Copyright vs. Usage Rights


At ADP we love getting the opportunity to educate clients as well as other photographers. We have had some questions lately about copyright and usage rights and what they mean. For instance, do digital file collections purchased from a photographer include copyright? The answer is no, but they do contain limited usage rights. This allows the photographer to maintain ownership of their copyright while granting the client the right to use images in a specific manner or purpose (posting on Facebook, printing at your local lab, etc.). It can get a little confusing, but I am here to break it down for you. Copyrights and usage rights, what are they and how are they different? As a client it is important to understand the difference between the two and how they are used. Let’s start with some simple definitions. Usage rights are rights granted to an individual by an artist to use something for a specific purpose and for a particular period. For example, photographers typically give usage rights to clients after ordering artwork so the photos can be displayed for their personal use. Copyright on the other hand is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, distribute, perform, film, or record artistic work. This then gives the photographer the ability to use photos to advertise business, display them publicly or in a gallery on a website, rights to reproduce the work, etc. This being said, as the copyright owner, it is entirely up to them to decide what rights they wish to transfer or license to the client. In layman’s terms, if you purchase a digital file collection from Andi Diamond Photography you will be granted limited usage rights to post the photos on social media sites or print at a local lab (although this would break our heart!) but the copyright will remain with us, the photographers. Hope this mini-crash-course on copyright vs. usage rights was helpful! But when in doubt, always feel free to ask!


XO, Kristin

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