Intellectual property

Copyright on your images

According to the LPI (Intellectual Property Law) any person who creates a work is an AUTHOR, so only natural persons and not legal entities can be considered authors. Therefore, we are all authors, regardless of whether or not we charge for our works, and a third party can never hold that right and therefore, no one can claim authorship of a work that we have created ourselves, even if we have transferred the exploitation and/or reproduction rights, the copyright will always be ours. To clarify, not even the company we work for (if we worked for a photographic agency or in a studio) has the copyright and therefore they do not hold that honour when they receive an award and if they do it is absolutely punishable, legally and morally speaking.

What must be done for photographs to be protected by the LPI?

Nothing, absolutely nothing... the creation itself is sufficient and does not require any registration, only the demonstration of the creation itself, as something and ultimately it must fulfil the following requirements to be considered a "work": to be original, literary, artistic or scientific.

However, should there be any doubt, and in order to make it clearer, the IPL classifies the works that receive intellectual property treatment as follows, and therefore all original literary, artistic or scientific creations expressed by any means or medium, tangible or intangible, currently known or to be invented in the future, are subject to the IPL, including among them:

  • Books, pamphlets, printed matter, correspondence, writings, speeches and addresses, conferences, forensic reports, lectures and any other works of the same nature.
  • Musical compositions, with or without lyrics.
  • Dramatic and dramatico-musical works, choreographies, pantomimes and, in general, theatrical works.
  • Cinematographic works and any other audiovisual works.
  • Sculptures and works of painting, drawing, engraving, lithography and graphic cartoons, comic strips or comics, as well as their essays or sketches and other plastic works, whether applied or not.
  • Projects, plans, models and designs of architectural and engineering works.
  • Charts, maps and designs relating to topography, geography and science in general.
  • Photographic works and works expressed by a process analogous to photography.
  • Computer programs.
  • The title of a work, when original, shall be protected as part of the work.

When does copyright end?

On the death of the author, the exercise of the rights, without time limit, shall pass to the natural or legal person to whom the author has expressly entrusted them by last will and testament. Failing this, the exercise of these rights shall be vested in the heirs.

Digital photography and its impact on the collective imagination

And it turns out that this digitization and the Internet has brought with it the habit of sharing everything, publishing everything and doing everything instantly. In the past, the client contracted a session and paid for some copies, an album or an extension. Rarely did anyone claim the negatives from the photographer. But since the negative has been transformed into binary code and by popular demand, photographers have begun to deliver files instead of hard copies. It's clean, practical and simple: with a digital image you can make as many copies as you want, you can make an album on your own and even, if you like photoshopping, you could start retouching what you've retouched. This being the case, the digital archive is both the raw material (the negative) and the finished product, and it has become so ubiquitous that all (or almost all) of us assume that this is what the contracted service includes. After all, the photos are yours.

Not so fast, stranger: the photos are not yours. Well, a little yes. But they are also mine ;-). And precisely to try to make it clear we resorted to a contract.

The photos are from the photographer

The Intellectual Property Law protects the author of a work for the mere fact of creating it. In other words, the photographer has all the moral and exploitation rights of the created work. Even if they are the photos of your wedding or your child's baptism: they are the work of their author, the photographer.

Moral rights cannot be waived and include, among other things, the right to be unpublished, to demand recognition of the author, or to demand that the integrity of the work be respected.

The exploitation rights, on the other hand, can be assigned. We are talking about the rights of reproduction, distribution, public communication and transformation. When you hire a photographer to take photos of your child or your family, they will include a clause in their contract specifying what rights they are giving you. The usual thing is that the rights of reproduction and public communication are transferred so that you can make copies on your own or share them on the internet.

What can you do with the photos that a professional has taken of you?

That way, you'll probably be able to post the photos to Facebook, hang a photo in your living room, or make a slideshow with family and friends. But you will not be able to use the photos to submit them to a photography contest (since you are not the author) or use them to promote your business (unless the photographer specifies the transfer of reproduction rights for commercial purposes), or alter them. It seems out of the box, but it is important to understand that if the photographer does not specify the transfer of part of his exploitation rights, as a client you could do little or nothing with the digital images that he gives you.

In short, you will not be able to make public use of the photos, for profit or not, nor will you be able to modify, edit, or alter said photos in any way without the express consent of the photographer who is the author of said photos, their actual owner.

I do not attend without an appointment! Make an appointment before visiting my studio. You could find me in the middle of a session or working outside of it and I couldn't attend to you.