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Understanding photography copyright for commissioned commercial photography?

Photography Copyright law was changed in 1998 in Australia and under this law, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary between client and the photographer the copyright of a commissioned commercial photograph/s is owned by the photographer.

Therefore before work commences, a legally binding agreement should be signed setting out who will be licensed to use the photographs and who will own the copyright.

Three alternatives are available for photography copyright licence.

  1. The client buys the right (either by exclusive or non-exclusive licence) to use the photographs, but the photographer retains the copyright.
  2. Client and the photographer agree to share the copyright.
  3. The Client negotiates with the photographer for exclusive ownership of the copyright. This is commonly known as a “total buyout”

This works to protect both the photographer and the client ensuring a smooth transactions when engaging the services of a photographer for your business or personal needs.

For more information visit www.copyright.org.au or if you would like to download a PDF “An introduction to Copyright in Australia” visit this link. It always a great idea for business owners to educate themselves on intellectual property as this law governs many forms of creative products from music, video, art, photographs, website content.

When you engage our services we ensure copyright is discussed and the appropriate licence and service agreement is signed off on. This ensures a professional and smooth process and avoids any pit-falls that can often be encountered down the track.

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What is Copyright For?