Copyright vs. Right to Copy

As a Cheshire Wedding Photographer one of the questions I am asked regularly by Brides and Grooms to be is if I can provide a disc of images with copyright and whilst the answer is always “Yes” people are a bit surprised when I quote a price in the thousands! However, when we discuss why they want “Copyright” and they say it’s so that they can print images themselves and put the images on Facebook, I explain that I can sell them a Disc of Images with a right to copy for significantly less. The reason behind this is because Copyright is substantially more than a “right to copy”.

So what is Copyright?

Copyright is an automatic legal protection given to the creators of substantial work such as music, films, photographs and writing that allows the owner of the work to control what happens to that work. Through licensing the Copyright Owner is able to gain financial reward for that work and also protect it from uses they don’t like. Under current UK Law, Copyright automatically belongs to the creator of the work unless they deliberately choose to sell it or give it away.

Why is Copyright Important to Photographers?

For most of us Copyright isn’t about making money; we care much more about what happens to our work and how it is used! If I were to sell or pass on the Copyright to images I’ve taken I’ve lost all rights to the image which could mean that the new Copyright owner could put it on their website and pass it off as their work! Would I be able to stop them? No, they own the Copyright!

Retaining Copyright also allows photographers to build up their portfolios enabling them to show off their work to you, giving you the confidence that they will be able to deliver what you want. If a Photographer passes Copyright they wouldn’t legally be allowed to show you them as examples of their work unless they had a licence for each and every image.

A photographer retaining copyright doesn’t just protect the Photographer it can also help ensure that you always have somewhere to get further copies. If a photographer gives you the Copyright to the images they are not then legally allowed to keep a copy and that means that should your copy get deleted accidentally you will not be able to get another copy and the images will be lost for ever.

Right to Copy

Ever since the birth of Photography the Photographer traditionally kept the negatives and the only only person you could get copies from was the photographer. However, times have moved on, the majority of photography is now digital and the range of products that you can have your image printed on has exploded. Therefore, it is understandable that more and more people now want their photographer to provide a Disc of Images that they can user use get products that their photographer doesn’t provide or share on with your network on online friends.

However, for you to do this legally, your photographer either has to give you the Copyright or give you a “Right to Copy”. A “Right to Copy” in legal speak is called a Licence and all established companies (Tesco, Boots, Jessops) will expect you to provide a copy of this Licence with the image file when you come in with professional wedding photographs wanting images printed.

If you choose SimonH as your photographer and select a Disc of Images, I will always include a “Right to Copy” licence with the disc so that you won’t have any problems when you get them printed.

For more information on Copyright in the UK visit the Intellectual Property Office.