Copyrighting Vacation Photos

Old May 25th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #1  
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Copyrighting Vacation Photos

I'm no professional photographer, but I believe I have at least a few good shots from my recent vacation to Hawaii.

I have seen a couple of people on this board that have copyrighted their pics and suggested that others do it.

How do you go about it and is it alot of trouble for nothing?

I would really like to hear from people that do it.

Mahalo,
Belle
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Technically and legally, anything on the internet is copyrighted -- there is no need to do anything. That's the good news.

The bad news is that there is practically no way to enforce it, since you have no way to know if someone copied them to another site [which happens all the time]or prints them etc etc.

Honestly, don't worry about it and feel complimented that someone likes your photos enough to use them. Don't lose any sleep over this as for an amateur posting photos on website of a vacation aren't likely to be lifted. Professional stuff is another matter, but even that is hard to detect when it has been lifted. Chance of every knowing are slim next to none.
Debi
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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Thanks Deb - You doing OK?? Back home yet??
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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I am a professional photographer, and I do put my images (low resolution) on the web. I know that there is no way I can stop someone from lifting pictures from the web, but I do embed my name/copyright notices in them so people can clearly see them. I've noticed that many people from MySpace use them without alteration - and since my copyright notice includes my website URL, I also get free advertising of a sort!

Also keep in mind that anyone lifting your pictures from a website can't use them for print purposes, only web/email, if you reduce their size. They could potentially put them on a website, but that's the chance you take. Just limit the size you put on the web to about 600 pixels on a side or less (I usually limit the size to 450 pixels on a side).

I once caught a towing company illegally using one of my pictures (copyright notice removed) at the top of their website!!! Yes, even these enforcers of the parking break the rules themselves. (After a polite message about copyrights, they quickly removed the picture.) It happens.

And I wouldn't sell yourself short as "no professional photographer." I would still embed a copyright notice at the bottom (aka "watermark") with your name and even a web address like I have on mine. Someday, someone may wish to use/buy one of them - who knows? Once you sell a picture - then you ARE a "professional photographer!"
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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You're most welcome osb!

I am doing really well; been home just over a month and am getting back to things.

Thanks for asking!
Debi
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Good question, Ole!

Another question - what are our rights and responsibilities, for example, if I post a picture taken inside of a restaurant on my website - I don't want anybody to whack me with a law suit for that!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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"Technically and legally, anything on the internet is copyrighted" - does this mean, if we post a picture on WorldIsRound, who holds the copyright - us, posters, or the website.

And if I posted a report on-line, is it still my report, or anybody can use parts of it for their profit?
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the responses!
I'm so glad you're doing well Debi!

Andrew: Would you please tell me how to make a watermark? I have no website of my own - just an email address, which I don't think I want posted on my pics. I don't even know how to embed my name on a picture - if I did, would my online name be sufficient?
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Belle, I would look into Picassa from Google. It's free photo software, it's pretty good, and I believe it lets you do things like making watermarks (I use some software I bought earlier but I think Picassa can do it, too). Just Google for it, download, and install. You'll probably want to use Picassa anyway. I know it can make HTML code for a webpage, too.

I'd seriously consider getting your own domain name. Why? Because you could put that into your pictures so people could contact you...and it's cheap. You can get a name like YOURDOMAIN.com (one that's not taken) for only about $9 per year. You can then forward that domain to any free web page you have - such as a Comcast or ISP account web space (even a Myspace page). And you can forward any email you receive on YOURDOMAIN.com to your own email account, so you really don't need to manage anything once you set it up once. For $9/year seems like a no-brainer to me - just a matter of finding a name that is available that you like.

I use GoDaddy.com for domain name registration.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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"And if I posted a report on-line, is it still my report, or anybody can use parts of it for their profit?"

First of all, if you post something on Fodors, by the terms and conditions, I believe you are assigning them a license to the content of your posts. So THEY could use your report for profit should they choose to do so, although I think you still hold the copyright (depends on the terms, I haven't read them since signing up).

Can a third party besides Fodors simply copy your trip report and use it for profit? I think there is a fair use law, meaning they can cite you as a source (say you raved about a hotel here - and the hotel cited you by name with a quote). But they can't simply lift it and put their name on it as their own report - that's a violation of the copyright law, if you can actually catch them doing it!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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I agree with Andrew about using copyright watermarks on web based photos to put people on notice that the photo is protected. Legally, any created work such as photos, writing, etc is automatically copyrighted when published. The rights remain with the creator of that work unless they are assigned by the creator to someone else (such as Fodor's use contained in their rules). You can also register the copyright with the federal government but that is not usually necessary unless there will be some dispute that requires a date of copyright determination.

From a practical standpoint, it is too expensive too use legal means to protect the copyright unless the photo has great intrinsic value (newsworthy, etc). However, having the watermark at least puts people on notice they are not legally allowed to use it except by permission.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Can't you just crop out the watermark?

When you write anything, online or not, it is also copyright protected. But again, the issue becomes how to enforce it IF you ever find it has been lifted.

Keep in mind that work done for an employer is, more often than not, THEIRS. When you leave their employ, the pictures, writing etc belong to them.

Debi
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Old May 25th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Andrew: I have Picassa (DS#1 loves it), but rarely use it anymore. I found it to be too complicated for my pea brain.
Maybe I'll give it another try.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Anyone who shoots a photo is the owner of the image unless they specifically sell it to someone else - either for a specific use or outright purchase of full rights. That said - once you post something on a public website it's practically impossible to enforce this - or even to find it.

If someone uses it for a commercial purpose (as in the ad example noted above) you can in fact sue them - and collect some reasonable amount of damages - and control their use of the photo.

As for your risk - if you're taking photos for personal use you can shoot what you want (but some businesses - or people - may not appreciate your takng close-ups without asking permission).

For any commercial purpose you CANNOT take recognizable close-ups of private people (not celebs) or businesses without their express written consent - or they can sue you for use of their image without approval.

Celeb photos taken in public can be used without prior approval by "news" outlets - but NOT in ads. (There have been a couple of cases of this being done with photos of celebs in ads and they have won VERY sizeable settlements from the poor idiots who created the ads.)
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Old May 25th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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Yes, Debi, you can indeed crop out the watermark - people have done that to me. (Some people put the watermark in the middle and ruin the photo - I refuse to do that.) But, it's less likely that people will remove the watermark because, as we can see in this thread, a lot of people aren't that savy about editing photos or find it a pain. A lot of people use my photos in their MySpace profiles without even copying them - they "inline" them to retrieve the image file from my website. That's the easiest thing to do and it still has my copyright notice on it.

If any notable company (like that well-known towing company) were to use my photos, chances are I would find out about it. If they aren't notable, maybe I'm not so worried about catching them - but I have a lot of eyes out there and I've had numerous reports from friends of my photos being wrongly used. I know I'll never catch all of them, but it's the trade-off I make to make my photos public.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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To make a somewhat technical discussion a little more technical, It is not absolutely true that anyone who creates a photograph is the copyright owner of that photograph. That is true when the photographer is shooting on their own, either for enjoyment or profit. However, when a photographer is hired by someone else for the express purposing of making photographs, the copyright belongs to the employer unless the employer and photographer have an agreement to the contrary.
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Here's a related thread that I started on the Europe board a couple of years ago;

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34651089

I've just checked the Hotel's website & my photo is still there!

Jim
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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It actually depends on the status of the photographer.

If the photographer is an employee of the company and the employmnet contract (yes - if you have a job you probably have one - since you had to sign a bunch of forms when you were hired) states that work product belongs to the employer the the emplyer owns it.

If the photographer is self-emplyed - and only hired by the day to do a photo shoot - they still own the images. In that case the ad agency or client makes a specific contract with the photographer as to how the photo may be used - it can be limited to single use, single campaign, certain media, certaing parts of the world, etc - or can be a complete buy out.

Many agencies do complete buy outs routinely just ot prevent any problems down the line.

The same conditions apply to any models that are used in the photo shoot - and here prices can vary tremendously based on usage. (This is why a lot of Hollywood stars appear in ads Asia - but not in the US - since they feel it may damage their box office. They have sold only Asia rights - not worldwide.)
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Old Jul 11th, 2007, 06:46 PM
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I am the OP here and I think it is clear that the question was geared to vacation photos that were taken by a non-professional for their own enjoyment.
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