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More About Copyrights
  What is a copyright?

A copyright gives its owner the right to copy, distribute, publicly display or create derivative works from the original work. A copyright also gives its owner the right to license those rights to others.

How do I know if my photograph is protected by copyright?

A photograph is copyright protected from the moment it is created. This means that even if you purchase a print or digital file from your photographer, you still need to talk to them about making reproductions from that item.

How long does a copyright last?

The current copyright term is the life of the creator – in this case, the photographer, plus an additional 70 years.

Things to remember about copyright:

   Purchasing a print or digital file from your photographer does not mean you have purchased the copyright.
   Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
   Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
   Professional photographers are dependent on their ability to control the reproduction of the photographs they create.
       It affects their income and the livelihood of their families.
   Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.

How to make legal copies of professional photographs:

   Contact the photographer/copyright owner. Photographers are happy to discuss options for reproducing photos with you.
   Check both the front and back of a print for a copyright notice. If it is a school, sports or similar type photo, you may want to contact the institution where the photo was made.
   Use the Photographer Registry Web site to locate a photographer/copyright owner at, so you can obtain reproductions or permission. With a few pieces of information about a photographer (i.e., they did portraits in Anytown, USA in 200X), a search can be conducted to find the copyright owner.
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