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Photos, Copyrights & Trademarks – Kathleen Stephens used with permission
There are no copyright or trademark violations in photography. What?!
Copyright and trademark violations do not occur when you point a camera and push the button. It isn’t the taking of a photo but the publishing of it that can be a trademark or copyright violation.
Every photo you take is copyrighted from the moment you push the button.
The memory stick of your camera holding your photos contains your copyrighted images. Where violations of trademarks or copyrights occur upon publishing, copyrights exist from the second a photo is created. You can register a copyright if your image is being used for commercial purposes, otherwise registration is not needed.
What are copyrights?
The Wikipedia gives a vast amount of information on copyrights including history, conventions and definition by countries. I recommend that everyone read through it. Basically, copyrights are a set of exclusive rights giving the creator or copyright holder of an original work the right to copy, distribute and adapt their work.
A trademarkis a symbol, word or phrase that identifies a company or product.
Trademark violations take place when a photo is published – made public – containing a trademark of a company or product. For example, the Golden Arches of McDonalds, a Coca Cola sign, car insignias, etc.
Can you include trademarks in a photo and publish it without being in violation?
Yes, but they can’t be the focus of the photo. Shooting and publishing a street scene with a row of Harleys parked down the side of the street does not violate the Harley trademark. Shooting the Harley insignia on a bike and posting it does. Shooting a band on stage using Fender guitars does not violate Fender’s trademark, but shooting a Fender guitar where the word Fender is visible does.
You don’t need to register copyright for it to exist, but if a work is potentially valuable or marketable, registering the copyright will make it easier for you to bring legal action against someone for copyright infringement.
There is no government registration system for copyright protection in Australia. You do not need to publish your work, put a copyright notice on it, or to do anything else to be covered by copyright — the protection is free and automatic.
In the US registering your work is required if you ever need to litigate a copyright claim in court. Registering your work before any infringement occurs also allows the artist to collect damages set by law and attorney fees.
© 2011, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.