ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Photography Copyright

Updated on March 19, 2017
It is theft if someone changes this pic with Photo Shop and puts his or her name on it.
It is theft if someone changes this pic with Photo Shop and puts his or her name on it. | Source
it is criminal to break and enter into someone's property.  the criminality should also apply to stealing someone's photo and changing it with Adobe Photo Shop and claim it is yours.
it is criminal to break and enter into someone's property. the criminality should also apply to stealing someone's photo and changing it with Adobe Photo Shop and claim it is yours. | Source

Photos Ownership

Photo credits are still relevant in the year 2015, despite the proliferation of cellphones because they basically answer the question: Who took the photo?

It is about ownership. Your car is registered in your name because you own it. Burglars are individuals who break into other people’s homes and steal whatever they can carry. In some cases, they sit down and help themselves to the food and drinks in the fridge. Call it a burglar’s feast.

Someone can sing a song, but the person who wrote it is the original owner, although this has entered the ‘gray area’ domain because of tricks like re-mixing, also called 'mashups.' Just think mashed potatoes.

It is the same with photography. The person who took the photo has the copyright which means I cannot use it in posters advertising products like cars, detergents or politicians.

Photo credits used to be money in the bank for photographers whose photos were published in newspapers, and magazines such as National Geographic, Life, Ebony and Harper’s Bazaar, to mention but a few.

Cellphones and other electronic gadgets that capture images have blurred photography lines. For example, it will be very difficult to determine who owns the right to photos taken at the following:

  • Rock concerts

  • Press conferences

  • Soccer stadiums

  • Campaign trails

  • Weddings

  • Cannes Film Festival

  • Media scrum outside court cases

  • Zoos

Online Photography Sites

The internet has many forums that enable professional photographers and cell phone users to share their photos with the whole world. Some of them end up in blogs. Artists can retouch them and do all sorts of things that ‘improve’ or ‘disfigure’ the original photo.

It is also now debatable who is professional, who is not. Does having a camera that costs $7,000 (body alone without lenses) make one a professional photographer?

How about professional photographers who have not earned a penny from their work in the last two years? Can we still call them professional?

The internet is supposed to be one big happy family where we share thoughts, videos and photos. Some of the shared photos do not have photographers’ names. In some cases, resourceful thieves attach their names to other people’s photos.

If it is not a pixelated photo (your name on the digital photo), you don’t know how many rounds it made before Flickr or Pinterest.

Ty Bello, Nigerian photographer who does amazing portrait work.  Any attempt to digitally change her work and claim it as your own is theft.
Ty Bello, Nigerian photographer who does amazing portrait work. Any attempt to digitally change her work and claim it as your own is theft. | Source

Commissioned Photography

There is no copyright misunderstanding if a tourism department wants to have a new online brochure and hires a photographer to take pictures of the lakes, mountains and parks. The department pays the photographer and retains the copyright.

Newspapers used to send two people to gather the news: a reporter and a photographer. That is almost gone because all reporters have cellphones, but the pictures they take belong to the newspaper.

Department stores need photos to sell their merchandise. They commission/hire photographers to take pictures for their electronic and hard copy flyers. You will never see photographers' names on these flyers because copyright belongs to the store.

The right to copyright usually becomes an issue when someone profits from a photo. That is when the photographers objects and sues, if he or she has the means to take the legal route.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is a software programme that enables you to change original photos ‘manipulation’ to suit your needs. You can remove clothes from a photo or change the clothes’ original colour. Basically, you can change the photo in such a way that the photographer does not recognise his or her work.

It is like coming home one evening, and find your house painted pink when the exterior was white when you left in the morning. There are other criminal acts involved besides burglary.

Layout and design artists can attest to Photoshop’s positive side, but it gets a bad rap when it is intentionally used to defraud photographers of their copyright.

Millions of cellphone users are not even aware of copyright implications because they just love taking pictures and sending them out there.

Private Photos

Photography sites such as You Pic have certain strategies to protect photographers, at least record who took the original photo. You Pic in particular has different categories for pics.

Photographers decide how their work to be identified: wildlife, landscape, random, macro, street, rural etc. These sites can also determine who took the photo.

If you use your cellphone, they can tell what kind of cellphone you use to take pics, even the f-stop when you shoot the pic. This makes photographers happy because they will be credited for their photos.

Respect for Photographers

Including photographers’ names in your blog, website and social media means you recognise the right to ownership. You don’t want anybody stealing your bike or piece of land.

That is why you would not deliberately steal someone’s photo and front it as your own. Serious photographers spend a lot of money on their work.

  • They fly to foreign places or drive thousands of miles from home to shoot unique landscape and wild animals.

  • They have expensive cameras and accessories. They also spend extra on insurance.

Photo Credit and Online Photos

Always include the website when you use a photo from the internet. Better still, build your own stock footage and label it. For example, I opened a file called International Peace Garden when we went to North Dakota recently. I also have a file called Canada Day 2015.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)