[thelist] copyrights and linking

Robert Goodyear rob_goodyear at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 2 19:08:10 CST 2002

> 1) The publication rights to the pictures have been sold.

Chiming in VERY late on this thread, but as a former photojournalist, the
rights to these editorial images needs to be assessed. If it's in the public
domain, as US public editorial publications are, she might have a loophole
there in showing her work in a portfolio context. Second, (and hindsight is
always 20/20) a photographer/photojournalist should always declare portfolio
rights upon employment or contract assignment. Most importantly, if there's no
statement of rights in her employment contract (or freelance contract) then the
'work-for-hire' claim is null and void in the US. Meaning, the work was not
explicitly declared as work-for-hire thus transferring copyright to the

Snippet from NPAA.org below. Pay attention to the quote in the second graph...

According to the copyright statutes, in a work-for-hire arrangement, the
individual photographer never owns the copyright - the employer does.
Work-for-hire agreements automatically exist when employees take pictures for
their employers. For freelance photographers to qualify for work-for-hire
arrangements, the assignment must be specifically ordered or commissioned for
use as a part of nine specific items noted in US Copyright legislation. These
nine items include a "contribution to a collective work" such as a newspaper,
magazine, Web publication or broadcast. In addition, both parties can agree, in
a written instrument signed by both, that the work shall be considered a work
made for hire.

In a work-for-hire arrangement, photographers do not have the right ever to
negotiate for the rights to the photos taken as part of the assignment.
According to attorney Kurt Wimmer, "Importantly, either employment or a written
contract is required to create a work for hire. If you take a freelance job and
don't sign a written contract assigning the copyright to the publication, you
own it. The publication only has a license to print/telecast/webcast it. The
publication has to come back to you (for another license) for permission if it
wishes to use it again or in a different medium."

Good luck!

Robert Goodyear

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