you got it!

With that release you can print them but you can not modify them or sell them for any profit.  You can not use them for commercial use.  And that print release is ONLY for the client that it is released to.  Not their family and friends.  You can not then give the files to your mom or dad and then say print away!  You can print them for them and gift them to them but they can not take the USB or disk and then print them in the forms that they would like.

We offer an online gallery of every session that is never deleted for this very reason.  You can share the gallery with friends and family and then they can purchase what they want through us but transfer of the print release is not allowed.

Copyright is ownership of the images.  Copyright is how we use the images in marketing and our portfolios. Copyright is the ownership of the person that took the image unless you have had it released to you.

We have been asked recently about purchase of copyright of images.  We will never release copyright of images; I say never but what I mean is not for the current price that we have with our session with USB option. WHY? Well, we will release any future profit that we could EVER receive off of those images and we also would have to forever and always ask whomever we have sold or given that copyright to if we could use the images for marketing and our portfolio. Therefore copyright of a single image can start in the single dollar range and go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on what it is.

It is kinda like buying a song off of iTunes or Amazon. You get a copy of a song to play on your iPod as many times as you want to but you do not own that song, the ability to gift it to someone else, nor could you ever release it for purpose of profit.  If you wanted to hold the ability to make money off of every download and play of that song it would cost you hundreds to hundreds of thousands or maybe millions depending on what song and artist is is by.

Is your picture of little Sue worth that much?  To you, YES and to us it is too!  We want that protected! And protected from not you per se but someone, ANYONE from using that image in anyway they want to.

We will forever and always also offer to clients the option to not further use your images in marketing purposes.  You can tell us how and where we can share your images.  Some sessions that we have done people will never know even exist because we can’t share them anywhere.  Others are okay with use on the blog but not social media.  Others are okay with social media and blog but not marketing.

Really it is all up to you.  Communication is key so we can make sure that it is added into the contract for your session.

This is of the utmost importance to us because they are your family, your kids, your memories; we were just the ones that set up the shot, knew what to add to make it perfect, knew the camera settings to get the shot, and made the overall magic happen to get the forever memory that you now have as a picture.

So, hopefully this explains some of where we are coming from.  We wish that we could just say sure; meet us at 3 on Saturday and bring the kids for a session at the park but in business there are many other topics that come into play.  Legal schmegal we wish was the case but protection of you and your images is also important.

Working on a post that includes some great info on watermarking and why we watermark so stay tuned!

This blogging thing is one of my New Years resolutions so stay tuned……The info and photos are about to get LIVE up in here!




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