Elan Vital Media | Why altering photos is illegal
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Why altering photos is illegal

A close friend of mine today posted a photo that I took with my copyright attached to the metadata that her friend edited… YUP!  My copyrighted artwork was altered without my permission.  So I thought I would write an article about WHY copyright laws exist and why altering my art is immoral and illegal.  I had no idea why these copyright laws exist until I became a professional photographer, so I understand people’s ignorance in this matter.

You are a thief.

Ok, so downloading and modifying a picture someone created is ok, right?  Adding an instagram filter on the photos from my photographer is ok, right?  Wait, I PAID my photographer for the photos, that means I can do what I wish with them, right?

NO!  NO!  NO!

You are sealing that photographers property and robbing him of his livelihood.  It may not seem like much to you, but it can add up fast.

Things to remember about copyright:

  • Copyright is a property right.
  • Just because you buy a print does not mean you have purchased the copyright.
  • Professional photographers are the smallest of small copyright holders.
  • Under the Federal Copyright Act of 1976, photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
  • Photographers have the exclusive right to reproduce their photographs (right to control the making of copies).
  • Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
  • A photographer can easily create over 20,000 separate pieces of intellectual property annually.
  • Professional photographers are dependent on their ability to control the reproduction of the photographs they create.
  • It affects their income and the livelihood of their families.
  • Even small levels of infringement—copying a photo without permission—can have a devastating impact on a photographer’s ability to make a living.
  • Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.

This is a direct copy and paste from an article at PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS OF AMERICA.

Please buy copies from your photographers and never alter them without permission from the copyright holder!

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