Copyright and photography

Digital photography and the internet has made copyright and photography more difficult to manage. Just because a photograph can be seen on the internet doesn’t mean it is free to use. Using a photograph without permission is theft. I find it very worrying that not only do school pupils not realise / appreciate this but many staff also do not.

One teacher told me that ‘if it is on Google / Bing images it is free to use’.

No, No, No and NO.

Unless an agreement has been made by the owner of the copyright ( Creative Commons License, royalty free, etc) then the image is not free to use, it is only free to look at.

I know that if I post an image from an event on Facebook I am anticipating it will be shared so I am accepting the free use of the image by whoever is in it for their own personal use. The ‘logo’ that I put on the image can help with self publicity. However, if the image is on a web gallery for ordering photographs from an event and has my copyright identified on it then I am clearly indicating that I own the copyright for the image and that unauthorised use of the image is illegal. After doing a few events with slightly larger sample photos to enable expressions etc to be seen in large groups I will be going back to 250 or 300 pixels on the longest side instead of the 450 that I tried. Reason – the amount of image theft that I have found has happened. If the people doing so had also purchased prints of the images they have illegally used then I’d be a bit more relaxed about it. Some have done so and some have paid a nominal amount for a digital file without any ‘Logo’

NB: Text and or a graphic splashed across a digital image is NOT a watermark, it is a ‘logo splash’. Watermarks are a part of the paper substrate that a print might be made on but they do not exist in the context of a digital file. One exception to this is the invisible to the eye Digimarc and similar methods that embed in the image but cannot be seen when viewed normally, just like a paper watermark.

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