Copyright issues with photographs is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously by individuals wanting to use a particular picture.
I recently had a photo of mine pulled off Facebook and used without my permission so I decided that I would do a blog on Copyrights.
Copyright is a form of protection, authorized by the United States Constitution, that gives photographers, artists, authors, musicians, choreographers and architects the exclusive right to use and reproduce their works. Essentially, all original works can be copyrighted. This includes photographs, art works, sculpture, writings, music and computer software. Virtually all works created or first published after January 1, 1978 are protected by copyright. Many works created prior to 1978 are also protected.
A copyright is secured automatically when a work is created. This concept is frequently misunderstood. Some people still believe that there are formalities required in order to create a copyright. This is not true. Under the latest version of the Copyright Act, neither publication nor registration with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is required in order to secure full copyright protection. When a work is created, it is automatically copyrighted.
The owner of the copyright generally has the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies, to prepare derivative works based on the work, and to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership. The owner of the copyright generally has the exclusive right to publicly display and perform the work.
Permission to use a copyrighted work is called a "license." A license must be obtained from the owner of the copyright prior to using the work. The license can be oral or written. Obviously, the use of a clearly written licensing agreement will avoid confusion. The writing does not have to be detailed to be effective. A simple letter or invoice is usually sufficient. For example, ‘one-time usage rights for photograph in brochure with press run of 5,000 copies and regional newspaper use for six months – $2,500."
The unauthorized use of a copyrighted work is called an infringement. The Copyright Act provides stiff penalties for infringing copyrighted works. Under appropriate circumstances, penalties can include monetary damages, all profits earned by the infringer from the unauthorized use of the copyrighted work and attorneyís fees. A court can also order the destruction of all infringing copies.
For more information check out: http://www.photolaw.net/faq.html