Professional Photographer's tip week: Copyright, Tip 4
For our forth tip in our copyright themed week we are going to discuss the differences and similarities between the U.S and the UK
Today’s tip is copyright, home and away:
There are both different and similar copyright laws for both the United Kingdom and the United States, so it’s always good to know where you stand as a photographer if you want to snap away abroad.
In the UK it is permissible to photograph public buildings without the consent of the owner or architect. This right is guaranteed by section 62 of the UK Copyright Act. You are able to use the images for any purpose, including for commercial gain. No Building Release is required in the UK. However, two public locations in the UK, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square have a specific provision against photography for commercial purposes without the written permission of the Mayor, and permission is needed to photograph or film for commercial purposes in the Royal Parks. In the U.S, you would need to gain consent from the owner or architect prior to photography.
In the U.S, as we mentioned in one of our previous tips, you must have a model release form if you wish to use your photographs for commercial purposes. In the UK photographers are advised to have a release form for peace of mind but it is not enforced. UK photographers can use the images of their model subjects to promote their own business.
Library of Congress:
The United States Library of Congress gives copyright cover to all photos that are registered under it, including all unpublished photos, regardless of the nationality of the photographer. UK photographers can also register their photos with the U.S Library of Congress to get their images copyright-covered.
In the U.S and UK artwork is normally protected by copyright, as the copyright belongs to the person who created the artwork in the first place. There are however, some museums and National Heritage sights that allow non-commercial photography of displayed items. In the US, if the artwork appears in a public domain then it can be photographed for non-commercial use. Some UK museums also allow photography for non-commercial use. Others are less lenient but ban cameras for insurance reasons or claim that the flash will damage delicate artwork. It’s always worth checking with the museum or National Heritage sights first.
A right to privacy exists in the UK law, as a consequence of the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law through the Human Rights Act 1998. This can result in restrictions on the publication of photography. A very limited statutory right to privacy exists in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This right is held, for example, by someone who hires a photographer to photograph their wedding. The bride and groom, regardless of any copyright they do or do not hold in the photograph, which was commissioned for private purposes, have the right not to have copies issued to the public. However, this right will not be infringed if the right-holder gives permission, as mentioned in one of our previous tips this week. In the U.S the public have virtually no privacy rights when they are in a public place, so street and market shots in the US are a better bet than in the UK.
It is a good idea to bear in mind the different copyright laws and restrictions when photographing at home or away for commercial purposes. It is also wise to do these checks for any country you visit to photograph, aiming to get permission for the commercial use wherever you can.
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