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“Who Owns the Image, Client or Creator?” copyright laws examined…

By September 10, 2007blog, Peppermaster

We live in a world where copying artwork, photography, music and more are just a mouse click away. Accessibility is abundant. However, having access to original artwork does not give us the right to use them any way we please.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works.
This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act lists out the details of what the owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do.

Typically the person or entity originating the creative works retains the copyright unless the client wants to purchase a “buy out” of the copyrights of a protected work. Then the original creator can assign copyrights to the client. Then the copyright owner has the exclusive right to do and authorize others to do what is listed in Section 106. Section 106.

By knowing more about copyright laws, you can avoid devastating costs in the future. For Peppershock we avoid using protected material for our client’s projects with out the express written consent from the copyright holder(s). It’s important to do our best to make sure the elements we’re using are royalty free or we have permission from the copyright holder(s).
Peppershock also retains our own copyrights for what we create, including footage we shoot, still photos we take and special images we create. Unless the client choses to “buy out” the copyrights from us for an additional cost. Sometimes we’ve seen that it’s helped both us and our client to protect our original works for many reasons, such as we can keep some quality control on our works. Then others can’t reproduce or reuse our work and damage the outcome that is not intended. We can also retain our copyrights for the future re-use and potential revenue from updating the project and we retain our copyrights so our clients can come back to us for future projects and use the images or footage we’ve already captured for them if the new project calls for it. Clients can purchase our stock footage we’ve collected over the years and it makes their project most efficient if we aren’t redoing what we’ve already created before since we hold the copyrights and can determine how and when the footage or images are used. Unless we have the prior agreement with our client who wants to “buy out “the copyrights and not have us use the footage for any other purpose other than promotional purposes, we hold the copyrights and have the ability to use it.
We always have image release forms signed by the people in the shots or if in a public setting we will inform people of what we’re doing, who we are and they can request that we don’t include them in the shots.
The release forms from the on-camera talent give us the rights to utilize their image and audio recordings. We maintain those rights and keep the copyrights maintained as well. One more reason we retain copyrights is so our clients don’t have to hassle with the image release forms and getting a release formed signed by everyone on-camera.
Please let us know if this information is helpful and if you have any questions…
Thank you! Rhea


Since Peppershock’s inception, in 2003, Rhea Allen has managed and expanded Peppershock and has gained local notoriety in her persistent passion for causes. She is involved with the communities of Idaho and surrounding areas and has a vast working knowledge of how to generate awareness for a number of brands and causes. She is extremely diligent in obtaining effective media campaign results by planning and crafting relevant and compelling messaging for the target audience. Rhea oversees the development of all Peppershock projects, from project conception through distribution and follow-up. Read more about Rhea Allen.

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