Module progress:

Session two: Article and Quiz

Now spend c.25 minutes undertaking the task outlined below.

For this session your activity will be a multiple choice quiz. But before you get started you should read through the article below to get a better idea of how copyright works for photographers.

Three important questions about copyright for photographers are:

  • Who owns the copyright in a photograph?
  • Can someone reproduce a photograph if someone buys a magazine it has been published in?
  • Can a client use a photograph they have a copyright licence for whenever they want?

There is also a list of key points about copyright that you need to know when you are working as a photographer.

Please read the article below. You will then be asked to take some Quiz questions.


Who owns the copyright in a photograph?

In the same way that musicians control who can reproduce their music, photographers control who can reproduce their images. Just as shops, hairdressers and pubs all need licences to play music, photographers issue licences to allow editors, publishers, designers, etc to reproduce their photographs.

When you create a copyright licence for your client it is important that you discuss details about where and your client would like to use them.

As a photographer you will give your client a copyright licence to use the images within the agreed media and usually over a set period of time. This could also be extended to only cover certain geographical areas.

Can someone reproduce a photograph if someone buys a book, magazine, catalogue or CD it has been published in?

If someone buys a copy of a book, a magazine, a catalogue or a CD, containing one of your photographs, they do not then have the right to publish it or make copies of it. That right remains with you, the copyright owner.

If someone buys a print or digital image from you that doesn’t mean they own its content. The image in the file or print is the copyright of the photographer and without a licence, it would be illegal to reproduce it.

It is possible to give exclusivity rights for a photograph to your client. The image will be exclusive to them, so, by law, you cannot then licence it to another client whilst they have an exclusive licence to use it.

Can a client use a photograph they have a copyright licence for whenever they want?

If a client insists on unlimited use of the photographs they have commissioned, this can be costly.

An unlimited licence includes every possible media including websites, videos, TV, CDs, t-shirts etc. for worldwide use for the term of the copyright.

This type of unrestricted licence is unnecessary. It is highly unlikely that the vast extent of uses it includes would ever be taken up. If professional models are needed for the shoot, their charges also reflect the use to which the image is to be used. The price for this type of licence would be enormous and the client would be paying for use they do not need.

If your client wished to extend the use of the images then they can easily negotiate this with you at a later date.

Some key points to consider about copyright

  • What you created as a freelance, you own it… if you made it, it’s yours.
  • What you own is the ‘expression’: the actual arrangement of objects and people in the image.
  • If you are commissioned to produce work based on a particular idea, in law this has no effect on your ownership of the work. You make it, you own it.
  • Traditionally, what you sell to an editor, publisher or producer is a license to use your work, once, in one territory, in one medium.
  • Under British law, being paid cannot do anything to your copyrights.

Download the article

Take the Quiz

Based on the reading above and using the web link below, now spend no more than 10 minutes reading through the article and the two links within it. Using the articles to help you, then answer the following 10 multiple choice quiz questions – choose one answer per question.

Take Quiz