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The materials offered on and through this website are provided for informational purposes only, and are believed to be accurate, but are not intended to be and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice regarding any specific topic or matter. Further, the information contained herein does not reflect the legal opinions of Photography Bay or its authors and is not intended to be a solicitation or to render legal advice. If you think you have a legal issue regarding photography or your rights as a photographer, seek the advice of an experienced licensed attorney in the jurisdiction in which you live.
This page is a work in progress. I’m going to try to pin down the relevant laws relating to photography for jurisdictions throughout the United States and post those here on this page. In some cases, as you will see, rather than try to summarize the law or post the language of statutes, I will refer you to an outside source that is relevant to the topic at hand. If you have a suggestion or direction, I’m all ears.
As a general resource of frequent and developing topics, I highly recommend reading Carolyn Wright’s Photo Attorney blog.
Copyright for Photographers – Copyright is often one of the first topics that comes up with regard to photography and the law. Rather the regurgitate what countless others have already written, let me simply post some sources for your consideration and review:
- United States Copyright Office: This should be a no-brainer. There is a wealth of information available through the Copyright Office’s website. It has a intro to copyright page, which includes everything from “What is Copyright?” to the forms you need to apply for your copyright. There’s also a tutorial on how to register a visual arts work (a photo) and, if you’re a real nerd, you can be like me and subscribe to NewsNet to get updates on hearings, deadlines for comments, new and proposed regulations, new publications, and other copyright-related subjects. Use the site, our tax dollars pay for it.
- NatureScapes.net – How to Register the Copyrights for Your Photos: Speaking of Carolyn Wright, this is a great intro/tutorial that, as the title implies, explains how to register the copyrights for your photos.
- ASMP’s Copyright Application Tutorial: The American Society of Media Photographers has an in-depth tutorial for your copyright application (not the table of contents on the right of the page).
Model (and Property) Releases
- A lot of folks get confused when it comes to model releases (e.g., why they’re needed, whether you can register your copyright, etc.). Model releases are a different animal of their own. Specifically, a model release is needed with regard to the subject of the photo’s rights to privacy and commercial use of their image.