There are a considerable number of misconceptions concerning the
copyright of items on the Internet (or elsewhere).
Perhaps the most common is that copyright does not
exist in items where it is not specifically mentioned. This is
simply an urban myth! While the situation regarding copyright
(including the confusion concerning image rights which is a
different but related subject) is a complicated matter it is possible
to make a few assumptions and be fairly safe in this legal quagmire.
It is safer to assume that copyright exists in every
published word and picture taken in the last 75 years or so (no, it's
not that simple, but it's a reasonably safe premise).
The items which I find most often stolen (yes ...
that's an appropriate word!) from this site are, not surprisingly,
photos. The copyright in all photographs used here belongs to me
unless specifically stated otherwise. I don't have to state the matter
- it is so by virtue of the fact I pressed the shutter and/or own
the equipment. Some of the
remainder have been taken with my camera when loaned to others. I am
happy to accept the
copyright then belongs to them! It is
a reasonable presumption that you do not own the copyright of a photo
unless you pressed the shutter or own the equipment. It mattered not who owned the camera,
the film, or in my case the CMOS chip, that recorded the images until
recently - now it's more complicated than that. This
situation can be varied by prior agreement between photographer and
client ... this might be worth remembering if you ever hire one for a
specific occasion, such as a wedding. You can specify in the contract
that the pictures taken on that occasion will be your copyright. Not
all photographers will be willing to take on a job with this proviso
Image rights are a much more complicated matter as
court cases related to the image of the Late Princess of Wales
illustrate. To use a rather obvious example, I do not recommend that
you photograph a Coca Cola label for instance and, since you have
taken the photo, assume you have the right to use it where and when
Want to use one of my pictures?
I receive quite a few requests for
photographs sometimes for use on web pages and sometimes for printed
material. The copyright situation remains the same whatever use you
intend putting the pictures to. I am normally happy to say "yes".
Check here for full details
have received a CD-ROM from me in the past, either requested, or as a
gift, you will find a file on the CD indicating the uses I am happy to
allow for my pictures. These would normally follow the guidelines
shown here. A CD-ROM supplied as a gift does not indicate
that the copyright has been handed over too!
the copyright notice on the CD-ROM and in the notes above.