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Thread: Copyright questions

  1. #1
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    Default Copyright questions

    Hi guys, i have a few questions pertaining to copyright issues.

    firstly i understand that when a photographer is hired, the copyright of the photos he take during the employment belong to the hirer right?

    so question no1
    if we were to use those shots taken and compile as part of our port folio, do we have to seek the permission from the hirer?

    question no2
    are we allowed to watermark our personal logo on the photos when we use it as our port folio?

    question no3
    the singapore copyright law didn't state the lifetime of photograph copyright ownership, does anyone know how long any photograph can be copyrighted?

    question no4
    does copyright ownership takes effect the moment the image is taken or when it is materialized(or finalized with all the editing done), i.e. developed, made into a poster, put online etc.

    seeking enlightenment from the experienced or the lawyers among us

  2. #2

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Guess there ain't lawers around huh ? Recommend you direct this at your personal attorney for more reliable information. Anyone here can pose as a "lawyer" and give you so called advices that you can't bring to court. Pay for the consultancy and be more safe at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    Hi guys, i have a few questions pertaining to copyright issues.

    firstly i understand that when a photographer is hired, the copyright of the photos he take during the employment belong to the hirer right?

    so question no1
    if we were to use those shots taken and compile as part of our port folio, do we have to seek the permission from the hirer?

    question no2
    are we allowed to watermark our personal logo on the photos when we use it as our port folio?

    question no3
    the singapore copyright law didn't state the lifetime of photograph copyright ownership, does anyone know how long any photograph can be copyrighted?

    question no4
    does copyright ownership takes effect the moment the image is taken or when it is materialized(or finalized with all the editing done), i.e. developed, made into a poster, put online etc.

    seeking enlightenment from the experienced or the lawyers among us
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    Hi guys, i have a few questions pertaining to copyright issues.

    firstly i understand that when a photographer is hired, the copyright of the photos he take during the employment belong to the hirer right?

    By default yes, but also depends upon prior express agreement. Also, work for hire as independent contractor and work as an employee are different. If you are an employee eg a staff photographer, you will not own copyright, even if if you make your employer assign copyright to you, because it will run contrary to the law, unless it is a separate agreement made for valuable consideration, as in, you purchase the rights from your employer (meaning $ involved).

    so question no1
    if we were to use those shots taken and compile as part of our port folio, do we have to seek the permission from the hirer?

    Yes. Thus good to manage in agreement right from the start.

    question no2
    are we allowed to watermark our personal logo on the photos when we use it as our port folio?

    No, unless with written permission. You are safer with just text alongside/below/near photo, but not on the photo or forming a part of the photo. Something along the lines of "Photo taken by at0m87" coz nothing wrong to say the photo taken by you, just dont paste the words onto someone else's property.

    question no3
    the singapore copyright law didn't state the lifetime of photograph copyright ownership, does anyone know how long any photograph can be copyrighted?

    Actually it does, 70 years.

    question no4
    does copyright ownership takes effect the moment the image is taken or when it is materialized(or finalized with all the editing done), i.e. developed, made into a poster, put online etc.

    Depends again on agreement, without agreement, things go back to the law's default. Examples; If you are hired without an agreement managing intellectual rights, the moment the photo is taken, it belongs to the client. Some agreement may be worded that only final images belong to the client and the unfinished or unused work in the creation process are not.

    seeking enlightenment from the experienced or the lawyers among us
    See above answers in Bold.

    Not a lawyer. My own opinion only. Good to do your own research or if you want for sure; spend your own money consulting an intellectual property lawyer.

    So many things involved. That's why must charge enough for your photography work.

    Last edited by sjackal; 26th September 2011 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Bold my answer for easier reading
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    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Confirm the above answers are right but answer for the last question 4 the copyright should be "the copy right start it's affect once the image is been "used" like to been publish or have taken part in a "commercial" usage like an ad. After 70 years the image is public property.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    The copyright loophole being if the photo was used for editorial purposes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Kwok
    Guess there ain't lawers around huh ? Recommend you direct this at your personal attorney for more reliable information. Anyone here can pose as a "lawyer" and give you so called advices that you can't bring to court. Pay for the consultancy and be more safe at it.
    Yea no lawyers will come forth and give their two cents right? Lol! i will probably need to go to them and give them all my cents if i ever want to draft up a contract.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal

    See above answers in Bold.

    Not a lawyer. My own opinion only. Good to do your own research or if you want for sure; spend your own money consulting an intellectual property lawyer.

    So many things involved. That's why must charge enough for your photography work.
    Thanks for ur response. Seems like if anyone wants to do this, they need to really find a lawyer to word it out.

    Anyway the i remb seeing the lifetime to copyright is 70yrs but not pertaining to photographs. I may be wrong here.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    Thanks for ur response. Seems like if anyone wants to do this, they need to really find a lawyer to word it out. Anyway the i remb seeing the lifetime to copyright is 70yrs but not pertaining to photographs. I may be wrong here.
    While many photogs are more than willing to shoot free or even pay to shoot, very few lawyers will work for free, that's why they are so much in demand and more respected for their speciality.Depends lah, I had a lawyer wrote my main contract but in reality every client negotiate terms differently, the situation is always a bit different each time, and you might do several genres of work from lifestyles to commercial to editorial where your contract will not be applicable. If every job's agreement I need a lawyer to write, then I'll be broke before I earn any money since a junior lawyer's rates may be more than a senior photog's. And I would had lost many clients if I did not response fast and flexible enough with my terms.Most CSers will give you a politically correct and safe answer, and some are blinding leading blind, a lot are hobbyists with limited exposures.Copyright 70 years thing, pls go read yourself, its written clearly and easily accessible, am surprised so many post down you still haven't read. The spoon stops here.
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    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    Thanks for ur response. Seems like if anyone wants to do this, they need to really find a lawyer to word it out.

    Anyway the i remb seeing the lifetime to copyright is 70yrs but not pertaining to photographs. I may be wrong here.
    Depends on the work as well.

    For music, it is copyright for 70 years after the death of the composer/singer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal
    While many photogs are more than willing to shoot free or even pay to shoot, very few lawyers will work for free, that's why they are so much in demand and more respected for their speciality.Depends lah, I had a lawyer wrote my main contract but in reality every client negotiate terms differently, the situation is always a bit different each time, and you might do several genres of work from lifestyles to commercial to editorial where your contract will not be applicable. If every job's agreement I need a lawyer to write, then I'll be broke before I earn any money since a junior lawyer's rates may be more than a senior photog's. And I would had lost many clients if I did not response fast and flexible enough with my terms.Most CSers will give you a politically correct and safe answer, and some are blinding leading blind, a lot are hobbyists with limited exposures.Copyright 70 years thing, pls go read yourself, its written clearly and easily accessible, am surprised so many post down you still haven't read. The spoon stops here.
    Thanks again for responding. Believed that I have mentioned that I had read the Singapore law thus I am asking CSers here out of confusion. Let my copy and paste here from the Singapore copyright act:

    "Duration of copyright in original works
    28. &mdash1) This section shall have effect subject to sections 27 (2) and 29.
    (2) Subject to this section, where, by virtue of this Part, copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph <<<---- LOOK HERE, I AM TRYING TO CLARIFY THIS!!! --->>>, that copyright shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the author of the work died.
    [21/2004]
    (3) If, before the death of the author of a literary, dramatic or musical work &mdash;
    (a) the work had not been published;
    (b) the work had not been performed in public;
    (c) the work had not been broadcast;
    (d) the work had not been included in a cable programme; and
    (e) records of the work had not been offered or exposed for sale to the public,
    the copyright in the work shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the work is first published, performed in public, or broadcast, or included in a cable programme, or records of the work are first offered or exposed for sale to the public, whichever is the earliest of those events to happen.
    [21/2004]
    (4) A reference in subsection (3) to the doing of an act in relation to a work shall be read as including a reference to the doing of that act in relation to an adaptation of the work.
    (5) If, before the death of the author of an engraving, the engraving had not been published, the copyright in the engraving shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the engraving is first published.
    [21/2004]
    (6) Copyright subsisting in a photograph by virtue of this Part shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the photograph is first published.
    [21/2004]
    [Aust. 1968, s. 33]"

    Look for the CAPS in the quote, sorry I capped them so it will stand out, I am not "shouting" or anything (don't want any misunderstandings)

    In case u can't notice the caps, here it is again the shorter abstract "copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph "

    It says here, "other than a photograph". And yes I know in general copyright last 70years because I have read the law before starting the thread. I am just trying to clarify, why it says "other than a photograph" but everyone here keeps telling me 70years and even suggested that I have not read it. I keep reading it and I see that same phase "copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph".

    Perhaps my English proficiency isn't as great as I thought and have misinterpreted the meaning of the act. If so please enlighten me.

    PS: felt insulted about your comment and the smiley face doesn't help elevate it.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Read your own post again, quoted here, section 28 (6).

    Why it says "other than a photograph" is because for original works, it is till 70 years after death of originator/copyright owner, but for photographs, it is till 70 years after photograph is published, that is why the sub-section (6) exists within Section 28 of the copyright act.



    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    Thanks again for responding. Believed that I have mentioned that I had read the Singapore law thus I am asking CSers here out of confusion. Let my copy and paste here from the Singapore copyright act:

    "Duration of copyright in original works
    28. &mdash1) This section shall have effect subject to sections 27 (2) and 29.
    (2) Subject to this section, where, by virtue of this Part, copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph <<<---- LOOK HERE, I AM TRYING TO CLARIFY THIS!!! --->>>, that copyright shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the author of the work died.
    [21/2004]
    (3) If, before the death of the author of a literary, dramatic or musical work &mdash;
    (a) the work had not been published;
    (b) the work had not been performed in public;
    (c) the work had not been broadcast;
    (d) the work had not been included in a cable programme; and
    (e) records of the work had not been offered or exposed for sale to the public,
    the copyright in the work shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the work is first published, performed in public, or broadcast, or included in a cable programme, or records of the work are first offered or exposed for sale to the public, whichever is the earliest of those events to happen.
    [21/2004]
    (4) A reference in subsection (3) to the doing of an act in relation to a work shall be read as including a reference to the doing of that act in relation to an adaptation of the work.
    (5) If, before the death of the author of an engraving, the engraving had not been published, the copyright in the engraving shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the engraving is first published.
    [21/2004]
    (6) Copyright subsisting in a photograph by virtue of this Part shall continue to subsist until the expiration of 70 years after the expiration of the calendar year in which the photograph is first published.
    [21/2004]
    [Aust. 1968, s. 33]"

    Look for the CAPS in the quote, sorry I capped them so it will stand out, I am not "shouting" or anything (don't want any misunderstandings)

    In case u can't notice the caps, here it is again the shorter abstract "copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph "

    It says here, "other than a photograph". And yes I know in general copyright last 70years because I have read the law before starting the thread. I am just trying to clarify, why it says "other than a photograph" but everyone here keeps telling me 70years and even suggested that I have not read it. I keep reading it and I see that same phase "copyright subsists in a literary, dramatic or musical work, or in an artistic work other than a photograph".

    Perhaps my English proficiency isn't as great as I thought and have misinterpreted the meaning of the act. If so please enlighten me.

    PS: felt insulted about your comment and the smiley face doesn't help elevate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by singscott View Post
    Confirm the above answers are right but answer for the last question 4 the copyright should be "the copy right start it's affect once the image is been "used" like to been publish or have taken part in a "commercial" usage like an ad. After 70 years the image is public property.
    In fact Singscott had summed it up nicely for you early in the thread. Though I would rephrase it as copyright is in effect immediately upon taking the photograph, and last another 70 years after publishing.
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  12. #12
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    I see. That is what I was confused about. Now it all make sense. Thanks again!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Copyright questions

    Quote Originally Posted by at0m87 View Post
    I see. That is what I was confused about. Now it all make sense. Thanks again!
    Hi Anthony,

    I hope all your questions have been answered. From the point of law:
    1. Duration of copyright in photograhps is 70 years (Section 212 of the Copyright Act)
    2. Copyright need not be registered with IPOS. The copyright subsist from the moment the photo is produced in a tangible form.
    3. Only photos produced in a tangible form is subjected to copyright. Ideas may not be copyrighted.

    Hope this clarifies. For more information, you may refer to the Copyright Act. If you want a more "professional" clarification, I suppose you could engage your own counsel (which is really really expensive) or go to those free legal clinics.
    Alpha
    Want to get back to photography

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