Copyright Infringement of Fine Art Photography

Many photographers specialize in fine art photography. When your images are used without your permission, a copyright violation may occur.

Federal copyright laws protect photographers from the unlicensed use of their original photos. The moment you create a photograph, you have a copyright for it. Registering a copyright gives you added protection in the event you experience copyright infringement but even without registering, you have a valid, enforceable copyright.

When shooting fine art photography, those photographs are protected by copyright laws. No one may use them or publish them without your permission and compensation.

Fine Art Photography Should Beware of Copyright Violations

Photographers who concentrate on fine art photography should be concerned about having others use and publish their photographs. You must also, however, be mindful of copyrights that might already exist on the objects or places that you are shooting. Be especially careful about photographing:

  • Paintings
  • Sculptures
  • Artwork
  • Commercial products
  • Items with logos
  • Landmarks

Taking and using certain photographs can find you on the wrong end of a copyright violation complaint. Be sure to use caution, obtain the proper licenses, and provide compensation before utilizing any such photographs. You do not want become a photographer who infringes on someone else’s copyright.

Commercial entities use Fine Art Photography Without Paying Photographers

Do you take wildlife photographs? Do you spend hours trying to capture the perfect sunset or wake in the middle of the night to snap a photo of a sunrise? Do you travel to exotic locations to find interesting and creative new ways to shoot images of the world?

Photography takes patience, dedication and a tremendous amount of time for which you do not always get paid. When your hard work finally results in beautiful, unique, creative photographs, you deserve to be compensated.

People want to see good photographs and publishers know that. Some publishers claim that its ok to use photographs without paying photographers because they are not making any profit from the images. However, this is not an excuse. Using your photos without paying you violates your rights.

When someone uses one of your photographs without paying you, call our copyright infringement attorneys to help. We have the skill and experience to help you enforce your rights under federal copyright laws and recover the compensation you are owed when publishers violate your rights.

Publishers Must Obtain a License to Use Fine Art Photographs

A copyright, created the moment you take a photograph, protects control over your work. It means that you have the right to decide who may use that photograph, how they may use it, and how much money, if any, they must pay you for its use. Granting use of or access to your photograph is done with a license agreement. You and the publisher decide on the specific terms. Some examples may include –

  • You agree to give a magazine unlimited use of a photo you took of a fruit bowl for a flat fee of $1,000.
  • You grant a license to a movie studio allowing it to use a photograph you took of a mountain range to hang on a wall that will be in a single scene in one movie. You charge $100 for this.
  • The US Parks Department wants to use your photos in their brochure, on their website, in their commercials and on t-shirts. You give them a license to use your images for $5,000 per year for 10 years.
  • Your friend wants to use one of your photos to put on mugs and sell on his website. Since he is your friend you give him permission and charge him nothing, a fixed fee or a portion of sales.

Again, the terms of the license are up to you. You can grant or limit access to and use of your photographs as you wish. If the license holder violates the terms of your agreement, it is a violation of your rights. At that time, it may help to seek the advice of our copyright attorneys at Liebowitz Law Firm.

File a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit to Protect Your Rights to Your Photographs

The photographs you take are valuable; you should have control over their use and get paid for your work product. What do you do when a publisher violates your rights?

When a publisher uses your photographs without permission or violates a license agreement, you have the right to file a claim in federal court under copyright laws. By doing this, you may be able to collect monetary damages that include fees you are owed, as well as damages related to unauthorized use of your work. These are called actual damages.

Before we file your claim, we need to ensure that you have a valid copyright registration filed. Our attorneys can help you with this process.

You may also be able to collect statutory damages. Statutory damages are an amount the law defines. To be eligible for statutory damages under copyright laws, you must first file a federal copyright registration. Remember, a copyright exists the moment you take a photograph and generally nothing else is required. However, you may not collect statutory damages unless you register your copyright.

If you can prove that the publisher’s copyright violation was willful, you may be entitled to additional damages.

Copyright laws are complex. Damages can be difficult to prove. Our team of experienced copyright infringement lawyers understand how to navigate copyright violations and protect the rights of fine art photographers.

When Your Photography Takes You Around the World, Our Copyright Attorneys Protect Your Rights

Our lawyers handle copyright cases around the globe. When your work takes you to foreign countries and across borders your rights still matter. We work hard to protect the rights of photographers worldwide and can do the same for you. If you take photographs around the world, protect your rights by speaking with our attorneys today.

Contact Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC to Discuss Your Case

If a publisher has used your photographs in violation of a license agreement or without permission, we can help you file a claim for copyright infringement. Under the law, you may be entitled to recover financial damages. Speak with the copyright lawyers at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC today. Let’s review your case and see how we can help. Call us today at (800) 778-1660 or, if you prefer, submit the contact form on this page.