Thursday, April 19, 2012

Photographs, Drawings and other Graphic Art

Images – photographs, clip art, drawings, graphics – are usually copyright-protected. Determining the copyright owner for photographs is sometimes difficult. In general, the photographer is considered the owner even if the work was for hire (such as photographs of a wedding or other event). And the copyright endures even if the photographer is no longer living – rights can be transferred by a will as personal property. The photographer must specifically transfer the copyright, in writing and signed, to another person.

Stock photography and clip art sold in books, on CDs or downloadable from websites is royalty-free (or may be in the public domain) most of the time. Usually, it is not copyright-free. Some images are rights managed requiring royalties to be paid for usage. Exercise care when using these images. By reading the agreement or license that accompanies the image or is available on the website, you’ll understand what your rights are for reproduction of the image and whether there are limitations on use. The most common limitation is for incorporating the image into something you intend to offer for sale, such as photos identified for editorial use only.

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