Copyright Law & Photographers Rights


Copyright Law


Who owns the copyright on photographs? Under law, it is the photographer who will own copyright on any photos he/she has taken, with the following exceptions:


If the photographer is an employee of the company the photos are taken for, or is an employee of a company instructed to take the photos, the photographer will be acting on behalf of his/her employer, and the company the photographer works for will own the copyright.


If there is an agreement that assigns copyright to another party. In all other cases, the photographer will retain the copyright, if the photographer has been paid for his work, the payment will be for the photographer’s time and typically an allocated number of prints.


The copyright to the photos will remain with the photographer, and therefore any reproduction without permission would be an infringement of copyright Photographs are protected for 70 years after the death of the photographer. However if they are subject to Crown copyright then it applies for a maximum of 125 years; if subject to Parliamentary copyright it applies for 50 years from the taking of the photographer





Photographers Rights

Photographers Rights in the UK and how you stand with the law :


Do I need permission to photograph someone in public? No.

If you are standing in a public space, you do not need permission to take their photograph.


Do I need permission to photograph property? No.

If the property can be photographed from a public place you do not need permission. What about if I am on private property? You need permission to enter private property and the owner of the property can impose any conditions they wish on your entry. This could include a ban on photography or a fee for taking pictures.


Can a police officer require that I delete pictures from my camera or hand over the memory card? No, not without a warrant.


Where can't I take photographs?

You need permission to take pictures in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square if they are for commercial purposes (the permission is expensive). There are also some military sites where photography is banned, but these are well signed.


Don't people have a right to privacy? In UK law there is no specific right to privacy in public places. The European Convention on Human Rights gives a 'right to private and family life' In UK law you do not have a right to privacy in a public place.


Can I be prosecuted for harrassment if I take pictures without permission? Very unlikely.

in UK law harassment is defined as a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another which the defendant knows, or ought to know amounts to harassment of another. Taking a single picture or even several pictures is unlikely to be considered a course of conduct. [legal opinion sought].


Can I take pictures of children in the park? Yes, and provided the park is considered a public place, you do not require the permission of the parents. Whether this is wise or not is up to you to decide