Photographers have asked me that question on various occasions. Two of the most common times that that question is presented to me are:
a) when a photographer is on the verge of a big project; and
b) when a dispute arises between the photographer and his/her clients.
Generally, copyright belongs to the creator of the original work. In this instance, generally, the copyright would belong to the photographer as he/she is the creator of the photographs, assuming that the photograph in question is original.
However, like most other aspects in business, a photographer can contract away his/her copyright to the client. Often times, in when a photographer engages in major projects, such as engagement and wedding photography, the client(s) want the copyright to the photos that are shot by the photographer. At that point, the photographer must decide whether or not it is worth his/her time, money, and/or reputation to contract away the copyright to the photos. Whatever the decision may be, the photographer must use a contract to avoid future liability or damages.
Avoid the urge to draft your own contract unless you’re an attorney. No matter how much research you may conduct or how great of a sample contract you may obtain, there is no substitute for a custom-made contract drafted by an attorney. If you want to save money in the long-run, invest a small sum of money from the outset to protect your interests.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create any attorney-client relationship. This article expresses the personal views of the author and does not represent the views of the author’s clients.
About the firm and the author:
Ankhi-Krol Law is a boutique law firm located in the heart of Midtown, New York City. The firm takes pride in working with all types of businesses in the areas of business law, contract law, trademark law, and copyright law.
Shahrina Ankhi-Krol started Ankhi-Krol Law (www.ankhikrollaw.com) with the goal of providing legal representation to small business owners after noticing that small business owners are often uninformed or ill-informed of the law. As a result, they either attempt to solve their legal problems on their own or do nothing at all. Both courses of action are dangerous as “un-doing” a legal mistake – either through misfeasance or nonfeasance – costs more money and time than would have been spent if the business owners obtained legal counsel from the start. Ms. Ankhi-Krol not only provides legal representation, but also provides business counseling to her clients in order to identify and address small problems before they become big problems.
Shahrina Ankhi-Krol, Esq.
Admitted in: NY, NJ, EDNY, SDNY
Small Business Lawyer
Intellectual Property Lawyer
112 W. 34 Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10120
Phone: (212) 729-6153