by Matthew Neve Published 01/10/2010
There are a tremendous number of myths surrounding photography copyright, mostly due to incorrect or inaccurate interpretations of copyright law and how it applies to the internet. It only takes one person to pass on information that they were assured was correct and it spreads like wildfire across the internet. A copyright basically allows the author of a photograph (the person who took it) control over how that picture is copied, transmitted and reproduced.
Copyright issues have become more commonplace since the advent of both digital cameras and the internet because people now have far more freedom and flexibility when they share images, and it is all too easy to post an image that you do not own any form of copyright to on the internet and reproduce it in digital form many times without consent of the person who took the original image.
One of the more common misconceptions about photograph copyright is that if you are not charging for a photograph then there is no copyright violation taking place. This is simply incorrect, all this will actually affect is the amount of damages that can be awarded in court, not the actual judgement of the crime itself.
If your photographs are being reproduced on the internet without your permission but the person doing the reproducing is not charging for them then it will probably never end up in a court room as any legal advice you solicit will forward a 'cease and desist' order noting the breaking of copyright to the person doing the reproducing. Court action will only be taken if they choose to ignore this.
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