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Thread: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

  1. #1

    Question Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Hi all,

    Does the wedding photos' copyright belongs to the couple who paid for the services, or does it belong to the photographer? Is it alright to use the shots on website or promotional stuff or even contest? Or the approval/blessing from the couple is required?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Wouldn't that depend on the terms of the contract you set with the couple when you agreed to the job, and they payed for your services?
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Regardless of T&C... courtesy to inform those whom faces you intend to use.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    But what is the industry practice like? I mean the client pays for their photos, so is it the practice that they own the copyrights or the photographer? Or its really upto the photographer and the clients?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    In Sg... better protect yourself... put it in B&W. Up to you to nego wif client lah.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Quote Originally Posted by CYRN View Post
    In Sg... better protect yourself... put it in B&W. Up to you to nego wif client lah.
    I see, so there's no hard & fast rules. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    I remember vince123123 has answered this question already in some earlier thread. Since you get paid the ownership of the pictures clearly goes to the couple. As others have pointed out: you are free to put other terms and conditions into the contract. But I doubt that many couples will accept that you just use their faces for whatever you like.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    I have it in contract that all copyrights of photos belongs to me which allows me to display them on blogs and my website. I do tell them that if they are uncomfortable with that, they can alway tell me. In this case, I wouldn't display them online but I still can show other potential clients the photos privately. Make it known when you first meet them to prevent any problems later.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    I remember vince123123 has answered this question already in some earlier thread. Since you get paid the ownership of the pictures clearly goes to the couple. As others have pointed out: you are free to put other terms and conditions into the contract. But I doubt that many couples will accept that you just use their faces for whatever you like.
    Think you are right. I read through the sticky post on copyright. The commissioner (client) owns the copyright to the photographs. Not us, photographer. So, if we do add a clause in our contract that state otherwise, are we violating the intellectual laws?

  10. #10
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Quote Originally Posted by tamade View Post
    Think you are right. I read through the sticky post on copyright. The commissioner (client) owns the copyright to the photographs. Not us, photographer. So, if we do add a clause in our contract that state otherwise, are we violating the intellectual laws?
    From my point of view: If both parties agree that the photographer still has the copyright then be it. But in case there is no such statement then the copyright laws act as 'fall back'.

  11. #11
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    whatever you do or say to your clients or customers, best is base on mutual understanding.

    don't anyhow bring out your rights or law to your clients or customers, unless you are specialize in this area.

    if not sure, best is check with lawyers specialize in copyrights raw, whatever people say so, or even one thousand people say so, it will not make it into Singapore Constitution.

    even it is a command practice in whatever other countries, it may not practice here, as here is only subject to the Law of Singapore.
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    normally a wedding couple would not have issues with you using their pictures, as long as you make it known at the first meeting, or before any money changes hand. additionally it'd help if you state this clearly in a contract. i'm not going to argue s'pore contract or IP law, but generally people have no issue with you using their pictures if there is clear verbal and written understanding. unless they are used for objectionable purposes of course.
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  13. #13
    Member teoelisha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    was flipping my old law textbooks and see if i can find anything similar.. this post is for people who would like to know a little more, and have time to read my very lenghty post. for your reading pleasure, i have found the online texts of some of the laws and hyperlinked them as i refer to them.

    basically, you have 2 kinds of scenarios.. the 1st being the engagement of photography services with a service contract (Scen. 1), and 2nd being that without a service contract (Scen. 2).

    For Scen. 1, the terms and conditions within the contract will be legal binding (Contracts Act - Chapter 53B, Singapore Statutes and the Sales of Goods Act - Chapter 393, English Acts), as long as the terms and conditions of the contract are not considered "Unfair" (as according to the Unfair Contract Terms Act - Chapter 396, English Acts), as well as not contravening any other laws of Singapore (or laws adopted by Singapore).

    A point to note that in the Sale of Goods Act (note that photography services would be considered as a sale of goods), that in Paragraph 4, Subsection 1, any written or verbal agreement or conduct that implies agreement, shall constitute a contract. So even if your contract has missed out certain points, but you talked about it and agreed on certain terms (which were not put down in writing), the points will be included as terms and conditions of your contract. But of course proving whatever was discussed verbally and not put down in writing will be difficult.

    Theoretically, for scen. 1, as long as you have written it in the contract or communicated it in anyway (with agreement from the clients), you are entitled to keep and use the photos. This of course is from a legal perspective and not a moral/ethical perspective.

    For Scen. 2, if you have no written contract, as covered previously about verbal and conduct being a form of contract, you might be bound as long as the other party can prove. However, no such forms on "contracts" can be proven, it would boil down to the Principle of Intent, whereby at the request of the person that engaged you, you have provided photography services to the person and received payment (in any form) for the services provided (actually, whether you received payment for it at all is not very important). The act of the provision of photography services at the request of the person who engaged you has automatically formed a relationship between 2 parties (the "customer" and the "service/goods provider"). According to previous cases (hereby we do not use statutes but what we term "case law" which are references to previous judges' rulings), there are "duties" whereby the photographer is hired to take photographs of the client, whereby photographic services were engaged. Hereby the photographer is hired for his services, and finished products are given to the client (either prints or softcopies or film). Unless explicitly mentioned (as in a contract), the photographer has a moral obligation to seek the client's permission for the usage of the photos. In some instances, I have found that judges have ruled mostly in favour of clients who have paid for certain services or goods.

    Well, if you're still reading this post and not lost in the legal mambo jambo, please remember that whatever I have written is based on what I remember from my law lectures. This is mechanical. At the end of the day, I personally feel it is best to approach the clients and have them agree to let us use the photos, for reasons of comfort, building good business relationships, as well as just being a nice person. Cheers!
    Last edited by teoelisha; 18th December 2008 at 12:24 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Copyright ownership of wedding photos

    Quote Originally Posted by teoelisha View Post
    was flipping my old law textbooks and see if i can find anything similar.. this post is for people who would like to know a little more, and have time to read my very lenghty post. for your reading pleasure, i have found the online texts of some of the laws and hyperlinked them as i refer to them.

    basically, you have 2 kinds of scenarios.. the 1st being the engagement of photography services with a service contract (Scen. 1), and 2nd being that without a service contract (Scen. 2).

    For Scen. 1, the terms and conditions within the contract will be legal binding (Contracts Act - Chapter 53B, Singapore Statutes and the Sales of Goods Act - Chapter 393, English Acts), as long as the terms and conditions of the contract are not considered "Unfair" (as according to the Unfair Contract Terms Act - Chapter 396, English Acts), as well as not contravening any other laws of Singapore (or laws adopted by Singapore).

    A point to note that in the Sale of Goods Act (note that photography services would be considered as a sale of goods), that in Paragraph 4, Subsection 1, any written or verbal agreement or conduct that implies agreement, shall constitute a contract. So even if your contract has missed out certain points, but you talked about it and agreed on certain terms (which were not put down in writing), the points will be included as terms and conditions of your contract. But of course proving whatever was discussed verbally and not put down in writing will be difficult.

    Theoretically, for scen. 1, as long as you have written it in the contract or communicated it in anyway (with agreement from the clients), you are entitled to keep and use the photos. This of course is from a legal perspective and not a moral/ethical perspective.

    For Scen. 2, if you have no written contract, as covered previously about verbal and conduct being a form of contract, you might be bound as long as the other party can prove. However, no such forms on "contracts" can be proven, it would boil down to the Principle of Intent, whereby at the request of the person that engaged you, you have provided photography services to the person and received payment (in any form) for the services provided (actually, whether you received payment for it at all is not very important). The act of the provision of photography services at the request of the person who engaged you has automatically formed a relationship between 2 parties (the "customer" and the "service/goods provider"). According to previous cases (hereby we do not use statutes but what we term "case law" which are references to previous judges' rulings), there are "duties" whereby the photographer is hired to take photographs of the client, whereby photographic services were engaged. Hereby the photographer is hired for his services, and finished products are given to the client (either prints or softcopies or film). Unless explicitly mentioned (as in a contract), the photographer has a moral obligation to seek the client's permission for the usage of the photos. In some instances, I have found that judges have ruled mostly in favour of clients who have paid for certain services or goods.

    Well, if you're still reading this post and not lost in the legal mambo jambo, please remember that whatever I have written is based on what I remember from my law lectures. This is mechanical. At the end of the day, I personally feel it is best to approach the clients and have them agree to let us use the photos, for reasons of comfort, building good business relationships, as well as just being a nice person. Cheers!
    You just finished your law module last semester? I agree fully with your last statement, i.e., to build good business relationships and being a nice person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trigger Happy View Post
    normally a wedding couple would not have issues with you using their pictures, as long as you make it known at the first meeting, or before any money changes hand. additionally it'd help if you state this clearly in a contract. i'm not going to argue s'pore contract or IP law, but generally people have no issue with you using their pictures if there is clear verbal and written understanding. unless they are used for objectionable purposes of course.
    Some people may be shy about their images.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    whatever you do or say to your clients or customers, best is base on mutual understanding.

    don't anyhow bring out your rights or law to your clients or customers, unless you are specialize in this area.

    if not sure, best is check with lawyers specialize in copyrights raw, whatever people say so, or even one thousand people say so, it will not make it into Singapore Constitution.

    even it is a command practice in whatever other countries, it may not practice here, as here is only subject to the Law of Singapore.
    Yep, agreed. So the key here is still "mutual understanding". I'm not a lawyer, but the posting in the IPOS site is the legislation, meaning Singapore's law.

    Anyway, time to close this thread as I'd already gotten the invaluable feedback from everyone.

    Thanks!

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