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Thread: Photographers' rights in Singapore

  1. #1

    Default Photographers' rights in Singapore

    now im not sure if this is the correct place to post this thread, but i cant find somewhere more suitable

    i was wondering, wat rights do photographers have in Singapore, in terms of photographing and publishing photos on magazines, websites or submitting them for contests. it seems in the US its possible to get sued for submitting a photo of some1 without their prior permission in a photo contest. thus, it's necessary that photographers get a photo release form before submitting photos of people

    is it similar in Singapore? do we still need to get photo release forms?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Hi, I quote from the PPAS, in the terms of copyright:

    Copyright simply means the right of one to make copies. The only person who has this right must be the person who created the subject matter. It follows that the author of his book is the owner of its copyright as much as the artist who paints a portrait is the owner of the copyright there. Therefore, it is Leonardo Da Vinci who would have owned the copyright in the Mona Lisa and not Mona Lisa herself in the first place unless they agreed to the contrary with the necessary adjustments as to price.

    Similarly for photographs, the owner of the copyright naturally belongs to the photographer in most cases, save for the example of the photographer who merely pulls the shutter on a set designed by someone else. The customer who goes to the studio and asks for his picture to be taken has merely consented to the photographer taking his picture and in return he pays the photographer for that copy of his picture.

    Hope i answered ur question in some way. Or maybe i did not....

    But be warned that this is just for copyright. The person in the pic may still sue the photographer for "something" else. So think carefully b4 submitting anything.
    Last edited by Fotophilic; 11th November 2007 at 06:21 PM.
    cameras are not made of tofu

  3. #3

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Topic has been discussed ad nauseum. Search and you shall find.

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    [QUOTE=Fotophilic;3540818]The only person who has this right must be the person who created the subject matter.[/|QUOTE]

    So far, correct.

    It follows that the author of his book is the owner of its copyright as much as the artist who paints a portrait is the owner of the copyright there. Therefore, it is Leonardo Da Vinci who would have owned the copyright in the Mona Lisa and not Mona Lisa herself in the first place unless they agreed to the contrary with the necessary adjustments as to price.
    This argumentation is completely flawed. If Mona Lisa was a real person, Leonardo da Vinci made a (painted) COPY of the subject matter (i.e. the likeness of Mona Lisa), and did NOT create it.

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    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post
    Topic has been discussed ad nauseum. Search and you shall find.
    nonetheless the results are still ambiguous and not very straightforward... read many times but still ain't sure due to too many jargons.
    Last edited by zoossh; 11th November 2007 at 09:40 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Privacy laws varies from countries to countries, even within the many states in the US. If you are interested to read up on them, I will post some online here for you.

    In Singapore Context, the Singapore Constitution is based on the British system and does not contain any explicit right to privacy. Only thing that we need to take note is the prohibited material or entertain discussion on prohibited themes.Prohibited material includes pornography, material that "advocates homosexuality or lesbianism," and material that "glorifies, incites or endorses ethnic, racial or religious hatred, strife or intolerance," among other prohibitions. Political content, especially during elections, is regulated.

    Of course, there is a lot of stuff open to interpretation based on the above.

    Morally, this is my point of view. Try not to depict people in the public/ or publish pictures

    * Borders on pornography
    * Sexual Orientation
    * Undesirable intent/content (upskirt/downblose)
    * Incite religious, racial/ethnic hatred
    * Mock the political leaders

    Any lawyers with more inputs?

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/O...and+Rights.htm

    Read yourself.
    "Commissioning: If a portrait/photograph/engraving is commissioned by another party, the commissioner owns the copyright in the work. If the portrait/photograph/engraving is required for a particular purpose, this purpose must be communicated to the commissioned party. While the commissioner is the copyright owner, the commissioned party has the right to stop others from doing any act comprised in the copyright, unless such act is done for the particular purpose for which the portrait/photograph/engraving is created.

    For other types of commissioned works, ownership belongs to the commissioned party, unless the commissioner and commissioned party otherwise agree.

    As mentioned in the introduction, the copyright owner may transfer his rights to another party or entity either partially or wholly."

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    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    The laws applicable in the United States relating to model releases are the result of specific legislation enacted in the United States.

    There is no equilvalent legaislation in Singapore as far as I am aware.

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    This argumentation is completely flawed. If Mona Lisa was a real person, Leonardo da Vinci made a (painted) COPY of the subject matter (i.e. the likeness of Mona Lisa), and did NOT create it.
    eh... i decipher it another way.

    for instance, u made a drawing of me . the copyright of the drawing belongs to u, and not me, unless we have some sort of agreement. i would think that the "subject matter" refers to the painting (since the subject is on copyright, not humanright), rather than the person.

    i would think that the mgmt in magazine or competition will sort these things out b4 they attempt to publish. will they? becoz, end of the day, if the photograph gets on the nerves of someone, the publisher will be in trouble too.
    cameras are not made of tofu

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by unseen View Post
    http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/O...and+Rights.htm

    Read yourself.
    "Commissioning: If a portrait/photograph/engraving is commissioned by another party, the commissioner owns the copyright in the work. If the portrait/photograph/engraving is required for a particular purpose, this purpose must be communicated to the commissioned party. While the commissioner is the copyright owner, the commissioned party has the right to stop others from doing any act comprised in the copyright, unless such act is done for the particular purpose for which the portrait/photograph/engraving is created.

    For other types of commissioned works, ownership belongs to the commissioned party, unless the commissioner and commissioned party otherwise agree.

    As mentioned in the introduction, the copyright owner may transfer his rights to another party or entity either partially or wholly."
    Commissioner = person who pays for the photo to be taken?
    commissioned party = photographer?
    too many commission
    i.e. to say, if there are no "commissioner" the entire copyrights belongs to the "commissioned party"?
    cameras are not made of tofu

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    Commissioner = person who pays for the photo to be taken?
    commissioned party = photographer?
    too many commission
    i.e. to say, if there are no "commissioner" the entire copyrights belongs to the "commissioned party"?

    Hmmmm if there's no commissioner, how can there be a commissioned party?

    Think about it this way, as long as someone pays you to take those photos, they own the photos. Studio, Newspaper, Magazines, bridal shots etc.

    If you took those photos in your own time, then those are yours.

  12. #12
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by unseen View Post
    http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/O...and+Rights.htm

    Read yourself.
    "Commissioning: If a portrait/photograph/engraving is commissioned by another party, the commissioner owns the copyright in the work. If the portrait/photograph/engraving is required for a particular purpose, this purpose must be communicated to the commissioned party. While the commissioner is the copyright owner, the commissioned party has the right to stop others from doing any act comprised in the copyright, unless such act is done for the particular purpose for which the portrait/photograph/engraving is created.

    For other types of commissioned works, ownership belongs to the commissioned party, unless the commissioner and commissioned party otherwise agree.

    As mentioned in the introduction, the copyright owner may transfer his rights to another party or entity either partially or wholly."
    i think much depends on the common social practices.

    for example, people used to go to studios to take passport sized photographs. the studios will traditionally keep the negatives in order to entice the customers to return to the same studio for re-development from the same negatives. of cos, nowadays, it is replaced by automatic machines - but that goes to show that some of the social practices actually worked against that.

    i supposed it is common of event/product photographers to submit their work and copyright to the commissioner for the probability that such works can be more of a routine work rather than very personalised creations. but i'm curious about those in the advertising arena. i supposed the agreement probably is that the commissioner owns the copyright, but the photographer is free to use that as his portfolio or self promotional purposes - sounds reasonable. and even if the photographer submits the work for competition - it is only benefitial and of no conflict of interest to the commissioner.

    and next to the case of wedding photographers. i'm think it may get sensitive as there is a bulk of them here but i'm sure there is some issue between monetary interest and an artist's pride. it sounds reasonable that the commissioner owns the right while the photographer is free to use it for promotional/portfolio/sharing purposes, since weddings are almost 100% a cheerful event and there is no reason why couples want to restrict that. but then i'm not sure if wedding photographers give the RAW format to the couples? it is probably not common for couples to want to have the RAW format, but i wonder if the holding back of the RAW files has got anything to do with the case of the negatives in the old days? would wedding photographers be worried that the couples will find other places to process and print, if they find the photographers' additional services expensive?

    and after such a long posting. actually we are only talking about commissioner and photographer. we haven't even talk about the subject or subjects.

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    eh... i decipher it another way.

    for instance, u made a drawing of me . the copyright of the drawing belongs to u, and not me, unless we have some sort of agreement. i would think that the "subject matter" refers to the painting (since the subject is on copyright, not humanright), rather than the person.
    Ok, let me give another example. Let's say I copy an expensive book on a photocopier. The copy is a true photograph (analog on traditional Xerox machines, or using a "digital scan back" using modern copiers). Does this mean I own the copyright for the copies? Of course not.

    The act of "taking" a photo is a technical, not a creative process. However, if you CREATE the subject matter, i.e. by arranging a still life, you can claim artistic ownership. If you just take a photo of a scene that exists without a significant contribution on your part, there must be something very special about how the photo is taken for you to claim anything.

    Now, let's say you take a very originally arranged photo of an art object. In this case, you may claim rights to your photo, but not ALL the rights. Since the art object is a non-negligible part of your work, the rights to the photo are usually shared between you and the original artist. Depending on where you are, this could mean that the artist cannot use your photo without your consent, but you also cannot use your photo without his/her consent. "Use" can include any kind of publication, even if free of charge.

    i would think that the mgmt in magazine or competition will sort these things out b4 they attempt to publish.
    If the "management" is not completely stupid, they will make it part of the contract that you own the rights (or are otherwise authorized to grant them a license) and indemnify them from all further claims. I.e. if there is a dispute, it's not "them" who's in trouble, but you.

    becoz, end of the day, if the photograph gets on the nerves of someone, the publisher will be in trouble too.
    Only if they're grossly negligent. If they can show that you agreed to their terms & conditions, and the T&C state that you are liable for all copyright issues, tough luck. And even if the publishers cannot escape the courts, they can just sue you in turn.

  14. #14
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    This is a very interesting theory, can I ask if this is just your own conjecture/theory/proposal, or is this based on any legal authority?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Now, let's say you take a very originally arranged photo of an art object. In this case, you may claim rights to your photo, but not ALL the rights. Since the art object is a non-negligible part of your work, the rights to the photo are usually shared between you and the original artist. Depending on where you are, this could mean that the artist cannot use your photo without your consent, but you also cannot use your photo without his/her consent. "Use" can include any kind of publication, even if free of charge.

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Hey LittleWolf, u don't quite get the link. Perhaps i did not make a very clear enough statement. Although maybe a bit OT, but i do see the need to clear up some of the things.

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Ok, let me give another example. Let's say I copy an expensive book on a photocopier. The copy is a true photograph (analog on traditional Xerox machines, or using a "digital scan back" using modern copiers). Does this mean I own the copyright for the copies? Of course not.
    There are very clear photocopying rights in S'pore. Goto a lirary photocopy shop and u'll see them. Photocopy and photography are not the same (unless u tell me that u use the camera to "scan doc" and produce them). Photocopy is definitely not a creative process, i.e. it is "just copying", and therefore subjected to the copyright law. If u have watch the news, you will notice a recent incident in a Taiwan uni student that is involved in this. I shall not elaborate this further. Fo more info, do a google.

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    The act of "taking" a photo is a technical, not a creative process. However, if you CREATE the subject matter, i.e. by arranging a still life, you can claim artistic ownership. If you just take a photo of a scene that exists without a significant contribution on your part, there must be something very special about how the photo is taken for you to claim anything.
    Generally, i agree with that. Subject matter in this case is not the person in the pic, but the compostition, etc etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Now, let's say you take a very originally arranged photo of an art object. In this case, you may claim rights to your photo, but not ALL the rights. Since the art object is a non-negligible part of your work, the rights to the photo are usually shared between you and the original artist. Depending on where you are, this could mean that the artist cannot use your photo without your consent, but you also cannot use your photo without his/her consent. "Use" can include any kind of publication, even if free of charge.
    To a certain extent, i agree too. Again, this is very subjective. According the law (if i have not misunderstood it, someone pls correct me if i am wrong), the rights of the photograph belongs to the photographer. But depending on the "things" in the pic, another person can sue the photographer (or whoever publishes it) for something else besides the rights to the photograph. For example, if u take a photo of me without having any underlying agreement with me, and u sell it for a million bucks, i can request for royalities (not sure if this is the correct legal term, i simply means $) from you and bring this issue to court. If you did not get a cent out of the photographs, and my face looks nice and the pics are not getting on my nerves, why will i sue u? Pls note that this does not apply if your camera is a spycam in my toilet, which is some other legal issues already. Hope this is clear.

    In essence, as long as no one makes noise, no one will be in trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    If the "management" is not completely stupid, they will make it part of the contract that you own the rights (or are otherwise authorized to grant them a license) and indemnify them from all further claims. I.e. if there is a dispute, it's not "them" who's in trouble, but you.
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Only if they're grossly negligent. If they can show that you agreed to their terms & conditions, and the T&C state that you are liable for all copyright issues, tough luck. And even if the publishers cannot escape the courts, they can just sue you in turn.
    maybe i should have make it very clear in my previous post that you should "read and understand" the contract before you agree to anything. This applies to any other things in life as well. if you cannot even be bothered to "read and understand" before you agree to anything, you are obviously asking for trouble.

    I think we are getting a bit too much on the copyright. U might wanna PM me if you think of other examples. I guess the rules are pretty clear: no one makes noise, no one in trouble. In this kinda copyright issues, you need a person to sue u, in order u to be sued.

    The TS is asking for photo release issues. Any input on that. I am interested too.
    cameras are not made of tofu

  16. #16

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    This is incorrect. He did not make a copy, he made an artistic representation which is unique - the two are not the same.

    [QUOTE=LittleWolf;3541103]
    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    The only person who has this right must be the person who created the subject matter.[/|QUOTE]

    So far, correct.



    This argumentation is completely flawed. If Mona Lisa was a real person, Leonardo da Vinci made a (painted) COPY of the subject matter (i.e. the likeness of Mona Lisa), and did NOT create it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    from what i see, we can freely take pics of people and basically anything in singapore, as long as it isnt undesirable (e.g. pornography, racial/religious hatred etc)

    so a simple pic of say, a person eating at a hawker centre is the property of the photographer and he or she can sumbit that photo for contest, publish it on websites and print media without permission from the person in the photo correct?

    thanks

  18. #18

    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Not true. You can take any picture you want. However, printing/publishing certain types of materials (not necessarily pictures) eg those inciting religious hatred, pornography, etc. is what gets you into trouble here.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2.8photography View Post
    from what i see, we can freely take pics of people and basically anything in singapore, as long as it isnt undesirable (e.g. pornography, racial/religious hatred etc)

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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    I think we are getting a bit too much on the copyright. U might wanna PM me if you think of other examples. I guess the rules are pretty clear: no one makes noise, no one in trouble. In this kinda copyright issues, you need a person to sue u, in order u to be sued.
    Well, duh, that applies for just about anything. Criminal offences are pursued on initiative by the state; for civil law affairs (like copyright issues), it's up to the affected parties. Just because the state doesn't intervene on its own doesn't mean you are not violating someone's rights.

    Also consider that what may be legal in Singapore may NOT be legal on your vacation. E.g., it may be perfectly alright if I took a photo of you in a Singapore street and sold it, but if I took a photo of you on a street somewhere else, I could be in trouble.

  20. #20
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Photographers' rights in Singapore

    Actually, I doubt there is any cause of action under Singapore law where you can request for royalties and bring the issue to court; whether the photographer sells the photo for money or not. The case here is very different in the United States.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fotophilic View Post
    For example, if u take a photo of me without having any underlying agreement with me, and u sell it for a million bucks, i can request for royalities (not sure if this is the correct legal term, i simply means $) from you and bring this issue to court.

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