How did the photographer take this picture

Copyright for photos: what protection applies to photos?

From, last update on: May 15, 2021

With the spread of digital photography and cell phones with built-in cameras, photos are now more solid Part of everyday media life. Millions of images are created every day and are distributed through the Internet. However, this also has to be the case Copyright for these photos get noticed.

Photo copyright FAQ

Does the copyright also apply to photos taken by the photographer?

A professional photographer creates a large number of photos through his job and is therefore the author of these. Depending on the motif and the technology used, it can be both photographic works and photographs. For this reason, photographs by a professional photographer also enjoy copyright protection.

When are photos free of copyright?

When the copyright on photos expires, they are considered to be in the public domain. In the case of photographic works this is the case 70 years after the death of the author, in the case of photographs 50 years after publication or after creation. Due to this regulation, an individual check must be carried out to find out whether the images are copyright-free.

Does a copyright have to be given for every photo?

In Germany, the copyright does not need to be indicated by the author, as the protection arises with the completion of the work. Nevertheless, the copyright for a photo is particularly widespread on the Internet. The author explicitly refers to the existing copyright.

Works of photography in copyright law

According to the Copyright Act (UrhG) are photos - in ยง 2 UrhG as Photographic works referred to - under the protection of copyright. These works are characterized by their personal spiritual creation and achieve a certain level of creativity and individuality Design height.

Design featuresthat distinguish photographic works include:

  • Motif choice
  • Image detail and perspective
  • Light and shadow
  • Sharpness and Contrast
  • Use of filters or other technology
  • Retouching, montage or collage
  • Mood and emotions
In the case of a photographic work, the Design of the photo in the center and not the simple documentation of an event or a situation.

Photographic works are also protected by copyright 70 years after the author's death and then passes to his heir. During this period, the rights holder decides how his work will be used.

Copyright for photos: Snapshots are also protected

But also without a creative and individual influence photos are protected by copyright. The UrhG refers to photos that show, for example, holiday impressions or family celebrations as Photographs.

A photograph is a unaltered and lifelike reproduction. This can also include contributions from, for example Photo reporting act that document events for newspapers, among other things. Likewise fall Product photographsthat are used in advertising or for offers in online auction houses, under the photos.

The duration of protection for photographs is set for a shorter period of time than for photographic works. The period of validity for the copyright for photos is on in these cases 50 years limited. The period begins either after Publication or, if this did not take place, the production of the photograph.

What rights do authors have in relation to photographs?

The copyright for photos is usually created by the Creation of the photoat the moment when the photographer presses the shutter release button on the camera. So he is that too Originator, It is irrelevant whether he is acting on behalf of a person or on his own responsibility.

The creator is granted various rights through the copyright for his photography. These include the Moral and the Exploitation rights.

Both the moral rights and the exploitation rights can be exercised by the author during his lifetime not transferred to other people. They remain in place for the entire duration of the copyright.

Through the Moral rights defines the relationship between the Creator and his work. The Publishing Rights In the case of photos, it enables the author to decide whether and when to make his work available to the public. He can also access the Acknowledgment of authorship consist.

The UrhG also grants the author the Exploitation rights a. As a result, he is the only one who can decide whether a plant is in physical or incorporeal form is being used. Possible forms of exploitation include reproduction, distribution, performance and making available to the public.

With the exploitation of his work, the author can financial compensation received for his creative and creative work. If he cannot or does not want to exploit his works in full, he can allow third parties to use them.

For this purpose, a contract on the rights of use for photos is drawn up. In this, the Types of use, the scope as well as the restriction the use and the financial remuneration are defined.

When does a photo have a copyright infringement?

Will pictures be without the Author's permission - for example in the form of a License agreement on the granting of usage rights - used, it is a Copyright violation.

But even if on the Mention of the author is waived there is a copyright infringement on the photo. One of the most common violations of copyright law for photos on the Internet is the so-called Photo theft.

Photos from existing websites are protected by copyright copied and mistakenly issued as your own. This is particularly common for product images for web shops and online auctions. For this reason, authors try to protect their images with watermarks, for example.

How can you deal with a photo copyright infringement?

Around take action against a copyright infringement, various options are available to the author. As a rule, the injured parties use the Warning, a civil law option to Process avoidance.

In the course of the warning, the injured party can different claims apply to prevent and compensate for copyright infringements on photos. The UrhG provides for the following claims, among others:

The Right to cease and desist usually takes the form of a declaration of discontinuance. With this lifelong contract a renewed violation of the copyright is to be prevented. However, if another copyright infringement does occur, one is Contractual penalty to pay.

With the damages should either be a created Damage or possible loss compensated become. The amount of the damage is determined individually in each case. For this purpose, the receipts are mostly made through comparable license agreements used.

Copyright for photos - short and compact

Copyright is used to protect photos and their respective Photographers protected. This gives the author the right to use his image for a reasonable remuneration to demand and against a unlawful use take legal action.

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Copyright for photos: what protection applies to photos?
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