Image copyright
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Image copyright in Russia

Regardless of its artistic value and aesthetic qualities, any unique photograph is considered an object of copyright. The legislation of the Russian Federation does not provide an opportunity to register the photographer's rights to the image, but there are many options for protection against possible infringement. In this article we will tell you how to register the authorship of a photographic image, and what options for the use, disposition and protection of rights are provided for the photographer.

How to prove authorship

Each picture taken by a photographer is unique, even if the picture was taken in a popular location and captures a standard set of subjects. The author of a photograph may use it at his own discretion, including the transfer of rights on a royalty-free or non-gratuitous basis. To do this, he needs to confirm the copyright to the photographic image.

The legislation of the Russian Federation provides the following options for confirming rights:

In addition, it is possible to recognize or challenge the rights in court. If another person has misappropriated authorship, any written and physical evidence can be used to confirm rights through the court - copies of publications with the published photo and the name of the author, a negative (if the photo was taken using film), information about depositions, etc. After receiving the judicial act, the photographer can officially publish it through the media, on the Internet - this way of confirming and protecting the rights allows you to specify the proper author.

Protection is also allowed if the photograph has not been published or made public by the author. In this case, if a dispute arises over the rights to the photo, you will have to prove authorship. Proof of copyright priority can be provided by documents, tangible media and cameras which stored the original image in their digital memory. In the most complicated cases, the expertise of copyright on photos can be conducted, for example, the properties of an electronic file can be used to determine the time and sometimes the place of the photo shoot.

Photographs are often the subject of a copyright contract. In this case, as soon as the photos are received and/or processed, they become the property of the customer. The photographer will be able to receive the remuneration stipulated in the agreement and will also retain the right to be considered the author of the image.


Photograph rights

From the moment the picture is created, the photographer has a set of copyrights, which includes:

The photographer can make the photo publicly available so that it can be used without further authorization, or by indicating authorship with each publication.

If the photo is sold, authorship will be retained, but the purchaser can dispose of and use the image as he or she sees fit. This means that further resale of the image is possible, including with an increase in the original value. The amount of remuneration for the assignment of rights is determined by the parties themselves, or by asking for help from professional specialists (experts, appraisers, etc.).

The license to use the photograph allows you to use it strictly within the framework of agreements with the right holder. For this purpose, the parties may stipulate the following conditions:

The execution of a license agreement also does not invalidate the authorship of the photograph.

Infringement of exclusive rights to a photograph

The exclusive copyright of a photograph is valid during the photographer's lifetime, and is retained for another 70 years after his death. Only after this period has elapsed can the photograph be used without further permission from the author's heirs and assigns. During the period of copyright, any legal options to protect against infringement by third parties can be used.

Infringement by unlawful use of someone else's photo may include the following:

Noncommercial use of a photograph for personal use is not considered an infringement of rights if it was obtained legally (for example, purchased directly from the photographer).

Protection of exclusive rights to a photographic image complies with the general rules of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. The photographer has the right to demand the elimination of any infringements - removal of photos from Internet resources, withdrawal of copies of photo collections from sale, etc. It is possible to compensate through the court for damages caused by the unauthorized use of someone else's photo, or to recover compensation. In any way of protecting rights, the photographer needs to prove his authorship of the image.

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