Important Legal Facts about Copyright




Q: What is a copyright?

A: Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. By virtue of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, works are protected in all 160 countries that are party to the Convention. If you are the photographer of an image and you retain ownership the artistic work then you are the copyright owner.

Q: Is this applicable to all images?

A: Yes. From the moment it is created and in tangible form, a photo is automatically protected by copyright.

Q: What is copyright infringement?

A: Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of works under copyright infringing the copyright holder's rights such as the right to reproduce copyrighted work or to make adaptations of the work. Infringement is also using the image beyond the scope of a license or permission or asking another photographer to recreate the image identically.

Q: Who’s responsible when infringement occurs?

A: The party that used the image without permission, even if unintentionally. The company behind the infringement, its employees or others who participated in the original infringement plus anyone who published or broadcast the infringing image, whether they had knowledge or not.


Q: So why worry about infringement?

A: Infringement of copyright might result in financial damages, lawsuits and in rare circumstances criminal charges. In the case of infringement found by the court to be willfully committed the statutory damages can be up to $150,000 per use.


Q: Isn’t using an image I found on Google free?

A: No. Just because an image is on the web it doesn’t mean it is in the public domain. Very often you will need a license to use it.

Q: I’m a blog owner and my site is non-commercial. Can I use images for free?

A: In most cases, no. Unless your use is permitted by copyright law, all the images on your website must be licensed with permission granted, regardless of the nature of your site. If you are unsure please just ask us.

With our concierge approach to service, our fast turnaround for high resolution downloads and unmatched archives we are your source for legally protected proprietary imagery and footage.