Image copyright

By Adrian Toon, director of a2n.

There is a lot of confusion about permissions to use photography, but there are some simple facts to remember about any image taken.

Who owns the image? Well quite simply, the person who took it. It is like a piece of art, and the copyright remains with the owner.

As the owner, you can allow someone else to use the image in promotion. If you can, learn how to add to the ‘metadata’ held within the image. Most image manipulation software allows you to do this, also remember to include your contact details. There is then no excuse for someone to use the image without knowing who the image belongs to.

If you are a business, employees taking photography on behalf of the business usually transfer the copyright to the company. It is worthwhile checking their contracts.

Property permissions – if again you are taking pictures of a property, especially if you are on the homeowner’s land, you should seek permission to use the image in your promotion.

A simple letter to be signed by the homeowner would suffice. Finally, if you do have anyone prominent in the image, make sure you get a ‘model release form’ signed, as they could come back later and ask for a fee, or further fee, especially if the image is used prominently in adverts or similar promotion.

Should someone use your image in promotion that you have not authorised, you can ask for the image to be removed immediately and claim costs for its use. Failing removal and/or payment, a threat of a CCJ normally works.

Remember the law is on the side of the image holder.