Copyright Infringement | Intellectual Property - Photography

October 19, 2023

Copyright Infringement | Intellectual Property - Photography

Unofficial use, demystifying copyright infringement, and avoiding unintentional harmony with the wrong copyright understanding.

In the digital age, where information streams freely and creative works dance across screens, the concept of copyright can feel nebulous, a wisp of legal jargon shrouded in cryptic symbols. But whether you're a casual internet surfer or a budding artist, understanding copyright is as crucial as learning the notes before composing your own symphony. So, let's break down the basics and navigate the potentially choppy waters of copyright infringement.

Copyright 101: Imagine copyright as a force field protecting original photography works. This invisible shield grants the creator exclusive rights to control how their work is used, reproduced, and distributed. Copying someone else's work without permission is like barging through that force field, potentially landing you in hot legal soup.

Infringement in the Spotlight: Common examples of copyright infringement include:
Copying images verbatim without attribution. Give credit where credit's due, folks! Using someone else's work to create derivative works without permission. That fan-made Harry Potter sequel might be your magnum opus, but it could land you in trouble. The good news is that navigating the copyright seas doesn't have to be a Herculean feat. Here are some tips to sail smoothly:

  • Always assume anything online is copyrighted unless explicitly stated otherwise. The "free on the internet" mentality often leads to unintentional infringement.
  • Seek permission. It's never a bad idea to ask the copyright holder for permission to use their work. You might be surprised how readily some creators are willing to share.
  • Embrace fair use. This legal doctrine allows limited use of copyrighted material for purposes like criticism, commentary, and education. However, fair use can be a complex concept, so tread carefully.
  • Give proper attribution. When using someone else's work, always credit them clearly and concisely.

Remember: Copyright infringement isn't just about avoiding legal repercussions; it's about respecting the creativity and hard work of others. By understanding and adhering to copyright principles, we can all contribute to a thriving ecosystem of creators and enjoy the fruits of their labour without infringing on their rights.

In all but a few occasions permission for use of intellectual property is required, copyright protects photography work even when the image is published in the public domain, fact, unofficially using protected material is wrongful. An original photograph is fixed and recorded with copyright associated to that image at the moment of capture, automatic rights are assigned to the image author immediately at conception with no requirement to register the works. The image is protected whether a watermark or symbol are used or not.

Bottom line, if you didn't click the button to take the picture then you will need to contact the photographer and seek rightful permission to use that photo, it's that simple.

Infringements and Protected Works Violations

Simply put, infringements and violations are taken seriously, all my works are protected. I do not consider having my work on your site as promotion of my work. I consider it as additional worth to your site. For this, I would expect to be compensated. My work will improve your site by providing content that will draw more visitors. Is copyright infringement a crime, or a civil matter? ... What does your conscience tell you!

Assuming further visitors to your site increases income from that site, I deserve a piece of that pie. That is the business of photography.

So how do you get permission to use copyrighted works? As with all exclusive rights work, you should first obtain permission from the material owner before you use someone else's work. You should also be prepared to pay a fee, as many photographers will charge you for using their work.

Is copyright infringement a crime, or a civil matter? ... What does your conscience tell you!

  • You wouldn't steal a car
  • You wouldn't steal a handbag
  • You wouldn't steal a mobile phone

Watermarked Property

For good reason many images that are property of mine are watermarked, which politely suggests hands off those photos, violation and why watermark: Many of my images are watermarked, under copyrighted protection, why? Because substantial investment goes into photography productions and publications. Recovering that outlay helps ensure the publishing program can continue. People generally put a watermark on a picture to acknowledge the creator and because they don't want the images to be altered or used without permission. Graphic design, digital art, and photography are valuable skills and the artists should be recognised and compensated for their time and their work. If you want to use someone else's photos or images, it's only courteous to ask permission.

UK Copyright

For in-depth info the intellectual property office offer a comprehensive account of UK legislation and copyright related rights that's insightful to those people intending to use other peoples copyright protected works.

..."Unofficial Use of Photography material is stealing!" either within the UK or out-with the UK, it is always at least a civil matter, the means by which an owner of a copyright may file a civil suit, under the copyright act and under certain circumstances, it may also be a crime. A copyright infringement is subject to criminal prosecution if infringement is wilful and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.....


Intellectual property violation, please don't risk it, respect original rights and don't smash & grab. copyright infringement - photography with John Gilchrist