When it comes to copyright laws in Australia, these are the essential points to understand:
• Generally, copyright in photos lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years.
• Copyright has expired in photos taken prior to 1 January 1955.
• Ownership of a photo varies depending on the circumstances under which it was taken.
• You will not own copyright just because you own the camera.
• Photographers also have moral rights in relation to their works.
Copyright protects various pieces of work, such as photographs, artistic works, written material, musical works and films, but does not cover abstract things, such as ideas, information, styles or techniques.
Copyright protection in Australia does not require formal registration. You do not even have to notify with the Copyright symbol, but you can. The Copyright notification involves the symbol, the owner’s name, and the year of production.
Various laws are in place for photographs taken in the course of employment. Before 1st of May 1969, photographs were owned by the publisher. Uptil 30 July 1998, publishers owned the rights of use in publication, magazines or broadcasting while other rights belonged to the photographer. Since then up until the present, all rights of ownership and copyright have been held by the photographer. However, if a photographer is in the employment of the government, then the government holds all rights of ownership and copyright.
For commissioned photographs, a similar policy of law gave rights to the one of paid for the photograph to be taken. However, photographs for private or domestic usage, such as wedding photos, are owned by the client, unless otherwise agreed upon between the client and the photographer.
Rights of Copyright Owners
Owners of copyright in photos have the exclusive right to:
• Reproduce the photos—for example, by making prints, photocopying, and digitising;
• Publish the photo (make copies of the photos available to the public for the first time); and
• Communicate the photo to the public—for example, by putting the photos onto a website,
broadcasting or faxing them or emailing digital files of them.
Usage of Copyrighted Images
Owners of Copyright can assign (sell) or license (permit others to use) their images, with or without limitations. All such agreements should be made in writing. Owners of images also have moral rights as far as the use of their images.
Use of Google Images for Images and Copyright…
It could seem quite easy just to get on Google images and find some cool pictures, download them and just throw them up on your website. But there is the whole issue of usage rights. On Google Images, there is an option on their search for various categories of “usage rights”. Usage rights are “the rights that people have to reuse images or other intellectual property for their own or business purposes.”
Below are the various categories appearing on Google Images search.
- Not filtered by license
- Labelled for reuse with modification
- Labelled for reuse
- Labelled for non-commercial reuse with modification
- Labelled for non-commercial reuse
External Link: What does not filtered by license mean?
Not filtered by license: This means that you haven’t yet selected a type of filter to organize the photos by. In other words, with “not filtered by license” selected you are looking at all types of photos with all types of usage rights. This is how a lot of people get in trouble because they grab any photo they see, post it to their website, and then are hit with a Getty Images lawsuit for the unauthorized use of an image. In order to find a photo that you can use, make sure to select something other than the “not filtered by license” option.
Labeled for reuse with modification: This option means that you can use the photo commercially, or non-commercially, as long as you modify it. In terms of what “modify” mean, I wasn’t able to find an answer in my research, so there is still a “gray” area there.
Labeled for reuse: With this option, users can reuse the photo commercially, or non-commercially as-is. No modification is needed.
Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification: This means that you can use the photo in a non-commercial manner, as long as you modify it. By non-commercial, it means you cannot have the photo on products or be a part of a business website/printed materials.
Labeled for noncommercial reuse: Finally, this option means that you can use the photo in a non-commercial manner as-is. No modification is necessary. Remember in all cases that you should always give authors attribution when using their photos. Even if a photo doesn’t have a great amount of detail around the usage rights, authors of the photos should always be given credit for their work.
External Link:How to Legally Use Images Online