Thursday, October 1, 2009

But They're MY Pictures, Right?

Like it or not, there are some business aspects you need to know about pin up modeling! One is the subject of copyright.

Briefly, a copyright is protection given under the law to artists (using the broadest term) so they may control the usage and reproduction of their work. Generally, copyright owners hold all the rights to their work.

What does this mean to the pin up model?

According to the Copyright Act, a federal law, the owner of the copyright is the person who creates the work. For our purposes this is the photographer or sometimes an artist (in the case of paintings or graphic art).

So despite the fact that a photographer has given you a CD with all your proofs on it, you do not have the right to use them any way you would like. You probably signed a model release at your shoot. This allows the photographer to use your image. Many model releases also grant you, the model, some kind of license to use your photos in consideration of your time or the payment you have made. For example, you may be allowed to use your images on line in exchange for displaying the photographer's watermark or URL along with the picture.

Unless you have come to a specific agreement with the artist you cannot use your photos for any commercial purposes such as selling merchandise using the image, and most high quality photo labs will not produce prints of your pictures for you without permission from the photographer. (Walmart probably won't give a fig, but you get what you pay for).
If you want to have rights to the images yourself, you will probably have to pay for them on top of the fee you pay the photographer. What you are paying the photographer for is their time, effort, studio use, use of wardrobe (if applicable); not the rights to the images.
Copyright is something to keep in mind if you intend to use your photos for something out of the ordinary and remember, never, EVER do anything with your images you do not have specific permission for. To do so is copyright infringement and is against the law.

Most photographers will negotiate on license if you really must have mugs made up for your entire family with your pin up photos on them, or want to plaster your luscious bottom all over a t-shirt for all the world to see; just REMEMBER TO ASK PERMISSION!

Another thing to remember is that there are a lot of people out there who tell you that you will own the rights to your photos once their shoot/makeover/class is done, but the truth is, unless you have something in writing from them stating this, you don't.
Copyright is something you need to be aware of if you itend to seriously pursue pin-up!

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